Christian Conservative Christian "Independent"

I'm an evangelical Christian, member of the CPC, but presently & unjustly exiled to wander the political wilderness.
All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mass murderers can get real "life" sentences under new Tory proposal!

FINALLY... multiple murderers will be actually eligable to serve the sentence they deserve under new Tory legislation designed to allow judges the OPTION (but not requiring them) to sentence multiple murderers to CONSECUTIVE, rather than CONCURRENT, life sentences.

So instead of allowing Paul Bernardo or Robert Pickton to apply for parole after just 25 years, Paul would have to wait for 50 years... and Mr. Pickton would have to wait until, umm, well, never.

By giving the discretsion to the judges themselves is also a great move, as it will make it harder to challenge via a Charter appeal, and will put the onus on the judiciary to make the call. Therefore, those really deserving of long prison terms will get what they deserve, as you'd think no rationally-minded judge would cause a public outcry by letting a multiple murderer off lightly by granting concurrent sentences.

Another good move by Team Harper. Just TRY and oppose this one Team Iffy...
Tories want multiple killers to face real life terms
The Canadian Press
Date: Thursday Oct. 29, 2009 6:46 AM ET

OTTAWA — The federal government plans to bring in legislation to allow judges to impose what are essentially consecutive life sentences for multiple murderers.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said Wednesday he wants to ensure that serial killers or repeat killers pay an appropriate price.

"Life will mean life," he said.

He said the legislation means an end to what he calls volume discounts for multiple murderers.

Normally, a conviction for first-degree murder carries sentence of life in prison with no parole eligibility for 25 years.

Those convicted of more than one killing still face only the single 25-year period of ineligibility for parole.

The new legislation would allow -- but not require -- judges to impose consecutive terms of parole ineligibility, meaning a killer might have to serve 50, even 75 years without chance of parole.

But the legislation will leave this sentence to the judges.

"It's the judge that will make the decision. ... He or she will be required to consider this," the minister told a news conference.

"We're giving the judges discretion to see if the case is an appropriate one for an individual to receive consecutive parole ineligibility if they've been convicted or more than one murder."

He suggested that leaving it discretionary, rather than mandatory, will make it proof against Charter of Rights challenges.

"Sometimes when we introduce legislation, we have to be very careful about charter challenges and to make sure it complies and again, when we had a look at the whole issue, we believed this was a reasonable response to this question and again, it will be up to the judges."

This is the latest in a series of tough-on-crime measures brought in by the Tories this fall, including tougher sentences for white-collar crime and an end to two-for-one credit for pre-trial jail time.

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Liberal MP's apologize for politicizing the Body Bag issue in 10%ers

And it's about time too... though of course the retraction is always printed on Page 8, while their initial and ultimately INCORRECT allegations of course ended up on the front pages.

Here's a thought for you Liberals... maybe instead of trying to score political points by making wild and untrue accusations, you could and get your facts straight first?

Silly me, what was I thinking... after all, Liberals will be Liberals.
Liberal MPs apologize for offensive flyer
By Christina Spencer, SUN MEDIA
October 28, 2009

OTTAWA — Liberal MPs apologized Wednesday for distributing a household flyer that attacks the government’s handling of H1N1 among aboriginals with the slogan “No vaccines, just body bags.”

The flyer, mailed as a message from Liberal health critic Dr. Carolyn Bennett, features a picture of body bags in a lab and a sick aboriginal child.

Grand Chief Ron Evans of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs told a parliamentary committee the flyer was “very’s really troubling to our people.”

The pamphlet arrived on doorsteps after an investigation into an incident in which an official ordered 100 body bags for a First Nations community in Manitoba struggling with an H1N1 outbreak. The investigation concluded there was no ill will and the number was a miscalculation.

Evans said the fact the flyer was apparently sent after the incident was resolved suggested the affair is now being politicized.

Bennett apologized, saying her party’s intentions were honourable.

Using the Cree expression for “I’m sorry,” Bennett said, “We would never do anything to offend; we did believe that raising attention for the real dire needs that we saw when we were [in Manitoba] was uppermost in our minds.”

Fellow Liberal MP Rob Oliphant suggested the flyers had been printed before the outcome of the body-bag investigation was known.

But Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq wasn’t satisfied. She told the CBC, “We are in a pandemic situation where Dr. Bennett should know better.

“First Nations communities should not be used as punching bags for a political party.”

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Time for Ontario to return to "Common Sense"?

Former Primer Mike Harris had an editorial in the Toronto Star yesterday, where he makes the case that it's time for some "Common Sense" to return to Queen's Park.

Ontario post-secondary education history revisited
Fiscal responsibility and excellent schools are not contradictory, former premier says

To benefit from history, we first have to understand it.

Today, Ontario is in the process of repeating an unfortunate time in its history. We have record-breaking deficits and record-breaking unemployment. The previous record was set in the early 1990s when the last big taxing, big spending premier drove deficits and unemployment through the roof.

Many are lining up to say that the current premier must not and cannot tackle the deficit by reducing the cost of the programs government offers. Many – incorrectly – speak about how our government's effort to tackle the deficit we inherited meant a reduction in quality services like education. But let's look at the facts.

Facing an economic wall, we moved quickly in 1995 to reduce the size and cost of government. It needed to be done. At the same time, we reduced taxes to stimulate private sector job creation and investment. It worked.

We balanced the budget on schedule and created more than 750,000 new private sector jobs in four years. That growth and prosperity lifted thousands of Ontarians from the despair of welfare into meaningful work and created the tax revenue for investments in both health and education.

But the turnaround did not happen easily or without effort and sacrifice across the public service. We led by example and cut the pay, office budgets and pensions of all MPPs. Then we kept our word and delivered the efficiencies promised in our platform.

One of those efficiencies meant our post-secondary education institutions had to find ways to provide students quality education with less government money. To their immense credit, the leaders of Ontario's universities understood the magnitude of the financial pressures and the need for everyone to shoulder some of the burden. They met the challenge. Over the course of our first term in office, Ontario universities were more than able to make up for an initial grant reduction of $400 million. In fact, the total budget for universities actually rose by $300 million.

It was a wise response. After all, what sense would it make for students to graduate into a jobless economy?

As a government, we focused on investing in research, helping students and supporting excellence. We initiated a scholarship program for student support that doubled donations made by the private sector. With the eager support of our universities and their alumni, this program – originally budgeted at $100 million – grew to over $700 million.

In addition to the increased funding for scholarships and research, our government helped colleges and universities grow. We made record capital contributions to the building of universities. In 2001, we were proud to announce $60 million in capital funding for the new University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Durham. In all, we partnered with the private sector to provide more than $1.8 billion in capital funding to Ontario post-secondary institutes.

The commitment to educating the next generation of Ontarians is not simply a matter of investing more money; it's a commitment to excellence that must be shared by government, universities, students and taxpayers. Our government's record proves it.

Ontario universities helped us meet the financial realities of the last recession while creating excellence and increasing capacity. They did it by facing the challenges head on and working with the government to lever public and private investment.

Students shared in the challenge. While tuition costs rose, so did student aid and bursaries. Ontario currently has the highest university enrolment in Canada.

Given the reality of a deficit that is more than double the previous record, there is little doubt that Ontario's public institutions are in for another round of belt-tightening. There is no surprise here; the massive restructuring that has hit every industry in Ontario has challenged all organizations to do more with less. No law of nature exempts public institutions from change.

Part of the leadership challenge is in recognizing that no public institution, be it a university, college or hospital, is an island. The province has to operate on a sound financial foundation in order to offer the basket of public goods needed by the taxpayer. Meeting the fiscal realities head on is not only the best way to prosperity, it's the responsibility of public sector leaders.

