Sunday, June 29, 2008

Call a Meeting!

We have some Premiers who are not on board with the Green Shift. In addition to that article you can add Stelmach and Wall. What a surprise.

Fair enough there is opposition, but what is never mentioned in these articles, and there have been many written, is if the critic's have actually done the work to measure it's impact on their jurisdictions. They blithely jump on the tax issue but never balance it with the relief the plan will provide. They also completely ignore the fact that both the Con and NDP plan will also have a cost associated with it, albeit hidden, but has no counter balance, such as tax relief.

Isn't that astonishing to anyone? Why haven't journalists asked either Layton, Harper or Baird, what the price of carbon will be under their plan and where that cost will go? Both parties claim they will ding the "big" polluters, but 'regular' Canadians are safe. In the next breath they say the Lib plan will make it necessary for industries to pass the Green Shift tax onto the consumer. Why would their impositions on industry not produce that same result? No one ever asks.

The Lib plan kicks in on day one, while the others require time to be put into place. Is that why some politicians are bucking? Ya think?

I'm surprised by the Northern premiers because clearly they are savvy on this issue as are their constituents, so I wonder if they really studied the plan versus what the Con's are offering?

Here's what I'm thinking and I have absolutely no idea if this is possible, but given that Harper isn't about 'meeting' and collaboration and has really ignored getting together with the Premiers, wouldn't it be a good idea for Dion to set up such a meeting to explain the plan and have an honest debate about what he is proposing?

Before you call me naive, think about the impact of that. Whether or not he can convince them all to join him, it would speak to another strength of his, which is collegiality. Separate and apart from the optics and the PR, it may actually bring this conversation/debate to where it needs to be in this country. I know that Premiers love to be the masters of their own domain, but there has to be a national conversation about this.

Obviously you could not allow it to be reduced to a pro Dion or anti Harper conference, but it would be nice to elevate the discussion to what Canada as a whole should go forward with. I'd invite speakers on all sides of the issue to present their case. It would give us, for the first time in this country, a real debate and an honest discussion.

Thus far it has been all about straw men. Journalists and columnists (junk mail for the latter in the most part, imo), presenting only half of the story.

We deserve more intelligent thought and discussion in this country and while I'm grateful that this conversation has dominated much news, I'm dismayed at how inaccurately it's being presented.

Could a meeting work? Is it feasible? I don't honestly know. I do however think it's an idea to be considered. Do you?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Oh No!

Well it seems a new poll has some Con's just giddy with delight. Proof positive some say that Dion's plan simply cannot's doomed.

Why? Because public opinion has shifted! You see the environment is no longer the number one concern for Canadians. It's dropped to, wait for it, number 3, behind gas prices and concern for the economy. Isn't that just awful!

Once again all important facts are left out of the revelers arguments. Concern about the rising price of gasoline come in first at 18%, which was equal to the percentage of those who were concerned about the economy, (doesn't that make the environment second ?). So how low did the environment fall compared to the top two issues. A whopping 16%! Isn't that devastating? It's Canadians 2nd most pressing issue and it's 2 points behind the others. The Con's have no plan for the environment and they are convinced that this poll is the end of Dion's plan. Amazing.

Now, let's think about what the Con priorities are and where they fall on Canadians priority list shall we. Terra 6%, Crime 3%, Taxes 1%.

As for the article and the conclusions it draws, well it's journalism at it's worse really. Without one question about Dion's plan being asked to participants, the writer and pollster assume that the poll results signal that his plan will be negatively affected. Astonishing. Furthermore, if anyone actually thought that Stelmach and Steve's new best friend Wall were going to endorse Dion, well you don't live on the same planet that I do.

So really what this article is really telling us is that Gloria Galloway thinks this poll is going to damage to a plan that has yet to be sold and no one was asked about. Remarkable.

Friday, June 27, 2008

At Issue and Other Thoughts

Watching the season end, At Issue, last night and the web follow up, was interesting to me.

Dion was not let off the hook by any means, but compared to a year long bash fest against Dion, the discussion was far more reasoned and finally, within the confines of a small panel, some acknowledgement was given to what Harper has done wrong.

The discussion sadly, but realistically, focused on strategy rather than policy. That is what these people do after all. They analyse. Wouldn't it be refreshing though to see a show filled with people qualified to speak to policy? Oh, right...that is what the politicians are charged with.

Anyway, the tone was not the idiotic drumbeat that we have been exposed to for over a year now. That would be the drumbeat that the Con's have been putting out and those in a position to speak to issues, (media), have felt no shame in picking up their own drum and passing on the message.

