Monday, December 31, 2007

A New Year...Let's Make it a Good One!

I want to thank all of you who read and contribute to this humble blog. It's been wonderful to meet most of you (lol) and fascinating to meet all of you in that weird way that we meet on line.

It's been an interesting year, both politically and personally. Highs, lows, rage, compassion, all emotions were evoked. I suspect that for people who are not politically inclined, the year was a yawn. I speak of those who neither follow politics at home nor abroad. Life seemed to go on in Canada and in a way it did, but I believe that many have not realised what is really happening.

That said, my feeling is that 2008 will be an illuminating year. Push will come to shove I think and reality will begin to rear it's head. Whether it's ugly or pretty will of course depend on your perspective.

So, let's look forward to a year of more honesty, more flashlights shining where it's important to look, more objective reporting providing fact rather than partisan fiction.

Am I an optimist? To be sure, but in a world that seems not to concern itself with realism, you only have two other choices don't you?

What story will emerge as the sleeping giant? We shall see and that is for another day.

I wish all of you the very best in 2008. Make it your year to live your dream, however you can make that happen.

See you next year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007


No doubt we've all seen Harper's year end interviews.

That he seemed to be lowering expectations for the economy in 2008 at first struck me as odd. Then I started thinking about it. In the end, I thought that Harper was laying the ground for future sound bites aimed squarely at Dion and the Liberals.

Dion of course has indicated that he wants to reverse the damage that Harper has done to Canada as a whole. That would include re-instating most of what Harper cut and initiating new programs that address environmental issues and other social needs.

My thought was that Harper is intentionally dashing any hope of that, because while the cupboard isn't bare, it's simply not going to be what it was because of what he and Flaherty have done. Rather than own that truth, it's so Haper-like to shift the blame elsewhere. He'll carefully shift the blame to the US and of course he will find a way to suggest how frivolous the Lib's and Dion are re' spending. (Classic GOP vs Dems)

The irony of course is what it always is with the Con's. They proclaim that they are what they are not. Good stewards of the economy/finances, open and transparent, blah, blah, blah. History tells us a different story. Flaherty as the main actor in this "play" provides especially delicious irony. He ruined Ontario and has botched his file in his federal role at every turn.

Harper is setting us up. He's good at that isn't he? He's taking a risk on this one though, imo. First and foremost, he has to dis his buddy Bush. Bush of course will be gone soon, so not much risk there. He may try to take a swipe at the Dem's being at the root of America's ills, but I would hope that the press would laugh out loud at that. So, Harper being who he is, will throw whomever is required under the bus. He speaks often to the entitlement that Lib's feel. Please! No one feels more entitled than Harper both personally and party-wise to win a majority. He believes as do his supporters that they deserve power.

We live in tough times, and Canadians have some tough questions for government. They want clear answers. They are well beyond the glib, glad-handing of the past.

Sounds like Harper right...but it's not. That is Campbell in '93. In fact, if you go back and look at what she said as a PC in '93, you'll see some similarity. Odd that. Why would he pattern himself in that manner? Chretien was out promoting a more hopeful country, stressing what could be done and Campbell was the voice of doom in a sense when contrasted.

Oddly, I read Greg Weston of the Toronto Sun today and in part found him expressing some of my sentiment.

Harper: "By and large, as we face uncertainty, the government will not be undertaking radical or big initiatives in fiscal policy, in either tax reductions or in major long-term expenditures."

Message: There will be no money left in the kitty to pay for any of the Liberals' planned campaign promises to save the environment, eradicate poverty or any other major initiatives. Too bad, so sad, for them.

It is always disconcerting when you find yourself agreeing with a conservative supporter, but perhaps it is an example of just how fed up they are with who leads them? If those in the fore are fed up and are willing to now be honest and expose the man for who he is, (think Don Martin), what of those who sit in the shadows?

They continue to bash Dion but maybe, just maybe, they are bringing some common sense to this argument. Wouldn't that be a welcome relief?

Expectations? I think Harper is going to be the king of doom while trying to suggest how well he's done. He'll bash Dion at every opportunity. In contrast, Dion will present a future that most Canadians want to glom on to.

The villain never wins in stories. Is this a story that Canadians will listen to? I do not know. What say you?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

If It's Up To Us, Why Don't You Butt Out?

There is something about David Wilkins that I find particularly irksome. His devotion to Bush does not go unnoticed of course, but it's more than that.

There are many captions that could be attached to this photo, but I tend to lean to just how much Canada means to the US.

Paul Salucci was also a pain, though he does have some sympathy re' the current border issue and he was a more moderate Republican than Wilkins. I suspect he was sought out because he comes from a border State that would understand Canada. He was absolutely conservative and acted on behalf of his country and I thought he was a little too vocal but he pales when compared to Wilkins.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I do not recall the current level of jingoism coming from an American ambassador prior to Bush being in power. I do not remember Gordon Griffin making remarks that made the whole country stand up.

Wilkins has a way of sticking the knife in and offering to take you to the hospital at the same time.

This comment is not particularly incendiary, but wait, just wait. He'll be all over the air waves come the New Year, telling us how Canada must stay in Afghanistan, but it's our decision. Duffy will be the first to have him on his show and he'll suggest that much damage could be done to our relationship with the which Wilkens will reply, but we are good friends. Just watch for the plea though.

Pakistan is a disaster at the moment and I do not know what the answer is there. As a result, Afghanistan is more dangerous. I know our troops are strong and well trained. Leaving them in a killing zone is nonsensical.

Out in 2009 or rather re-deployed in the country, though even that is looking precarious.

The Taliban (to use the generic), is gaining strength, full stop, period. We are not doing this correctly, NATO's strategy is a bad one. It was from the start, now we have proof and to continue this joke dishonours our forces.

Wilkins would do well to chew on some Hushpuppies right now.

On the other hand, if he wants to show Harper for what he is, I suppose he should keep on spewing.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Speaking Out

Harper made the most cursory of statements yesterday:

"On behalf of the people of Canada, I want to express my sincere condolences to the families of Mrs. Bhutto, as well as to those of the other innocent victims today, and to the people of Pakistan.We condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms. This was an abhorrent act of terror. We hope that the government of Pakistan will act to bring the perpetrators to justice and this cannot be allowed to permit any delay in the return of Pakistan to full democracy, something the people of Pakistan have been waiting for far too long."