Not everyone gets the challenge. In a recent Toronto Star article, dean Roger Martin of the Rotman School of Management, notes that Ontario ranks 10th in per-capita university funding. But Ontario universities hold 10 of the top 25 rankings of Canadian universities. Two Ontario universities are ranked in the top 100 universities in the world.

Ontario students have access to world-class university programs at a cost that represents a real value to the student and the taxpayer.

One lesson from history is crystal clear: The longer we delay, the more we obfuscate, the more we fix the blame instead of the problem – the deeper the pain in finding solutions.
Sigh... did I mention I miss the guy?


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Liberal Senator lies in her complaints about CTV

When you're an "Honourable Senator" who's accusing CTV reporter Robert Fife of getting his facts wrong and showing bias, you'd think it would be important not to lie.

Apparently, Liberal Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette disagrees... because she's repeated several bold faced lies on her blog regarding her complaint to the Canadian Association of Broadcasters and the Radio Television News Directors Association of Canada.

Read her own words from her blog for yourself...
"We are dealing with a Conservative government that manipulates the Canadian public by putting its party's logo on government cheques, models the symbols used by our Olympic athletes on its own logo, sweeps reports on torture in Afghanistan under the carpet and conducts misleading advertising campaigns... and CTV is paid to broadcast these schemes"
Really, Senator Hervieux-Payette? Let's go over the facts...

Blatant Lie #1 - Ms. Hervieux-Payette should know full well that it was TWO CPC MP's who put Party logos on "government cheques", not the Conservative government.

Blatant Lie #2 - The Hon. Senator should know full well that the Conservative government had nothing to do with the Olympic logo. From the Ottawa Citizen: Canadian Olympic Committee spokeswoman Isabelle Hodge said no government officials were involved with the logo's design. "None whatsoever," she said. "There's absolutely no connection whatsoever, with the logo we unveiled and any political logo." Unless, of course, the Hon. Senator is calling the members of the Canadian Olympic Committee liars.

Blatant Lie #3 - That the government has "swept" anything under the rug on the Afghan file. The issues were dealt with when they came to light... full stop. The Senator should talk to General Rick Hillier on this one. (and don't bother with the talking points on this one Liberals... I won't post comments on this non-issue. That being said, legit and substantive contributions on this issue will be considered for posting)

Blatant Lie #4 - That the government is conducting a "misleading advertising campaign". It's the government's JOB to make sure Canadians are informed about government programs... I seem to recall various Liberal launched ads about various programs during their tenure at the helm, ads which grated on me because they were directly linked to clearly partisan "programs". Besides... when Liberal MP's aren't doing their jobs, deliberately not telling their constituents about various government programs, the government has to find a way to make up the slack. (oh yes, Liberal MP's, we noticed this one... and yes, it WILL come back to haunt you)

Based on the blatantly partisan contents of her own letter, her complaint should be thrown right out the window. I guess it shows how desperate the Liberals are... they're having to make it up as they go along.

Here's the question though... did she write her complaint on the taxpayer's dime? Considering the fact that it's on her official Senatorial letterhead, I'd say that's a yes.

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The word for today is... DIONIAN!

DIONIAN: The act of falling below what was once thought the absolute rock bottom for Liberal Party support.

Funny lines from today's Winnipeg Free Press:
Ignatieff, on the other hand, leads a Liberal party that has retreated to Dionian levels of popularity. It must be a shock to have the same performance rating as man universally associated with political failure. (In fact, if you look in the dictionary under "political failure" you will find a picture of Dion. Unfortunately, the photo is so out of focus it's hard to tell who it is, so you'll have to take my word for it.)

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Memo to Liberals: Of COURSE more money went to our ridings

Since a majority of [FEDERAL] Liberal Party members seem to be pretty much clueless on the basic concepts regarding Infrastructure spending, as proven by a comment here on this blog this morning, I thought I'd repost my reply to his comment here in it's own post, in an effort to educate the brainless folks on the other side of the aisle...
Young Liberal said: "The analysis done by the Liberals and the Globe and Mail does focus on the RInC, granted.

Yet, the CBC has done analysis on the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund which proves similar conclusions. Conservative ridings got 60 percent of all the funds.

It gets more difficult to explain away two instances of this, doesn't it?
And now, my response:

If only that were true, YL... of course, you Young Liberals never bother to let facts get in the way of a good spin job, now do you?

Ontario has 106 ridings, and we won nearly half of them with 51. Since most of your ridings are clumped together in places like Toronto, your ridings ARE REALLY SMALL compared to ours. As such, there's less area, and therefore FEWER PROJECTS TO FUND. Add to that the fact that most of the projects that we are funding generally affect two or three OR MORE Toronto ridings, YET ARE ONLY CLAIMED AS FUNDING FOR A SINGLE RIDING, it stands to reason that the per riding spending average would end up falling somewhat.

Conversely, with our ridings generally being larger, there is more surface area, including more communities, and therefore have MORE infrastructure projects to fund.

Take water for example: In Toronto, one large pumping station can handle three or four ridings. However, in our ridings, there are potentially DOZENS of small water stations, all of which may require upgrades. As such, OF COURSE there's going to have to be more dollars spent in our riding, BECAUSE THERE ARE MORE PROJECTS.

Add to that roads, sewers, bridges... larger areas mean MORE PROJECTS, WHICH MEANS MORE DOLLARS.

If I'm having to explain these things to you, then it's quite obvious why Canadians have lost faith in your Party... CAUSE YOU DON'T HAVE A CLUE WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT.

UPDATE: I guess I need to clarify... it's seems that FEDERAL Liberals are the ones I'm talking about who just don't seem to get it... their Provincial counterparts in Queen's Park, who had a SIGNIFICANT say in where the money went, get it.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

George Smitherman refutes Liberal MP accusations, defends Harper Government stimulus spending

What's this? A key player in the Ontario Liberal government publicly disagreeing with the Federal Liberal Opposition's view on the allocation of the stimulus spending?
Toronto MP Claims Harper Government Favours Tory Ridings, Smitherman Disagrees
2009/10/22 | Staff

“The [federal Liberals] draw conclusions based on the analysis that they’ve done,” deputy premier George Smitherman countered Thursday outside Queen’s Park.

But, he continued, they only looked at the Recreational Infrastructure Canada (Rinc) program. While that would indicate that Conservative ridings received more cash than Liberal holdings, it doesn’t tell the whole story.

The Rinc program was open to not-for-profits and municipalities, he explained.

“So the fact that there are 450 municipalities, many of them small, meant that there were more requests in the mix for smaller communities.

“I think that’s why you see it’s a little more distributed towards rural Ontario and by coincidence, that happens to be where Conservatives represent the ridings."

Toronto scored big when other initiatives were considered, Smitherman argued.
It gets even better though... the MP Smitherman is refuting? Why, it's his old Queen's Park colleuge, Liberal MP Gerard Kennedy. And even better yet when you consider that Smitherman is in fact DEFENDING his old Queen's Park RIVAL, Conservative MP Tony Clement.

What's this world coming to? McGuinty Liberals publicly refuting the claims of Iffy Liberals... stay tuned for the world ending black hole to open up somewhere over Stornoway.

UPDATE: Grrr... Taylor beats me to it again. How does he do it? ;-)

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Iffy blames Chretien for Maher Arar Affair

This oughta put all the Chretien era folks even more firmly in Bob's corner... Iggy inadvertantly blames Jean Chretien for the whole Arar torture issue in talking to Britain's "The Observer".

Ignatieff gets his facts wrong in Arar case
October 22, 2009
Tonda MacCharles

OTTAWA – Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has told a British newspaper that Canada dispatched Maher Arar to Syria to be tortured.