I'm not going to speak to the specific points raised by the panel. Watch the vid and draw your own conclusions. The one theme that came through was that Dion has taken a stance, it's courageous in that it's the "hill", one he'll live or die on and the next election will be fought on the environment and the economy.

There were many articles today that spoke to Dion and his plan. I'll try to parse them over the weekend but suffice it to say that specific quotes are now being used, and used without context. Is his language inelegant at times? Yes. Will the right use it against him? Yes. The point remains however that he has taken a stand and it's one that took courage. That trait that the right worship at the altar of, courage, has been attributed now to Dion, not Harper.

One last thought. I wish the At Issue panel had discussed the most useless phrase or term employed by all in the last few years. My vote would be 'flip-flop'. To actually think that evolution of thought is something to be condemned, is astonishing, no it's shameful.

Shouldn't people evolve in their thought process? Haven't you? That term is the part of the current attack on Dion. It's ridiculous, especially as it relates to the issue of the environment. Good grief, aren't we learning more everyday? How can you help but change your opinion? You can remain staid of course if your opinion never followed the logic in the first place. Uh, that would be Harper.

So, the conversation is shifting and it is going to what matters to Canadians. Just as it was in the US , it's my thought that Canadians have been taking a nap through Harper's reign. My hope is that Dion nudges them and says, it's time to wake up.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Chretien Vindicated - What Next?

I'm sure you've read by now that both Jean Chretien and Jean Pelletier have won their challenge re' Gomery's findings.

Justice Teitelbaum set aside the portion of Justice Gomery's Nov. 1, 2005, report that said Mr. Chrétien and Mr. Pelletier were to blame for “omissions” in their direction of the sponsorship program that led to wrongdoing.

Justice Gomery, however, also ruled there was no evidence Mr. Chrétien and Mr. Pelletier were “in any way” involved in a kickback scheme that a senior Liberal in the province supervised and which resulted in $1.1-million of government sponsorship money being diverted to the Quebec wing of the Liberal party.

While this does not make the scandal go away, it does bring some perspective to the issue. Some have claimed that it discredits all of Gomery's findings, which I do not think is correct. It does however raise questions.

Will this decision be meaningful in this hourly news environment that we live in? It's hard to know but my sense is it should have an impact overall. The decision reaches above all the rhetoric that usually surrounds this topic and arrives at a sensible conclusion.

“The nature of the comments made to the media are such that no reasonable person looking realistically and practically at the issue, and thinking the matter through, could possibly conclude that the commissioner would decide the issues fairly,” Justice Teitelbaum said.

I guess the next question is, will this guy decide to appeal?

He continues to bring up Sponsorship on a pretty regular basis.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Policy, Policy, and Good Strategy

Seeing the poll that told us that 70% of Canadians want to see Dion and Harper actually discuss policy, was heartening.

Aside from how it could set Dion up for success, it was gratifying to know that Canadians are engaged by issues and tired of the status quo.

That got me thinking about the various ideas that Dion has had, that deal with the bane of Harper's existence. Social issues. These are issues that Dion has proclaimed on and they include artistic freedom and tax credits, InSite, poverty, Aboriginal rights and Kelowna, immigration, and women's rights, to name a few.

Not all of these issues have been polled, but those that have been tell us that the majority of Canadians side with Dion's position. That fact hasn't been spoken to much and perhaps that will change if the summer goes as it should.

That polls do not support Harper is not really surprising given the percentage of the vote that Harper received, but it's telling in terms of what we as an electorate will face come the next election.

More than ever, I'm convinced the next election will be about ideas. We haven't had that for a long time and as much as Harper would like to believe that he was elected on that basis, reality simply doesn't support it. His various Ministers and his devotee's each fancy themselves to be 'the cock of the walk', but the noise they make simply echoes.

Dion's ideas resonate, though all the pundits say he does not. Well, if we aren't presented with anything outside of how the Con's portray him, how on earth could he resonate?

The question is what are Canadians more concerned with?

My bet at this point is ideas.

What? Oh, did you expect me speak about the Bernier speech or the cabinet shuffle? Sorry both were as vacuous as the man who orchestrated them.

For now, I'm more focused on the country moving forward.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Manufactured Outrage?

Have you been following the story of the trademark dispute between Green Shift and the Liberal party?

Kady has a good rundown here.