To begin with, return Pakistan to full democracy? What period of time is he speaking of?

That aside, that comment was difficult to find. It's not on the government web-site that I can find, no that's a pic of the PM and his family, still wishing us a Merry Christmas. It is on the Con site, but it's not obvious. You have to go to the press tab to find it. Christmas is still going on apparently and Stephane Dion seems to be more important than Harper on that site.

Anyway, it's quite obvious that much more must be said about what happened yesterday, today, and what the likely outcome might be.

Obviously things are tense in Pakistan but they are also not calm here at home. In the comments section of my last post, Mushroom raised a good point and that is we need to start speaking out.

It would appear that we have, in the Liberal party at least.

Musharraf 'ineffective' in curbing extremism: Rae

Federal Liberal foreign affairs critic Bob Rae said it's hardly a secret that the Taliban's military strength, education, funding and ideological lifeblood all come from northwestern Pakistan.

He said the international community must wake up and appreciate the implications of Bhutto's killing and the instability it has sparked in the region.

"We now clearly have a government which, as well as being highly repressive, has also proved to been singularly ineffective in its own efforts to deal with extremism."
Rae said Canada must look beyond its military role in Afghanistan and join diplomatic efforts to make the region stable.

The article goes on to say that Harper offered assistance in finding out who carried out the assassination, but I've yet to find that comment anywhere and on it's own it means very little.

I cannot find a quote I heard yesterday by Dion either. He suggested that an international body should investigate the assassination. While I think it will change little in terms of what we actually learn, it may establish some calm. Obviously Musharraf investigating this will only fuel the fire that is lit and roaring. If Musharraf is open to having an international body look at the affair, unrest may calm down a bit.

Just look at how many times the story has changed on how she died today. Gunshot... to knocking her head on a lever. A) It's irrelevant as the cause remains constant, B) It's evidence that nothing in this country's leadership is cohesive.

This is a bit off the topic, but I do not know the answer. Did everyone in her car die? If not, surely they witnessed her death and perhaps the cause. I presume they are in hospital and will speak when they can. If they all die, obviously there are more questions.

Back to the point. There are obvious problems in Pakistan. There are problems in terms of how the Musharraf government has been complicit in inciting jihad in Afghanistan and what disturbs me the most perhaps is how this concept is being developed in the west, because we attempt to impose our definition of democracy in countries where that concept is reviled.

Bravo to Rae for speaking out. That tells me that the Lib's are not afraid to confront this issue.

The Con's on the other hand seem to be reluctant to take a stance, unless of course it marries the Bush stance.

It's time to oust Harper. He's leading this country into a place we've never been and to a place we do not want to go.

Update: What the hell is this about? If it's behind a firewall, let me know. I'll copy it in comments.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Shock not Surprise Fills this Day

The story of this extraordinary woman
and the country she hoped to lead is far too complex to be reduced to a short post on a blog, imo. Given that I'll simply skirt around the edges to offer my observations.
While Benazir Bhutto was a controversial figure, in recent times her conviction to make changes in her country was palpable. Some of her choices of course could be questioned, such as power brokering with Musharraf, but at this point I would prefer to think that she felt it necessary to explore every option available to her.
It is doubtful of course that we will ever know what really happened today, but I was pleased to hear that Dion recommended that an international enquiry take place.
I think our government has been far too quiet about what has gone on in Pakistan, today and previously. Marshal law, the arrest of lawyers and judges and the lack of progress in diminishing extremism, especially on the border of Afghanistan have neither been challenged with gusto, nor pursued diplomatically to any great gain. This obviously could affect our troops in Afghanistan.
There are many questions and issues to be addressed, but I will leave that for the future.
For today, I feel sadness. Sadness for a woman who (whatever you thought of her political view), had the courage of her convictions to go forward in spite of the risk. Sadness for the people who believed in her and who held fast to their desire for what they hoped could become democracy. Grief for a country with a population who for the most part work hard to achieve democracy, but have every possible roadblock thrown their way. The despair that must be felt in Pakistan at the moment is one that I can only imagine. I also feel sadness for women who live in Pakistan and other countries that have a culture, sometimes on the margins sometimes more pronounced, that suggest that women are not considered capable of holding offices of power, indeed they are still not considered equal.
How that can be as we approach 2008 is difficult for me to understand, but it's true of course. I think it is very easy for we in the West to condemn those attitudes, but I question what we've done to actually promote a contrary view. The US is still asking is the country ready for a woman president for heaven's sake.
This is a sad day and one that will affect much more than Pakistan. Bob Rae stated today that the world is small now and indeed it is. The ramifications will embolden some, discourage others, incite those who see this as a victory and cause us to turn away from other important issues, like Darfur, because we seem to have the attention span of a gnat.
We must hope for the best and work to mitigate the worse.
For the moment, I will mourn the loss of a woman whom I can only describe as the epitome of courage. I know there is an argument against that, but I find it too facile to discuss. Who among us is as brave as she was?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Misunderestimating Canadians

Like most people who celebrate Christmas I spent this, the day after, doing very little.

I did spend some time watching CPAC's The Prime Ministers series. Embarrassed at how little I really knew of the first 14 PM's of this nation I was struck by the fact that time and time again, PM's who were unable to read or understand those who they supposedly served, were not given the luxury of time in office to find out. While the CPAC series is an extremely condensed and cursory look at each PM, there was an interesting theme that ran through it. Over and over again arrogance rears it's ugly head and prompts the ouster of it's purveyor.

While reading this article this evening, I was struck by how Harper has followed like clockwork, though no doubt inadvertently, the history of our leaders.

The article itself does not depict Harper at his most arrogant. Indeed he demonstrates some degree of pensiveness. But therein lies his folly imo.

Asked whether he believes Canadians truly appreciate what is at stake in the decision, Mr. Harper said: “I don't know, the short answer is I don't know.”

He considered the question and one can only assume that he answered honestly. However, that he doesn't know what Canadians think suggests that he doesn't care. His aim has been to push his own agenda in spite of what we think, therefore he hasn't taken the time to explain the Conservative position and is unaware of the degree of sophistication that we have about what is going on in Afghanistan.

As I see it, that is a huge mistake. I may be wrong, but I imagine that Harper digested that question in a way that will write a narrative for Canadians in the the new year.