Ignatieff made the erroneous statement in an interview published in September in The Observer while clarifying his stand against torture. He has had to defend himself against persistent accusations, often made by Conservative opponents, that he supports "torture-lite" based on his previous writings on the subject.

"Canada sent Maher Arar (a Canadian engineer) to Syria, and a court found that he had been subjected to extraordinary rendition, that his claims (of torture) were true and that he had delivered no intelligence to anybody. It was a disgrace. So, we don't do it. Ever. Period. Off the table. We don't get other people to do our dirty work for us, and we don't do dirty work ever."

Arar was sent to Syria by the United States in late 2002 after he was detained while in transit to Canada through JFK Airport in New York.

Contrary to what Ignatieff said, no court has made findings of fact in Arar's case.

A Canadian commission of inquiry – not a court – that heard some evidence in secret concluded the American authorities deported Arar under the Bush administration's extraordinary rendition program, first to Jordan and then on to Damascus, where he was jailed without charges for more than a year by Syrian military intelligence.

The former Liberal government (led by Prime Minister Jean Chretien, if I recall... maybe Iffy just didn't know that bit of our history, I mean, he WAS out of the country and all...) in Ottawa consistently denied it ever played a role in Arar's rendition, and the inquiry concluded Canadian officials were not directly complicit in the affair.

Arar, a Syrian-Canadian computer software consultant, said he was tortured during the first two weeks in Syria, and for most of the rest of the year he was jailed in inhumane conditions in a small, dirty cell he labelled "the grave."

The American and Syrian governments refused to participate in the inquiry led by Justice Dennis O'Connor, and Arar did not testify.

Nevertheless, O'Connor concluded in September 2006 the Americans "very likely" deported Arar on the basis of erroneous information the RCMP provided that he was a suspect with terrorist links.

The government, under Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, apologized to Arar for the role its agents played and settled a lawsuit out of court for $10.5 million.

Arar is still attempting to sue American authorities over his ordeal.

The Star requested an interview to discuss Ignatieff's statement, but his spokeswoman, Jill Fairbrother, declined the request.

"It's clear and I don't think he'll have much to add if the subject is torture."

When told that Ignatieff was wrong and asked if she could verify the quote, Fairbrother said she no longer had a tape recording of the interview.

Ignatieff returned to Canada from the U.S. in 2005 to run as an MP. He was elected as an MP in January 2006, and was in Canada when the O'Connor inquiry reported.

UBC law professor Michael Byers said while public figures sometimes make mistakes, Ignatieff's statement was related to his own position on torture, "a matter on which he wrote extensively while a Harvard professor, with those writings having since been subject to intense scrutiny."

"For him to get the facts wrong on the highest profile case of torture involving a Canadian citizen is deeply worrying.

"It suggests a certain lack of attention to detail, and perhaps even concern, on a matter that was engaging the Canadian public, a commission of inquiry, and courts in both Canada and the United States at the very same time that he was expressing opinions on torture in The New York Times."

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Met Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer today

Ran into him in the bathroom, of all places, during the break at the Toronto Windows 7 launch. Told him how much I like 7, he laughed.

Sent from my Blackberry

UPDATE: LOL... Another Microsoft dude just tossed me a 16GB flash drive when he was done with it after his presentation! Today's turning out to be a pretty good day!

Breakfast with a billionaire

It's not everyday that you get to do something like this... at the Toronto launch for Microsoft Windows 7, with a front row seat, with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Net worth, $11 billion dollars.

Yea, I'm having fun... let's see if I can get a photo!

Sent from my Blackberry

Monday, October 19, 2009

So the Liberals still want to talk cheques?

I find it interesting that the Liberals keep wanting to talk about this cheque "scandal". Okay guys... LET'S TALK CHEQUES...

Thing is, I don't seem to recall ever seeing them holding a public cheque presentation ceremony with this one...

UPDATE: Just so there's no confusion, and to ensure the Libs don't try and sue me or something... it's called "Photoshop" folks!

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

YCF efforts ramping up again

Thought we'd heard the last of this... oh well. The YCF is attempting to branch out again, forming an "informal association" of Conservative youth. This time they're targeting individual EDA's, who's leadership might not be as informed about the goals and aims of the YCF's leadership... namely Immanuel. In my opinion, it's just his way of trying to make himself a player, which he's not. (he's actually disliked by many "youth", in part because of some of his antics at the Winnipeg Convention, and in part because many people see his efforts as a veiled attempt to lay the foundation for a "Youth Wing" vote at a future Convention)

And just for the record, so people don't get the impression that I'm just attacking him... he and I have exchanged several messages in the past few months, and during those conversations I advised him on how he could move forward with his ideas, while at the same time ensuring that his efforts weren't construed as an attempt to bring in a "Youth Wing" through the back door. I also clearly advised him that I'd oppose any efforts to continue his campaign in it's current form. Needless to say, he didn't heed my advice. This post is my re-entry into the counter-campaign.

This is the e-mail is currently circulating the around various EDA's. I'd advise all CPC members to ensure that your EDA's Board is warned to ignore it accordingly. I'll definitely be warning all my local boards.
Good day "x",

My name is Immanuel Giulea and I am a young conservative activist from Brossard, QC.

I am writing to you today on behalf of the Young Conservative Forum (YCF). The group was started nearly eight months ago under my leadership. My initiative had the objective to give a voice to young conservatives at the national level. [AH, YOU MEAN LIKE A YOUTH WING?]

The purpose of this letter is to introduce the organization and to explore opportunities for cooperation between your EDA and the Young Conservative Forum.

Today, the YCF has over 500 members on its Facebook group, and with over a dozen MPs, MPPs and other important supporters who are influential conservatives. The YCF aims to fill a void: whereas all provincial conservative like-minded parties have a youth association that allows young people to network, the territories and federal levels do not. [BECAUSE WE CLEARLY SAID WE DON'T WANT OR NEED A YOUTH WING IMMANUEL... YOUTH WINGS ARE JUST SANDBOXES TO KEEP THE KIDS AWAY FROM THE GROWN-UPS TABLE!!!] The current CPC Energy program is only present in about 40 campuses, many of which are not very active, and outside of the campus clubs, no events are organized. This means that over 500 campuses across the country are not represented.

The YCF is built around the concept of a grassroots organization with a bottom-up approach that will empower young conservatives. We are an informal association for young conservatives, not a youth wing. [YEA, RIGHT... SORRY, MOST OF US JUST DON'T BELIEVE YOU WHEN YOU SAY THAT] The mission of the YCF can be defined as to “provide networking, training, political experience, and discussion opportunities for young Canadians interested in advancing the ideals of individual liberty, limited government and free enterprise in Canada”.

More precisely, the YCF has five primary objectives:

- Connect young Canadians aged 30 and under, regardless of their political background (fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, progressive conservatives, small-c conservatives, green conservatives, libertarians, classic liberals and republicans) who want to engage and meet with other like-minded young Canadians.

- Foster involvement of the next generation of conservatives by assisting and facilitating Party/EDA/Campus events;

- Attract and educate young Canadians about conservatism. Train and mobilize those interested in gaining political experience;

- Raise awareness of conservative principles. Counter the left-wing bias on campuses and in the mainstream media by promoting discussions and debate amongst young conservative activists;

- Portray a positive image of the conservative brand:
- friendly of entrepreneurs/businesses, local artists, amateur athletes;
- promote environmental stewardship;
- promote foreign policy based on the belief that Canada has an active role to play in international relations;
- individual liberties and personal responsibilities belong in the hands of individuals, not those of the state.