I've been watching this since this BT posted that he'd been in touch with Green Shift. When I first read this in his post:

A Google search this afternoon for “green shift” brought me to a webpage that represents a private company called, you guessed it - Green Shift. Somewhat surprised at what seemed to be a partnership between the company and the federal Liberal Party, I decided to call them up to inquire.

...I laughed out loud. Reading the Green Shift website it's pretty obvious that there is no connection the Liberal party or plan. It occurred to me then that he was likely more interested in stirring up trouble than anything else. Sure enough, with the contact details posted at the bottom of the post, there were few other conclusions to draw.

As the story moved along, it appeared that the owner of Green Shift, was receiving a flood of e-mails expressing outrage that she would align herself with the Liberal party.

Who in there right mind looking at that site would draw such a conclusion? It's ridiculous and completely illogical, unless of course you want to make the link in an effort to 'swiftboat' the Lib's again.

The woman who owns Green Shift informed me today that she received approximately 5000 angry e-mails. Interestingly enough, on the Monday that A Step To The Right posted the contact information, his site had 4558 hits. That may or may not mean much, but when you consider that in the preceding 6 days he received 832 hits. In fact if you look at the month, that one day is quite the anomaly.

Does this prove anything? Not really but it's more than passing strange if you ask me.

To top it all off, suddenly hordes of BT's are running to the defense of the owner of Green Shift. If you let that sink in for a minute, it's pretty funny considering their usual talking points about anything environmental. They are offering comfort and are simply outraged! Are they outraged by the people who are spamming her site? Of course not. They are outraged at those terrible Lib's who are ruining this woman's business.

It certainly would be interesting to trace those 5000 e-mails don't you think?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Someone to Watch

Thomas Mulcair has been called the NDP's rising star. Personally, I think he believes he's full risen.

Now I know that those who know him from his days as Liberal Environment Minister in Quebec, claim that he is well respected and has a terrific reputation. I have no reason to doubt that nor do I intend to dispute it.

All I know of his history is what I've read. I understand he and Charest clashed on an environmental issue and Mulcair was offered a demotion to another file and he quit cabinet over it, in a huff apparently.

I'm not really interested in his history that far back though. I'm much more intrigued by what I've seen of him since hitting the federal scene and I'm most interested in his reaction to the Green Shift.

My general observations of the man are that he is exceptionally bright, a quick thinker, a confident and effective speaker and someone who is devoted to his causes. I have also observed a temper that is just beneath the surface and a real ability to be nasty, in a way that we generally see coming from the CPC. I've seen this in the House, on panels and at committee.

So, that is his style I suppose and that's fair enough. We've certainly seen the NDP crawl on to the CPC attack band wagon lately, but they generally differentiate themselves by sticking to the facts. Not Mr. Mulcair. If he is better able to make his point through fabrication or twisting of fact, he will do so.

Have a listen to this interview on CPAC, (@33:26).

He says you cannot begin with a green tax, then phase in cap and trade. The two cannot work together. Huh? Environmentalists would disagree. Oh, and doesn't the province of Quebec have a carbon tax and didn't they just announce that they would also introduce a cap and trade system?

He then goes on to say that the Lib's did nothing, blah, blah, 13 years, blah, blah and added the Conservatives don't want to do anything, the Bloc can't do anything, only the NDP can do something. Okay, after I finished laughing I gave the guy kudos for optimism.

Watch carefully and you can see him sizing up his immediate audience, Donais. He knows precisely what he can get away with and goes for it. It's clever to be sure, but he's not being challenged at all on what he is saying. It should be a given in broadcasting that if the host doesn't know whit about a subject, (no insult to Donais, I like the guy), there should be someone objective there who can challenge the politico's statements.

Mulcair has that figured out too though, claiming that Environmental groups (who have programs on TV. Hmmm I wonder who that could be?) have biases and self interest at heart. Clever. He's denouncing Suzuki and his comments on QP a while back, but not naming names. Why? Because Suzuki railed against the NDP for not supporting the Lib plan. For the record, Suzuki endorses both cap and trade and a carbon tax. I guess he's only being self interested when he's endorsing the Liberal plan. Incredible.

After making that comment, Donais quietly figures out that Mulcair is now diminishing the Environmentalist voice asks, 'So does it worry you to see Environmentalists say that it's a good plan?' , to which Mulcair replies, 'Well I haven't heard one single person say it's a good plan.' Hilarious! Everyone else has but somehow, he's missed everything, except of course the one whose name shall not be mentioned. Is he too, like the Con's, depending on everyone in the electorate being stupid?