This is torn from a Bush-like speech to be sure:

“The government understands we took on an important international commitment for important reasons of international security that in the long run impact directly on our country,” he said an interview in the living room at 24 Sussex Dr.

With failed examples of this particular tactic, (Blair, Bush and Howard), being cast aside, he employs it at his peril I think.

Harper is underestimating Canadians if he believes we do not understand what it at stake in Afghanistan. Thoughtful journalists, bloggers and ex-servicemen have done a stellar job at presenting fact. We do have an idea of what is going on at present, what it means and just how far into the future this mission could last. Harper has not shown Canadians that he has a grasp of the complexity of the mission, though I am sure he does . He has instead chosen to reduce this complexity into a black and white, as Con's are wont to do. If you don't support the mission, you support the Taliban nonsense is what we hear more often than not.

We shall see when the House reconvenes, but I suspect there will be a full-court press employed and it will be designed to plead the case of the needy in Afghanistan. In other words, a guilt driven campaign that would paint Canadians as people who do not defend Human Rights.

Thankfully, Harper has cornered the market on that score, (not defending human rights), so those who see the futility of the mission as it is currently designed had better get their reasonable counter points in order, now.

2008 will be an interesting year, one that will no doubt be repeated time and time again once we are gone.

The article is entitled: Harper wonders if Canadians really get Afghanistan

As many others have said...we wonder if Harper really get's us. I think not.

Plus ça change...

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas to All!

I am who I am, so there are political implications to this vid but overall I'd rather you focus on what is so magical about that place in our minds that we inhabit as children. Imagination and creativity of course exist in adults, but all too often we tend to push that way back into the recesses.

Imagine what a world we might have if we actually tapped into that place.
If we focused on how we want to see the world and explored very different and creative ways to achieve it.

To all those who believe they do not have a creative bone in their body please allow me to disabuse you of that notion. Just think back to your childhood. Who among us did not make up games and scenarios and live them as fully as we did the tangible world before us? Few if any I imagine. That does not die in us, we simply pack it away.

Let's make 2008 the year we start unpacking.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and to those who do not celebrate Christmas, I wish you joy and peace and the best of celebrations that you cherish at this time of year.

They Won't be Home For Christmas

While I am not in favour of how NATO has structured this mission, I do have considerable admiration for our forces.

I wish them all well this Christmas and can only imagine how difficult it must be to be so far away.

As well, their families come to mind. Christmas can be a stressful time for many of us, but imagine trying to celebrate while worrying about the well being of a loved one. Imagine being in Canada, the spouse of soldier in Afghanistan, trying to create a lovely Christmas for your children, without Mom or Dad.

For a sense of who some of them are, go here.

I wish them all well and a very Merry Christmas.

Sad News

This was sad news to hear on Christmas Eve : Canadian jazz great Oscar Peterson dies. He certainly was a remarkable man.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Let the Writing of the False Narrative Begin

As we wind down to enjoy the holiday season, Christmas for some of us, various celebrations for others, news this Saturday was a bit light.

A couple of articles however stood out to me. They would fall into the category of what I call the phoney narrative. That would consist of a journalist attempting to create a narrative that doesn't really exist, but he/she does put it out there in the hope that some of their compatriots who are less than stellar at their job will pick up on it and give it life. They seek to gain false consensus. I won't use the term legs, as it relates to the story because that is precisely what these articles lack. Substance and fact. Those vital essentials are manufactured. The narrative is laid out in a way to prove itself.

Here's an example. Note this line:

The Liberals are most vulnerable in the northern Saskatchewan riding of Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River, which could be another blow to the party after three humiliating byelection losses in Quebec last September.

First, it's well know that the Sask. riding is not a given. So, another blow, is created out of full cloth, not a reality. Second, the 3 losses in Quebec were not humiliating. 2 would have been nice to win but they were far from shoe-ins, yet the media decided that they were a test of Dion's leadership. It started as a small story then grew into the main narrative of the by-election. Indeed in Outremont, we did not work hard enough and some criticism was warranted. The rest, nonsense.

So back to the current blurb put out by the CP. It's got that OMG ring to it. If Dion doesn't win in Sask. the he's a weak leader label will be pasted all over him. What BS.

The other story that had me sit up straight was this one. To begin with, you know the Con's and their supporters are nervous when they take a Dion plan and dissect it. There is an obvious need to discredit anything that the Lib's may put out that will appeal to the masses. Also, as an aside, why is the government spending our money to analyse what Lib policy is? The point here though, just as the Con's did with the environmental plan put forward by Dion, they are creating the narrative that it will ruin the economy. (Don't even get me started on what that idiot Flaherty is doing to it.)

Obviously, Dion did not create this plan in isolation. It certainly was passed through numerous hands for analysis and was then embraced by all groups that deal with poverty. Never mind any of that though. No, the National Post was more concerned to find what the counter attack by the Con's might be and run with that. Pimping is a bit crass, but use your own term.

I will remind you of the McGill study conducted during the last election.

They determined that out of 3035 mentions of the Liberals, 40 were positive, 445 were negative. That's a 11-1 ratio, versus a 10-1 ratio in the previous election.

The Con's on the other hand had 2730 mentions. 144 were positive and 127 negative. So that is slightly positive, but their negatives were cut in half from the previous election.

There is much more contained in the survey of course, but the fallacy that there is a left media bias needs to come to an end now. It is clear that the right owns most of it.

That aside though, I simply want that journalistic integrity be restored. We do not need them to drive the narrative. Frankly, we the people are clever enough to take in the facts and decide what they mean on our own.

There are many who do that well. I think Coyne is honest, Martin, Kady O'Malley, Petty...oh there are many. I'm grateful that they speak truth to power. I hope they encourage more of their friends to do the same.

Watch for the phoney narrative and the the lack of integrity that follows the leader.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Going Down? Those darn Polls

Two polls do not a trend make, but this is another sign that Harper just does not connect.

The latest Ipsos-Reid poll puts the national numbers in a tie again. Con's at 35% and the Lib's at 33%. Ipsos as we know always seems to push the con numbers, especially when paired with Can-West. Bottom line though, it's a tie.

Regionally however, Harper has a big problem. In Ontario, the Lib's are 10 points ahead at 43% and the con's at 33%. Quebec? The province that they have been having an affair with? Well, the Con's are in 3rd place. Lib's at 27%, the Bloc at 31% and the Con's at 23%. That is an interesting dynamic. I need to see more intricate numbers to assess, but at the very least, the false narrative of Chantal Hebert, Daniel LeBlanc (who I like actually) and the infamous LaPierre are clearly not reflective of reality.