In closing, we would like to emphasize that the YCF would like to become a partner with the EDA in their role “to encourage the participation and recruitment of youth”. We therefore respectfully ask if your EDA Board would consider and be willing to support the initiatives of the YCF. If you have EDA members under the age of 30 who would like to get more involved in the political process, could you please refer them to the Young Conservative Forum.

[AND CHECK THIS LITTLE BIT OUT...] The YCF is not an affiliated organization of the Conservative Party of Canada because the constitution does not allow for a youth organization, and creating one would require a constitutional amendment. [OH, SO YOU'D SUPPORT THE FORMATION OF A YOUTH WING IF THE CONSTITUTION ALLOWED IT? YEA, I THOUGHT SO...] We do not seek to have such an amendment made.

There are currently two events planned that fit our mission.

- The first one is a panel discussion about the “Future of conservatism in Canada”, this event takes place at Café République in Montreal (1200 Peel St). Similar events will take place in Calgary and Toronto in early 2010, and others will follow in the spring. These events fall under the objective to “raise awareness about conservative principles”.

- The second event hosts Satya Das, awarding-winning journalist and author of “Green Oil” which discusses how the oil sands can become the foundation of a green economy in Canada. This event falls under the objective to “Portray a positive image of the conservative brand”, specifically “promote environmental stewardship”.

If you would like to attend either of these events, please visit or send an email to

I once again wish to thank you for your time and consideration,

Immanuel Giulea
Founder and Contact for Quebec
I'll say it again... NO YOUTH WING. So long as this idea stays in it's little sandbox, it's fine, but I still think it's an undercover effort to lay the foundation for a youth wing.

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Are they Tory "scandals", or are they Liberal "strategic errors"?

UPDATE: Check the bottom of this post for the update... part of my prediction has already come true! We can all thank Steve Valeriote of Far & Wide who's gone and put our Rt. Hon. PM (that's "Piano Man") back on the front page of National Newswatch! [END UPDATE]

Been vagely following these "scandals" as the Liberals call them, and I'm pretty uninterested to be honest. But the more the Liberals try to bring these issues up, the more I think the Liberals are making a serious strategic error.

First of all, let me go on record about the novelty cheques... party logo bad, but an MP's signature is just fine by me. He or she is the representative of the riding, and should be able to take a measure of credit for the Budget from which this cash has come. For all I care, if a Liberal MP voted in favour of the Budget, which they all did, they can go and hold their own cheque presentations with their signature in their own ridings. (Oops, wait a sec... they voted against the Ways & Means motion, so I guess they can't. You see, first they were all for it, but then they were against it... most of us just call that a "Flip Flop")

Anyway, the Liberals are doing their best to keep the cheques in the media spotlight. One BIG problem for them, however... all of a sudden, all that media attention we were TRYING to get with those cheque ceremonies, most of which the local media outlets never covered? Well guess what... they're all getting a TON of coverage now!

Think about it... every local media outlet is scouring their photos for cheque presentations in their ridings, and running them on their front pages. That's what you call "Earned Media". Yes, the current spin is "Tory cheques are partisan", when when the volume fades, what's going to remain in voters minds? There's an old saying... "A picture is worth a thousand words".

Two weeks from now, people won't be remembering this so-called "scandal"... what they'll remember is, "TORY MP'S DELIVERED THE CHEQUES". Thank you once again, my dear Liberal Party of Canada... thanks for all the coverage we couldn't get before!

Then I notice today that Steve Valeriote over at Far & Wide has discovered another "scandal"... turns out there's a link on Canada's Economic Action Plan website, up top, that links to the PM's YouTube page. You see, the links at the top, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, they all link to the Prime Minister's social media sites. I mean, he IS the Prime Minister and all, and this Canada's Economic Action Plan is, you know, a major initive of his, so you'd think there'd be no issue with having links about the PM on the site. Anyway, the video currently on display on the YouTube page is of The Right Honourable Piano Man himself!

Hey Steve... thanks for keeping the piano video alive for another news cycle or two!

Seriously... I'm thinking all this media attention that the Liberals are trying to generate is going to do nothing but backfire on them. Yes, they may have some minor impact in the short term, but there's a real likelyhood that they're only going to HELP us in the long term, as the photos and videos that they're pointing to have greater staying power than the accusations themselves do.

Words are often forgotten... images last. And with all the Liberal screaming this past week, they've done nothing but remind Canadians of positive things that Mr. Harper and the Conservatives have done.

Thanks guys! Anyone think we can break 42%, or that they'll drop below 25%?

UPDATE: Excuse me for a sec... BAAA HAA HAA!!! Way to go Steve V!!! You just got Stephen "The Piano Man" Harper back on top on National Newswatch! Like I said... today's spin is one thing, but the image that's gonna remain in people's minds? That's right, it'll be Harper on the piano!!! LOL!!!

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Fox News just went up in my books

You know you must be doing something right when the furthest left-leaning occupant of the White House in 29 years is snubbing you.

Rock on Fox... rock on.

h/t Dr. Roy

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

New Liberal motivational poster

Dropbox - Sweet online storage app!

Best new online storage program BY FAR... Dropbox!

I've been looking at various "cloud computing" online storage options lately, from SkyDrive, to a GMail hack that lets you store files in your GMail, and various other things of that nature. Haven't been too impressed by any of them thus far. SkyDrive is okay, but I want the ability to have it linked to a folder on my PC, or a mapped network drive like I can with the GMail hack, so that I can share files easily betwen my various PC's, laptops, and independent of the OS I'm running, as some are XP, some are Windows 7, and others are Ubuntu 9.04 or the 9.04 NBR.

Anyway, a buddy of mine MSNed me today with Dropbox, and I think I'm in love. It just WORKS, and works the way I want it to. I can have multiple folders, syncronization takes place online in the background, and if the sync gets interrupted (say you shut down before it's complete) it'll just pick up where it dropped of next time you're online.

You can also share files easily. Upload a file to the "Public" folder, and then right click on it, go to the Dropbox submenu, and then click the "Copy Public Link" option. Paste the link into an e-mail, or on your website, and bingo, you're done!

They'll give you up to 2GB's for FREE (another requirement for me), and if you refer people and they sign up, they'll give you another 250MB per signup, growing your storage up to 3GB!

It also kicks SkyDrive in one major area... THERE'S NO LIMIT TO THE FILE SIZES! My friend here in Canada was able to share a 1GB file with a customer in Spain without any problems! This app has already helped me solve several problems that I've been having with the other free filesharing options available.

Check it out, and get signed up!

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Harper the Piano Man tops 500,000 views

Well what do you know? Over the Thanksgiving weekend, it looks like a whole lot of Tories did indeed show off our very talented Prime Minister to their family and friends... the number of hits on the video currently stands at 509,936.

Once more, for posterity...

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Liberals were warned, and now get burned

What's this? Garth Turner being a royal pain, again? Garth TurnCOAT has quit the Liberal Party of Canada.

I guess they didn't clue in when most of us were GLEEFUL when he joined up with them.

Okay, now for my "offical" reaction...

BWAAAA HAA HAA HAA!!! [gasp for breath] HAA HAA HAA HAA, BWAAAAA HA HA HA!!! [wipe tears from eyes, attempt to regain composure... FAIL] HAAA HAAA HAAA HAAA HAAA HAAA HAAA, HAAAAAAAAAA!!!!

Okay... I think I'm done... but this smile is gonna be pretty hard to wipe of my face today...

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Hey bird brain, you have a death wish?

So I'm getting into the car today to head off to chapel, and what do I see? A wild turkey running down the road... On Thanksgiving!

My wife goes, "Looks like someone ordered a fresh one!". Either that, or dinner got away...