He then claims 'even Mr. Dion had to say in his presentation that the best system is the NDP system'. I don't know about you, but I must have missed that part. He then said that Dion said that cap and trade was too complicated and added the dig, 'well for him, too complicated is anything that has to be acted on.'

Dion didn't say that of course. He said that the tax shift could be implemented immediately and that cap and trade would take years to put in place because of the amount of consultation etc. involved. Nor of course did he dismiss cap and trade.

So, Mulcair is clever and sly. A good politician some would say and by current definitions, I suppose they'd be right. He didn't demonstrate that anger that I've seen, but he did twist the facts and I think he knows he's vulnerable or at least the party is vis a vis their need for inroads in Quebec. So it's my bet that he'll resort to just about anything. He's charged afterall with getting the NDP vote out in the province. The Lib's just threw a big wrench into the spokes of the wheels I think he started moving.

If you're in Quebec, I'd love hearing from you in terms of what this man puts forward this summer. The NDP are obviously worried about being displaced in Quebec on this particular issue, after all, their rising star thought he had this one in the bag. They have their best attack dog out there making their case. Something tells me it won't be pretty and he's someone to watch.

If you understand French, it's worth listening to his actual words. Also, if you listen to the interviews following Mulcair, you'll see support for Dion's plan and if Mulcair was still in the studio at the time, I'm sure he was taking notes for his next interview...that or putting his fingers in his ears and chiming, I can't hear you!

btw, there is a new poll out. I'll digest it and maybe speak to it tomorrow, but Anderson, I take your warning to the Con's with a grain of sea salt. I know, how elitist of me!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Media Matters

As the story of the Green Shift develops and our PM reacts, I'm going to watch how each story develops in the news.

Not so much with an eye to bias, but more with a view to accuracy and how a story is shaped (knowingly or not) as the issue unfolds.

Dion got some pretty positive reaction from journalists and the media that matters, but few have pronounced on Harper's juvenile reaction or his lack of real debate on the subject. They've written about it, but no real assessment has been offered that that I've seen.

So today, after the infantile "screw everyone" comment, Dion was asked for a reaction. The Globe has a Canadian Press story on-line. Look at the title.

Dion scolds PM for harsh words on carbon-tax plan

Scolds? What image does that conjure up? Tsk, tsk? That's not what Dion did, he called Harper on not debating the issue.

Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion says Stephen Harper's latest comments on his party's carbon-tax proposal are vulgar and disrespectful, and he is challenging the prime minister to an “adult” debate.

Mr. Dion was reacting to Mr. Harper's harsh words on Friday, when the prime minister told a small crowd in Saskatoon that the Liberals' carbon tax plan would “screw everybody across the country.”

So okay, we know why and how headlines are written, just the same, Dion reacts to PM's harsh words would have worked just as well.

A little further in is where I see the narrative that Harper is pushing, slipping into the story just a bit.

Mr. Dion unveiled his carbon-tax plan this week , which would see $15-billion in new taxes on carbon emissions and target fuels such as heating oil.

He also wants to cut income tax rates for individuals and punish polluters by shifting the tax burden to carbon-fuel users.

There is a separation of sorts between the two concepts, (tax and tax relief) with the only linkage being, target fuels such as heating oil, in the first paragraph to, by shifting the tax burden to carbon-fuel users, in the second.

Compare that to a more detailed story in the Globe by Campbell Clark.

Mr. Dion unveiled a carbon tax plan this week that would see $15.4-billion in new levies on carbon emissions that would hit fuels such as heating oil, and especially industrial polluters. It would start with a $10-a-tonne levy on greenhouse-gas emissions, rising to $40 a tonne in its fourth year.

At the same time, income tax rates would be cut, and other breaks such as an additional child-tax credit would also cut tax bills for individuals. Personal and business taxes would be reduced to match the amount of the carbon tax.

This overview presents a far broader and more accurate description of the plan.

Am I nit picking? You bet I am because I have watched media quietly leave out salient facts that distort reality and shape a false narrative for far too long. Some of course do that with intent. Others I think, are meeting deadlines, trying to get on to the next story or are trying to be the first to report on the item. That is what I think is failing to give us what we deserve in terms of information. So, to be clear, it's not bias I'm looking for here.

I suspect the first story was reported as it was because it would take time to actually present the plan in more detail and this reporter obviously was solely interested in what Dion's reaction was. It is much easier to simply write a story focused on only one detail that you consider may be important, while providing just enough context to make the story relevant. What's missed of course is the fact that this may be the readers first exposure to that information and they have been short changed.