So, yet another poll. Does it predict the future? Of course not, but consider that this is a time that people are busy with other things. That the populace is less enamored with Harper right now, may be telling. We shall see.

This comes of course at the same time that Harper called some by-elections. He of course waited 6 months to do this, knowing full well that at least 3 of the 4 were Liberal strongholds. Worse than that though, he's set them for March 17th? Most by-elections run a 36 day campaign. Not this time. Chicken Harper would rather pass a budget first and be in a legislation pushing mode. Though that is odd too given that he has said no more tax cuts and no more spending. He has something up his sleeve and I think it's an attack on the Environment front...the scare thing. If I'm right, it's a terrible tactic. One that will bite him, imho.

We shall see. My gut tells me that Martha Hall-Finley and Bob Rae will be engaged in a federal election before the by-elections come, but a crystal ball is not something that I own.

Maybe He Thinks She was Appointed Too

Any one who listens to The House on CBC, Saturday mornings, knows Kathleen Petty. Personally, I like her. I find her balanced, witty and intelligent.

Apparently, she's one of the few journalists that is not considered worthy of any time with Mr. Harper as he does his year-end rounds. How incredibly ridiculous. I imagine that his office is quite aware that she will not lob him the soft balls that we've seen over the past couple of days. Too bad because in spite of what his office claims, the press has given him a free ride since day one. It's about time he was subjected to someone who remembers what journalism is supposed to be.

Speaking of which, overall I've rather enjoyed watching Tonda McCharles filling in for Duffy. She actually calls the MP's out when they begin spewing their message of the day.

Perhaps Harper's office believes that Petty, like the head of CNSC was appointed to her position by the Liberals.

The rest of Don Martin's article is also interesting.

Mr. Harper's Conservatives are less popular today than they were on voting day 2006. After 22 months in power, poll after poll pegs them in a tie with Stéphane Dion's Liberals, if not inexplicably slipping behind.

The Prime Minister's short answer is to dismiss the numbers. "Those polls are being interpreted a certain way, but I'm not sure that's really the case. Not that I would call an election or seek one, but we're doing pretty well."

Um, they are being interpreted how, precisely? Accurately perhaps? We know how dedicated our PM is to that concept so perhaps he fails to see it.

"The reason I took the jab at the Opposition was that they were briefly thinking of blocking the (startup) measure," Mr. Harper says, suddenly sounding terse. "I was making it real clear that if you block this, you're going to wear it because we've got a medical catastrophe coming in this country."

That hardly explains his history of habitual cheap shots, but it doesn't pay to argue when Mr. Harper's in denial, particularly with clock-watching handlers making noises about terminating the interview.

I may not always agree with Martin, but he does know how to write. When Don Martin calls this PM mean, you know you haven't been imagining things.

He's not only mean, but as we've discussed many times before, he freely puts out a lie, without any confrontation by the journalist posing the question.

"The most fascinating thing about the Throne Speech was how the Liberals said in August they were going to bring us down, but never at any point did they say what they expected to see in it," he says.

What utter nonsense. Dion did not say that he'd bring down the government. He said he wanted to see what was in it first and of course he had laid out what he wanted to see.

Accountability seems to elude both the PM and those whom he deigns worthy of his time.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

He Just Couldn't Help Himself. He's Arrogant.

When Canadians, (well just over a third of us), put this man in office 2 years ago, they did it with caution. They weren't convinced that they could trust him to run the country.

It's no secret that I have never believed that he could be trusted with even a minority government. Recent events seem to bear that out.

The disastrous handling of the Chalk River Nuclear Facility exemplifies just how inept this government is, 2 years after having taken power.

I won't go into detail, but yesterday we had this, today this, and on Politics this , (click on Wednesday and go to 38:55 in). This clip tells us just how badly the Con's seem to have messed this up. Lunn claims that he was told on December 3rd, but apparently he was briefed on Nov. 22nd.

This is rookie stuff and they have once again shown just how incompetent they are. If the matter was not so urgent, it would not be a big deal, indeed unlikely even noticed by the press. It is urgent though. This government's bumbling apparently affected half of the world's medical isotopes.

So, this story will carry on and it will only pile on to the Con woes.

Yes, I know, this is only one poll and I'm not betting my worldly goods on it, but I want to say Yes Canadians!, for paying attention at this moment in time as to what is going on.

I'm not sure how Chalk River played into this poll. It may not be the specifics. It may simply be Harper's inane reaction to the head of the Safety Commission that put his bitter partisanship on parade. Frankly, I think it's Bali.

Baird so embarrassed us, the country, and that did not go unnoticed. We may seem a passive bunch, but in the end we want to be recognised as a leader on social issues on the International stage. We have been that for a long time and Harper is killing that reputation. Youth in this country may not be married to a Party, but they are concerned with who can maintain that view and expand it. Youth know this country can make a difference, but Harper doesn't care much about that. He's concerned with the boomers and the aging population. I know that demographic is large, but he ignores the mood of the country. Many boomers still hold on to their beliefs developed when they were younger.

I had the best conversation with my niece and nephew a couple of days ago. So smart are they. They speak to issues, not Party's. Harper over looks them. His timing is all wrong.

As Tom Flanagan pointed out in his book, Harper was meant to take Canada on slowly. Convince the populace that he was moderate, win a majority, then bring it on. Harper seems not to possess that temperament. He's an arrogant man and it got the best of him this year. (I'll have to ask my sister if he demonstrated that in High School. I suspect that he was passive aggressive at that time, with no real objective venue. His bud's were as geeky as he was.)

Will he adjust his tactics? I don't know. He's still high in the leadership polls so perhaps that is feeding his ego. I hope that is so. There is no larger turn off than a man or woman who thinks he/she is smarter, "knows best", or says "leave it up to me". This certainly seems to be Harper's attitude. Worse though, he appears to be ignoring what Canadians are saying. Ignoring us will bring him no favours.

He's an arrogant man and he simply can't help himself. Hubris throughout history has only wrought one end. I'm not sure if Mr. Harper has accurately calculated history vis a vis his time in power.