Sent from my Blackberry

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Friday, October 09, 2009

Ignatieff: "I can do better"

Oh my... he just offers up soundbyte after soundbyte...
"If there are things I need to do better, I am certainly going to be ready to try, because I want to listen to Canadians and improve my performance any way I can."

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And the Nobel Prize for Best Speech Delivery goes to...

Barack H. Obama!!! That's right... Now all you need to do to win the Nobel Peace Prize is to deliver a few good speeches!

My response... ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!?!?!? The guy hasn't even been in office long enough to effectively implement ANYTHING that could have made the world a more 'peaceful' place. Maybe in two years when we see the effect of his policies, but certainly not so soon into his term.

When Pearson won it, it meant something. Now, IT'S A WORTHLESS TOKEN, as we've seen today.

Sent from my Blackberry

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Iffy: "I will mess with you UNTIL I'M DONE"

LOL... hilarious quote from an Anonymous commenter today: "One can only wonder if Iggy is done "messing" with Harper yet."

Which got me to thinking... did Iggy realize the irony and hilarity of his comment, in the context of today's polling numbers?

Iggy's "tough guy" quote:
"If you mess with me, I will mess with you UNTIL I'M DONE"


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MSM "IFFY" Watch Continues, and the impending fallout of the PM's "Piano Man" video

Sorry Libs, looks like "IFFY" is gonna stick... Greg Weston quotes it today in his article entitled "Growing iffy on Iggy". (h/t Dr. Roy) The entire article is posted below the video.

With his poll numbers continuing to fall, one would think that things couldn't get any worse for Mr. Ignatieff. I beg to differ, thanks to the timing of our Prime Minister's little ditty with Yo Yo Ma last weekend. Anyone remember what's coming up this weekend? That's right, it's Thanksgiving... a time when extended families tend to get together. And what do you think tens of thousands of Conservative supporters will be doing this weekend when talk turns to politics? Why, they're going to fire up the nearest computer, and make sure their Liberal voting relatives watch this...

As of 11:00am this morning, this hits were at 434,476. If I'm right, it's gonna top well over 500,000 by the time the Thanksgiving weekend is over. With our messaging on "Iffy" finally taking hold, and this much warmer and easy-going side of the PM on display, there's almost no doubt in my mind that the poll gap is going to widen even further.

Here's Greg's article... enjoy.
Growing iffy on Iggy
What's happened to the would-be messiah of Gritdom?
Last Updated: 8th October 2009, 3:18am

While ordinary folk grateful for their health and harvest are digging into their Thanksgiving turkey this weekend, Michael Ignatieff would surely give thanks for just one day without someone sticking a fork in his leadership.

Pummelled in the parliamentary sandbox, pilloried by the punditocracy, knifed by his own party, the Liberal leader at least has the good humour left to call it a bad week.

It wasn't supposed to be this way.

Nine months ago, the Liberal party swapped one professor for another with high hopes Ignatieff would lead the Grits out of the opposition wilderness and back into the promised land of power.

Today, Iggy the would-be messiah of Gritdom has been mockingly recast as Count Iffy, while his party is awash in negative headlines of disarray, dismay and declining public opinion.

If an election were held today, recent public opinion polls show Stephen Harper and the Conservatives would have a good chance of forming a majority government.

All of which has the nattering classes and a lot of Liberals asking one obvious question. What the heck happened to Iggy? The answer may well be more in the expectations of his leadership than in the results to date.

Ignatieff first stepped on to the Canadian political stage in 2003 when he wowed Liberals with a powerful and eloquent speech at the party's coronation of Paul Martin.

Ignatieff's strong performance, coupled with his good looks, pedigree and international star quality, instantly put him on everyone's list of possible future leaders.

But leading a diverse and forever unpredictable political party full of competing agendas and big egos takes a lot more than compelling oratory -- just ask Barack Obama.

At the time a small group of Liberals lured Ignatieff back to Canada to run for his Toronto seat, he had spent most of his adult life in mainly solitary pursuits in journalism and academia, rarely having to manage anything larger than a lecture hall.

Bottom line: Any leadership qualities Ignatieff had entering politics were mainly untested.

Sound-bite politics

One thing that should surprise no one is that Canada's distinguished thinker-writer hasn't yet made the transition from a world of intellectual debate to the petty zoo of sound-bite politics.

Even now, Iggy's rhetoric often appears forced, his emotion insincere, key speeches sounding as though they were written more for his former doctoral students than ordinary working Canadians.

Of course, no political leader is perfect, and the most successful ones have successfully compensated for their weaknesses by surrounding themselves with the strongest advisers they can find.

So far, Ignatieff has erred on the side of loyalty over experience and ability, surrounding himself with sycophants unable or unwilling to tell the leader what he needs to hear.

Perhaps what Michael Ignatieff lacks most is time.

In total, Ignatieff has been in politics three years, only nine months of that as leader.

It is true that when Harper entered politics, he had no more relevant experience than Ignatieff.

But what most people forget is Harper had eight years in Parliament, four of them as a party leader, before he won the keys to 24 Sussex.

Finally, for those who are writing off Iggy as a lost cause, it should be noted that most of the time Harper was leader of the Opposition, he was pronounced politically dead at least twice a year.

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With the most recent EKOS numbers having been released by the CBC this morning (hardly a bastion of Tory support), one thing should be kept in mind... IFFY IS NOW POLLING BELOW DION's 2008 NUMBERS.

That's right folks... Ignatieff is polling BELOW the numbers that Dion ended up with in the 2008 election... the election that Liberals consider to be their worst result EVER.

I guess the question isn't "How low can he go?" anymore... it's "How long can he hang on?"

And just in case and Liberals don't fully understand the ramifications of what's going on here... we just pulled ahead of you (or at least tied with the MOE) in QUEBEC, 22.2% vs. 21.0%.

What's really fun though is reading ITQ's take on the situation. She's a funny gal you know.

My prediction? If there are gonna be floor crossers jumping ship, it's gonna be soon.

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Iffy seeking to explore new depths in polling numbers

From the "You've got to be kidding me" file... Ignatieff is set to begin openly discussing tax hikes in an "adult conversation" with Canadians.

Yea, it'll be an "adult conversation", with most Canadian adults saying things along the lines of, "TAX HIKES?!?!?! Are you freaking kidding me? Okay, so how do we get rid of this moron once and for all?"

Of course, his "adult conversation" on spending cuts might be worthwhile, so we'll have to give it a listen. I think most Canadians would agree that the Government spends too much money. Hey, here's an idea that'll save us MILLIONS right off the bat... what about those political subsidies Mr. Ignatieff? I'm sure that between your Liberals and the Conservatives, you'd have enough votes to get that done IMMEDIATELY! Hey, when you've got a great idea all ready to go, what's the sense in holding off?

Seriously, I'm just shaking my head as I watch the Liberals these days. I mean, as much as I LOVE watching the Liberals polling numbers plummet, I'm just utterly shocked that Mr. Ignatieff would be willing to openly muse about raising taxes... something we've been saying all along that he would do if he got elected.

With all the bad news for them coming out of Ottawa, you'd think that for the Liberals right now, job NUMBER ONE would be to stem the blood-letting, and seek to regain their footing in the polls. But instead, they've chosen to open a can of worms that Canadians really DON'T want opened. Who knows... this might just be enough to push those wavering Liberal MP's across the floor.

I mean, sure it's gutsy move alright, being willing to take on such a serious of issues... but it's downright suicidal, electorally speaking. Remember today's Gazette headline? "Harper tickles while Ignatieff burns".

I just honestly didn't expect to see Ignatieff trying to douse the flames with kerosene.