The intellectually curious may be prompted to look for further details, but my guess is that few actually do, particularly if the article is written in a way that feels like all the bases are covered.

Now, as stories go, this one is small potatoes, so I use it only as an example of what I intend to look for. We saw this trend in the US, we've seen it here on many issues. On this issue, I am going to try to follow it.

Well what do you know? Before I've even finished my post, there is a more extensive story.

Better headline, but again, reacts would suffice. The term 'scold' is still used, but more context is given.

Let's watch how this plays out.

As an aside related to that last article...a debate? A televised debate on the issue? Wouldn't that be fantastic? Harper doesn't possess the courage though. A 13 year old who spits from the side lines never has the courage to run on to the field.

Let's keep watching.

Friday, June 20, 2008

"This Will Screw Everybody" - PM

If you ever doubted where the communications strategy for the CPC comes from, wonder no more.

"(The carbon tax plan) is like the national energy program in the sense that the national energy program was designed to screw the West and really damage the energy sector - and this will do those things," Harper told a small crowd in Saskatoon.

"This is different in that this will actually screw everybody across the country."

That's not Pierre Poilievre speaking that is indeed the Prime Minister of this country. Harper is going across this country telling one and all that Dion's plan is going to "screw" everyone.

Wasn't it just yesterday that Stephane Dion extended an offer to Harper to the debate and have an honest discussion. Apparently Harper somehow mistook that to mean 'crawl lower into the gutter'.

This is our PM people! He's on a National stage, making announcements and this is how he speaks to Canadians? I'd say it's beyond obvious now just how afraid this man is, not to mention angry. What is really bizarre is that absolutely no one who is knowledgeable or who cares about the environment agrees with him.

Don Drummond has joined Jack Mintz and Marc Jaccard in their praise. The Suzuki foundation, Equiterre, and Greenpeace all support it. Good grief, even Dalton McGuinty said he liked it today.

Unbelievable, the PM of this country is going to speak about environmental issues from the gutter...that is his strategy. So far his intelligent rebuttal consists of "it's insane, it's crazy and this will screw everybody".


Thursday, June 19, 2008


Watching Stephane Dion this morning I saw exactly what I'd hope to see.

Clearly he is committed, passionate and understands the issues. Aside from his devotion to the plan, the man himself stood in sharp contrast to our current PM. He was confident, thoughtful, funny, inspiring and generous in his praise for his team. Additionally, he spoke to Canadians with respect. Respect for their intelligence and respect for their desire to have a real conversation about the issues that face us. Above all, his integrity was on display.

Shortly after he spoke, Harper was of course questioned about the plan. In sharp contrast to Dion, he was belligerent, clearly worried about it, used intelligent language like, 'it's crazy! It's crazy economics and it's a crazy environmental plan.'

I guess he missed the news that environmentalists strongly endorse it, with the Sierra Club of Canada today, saying, 'We're delighted', 'Dion is showing real leadership', 'Well done Mr. Dion' . Or maybe Harper didn't realise that Jack Mintz, Marc Jaccard, The Conference Board of Canada and The Canadian Council of Chief Executives endorse such plans.

Facts are of no use to this PM, because of course he's got nothing to offer. The only 3rd party endorsement for the Con plan comes from deniers, or Harper devotees.

As I've said before, this will not be simple to sell, but the website looks promising and includes a calculator to help people understand the implications of the plan in their own lives.

So, there will be work ahead, but today I saw a PM so terrified of the implications of a solid plan all he could do was resort to yelling and attack.

Conversely, I saw Dion ready show leadership and take on the challenge.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

So, Now the Real Dialogue Begins

For a brief moment, tomorrow we can ask the children (read Con's) to leave the room as the adults discuss what is really facing the planet and present a serious way to combat it.

Is this going to be easy? Absolutely not, but I think the Conservatives have seriously underestimated how much people really want to be engaged in an intelligent way, on a subject that most people really do care about.

Will the Con's immediately come out with further attacks? Of course! That is all they know, but think about what they have said thus far. None of it stands up to scrutiny even given the very meager details that have come out today. (Incidentally, could the insiders kindly shut the hell up now? Where I come from divulging your strategy to the opposing team isn't very clever...just saying.)

Just about every Con MP stood today, to lie in the House. My favourite line from the article is this,

In the Commons, Tory MP Cheryl Gallant said a carbon tax is “nothing more than a yuppie fad” that will punish poor, rural and working class Canadians.