Me thinks not.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

As Low as is Necessary

A couple of days ago I wrote a post about Harper's disgusting remarks directed to the Liberals, specifically:

“The continuing actions of the Liberal-appointed Nuclear Safety Commission will jeopardize the health and safety of lives of tens of thousands of Canadians,” Mr. Harper said.“Since when does the Liberal party have a right from the grave, through one of its previous appointees, to block the production of necessary medical products in this country? This is not in the public interest ... The longer this goes on the greater will be the public health damage and the Liberal party is standing in the way of fixing this.”

I entitled the post, How Low can He Go? and I think perhaps we now have some of the answer to that question from Tony Clement.

Let's go back a bit. It began with Harper in QP, then an unusual Committee of the Whole HoC met last Tuesday and it was quite clear that the Con's had been instructed to keep that strategy going. It was painful for me to watch to be honest.

Linda Keen is the Pres. and CEO of CNSC. By all accounts she has a stellar record as a public servant. She did not shut down the NRU. The AECL volunteered to do so when it was pointed out that they were in violation of their license. So with that little bit of background, how was she treated by the Con's during this meeting? In the most partisan manner possible.

Here's an example from Hansard. It's a bit lengthy, so feel free to scroll through it if you wish.

Mr. Ted Menzies (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, CPC): Mr. Chair, my colleague is absolutely correct. This is a safety issue and most importantly a safety issue, but it is a needs issue for those people who need this product.
I would like to lead my questioning toward Ms. Keen.
In your opening comments you described yourself as an expert in nuclear safety. As I have said, we are talking about safety. You also stated in your opening comments that yours is a non-partisan position. I would like to follow up a little bit on that.
Your appointment to the CNSC was in the year 2000, I understand, is that correct?
Ms. Linda J. Keen: That is correct.
Mr. Ted Menzies: And you were a career public servant before that time? Is that correct?

Ms. Linda J. Keen: I did work both in industry, and with the federal and provincial governments, yes.
Mr. Ted Menzies: Until your appointment at CNSC my understanding is that you were assistant deputy minister at the Department of Natural Resources when the now opposition House leader was the minister of natural resources. Is that correct?

Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
The Assistant Deputy Chair: Order, order. The hon. member asked a question. Order, please. Ms. Keen has the floor.
Ms. Linda J. Keen: Yes, I would like to answer this question by saying that I am an Albertan. I was born in Alberta. I never belonged to any political party in my life.
I joined the public service in fact when there was another government in power. I am saying that I am non-partisan. I serve with good behaviour. I have met every requirement of the Ethics Commissioner and I do my work on a non-partisan basis and I have no political affiliation.
Mr. Ted Menzies: The question I asked was, were you the deputy minister at the Department of Natural Resources when the minister of natural resources, the now opposition House leader, was the minister.
Ms. Linda J. Keen: Yes and I was appointed by the Public Service Commission.
Mr. Ted Menzies: Thank you. The opposition House leader in fact recommended your appointment. Is that my understanding?
Ms. Linda J. Keen: I have no idea. I was interviewed by PMO. What they did was they went out and searched for people. I applied, I was interviewed, and I was given the appointment. I have no idea about the recommendation. I applied for the job.
Mr. Ted Menzies: Before you worked at natural resources were you also at the Department of Agriculture when the opposition House leader was minister of agriculture?
Ms. Linda J. Keen: I will have to recall because--
Mr. Michael Ignatieff (Etobicoke—Lakeshore, Lib.): Mr. Chair, on a point of order. This line of questioning is essentially insinuating that political considerations are affecting the professional judgment of a public servant.
We are here, Mr. Chair, to adjudicate a dispute that AECL quite properly said was a difference of professional opinion.
This commissioner is entitled to the respect of the House and she is not receiving it.
The Assistant Deputy Chair: I do not think that falls under the realm of a point of order.
We will go back to the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance.

This is just one example of the way she was treated. She was accused of not caring about people and the medical implications, she was accused of being more interested in red tape and so on. It was awful. Politicians may sign up for this kind of abuse, but how on earth are we to attract dedicated, talented public servants if they are to be subjected to this nonsense?

So now, we come to today and Tony Clement on QP.

Tony Clement made no apology for the partisan gamesmanship leading up to an emergency legislation-forced restart at the reactor in Chalk River, Ont., last week.
"Some times you gotta fire a couple shots across the bow to make sure the opposition knows that you're serious about the issue," he said.

Yep, that's right. According to the Con's it's perfectly okay to trash someones reputation as long as it serves your political needs. (Do check out the vid to the right of the article. Hubris and arrogance on display.)

Clement said the Conservatives singled out Keen's actions because they thought the Liberals were going to turn the shortage into a partisan issue and delay the reactor's restart.

Translation: they saw this as a something that could damage the Con's. Again, trying to best their opponents politically, they threw an innocent under the proverbial bus.

I'm not sure how it gets more disgusting than this, but as Steve V. pointed out on the earlier post, I've said that before.

This government is pathologically consumed with gaining a majority, imo. Interestingly, they seem to veering away from their "safe" course. This incident, Bali, Gun Control issues, Afghanistan, the lack of clemency for Death Penalty prisoners outside the country are but a few examples of how they seem to have switched strategy.

With all of their polling, chuckle, they seem not to be making any headway with their middle of the road approach. So, perhaps they will be more honest about who they are. It certainly seems that way and I say, keep it up. The hidden agenda thing is tough to fight credibly. It's too easily parodied and dismissed. I say, bring it on, show us how you are different from the Lib's and go to the court of public opinion. I suspect that the accusation by the NDP that the Con's are just like the Lib's got under Harper's skin and he wanted to put a stop to that.

Fair enough. Show us who you are and I'm certain that Canadians will show you who they are.

How low will they go? As low as necessary and innocents be damned.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Sheer Gall

Canada's reputation has been severely criticised (and no doubt damaged in some quarters), over the past two weeks thanks to this man and his leader.

Baird has spent all of his time in Bali, obstructing, undermining, arguing, avoiding the truth and disenfranchising stakeholders. This of course is no secret because it has been widely reported.

We've been hearing comments like these in the David Suzuki Foundation's news release, throughout the conference.

Key developing countries signalled a willingness to take on new commitments at the two-week-long UN climate conference. However, Canada worked with the United States for most of the meeting to oppose crucial elements of the Bali roadmap. As a result, parts of the deal are too vague to assure a successful outcome of the next round of UN negotiations, due to be completed in 2009.