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"Harper tickles while Ignatieff burns"

LOL... gotta love that headline in today's Gazette:
Harper tickles while Ignatieff burns
While Liberal leader does damage control, PM sounds a different chord
By L. IAN MACDONALD, The Gazette
October 6, 2009

The reversal of their political fortunes could not have been more dramatically contrasted by the events Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff participated in last weekend.

While Harper tickled the ivories at the National Arts Centre, with a little help from his friends likeYo Yo Ma, Ignatieff was in Quebec City in desperate damage-control mode over a unity crisis resulting from his own inept leadership of the Liberal Party.

Only six months ago, Ignatieff was very much a prime minister-in-waiting, and Harper was in disfavour across the land, nowhere more so than in Quebec.

But it turns out that while Harper seemed to be in the process of defeating himself, Ignatieff has utterly failed to define himself. What Ignatieff had going for him was mostly that he wasn't Harper. And that wasn't, and isn't, enough.

Since the spring, Ignatieff has done hardly anything right, while Harper hasn't

really put a foot wrong. And it isn't just that he isn't Ignatieff. Since the spring, he seems to have grown into the role, as well as the job, of prime minister.

That's to his credit, as well as to a PM's office that appears to have learned from a series of tactical blunders and is now doing a much better job of running the government from the centre. And then there's Ignatieff's office, the not-ready-for-prime-time players.

Poll numbers from Strategic Counsel in yesterday's Globe and Mail illustrate the depths to which Iggy's standing with the voters has tumbled in the last six months, while Harper's fortunes have revived.

As he was confirmed Liberal leader in May, Ignatieff and the Liberals led Harper and the Tories by five points, 35 to 30 per cent. In the field last weekend, Strategic Counsel had the Conservatives moving out to a 13-point lead, 41 to 28 per cent. That's more than open water between the two boats, that is a couple of boat lengths. (And Strategic Counsel is simply wrong on Quebec, with the Bloc at 40 per cent, the Libs at 33 per cent and the Conservatives at 15 per cent. The authoritative CROP poll last week had the Bloc at 33 per cent, the Liberals at 26 per cent, and the Conservatives becoming competitive again at 21 per cent. And that was before Denis Coderre blew up the façade of Liberal unity, quitting as Quebec lieutenant and blaming it all on the Toronto guys around Ignatieff).

It's no accident that Ignatieff's poll ratings peaked at the Liberal convention, which turned out to be a major missed opportunity on his part - an opportunity to introduce himself to the country, define his vision of it, and tell the voters where he wanted to take it. This was followed by his June swoon, when he made a fool of himself in threatening an election he didn't want, and practically pleaded with Harper to take him off the hook. He then missed an opportunity to regain his footing over the summer by taking most of it off. And in September he crossed a bridge of no return when he said, "Mr. Harper, your time is up," taking the country down a path to an election it didn't want, and for which he alone would be blamed. In the event, Ignatieff has only succeeded in turning the balance of power over to Jack Layton.

Finally, Ignatieff allowed a minor turf battle between Coderre and Martin Cauchon to escalate into a rift that exposes fatal fault lines in the Liberal Party - tearing at the alliance between Ontario and Quebec, as well as English and French-speaking Canadians, that is the very foundation of party unity.

And Ignatieff didn't get by with a little help from his friends. He could have done without Bob Rae, who knows better, undermining his leadership by saying "room must be found for Cauchon." As a Toronto MP, that's none of Rae's business. When he's the leader, he can make that call. Then Coderre deliberately torched Ignatieff's office Sept. 28, blaming the nomination mess on guys from Toronto who couldn't find Quebec with a roadmap. The headline in the Globe and Mail was devastating: "Running Quebec, from Toronto." For good measure, the newspaper threw in pictures of the Toronto Five--the five people closest to Ignatieff in his entourage. It looked like an ad for America's Most Wanted.

Meanwhile, Harper and his office have clearly learned from their mistakes. The Prime Minister's Office, which in April put it out that Brian Mulroney was no longer a member of the party, eagerly joined in the 25th-anniversary celebration of his Conservative government's election in September. The prime minister who was dismissive of "rich galas" by the arts last fall strode onto the stage on the NAC last weekend, looking very relaxed in a black, open-neck shirt. Turns out that not only can he play, he can sing. Who knew?

Instead of laughing when he sat down at the piano, they cheered.
© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

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Don Martin repeats floor crossing rumours

While the PMO has denied that there are any offical talks going on about the supposed three Liberal MP's who are planning to cross the floor (supposedly the musings of an uninformed staffer), the National Post's Don Martin has repeated his assertion that there are at least two Liberal MP's that he's spoken to personally who are thinking about crossing the floor.

From today's Calgary Herald:
The Liberals were preparing to fight an election under the belief that, all policies being roughly equal, their guy would win the popularity contest as a healing unifying force over a polarizing Harper.

Not any more.

A Liberal leader who can't even keep his own party together, whose advisers are internally derided as more incompetent than even former leader Stephane Dion's sorry entourage, can no longer sell himself as a credible alternative to this government.

Delusion, deception or both, the public doesn't care that Harper is cheerleading everything he opposed in earlier political incarnations. They have bought into the new Harper as the real deal.

That leaves Ignatieff shadowboxing against a more formidable opponent who is promoting policies his Liberals endorse, leaving only fine print to distinguish himself during any campaign showdown.

No wonder the two MPs I wrote about last week are musing about crossing the floor to sit as Conservatives. Political survival is the strongest instinct for any MP -- and as Liberals they're heading for the endangered species list.
© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald
So while the Star and the PMO are now seeking to downplay the rumours, they're still floating out there... perhaps it's a case of splitting hairs? Sure, there may be no "official" talks underway... but I'd say time's running out for these MP's. They need to make a clean break now, or in typical Liberal fashion, they'll eventually be smoked out and punished for having talked to Don Martin. Warren's propably sniffing things out as we speak.

Red Rover, Red Rover, we call the Member from ...... over!

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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Health Minister Caplin RESIGNS

Ontario Health Minister David Caplin has resigned over the impending eHealth scandal at Queen's Park.
Health Minister quits before eHealth report: CP

Updated: Tue Oct. 06 2009 6:08:30 PM

The Canadian Press

TORONTO — Ontario's health minister bowed to months of opposition pressure and tendered his resignation Tuesday on the eve of a report into how the province spent $1 billion over 10 years to create electronic health records and handed out millions in untendered contracts, The Canadian Press has learned.

Sources told the news agency David Caplan notified Premier Dalton McGuinty that he would step down in advance of the auditor general's special report into eHealth Ontario.

Liberal government sources refused to confirm Caplan's resignation. A spokesman for McGuinty said only that the premier would respond to the auditor's report at a news conference Wednesday that was originally scheduled to be Caplan's event.

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Harper tops YouTube ratings

Oh this just gets better and better... while Liberals quietly sulk in the corner, The Right Honourable Stephen Harper is racking up the hits on YouTube... with no less than FIVE seperate videos showing up in the Top 10 in the News & Politics section, and is listed at 13th Most Popular and Most Viewed overall on Just for the record... that's DOWN seven spots since earlier today, when it was as high as NUMBER 5!
Most recent hit count on the clip below, as of 4:00PM?


Give it a click... send it even higher. ;-)


Tories 41%, Liberals 28%

It stands to reason that when you're seeing number like this, you start to hear stories like this.

Please may it NOT be Ruby...

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Monday, October 05, 2009

Anyone remember what happens tomorrow?

Another seat in the Senate becomes vacant, which will bring the standings to 47 vs. 52.

Any suggestions on names of who the next Senator from Newfoundland and Labrador will be?