Yuppie fad? Yuppie? When is the last time you heard that expression used? What century are these people living in? No wonder their youth vote is so huge! My father, (and I am of a certain age) doesn't use that expression. This summer maybe more promising than even I thought!

Here's what I think is clever about releasing this now. Yes it gives the Lib's time to sell it and yes most people concerned with the issue will want to listen, but the Con's are going to be running around all summer, off leash, spewing yuppie nonsense and much worse. The headlines will write themselves.

If, and it's a big if, the media follows the story over the summer Canadians will be faced with reality versus fiction and perhaps at long last the Con non-plan will be exposed. It hasn't been endorsed by a single credible critic and it's hard to imagine anything but a good deal of third party support for what I've seen so far of Dion's plan.

We also have this other optic. The Con's being sued for not living up to our Kyoto agreements, missing deadlines, etc. Who looks credible? Not the Con's.

The NDP have their position that is not without merit, (though if Dion includes a cap and trade piece too, I'm not sure where they go with their attack), the Greens obviously have a solid plan, but one that is too onerous to be bought by most people at this point in time.

To my way of thinking the Lib's seem to have the most comprehensive plan of all. Who is missing? Oh yeah, the Con's of course who have a blow-hard spewing nothing and what he does spit out, has been roundly discounted.

Knowing that over 60% of this country is progressive, how much headway do you really think juvenile scare tactics put forward by the Con's are going to sway people in the midst of a serious discussion?

No matter how hard they try, the Con's still have no idea how to speak to the masses and attract votes. Their message is always directed to their 'base' and as Gallant shows us, that still includes people who do not live in the real world.

All of that said, I go back to my original point. This won't be easy, but anything worth winning never is. In my view the odds are on our side.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Conservative Telecasting Venue

It's a fact that all of us see bias in media on occasion. Some is subtle and some is obvious. It always makes me chuckle when someone of the Con persuasion watches the same program I do and sees a slant to the left when I see it go right.

Some media types are quick to suggest that they are relieved by this revelation because that means they are doing their job. That's baloney in my opinion and an easy 'out' around being accountable for what they say or write. It is possible to look at things objectively. Will partisans read their own biases into that objectivity? Of course. What's critical to me is that the journalist be able to defend their objectivity through past and future actions. Many, maybe even most do that, but certain groups do not and they are not being called out.

Mike Duffy is one such individual. It is beyond my comprehension that we in Canada have our very own FOX News host and no one complains. If he was honest and claimed that his show was a Canadian version worthy of the faux "fair and balanced" tag, in other words told us that he's not balanced, I'd be fine. Canadians would then know what they are being fed and would not digest his broadcasts as being mainstream thought or news worthy.

Now, I'll give you that his show is pretty 'low brow' fare, but think about how CTV has penetrated local markets. If you're looking for Canadian content your choices are pretty damn slim. I know the view of the right is that the CBC is 'left', but the CBC in my view, reflects the way the majority of the country thinks, most of the time, which of course is left of where the current Conservative party is. Mike Duffy on the other hand reflects and embraces about 1/3 of the country.

It's a market that has perhaps deserves it's due, but could we stop pretending it's mainstream? Do they deserve a voice? I suppose they do, but only if that voice is honest in how it presents itself. CTV and Duffy are not honest in terms of what they represent. Talk radio is more honest than these guys are. Think about that.

Take the following clip from Duffy's show yesterday for example. Duff's not subtle in his Lib bashing. He names names and suggests that they made a choice to endorse a terrorist group. He's interviewing Stockwell Day. Watch Stock's eyes, grin and partisan bunt at the softball he was lobbed. Then notice Duffy get all teary (seriously what is it with this guy?) when he reflects on how his precious party is standing up for the little guy.

The sequence is this.

The Day interview begins around 3:44. Part way through, around 6:44 Day makes assumptions and Duffy eats them up, only to spit them out again as a lob designed to meet the Con sweet spot. At 7:33 Duffy is all choked up. Oh, assess for yourself. Here's the clip.

For the record I know nothing about this group and, if the Minister's move was justified, that's fine with me. This Minister however sees terra everywhere, so I do wonder if it's as black and white as he suggests. I'll leave that to others to resolve.

For a host and a network to suggest that honest parliamentarians chose to associate with terrorists, let alone to win votes, is beyond the pale.'s time to come clean.

Beyond Ridiculous

The Con's have officially gone off the deep end.