"Canada worked against the key elements of this deal for most of the two weeks in Bali, and was singled out by other countries and high-ranking UN officials for its obstructive behaviour," said Dale Marshall, David Suzuki Foundation. "In the end, the government responded to public pressure and allowed this deal to go through."

"Canada came to Bali demanding unfair commitments from developing countries, and was roundly criticized for it," said Emilie Moorhouse, Sierra Club of Canada. "In the end, the only bridge that Canada built in Bali was one that led to the U.S."

So what then, are we to make of this comment:

"We were naturally disappointed in the language that weakened and watered down the agreement," Baird said.

The sheet audacity of the man is unbelievable. To arrogantly suggest that the deal wasn't stronger because of others is despicable. If the issue wasn't such an important one, his stance would be laughable. Does he not see that he looks like a buffoon? Can he not see how he has represented Canada to a world that is watching?

An analogy that comes to mind is that of an arsonist who keeps re-lighting a fire, while everyone else is busy trying to put it out. Finally he walks away only to say, it's too bad so much of the structure was lost.

If I didn't know better, I'd say his actions and words were that of a madman. I think though, what we are seeing is his new strategy to be presented in Parliament next month. I imagine the baffle gab will be quite something to behold, but this time, he has too many witnesses to remain credible.

In the end, I'm thankful that a deal was struck, but I remain dumbstruck by the tactics of this government. The sooner we get this gang of thugs out of office, the better.

Again, Steve seems to agree.

More agreement here and here.

Friday, December 14, 2007


International officials and experts have named Canada the worst country in the world on climate change as a result of PM Harper’s climate plan: wreck any chance of an international agreement being reached at the UN summit in Bali this week. From

These ads are running in Canadian newspapers. I'm certain they will have no impact on the ridiculous collection of individuals we currently call government and I really do not know if they will wake anyone who has bought the lies of Harper and Baird, but at least the issue is receiving more attention.

I'm so angry I'm finding it tough to put down my thoughts so I'll let a couple of vid's do the speaking.

and here is our un-bias media at work:

And finally Harper seems to have extended his tough guy policies all the way to Bali.


Update: More embarrassment.
Steve's on this too.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

How Low Can He Go?

I'm not talking about doing the Limbo here, especially not with this man. No, I'm talking about his reaction (versus response) to Ignatieff's questions in QP yesterday and further comments today.

When Harper makes inane references about the Liberals being soft on crime, he looks and sounds ridiculous. When he suggests that the opposition care more about the Taliban than our troops, he looks and sounds disgusting.

But yesterday, he stooped to a place that even I wouldn't have believed possible. He implied that some sort of Liberal conspiracy was placing cancer and heart patients at risk.

“The continuing actions of the Liberal-appointed Nuclear Safety Commission will jeopardize the health and safety of lives of tens of thousands of Canadians,” Mr. Harper said.

“Since when does the Liberal party have a right from the grave, through one of its previous appointees, to block the production of necessary medical products in this country? This is not in the public interest ... The longer this goes on the greater will be the public health damage and the Liberal party is standing in the way of fixing this.”

As I watched QP, I must confess that I was gobsmacked. This is the most divisive, partisan, despicable man that I have ever witnessed, or perhaps I should say, a man who is reportedly a leader in this country. He is nothing of the sort and the more time goes on, the more this becomes apparent.

He appears to exist only to vilify anything Liberal. His intent is to bring the conservative movement we've seen south of the border, here to Canada. That's it, that's all. I think I have to go back and look at Flanagan's book more closely.

He claimed that he had independent advice on this issue.

Bob Strickert, one of the “independent” experts Mr. Harper said the government consulted before concluding it would be safe to restart the Chalk River reactor, is vice-president of the Tory association in the Ontario riding of Durham.

Ya, that would qualify as independent.

This government is a joke and Canadians are slowly getting the punchline.

I will not comment directly on the the nuclear issue. Obviously, I am not qualified to offer an opinion.

It is a very important issue and one that I have views on but I'll say only this. To vilify the civil servant appointed to oversee the industry, who de facto is legislated to err on the side of caution, is unbelievable.

Harper is writing his legacy. He will be remembered with a moniker such that Lyin' Brian wears. What might it be?

Feel free to list your suggestions.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Compare and Contrast

Doing the hard work required to unite parties, not divide them:

Respecting those you differ with, as opposed to pointing fingers. Relying on a genuine desire to achieve a common good rather than reneging on your own commitments and blaming others.

and Contrast

The head of the United Nation's climate-change agency is a careful diplomat. So when he took the unusual step of firing a sardonic barb at Canada Monday, it was a sign of how far Canada's reputation has sunk.

Yvo de Boer, the UN climate chief, portrayed Canada as a climate hypocrite. The Canadian government, he said, is demanding cuts in emissions by Third World countries after failing to meet its own commitments.

“I personally find it interesting to hear Canada just a little while ago indicating it would not meet its commitments under the Kyoto protocol and now calling on developing countries to take binding reduction targets,” he told a press conference Monday at the Bali climate-change conference.

It's one thing when the opposition here at home criticizes the government, it's quite another when we are being mocked by the head of the UN on Climate Change and countries around the world are doing the same.

While I'm still angry about this, I would have to agree with a commenter on this blog yesterday, ryan, that the more this goes on, the more ridiculous we look and that will have an impact here at home.

Harpercrites are quick to support Baird of course. Few of us would expect anything different. It is rather astonishing however that they do not understand what this means for the country. This reaches beyond Climate Change, though it's tough to downplay the importance of that. It speaks to the credibility of this country overall and they seem unable to grasp that.

I was accused yesterday of simply not liking the direction the country is going in. Damn straight!

Abandoning International commitments, backing away from our stellar human rights record, backing away from our stance on the Death Penalty, reneging on our responsibility to care for the planet, doing nothing meaningful in Darfur, doing nothing for poverty in this country, oh the list is too long.

Indeed, I do not like the direction this country is going in. It seems to me that the Conservatives are oblivious to it. Unless of course they are really saying that we should bring back the death penalty, ignore human rights unless they address their moral code, we don't believe in climate change, Darfur is not meaningful to Canada and the poor in this country should just pull themselves up by the boot straps.

If that is what they really mean, I suggest that they should have the courage to say it.

Government by deceptive sound bite, serves no one.