Root cause of Ruby's "Nannygate" problems?

The Hill Times released their 17th Annual Sexy Savvy, Best Dressed Survey. The survey deals with a wide range of issues on who's best and worst in various catagories, so I was giving it a read today. About two thirds into it, I came across a really interesting little nugget... perhaps it helps explain for us the ultimate roots of Liberal MP Ruby Dhalla's "Nannygate" problems?

From the survey:

Q: Who is the BIGGEST SCROOGE to work for on the Hill?

A: 1. Lib MP Ruby Dhalla 15%

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Saturday, October 03, 2009


Our very own Right Honourable Prime Minister Stephen Harper, tickling the ivories on stage with Yo Yo Ma, at the National Arts Centre Gala tonight! Standing ovation... even praise from Opposition members who were in attendance!

Harper tickles the keys
Saturday, October 3, 2009 08:10 PM
Jane Taber

The usually gala-shy Prime Minister Stephen Harper surprised and wowed party-goers at the National Arts Centre Saturday night by taking the stage, playing piano and singing The Beatles hit, With A Little Help From My Friends. He was accompanied by renowned cellist Yo Yo Ma. A Beatles fan, his singling voice was strong. Dressed casually in a dark blazer and dark shirt, he kept the tune but couldn't hit the high notes. He left those to the band that was also playing along with him. The Prime Minister received a standing ovation.

Last year at this time, Mr. Harper pooh-poohed galas, saying they were for the elites. Tonight was a totally different story. The NAC gala, which Laureen Harper chairs, helps raise money for youth and the arts. Can an election be far off?
Good move, making amends with the Arts community, and getting a whole whack of good press out of it. Soften the image, this video is SOOO going viral...

Lead story on CBC News, front page on CTV News,, etc...

I'm thinking there's going to be a lot of Liberals looking even more glum on the Hill on Monday.

UPDATE: CTV's got the whole thing here.

UPDATE II: Well, not so much an update, but I'm just wondering what Warren Kinsella is gonna say about this. You see, in years past, he'd have posted it himself, and given Harper credit for a stunt like this... making some kind of comment along the lines of "This is why he's going to be Prime Minister for a LOOOONG time"... funny, I seem to recall a post like that once upon a time, something about a kid grabbing his nose?

Hey Warren... I know you've got alerts set for your name, just wanted to say hello, and that we miss you man! As soon as you guys toss that Iggy overboard, can we have the old funny Warren back? ;-)


Friday, October 02, 2009

Could Coderre cross the floor?

You're thinking I mean to the Conservatives, right? Think again. With Coderre possibly on the outs with the Liberal Party this weekend, what if another former prominent Quebec Liberal is able to entice him to make the same switch he did not too long ago... into the open arms of Jack Layton's NDP?

A well connected organizer like Coderre would give Jack that extra credibility he needs in La Belle Province to snag a few more left-leaning seats... and would solidify Mulclair's status as the NDP's next "Leader-in-waiting".

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On the verge of changing the game

A really interesting article by Michael Bliss in today's Globe & Mail... and a good summary of what I've been trying to tell the nervous nellies for years now.

Rather than trying to ram "conservative" ideology through an unstable House, and upon Canadians who aren't ready to trust us yet, the correct strategy is to build our brand such that Canadians are willing to give us the reigns of power not just for a couple of years, but for generations to come. What's better, two years of trying and failing to get our agenda passed in a minority, or ten years of solid governance in which we can steer the country back onto the right track?

Personally, I vote for the long incrementalist game...
Has Harper found his tipping point?
In a historic shift, the Tories have seized the centre and are set to become the natural governing party
Michael Bliss
From Friday's Globe and Mail
Friday, Oct. 02, 2009 08:49AM EDT

In this autumn of our usual discontent with politics and politicians, we do not seem to be noticing that the balance between Canada's major parties is at or very near a historic tipping point. Stephen Harper's Conservatives have seized the central ground of the political spectrum and are poised to become the country's natural governing party. The Liberal Party is floundering in uncertainty and disunity, unsure of what it stands for and badly led. We appear to be on the verge of the great historic shift in party fortunes that Conservatives have hoped for, but have regularly failed to achieve, for more than a century.

It's a truism that Prime Minister Harper has abandoned his Reform Party dogmatism and is trying to govern Canada from the centre. In one area after another – stimulus spending, foreign policy, support for the arts, economic development, co-operative federalism, as well as naked pork-barrelling and shameless self-promotion, the Conservatives are implementing policies that might have been drawn from the Jean Chrétien-Paul Martin songbook. Particularly on economic policy and their response to the recession, the Conservatives hold the political centre so thoroughly that Liberals have no idea whether to attack the government from the right (for spending too much) or from the left (for spending too little). The government's policies are broadly acceptable to Canadians, it continues to inch upward in the polls, and it would very likely eke out a majority in a general election today.

The Official Opposition seems to have lost its way. No one has the foggiest idea of what Canada's Liberals stand for, save for a return to Pearsonian diplomacy and Team Canada missions. Having so badly bungled such policy issues as the carbon tax in last year's election, the party is literally afraid to advocate new initiatives. Having committed an act of transcendent political lunacy in agreeing last winter to a coalition with the NDP, with separatist support, the Liberals have left themselves far more vulnerable to the “hidden agenda” card than Mr. Harper's Conservatives have ever been.

Most strikingly, having seen how ill-suited an intellectual/academic, even with significant cabinet experience, can be to the job of political leadership, Liberal grandees then handed the leadership to an intellectual/academic without any cabinet or any other kind of managerial experience. We are seeing the consequences of this in the very negative assessments of Mr. Ignatieff's leadership, by Liberals as well as outsiders, and now in the opening of potentially volcanic fissures in the façade of Liberal unity. Under Mr. Harper, the Conservatives have learned the discipline of power. Under Michael Ignatieff, the Liberals are dissolving into the dreary disorder of the powerless.

Sooner or later, the contempt that many in our chattering classes still seem to feel for the Conservatives in general and Mr. Harper in particular is going to begin to give way to the realization that he is on the verge of becoming the next Mackenzie King. Neither colourful nor lovable, Mr. Harper is emerging as a master strategist. He learns from his mistakes and is growing on Canadians as Prime Minister. King was widely dismissed as an unattractive lightweight in 1921, when he became the leader of a minority government. For the next five years, he held his party and government together, navigated through a series of political crises and, in 1926, emerged with a majority, launching him (still colourless and unloved) as the dominant figure on our political stage for the next quarter of a century. His brilliant, witty, learned opponent, Arthur Meighen, was consigned to the dustbin of history, where he wrote memoirs insisting that he had always been right.

Three previous Conservative prime ministers have failed to achieve the success that is almost in Mr. Harper's grasp. Sir Robert Borden's Conservative government was ground up in the muck of Great War battlefields and conscription. The most charitable interpretations of John Diefenbaker's squandering of his majority involve hard times – a very long recession – and the dilemmas of Cold War politics; another view is that he self-immolated in paranoia and ineptitude. In the late 1980s, Brian Mulroney's attempt to forge a permanent Conservative majority floundered over Meech Lake and Canadians' resentment at transparent pork-barrelling, sleaze and his government's overriding image of phoniness. So far, there is no evidence that Mr. Harper will fall into similar pits – although it would not hurt for Conservatives to remind themselves these days how easily power and spending corrupt.

Perhaps the cruellest problem the Liberals face is the fading of Quebec as the crucial national battleground. Whether or not the Liberals get their Quebec act together, the Conservatives are on the verge of being able to form a majority government even without effective Quebec representation, a prospect that will be more evident in future years after parliamentary redistribution.