For those of you who do not follow committee meetings I thought I'd let you know that the Con's have been raising a ridiculous motion in many of them, moving that the government will not recognise a carbon tax with a lot of other partisan language, 'a carbon tax will have a devastating effect, blah, blah, it will destroy all industry, blah, blah, blah'.

Today, in the Natural Resources committee it was this joker who moved it,

Bradley Trost from Humboldt, Sask.

Last week at the Finance committee, it was this buffoon,

Dean Del Mastro from Peterborough, On.

I don't know who else specifically moved it in other committees, but apparently it was also raised at Agriculture and Transport, so this is obviously a cross committee campaign.

Is it really possible that the Con's do not realise that they sound and look ridiculous? As they read their motions, they sound like taunting children in a school yard.

These are parliamentarians, who are supposed to be focused on the business of the country, yet they spend all of their time playing games, abusing democracy and treating serious issues like a joke. Who in god's name votes for these people? It's seriously frightening to think that 30% of this country is so ill informed and juvenile that they actually believe these people are qualified to do anything, let alone govern.

Well it's obvious to me that they are worried about Dion's plan and I for one am looking forward to all of this juvenile behaviour to backfire on them in a big way.

Update - The Agriculture committee did adopt an amended motion and 3 Lib's voted to let it pass. Note, they allowed it to pass because it was amended and therefore will study how not to negatively impact the agricultural sector.

Upper-date - In QP, more than once, the Con's twisted the above amendment to suggest that 3 out of 4 Liberals voted against Dion's tax shift.

Monday, June 16, 2008

(In)Capable Hands

Gosh! Aren't we lucky? I mean think about it. Those who lead this country are so deep, so knowledgeable, so capable that really, we should just be counting our lucky stars every night when we put our heads on the pillow.

You see, after the Taliban staged a major prison break, that essentially negates much of the hard work our troops have done, we are comforted by our PM. In the House today he actually took the time to tell us what we really should be thinking about is how dangerous the Taliban are and oh yeah, we should support the troops.
Phew! I'm so glad he clarified the situation, because you know, I didn't know that the Taliban were the bad guys. They're really, really bad apparently and the fact that they were so well co-ordinated that they were able to release 500-1000 prisoners, isn't really the issue. No, the issue is we should remember just how bad these guys are. The fact that our troops have given their lives in order to put some of those who are wandering free tonight in that prison, isn't the issue. No, focus here. Taliban bad, support the troops.
Oh and the fact that the Corrections Canada warning to our government, received in February 2007, that the prison's security should be a top priority was ignored, is not the issue. Taliban bad, support the troops.
These guys are unbelievable! MacKay blames, seriously lays all blame, on the Afghans! The man is delusional. We have a prison with mud walls that the Canadians were warned to secure and we did not apparently but potato patch Pete blames the guys we're training. Compound that with the fact that the firefight that went on at the prison apparently lasted 90 minutes and our PRT is 8 km away and our nearest military base is 4 km but allegedly it was 40 minutes after Canada realised the situation was serious that they decided to act. The government, our strategy and quite frankly the military brass have some answering to do here.
Now we have this and this happening. History tells us that to underestimate your warring opponent does not end in smiles.
Add to all of this, this disgusting story that has Canadian troops looking the other way when children are being raped by the guys we are training, well I'm at a total loss. Who on earth in the military thought that was good policy? Hillier, in my view, must answer to this.
Afghanistan is not going well people and obviously the strategy being implemented is not working. We've been saying this for some time and it seems to me that the Con's thought they'd bought themselves some time with the passage of the motion that kept us there until 2011. They haven't abided by the terms though. They still do not answer questions, they deflect important questions by claiming security, etc. and put the onus on the military who they apparently trust to cobble together our foreign policy.
Rest assured Canada, you are in (in)capable hands. The Con Government of Canada has it all in check. All we need to do is remember that the Taliban is really, really bad and support our troops in the meantime.
Are you embarrassed yet? I'm disgusted.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Apology - Some Thoughts

I refrained from writing to any great extent at the time of the apology because I wanted to reflect on what I saw and felt.

Like most people, I found it moving, overdue and I was grateful that the aboriginal leaders were permitted to receive the apology while sitting in the House. I felt much more than that though.

At times I was somewhat perplexed that residential schools actually existed. I knew of it, but found myself really absorbing the enormity of it and realising just how little time I'd spent thinking about it. It's astonishing really that it hasn't been discussed or written about more. Because I don't have children, I wondered if this part of our history is being taught in schools today? It certainly wasn't when I was there.