All of this I would remind you is happening on the anniversary of Pearson having won the Nobel Peace Prize. It takes leadership, talent and skill to build a structure. It requires none of the above to knock it down.

Contrast and compare.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Bairdfaced in Bali

It's difficult to articulate how I feel about what is going on in Bali. Ashamed and embarrassed are descriptors that come to mind but the anger I feel seems to trump those two.

The transparent game being played by Baird and this government is almost too bizarre to believe, but believe it we must.

I imagine that Baird glommed on to the concept of pushing all countries to sign on to binding targets in order to make a difference, with absolute juvenile glee. I imagine him saying, Finally a way to do nothing while looking principled! We can sell this! Canadians will buy this! Ladies and gentleman, we now have our talking point!

How the bureaucrats get behind this stuff is beyond me. The problem of course is that it makes no sense. Their strategy is obvious. It is meant to sabotage the meetings. That's it, that's all. There can be no doubt that they knew the US would never sign on as long as Bush was in power. In fact, I suspect that the US was alerted to this strategy clearing the way for Canada to proceed with it, while not doing any damage to the relationship along the way. After all, their end game is the same isn't it?

If we had actually gone there with some sincerity, wouldn't our Finance Minister and Trade Minister have gone as well? 30 countries sent their respective ministers. Surely the meetings for these ministers are an integral part of the process? I may be wrong, but I do not believe that either Flaherty or Emerson are attending. If I'm wrong, feel free to correct me. Both of their websites are more concerned with attacking Dion than the Climate Change Meeting.

The meeting does not end until the 14th of December. What is the view of Canada so far?

Canada's lack of credibility was reinforced this week when Rajendra K. Pachauri - chair of the Nobel-Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - said that Canada has “a government of skeptics” that “do not want to do anything on climate change.” Also this week, Canada was ranked 53rd out of 56 in a comparison of the climate change performance of the world's top emitting countries.

Of course there is the fact that we won, 1st, 2nd and 3rd place on day six of the conference. The leaked memo made us look idiotic. The Con's don't seem to register that though and so they plod along.

In the end, I think that they have played this very badly. We remember Ambrose in Nairobi. We know that they have no intention of doing anything. Baird hasn't changed one word of what they intend not to do, he just speaks louder, screams in QP for that matter. For some reason he has been able to dupe some of Canada. He gets himself on the news often. He's usually re-gifting or putting out Liberal plan.

I think they have played this badly because not only will Canadians react, but we will react to how the world is reacting to us. When is the last time you saw the world view Canada as a pariah?

In this, the year that we should be celebrating Pearson's accomplishments, we are instead taking action that would have him roll in his grave.

The Con's are out there and obvious. They continue to see the protocol of Kyoto as nonsense. That is the crucial point of course, not the Kyoto Protocol, but the protocol itself.

To my NDP readers, I ask only this. The Liberals indeed did not prioritise, rather the PM of the day did not. Dion did, but he had to fight for that recognition. That will never be articulated properly in general media. What I say to you is this. I know come the next election you see a way to gain more seats, but you will not be government. What's the risk of pushing that? A Harper majority.

To my Con readers, I say keep on doing what you are doing. You are now doing what most of the world rejects and what the majority of Canadians reject. Kindly spare me the Dion, 13 years nonsense. You have been in power longer now than Dion was Minister of the Environment. He actually accomplished important projects in 17 months and all you have done is cherry pick what you can deal with.

We, or more aptly, the Government of Canada is going about this in all the wrong way. We are willing to hurt people and the planet in the name of ideology.

"Wake up Canada!"

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Can You See the Difference?

Watching the coverage of the Schreiber affair is almost more fascinating than watching the proceedings themselves.

On one hand you have Don Newman meticulously recapping the the proceedings, putting it into context and objectively presenting the evidence. He states the facts, then paraphrases those facts in such a way that he creates a cohesive narrative. He reviews how the committee conducted itself and looks at the possible implications of what Mr. Schreiber says.

That is what I would call objective, interesting and professional reporting.

On the other hand, let's call it the right hand shall we, you have Mike Duffy doing everything in his power to discredit Schreiber and the proceedings before they had even started. I noticed this the other day too, but today's effort was really remarkable. In scrums with MP's he puts forward his own conclusions and looks to the Conservatives for agreement. In essence, feeding them talking points.

On his show later he makes a comment: "Can you believe that some people around here are actually taking this guy seriously?" Instead of reporting what happened at Committee, he gives us his impression of Schreiber and goes on to defend the Con's, both the PC's and the far more odious contemporary version of that party, by flippantly dismissing Schreiber at every turn.

I suppose there is no real surprise here, but I don't think that Duffy's loyalties have ever been quite this obvious. With L. Ian MacDonald (who is quite forthright about his loyalty), often by his side Duff, seems quite prepared to fully exonerate Mulroney before having heard from him.

I know Duff has been around a long time and knows many people but any pretense of impartiality in the future is laughable. Any reference to Duffy by conservative posters on this blog will be roundly chuckled at as having no credibility whatsoever and there is no loss of convincing proof of that.

As for the actual meeting today, it was interesting. Schreiber revealed that there seemed to be some scheme in the works to pass Airbus money to Mulroney through a lawyer in Switzerland. Schreiber testified that he was taken aback by such a proposition, put to him by Mulroney advisor Fred Doucet. He raised the issue with Frank Moores and was told to forget all about it. (Doucet has since denied that. So, there will be some he said, he said .) Doucet has apparently said that, "there was no funneling to to the former PM of Airbus money", paraphrased. He does not speak to the plan to perhaps do that.

So, did that scheme go forward or not? Schreiber doesn't know because he was now out of the loop. I'm not sure what other witnesses could be called to tell us who is telling the truth, but I hope that the Committee can come up with one.

Now, all of this is apparently meaningless according to Duffy, because Schreiber is simply not credible. To be honest, I don't know whether he is or not, but he seemed to be telling what he knew with some relief, gratified by the fact that it was finally out in the open.