The dim prospects for the opposition parties suggest that we will not have an election for at least another year, possibly much longer. Given their weakness, national opinion and the constant readiness of the Conservatives' electoral organization, Mr. Harper's government can get on with the job almost as though it had a majority. Unless something quite unexpected occurs, the Conservatives' virtual majority will become a real one whenever the next election is held and a new template will be in place for the foreseeable political future.

Michael Bliss is a historian and author of Right Honourable Men: The Descent of Canadian Politics from Macdonald to Chrétien.

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Another day, another "IFFY"

Today's "IFFY-watch" is courtesy of the Toronto Sun...that's now three days in a row, and at least three different media outlets, that have picked up on the "IFFY" theme.
Quebec melee makes Iggy look iffy
Last Updated: 2nd October 2009, 4:26am

The first rule in a multi-person brawl is, don't go down. There's something about the sight of a combatant hitting the ground that brings out the worst in humankind.

It's like that in politics, too.

Consider the current plight of Michael Ignatieff, former Harvard professor, television personality, public intellectual and award-winning author.

Before last week's imbroglio with his erstwhile Quebec lieutenant, Denis Coderre, Ignatieff was struggling. But now? The pile-on is unanimous, omnipresent and merciless.

Don Martin in the National Post; Chantal Hebert and James Travers in the Toronto Star. Margaret Wente and Norman Spector in the Globe.

Even the Liberal-leaning Lawrence Martin, Jean Chretien's biographer, has put the boots in. He refers to Ignatieff, not as Iggy, but as "Iffy." A belittling nickname derived from another. Can there be anything worse?

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Thursday, October 01, 2009

"Coderre will pay, Ignatieff says"

Probably not the headline Ignatieff would have picked, but the message is the same...

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Heard today on the CBC Radio News

On the CBC News today, right after playing an audio news clip reporting the fall of Shanghai 60 years ago today, the CBC newsreader had the audacity to say the following...

"60 years ago today, the people of China ADOPTED COMMUNISM."

EXCUSE ME? ADOPTED COMMUNISM? Talk about taxpayer-funded revisionism... The Communists CONQURED China 60 years ago today. The general populous had little say in the matter, my dear CBC.


Sent from my Blackberry



From Don Martin's list of advice in today's Calgary Herald comes this little BOMBSHELL... a "prominent" Liberal MP has admitted that he (or she, who knows!) has at least considered jumping the sinking S.S. Liberal, with Capt. Iffy going down with the ship, and joining the Harper Government.

From Don Martin's article: "This is a very speculative rumble, but at least one prominent MP has quietly mused to me about crossing the floor to join the Conservatives."


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Ouch... Iggy following in Day's footsteps?

This is a pretty spot on, and damaging, article for Michael Ignatieff. Martin isn't comparing his leadership to Dion's... he compares it to Stockwell Day's.

The headline has got to sting too... taking a shot at him with his own slogan.
How Michael Ignatieff can do better
By Don Martin, Calgary Herald
October 1, 2009

When a party leadership begins, in the words of a former top Conservative, "to circle the toilet bowl," it takes aggressive, imaginative moves to reverse the flow and stay above the, um, water.

Welcome to Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff's death-spiralling world, which suddenly seems to be following the script written in 2002 by fledgling Canadian Alliance Leader Stockwell Day as party unity collapsed and disgruntled MPs muttered darkly about a mutiny.

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Looks like "IFFY" is gonna stick

Second time I've seen it run in the MSM this week... another reporter, this time at the Globe & Mail, is reporting that "people" (hint, more than one person he talked to, possibly even Liberals) are referring to Iggy as "IFFY"... and in the HEADLINE, no less. (interesting pic they used in the story too...)
How 'Iffy' and the Liberals dropped the ball
Michael Ignatieff hasn't been able to figure out the kind of leader he wants to be
Lawrence Martin - Thursday, Oct. 01, 2009

For a leadership that looked so promising at the start of the year, how did it come to this?

Michael Ignatieff recently pledged his party to bringing down the government and forcing an election. His party recoils at the thought. Here's Toronto MP Judy Sgro: “Ninety-nine per cent of us don't want an election.”

The Liberal Leader is under the gun for being held captive by a small group of unelected advisers. Members say he hasn't been reaching out. For a case in point, try this: Former Liberal prime minister Jean Chrétien told visitors recently that Prime Minister Stephen Harper calls him for consultation – they talk about foreign affairs – more often than does Mr. Ignatieff, the leader of his own party!

Iffy, as some now call him, has had just one meeting of his shadow cabinet all year, shadow member Gerard Kennedy confirms. Bob Rae, who was his chief rival for the leadership post, is making no secret of his disillusionment with Mr. Ignatieff's performance.

The party rides low in the polls, as do the leader's personal numbers. The Quebec lieutenant resigns. Caucus wants changes to the inner circle, although members backed away from making such a demand at their caucus meeting yesterday. It's not all grim – Mr. Ignatieff's team has put the party on sound financial footing and boosted membership numbers to record heights. But no one disputes the sagging fortunes. The Grit numbers are back where they were in the days of Stéphane Dion.

How did it come to this?

According to insiders and caucus members, there were two major factors.

One was a big assumption that turned out wrong. The initial strategy was predicated on a deep and dark recession that would drag the government down. The Liberals would only have to oppose, not propose. They would reboot organizationally and, with a leader offering much more allure than Mr. Dion, all would be well.

By early summer, the strategy was showing fault lines. The recession, softer than expected, wasn't taking a big bite out of Conservative support. The Grits couldn't win on Mr. Harper's negatives. They needed to retool, but – second big misstep – they failed to do so. Mr. Ignatieff was kept under wraps. Given his Zeus-like scholarly reputation, Canadians expected fresh and exciting ideas. But his inner sanctum, led by Ian Davey, whose ideas cascade from the old-time religion of his famous father Keith, convinced him otherwise. “The Opposition's duty is to oppose,” Mr. Davey has emphatically stated.

The Liberal Leader was turned into the exact type of creature Canadians didn't want – another conventional politician. There had been a mystique about Mr. Ignatieff, but it began to fade. Once a grand communicator, he was reduced to boilerplate.

Don't bring out bold plans, they told him – the Conservatives will either steal them or attack them. Mr. Ignatieff also appointed a 31-year-old bureaucrat, Kevin Chan, as his policy chief. He was smart as a whip but miscast. The job required a veteran heavyweight. He was a kid.

Throughout the summer, the elevator music from the leader's office played on. There was some carping, but Mr. Ignatieff was committed to dancing with the ones who brung him – the Toronto group that had convinced him to leave Harvard and come to Ottawa. It became a replay of what happened to Paul Martin. A palace guard, jealously holding power, cutting off the arteries.

Adviser Paul Zed, not a Toronto club member, wanted Alex Himmelfarb as a new chief of staff. He was Ottawa-savvy, and Mr. Zed was prepared to stay on himself if that happened. But the plan was nixed. Mr. Zed, disillusioned because of this and other things – he had been told not to talk to the media – departed.

At Mr. Ignatieff's daily meetings with a small group of caucus members, dissent was increasingly frowned upon. “If you challenged Iggy's advisers,” said one participant, “you got the leper treatment.” Ken Dryden and Ms. Sgro have just been added to the morning group. It may be a sign of change.

Advisers always get the blame, sometimes unfairly. At the root of the problem is the man at the top. Mr. Ignatieff hasn't been able to figure out the kind of leader he wants to be. Traditional politics, he has discovered, requires intellectual dishonesty. Academics aren't good at that.

But there's the rub. His party members don't want him thinking in terms of traditional politics. They're telling him, correctly, that Canadians tune out that kind of junk. They want him to tune it out as well.

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