Given how business was apparently done in the '80's, it's easy to be dismissive of a man like Schreiber but given that he is so at ease in speaking about it, it must have been pretty damn commonplace don't you think? Most people do not speak of easily of the past, even when it is uncomfortable in the present, unless in your mind it was just the way it was. Did Mr. Schreiber do everything on the up and up? I have no idea, but it does seem illogical to me to assume that everything he says is a lie. That the Con's suggested that Scheiber had committed perjury is curious. Indeed he signed a letter that he didn't fully endorse, but he believed that was his way out. Perjury? He did not do this under oath. He did this in an effort to finally push the Con's to bring this all to light. He believed Harper when he said he'd "clean" things up. Mr. Schreiber is an example of how Canadians were duped by this government, though he remains on a different end of a political spectrum than I do.

Curious that. It would seem that there are many conservatives who just do not know where to go now. From the ultra right to the good old PC'ers.
Interesting times.

The MP's did a better job today of obtaining information, imo. Most asked very straightforward questions. The Conservatives however were on their usual nasty war path, but the rest of the MP's
seemed more restrained and focused than last time. That seemed to yield more information.

It strikes me that Mr. Schreiber is an anachronism being judged through a contemporary lens. Four contemporary lenses in fact, as each party is interested in having Schreiber confirm their own conclusions.

A contemporary lens is not useful. I'm loathe to spend the kind of money required for an Inquiry but there seems to be an awful lot to pursue and that is a venue that can speak from the platform of history.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Food for Thought

I'm not much for conspiracy theories. Overall, I think the temptation to make a case based on issues that have not been substantiated becomes an obsession and generally goes nowhere. I think such theories go nowhere for a couple of reasons. Either they were based on a desire or wish rather than factual information, or there was a nugget of truth and it's exposure enabled the offender to change tact and effectively cover up.

So, with that said, it is not my intent to promote a conspiracy theory. I simply raise an issue that piqued my interest and one that I intend to follow.

I read an interesting short article by Naomi Klein today. Right wingers who dismiss Naomi as a leftist loon and her new book The Shock Doctrine as a conspiracy theory are simply wrong and show their lack of depth, not to mention an inability to view the world from another angle. There is no question that Ms. Klein is on the left and I do not agree with her on all issues but as far as this book is concerned, it's not based on a vague theory. In fact she goes out of her way to illustrate that there is no grand plot to create shock, she simply points out how a specific ideology capitalises on it.

The article speaks to market reaction to climate change and it's rejection of green technology in favour of markets that deal with the outcome of climate change inaction. So, those means by which we could ameliorate the damage we have done and are doing are less profitable that what we'll require to contend with our inaction.

In other words, Governments with an ideology that support free markets and more importantly overall privatisation, based on their own articulated claims stand to realise their ideal more effectively by NOT engaging in meaningful action.

Here is the article.

So why did this pique my curiousity? It's an article about the US after all. The answer is obvious of course. We have only one ally going to Bali and that is the US. Baird blusters about getting the US on side, but come on, the history of our current government on this file is pretty obvious. They have crafted a position that is long on rhetoric, announcements that do not impede their inaction while leaving room to criticise the US, with their blessing I am sure.

So, can Naomi's assertion be brought to bear here? I don't know frankly but having read this and remembering this, gave me pause for thought. At the very least we are developing relationships with those groups and that is of concern to me.

The Cons have passed no legislation vis a vis the environment. They seem content to allow the "market" to take care of it all. They still have not announced who the renown advisers they are bringing to Bali with them. It's tomorrow right? Are they free market/privatisation supporters? We don't know and no one seems to be asking the question.

So, I put this out there. Is there a reason for concern?

You tell me.
Updates: This supports the inaction concept.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Timing is Everything

It's now been a year with Dion at the helm and let it not be said that it hasn't been a tumultuous one. Highs, lows and out right fabrications by dissenters have peppered this past year.

It's been fascinating and sometimes infuriating to watch, but it has kept people with an interest in politics rapt. What percentage of the population that entails I have no idea, but I suspect the number of those who really watch the minutiae is quite low.

What I do think people pay attention to are issues that affect their own environs, no matter how narrowly or broadly each individual chooses to define that.

We've watched Stephane Dion through the journalist's micro-scope this past year and beyond really. There was no optimism there before his election and since that time there has been precious little support. Perhaps they were ticked at their inability to predict the outcome and then went after him with a vengeance? As frustrating as it has been to watch this, it does have the potential to produce unexpected consequences.

Being defined as something you are not only works for so long. At some point in time you are given an honest forum and the myth is destroyed.

It is with that in mind that I read about and read into, the gathering in Montreal. Dion, in taking the time to speak directly to the party faithful is reminding them of the man, not the caricature. They are being reminded that this is a man of integrity, conviction and above all a man who is determined to correct the direction of the country.

No he's not flashy and indeed grammatically his English is not perfect, though he is not difficult to understand in spite of what is reported, but he has many outstanding quality's that cannot be ignored. He's not a typical politician. Got it.

Maybe though, just maybe, we are at the point that we long for that? I believe in Canada and Canadians. Our perception of ourselves has shifted vis a vis current policy and I do not think most of us are comfortable with that. The mean spirited PM that we see in Harper has presented quite a different view of Canada to the public. Those of us who follow knew that would happen. Con's are comfortable with this new outlook, I do not believe most Canadians are though. In Dion we have a powerful reminder of how this country and it's people view the world and perhaps more importantly, their place in it. Juxtapose that against a view. a government, that throws all of that away.

Drip, by painful drip, Harper is changing our standing and it's now starting to actually show. Gun control, joining the infamous GNEP after months of denial, the Environment, the shift on the Death Penalty, Human Rights... well you know the list. My point here is that the list of changes is far reaching now and at long last, this redefinition of our country by stealth is being reported on. By far reaching, I mean it's starting to touch many individuals and groups.

Dion is on the right side of all of these issues. That's not just my opinion. The polls bear it out. As individuals and various groups begin to feel uncomfortable in their particular environs, they will look for someone to put it right.

That's where timing comes in. As uncomfortable as this past year has sometimes been, we may be now seeing an unintentional plan coming together. If the Liberal Party can actually rally and stop reading the fantasy that the press puts out, they may realise that the pain has been worth the prize.

Consider the fatigue factor. People are tired of all the yelling, debasing and inciting. The mood the Con's seek to set has given the right a platform, but they are not gaining ground in this country. No, in fact they are becoming tedious and full of empty rhetoric.

There is still work to do, but with serious policy and real issues to combat, we are now at a point that Dion could actually prove that all the infantile advertising the Con's have put out was money wasted.

While reporters seem to be surprised, I think Dion may indeed prove that, timing is everything.