As the various leaders responded to the apology, I reflected on the history of their people and in the face of all that they have endured, how proud and strong they continue to be.

My thoughts then went to how different it might of been and what we lost as a country. Obviously nothing can compare to what aboriginals have they themselves endured and lost, but we deprived the rest of our country much as well. Think of the culture that should be a more rooted part of our society. The art, the music, the various languages, traditions relating to the earth and how we treat it, etc. Really, all of these things and more should hold a much more prominent place in the fabric of the country.

I've always been interested in other cultures and to this day, explore the many who have come to this country. For me, part of that includes understanding people through their music. In the 80's, I stumbled on a group named Kashtin. I was mesmerised and remember thinking then, I wonder why we don't have more music from First Nations. At that time, I had no idea about this history. I went to every concert I could and annoyed all of my friends, who soon became as enamoured as I was, to make a point of listening to this music. While more music is beginning to be produced again in these communities, it's still a tiny segment. The art being produced by different communities is becoming more valuable and while that too has some distance to go and sometimes I think it's trotted out without the pride it deserves, at least in some circles it receives respect.

We've all lost. Our Aboriginal communities obviously have lost the most, but we who are not aboriginal, have so much to learn. It's time to turn that old equation on it's head.

The apology was a good step in what I think is a long journey. This is not a partisan shot, but rather what I see as one of the necessary pieces of this puzzle and that is the Kelowna Accord. Aside from what it sought to achieve, it included the aboriginal point of view. They were part of the discussion and at the table. Making decisions on behalf of others is beyond inane.

I do not know that I'll live long enough to see it put right, but I hope I do see some change.

I have more thoughts, but I'll stop here. I'll leave you with this vid. It's dated of course, or is it?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Disinformation is Dangerous

I consider Charles McVety to not only be a far right, religious fanatic, but in some respects I find him dangerous.

Whenever I hear or read something he says it strikes me that, surely a man so lacking in depth and intelligence cannot inspire a following, but that he does.

It will remain a mystery to me that some find it easier to allow others to do their thinking and even more perplexing is the fact that the one they follow appears to have not thought at all.

The recent nonsense about Bill C-10 and tax credits for the film industry was such an example, but it soon became clear that no one (that mattered in that argument) was taking him seriously, except those who applied his illogic to the situation, so in the end it wasn't a big deal.

But now we have him popping up again and while his cadre may be small, I still think it's dangerous having someone like him spreading this kind of misinformation. Now, before anyone jumps all over me, I'm not suggesting that he should be taken to the Human Rights Commission or some such thing. I just think it's important that people pay attention and discredit what is obviously false. Frankly, for me, it's preferable to have this BS out there, rather than having it brewing somewhere behind closed doors.

Now, it's no secret that the far right has quite a movement going on in the US to include Creationism in Science classes. I presume at least part of the intent here is to push the same idea in Canada. After all, McVety never heard a lunatic Evangelical he didn't want to mimic. But beyond finding a way to get that movement underway, his accusations are truly bizarre, though not original. This Darwin debate, the movie and the Hitler link have many supporters in the US.

Kady O'Malley published the invitation to this screening and protest this week.

From: Charles McVetySent: June 10, 2008 4:32 PM
Change of Venue
Fairmont Chateau Laurier
Canadian Room, 1 Rideau StreetOttawa, Ontario
At 7:30pm
The writer and Executive Producer of Expelled, No Intelligence Allowed, Walt Ruloff, wants to personally meet you and invite you to privately screen his new film Wednesday evening, June 11th at 7:30 pm at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, Canadian Room, 1 Rideau Street, Ottawa, Ontario.
In a time when an African-American can win the nomination of the Democratic Party to be the President of the United States of America, you would think that our educational system would be free from racism, and open to freedom of thought, expression, and inquiry. Nothing could be further from the truth. North America’s Universities do not allow academic freedom–if you question the orthodoxy of “Darwinism”. The last vestiges of the horrible scourge of racism remain firmly entrenched in the science classrooms of our society. This new film cuts to the heart of racism. In the United States of America, this film opened in 1,100 theatres, and was number 10 at the box-office. Over 1.3 million people have paid to see the film, and now it is coming to Canada opening on June 27th.
How could a film, created by a Canadian, Walt Ruloff, cause so much controversy? Walt Ruloff, is a very successful entrepreneur. By thinking outside of the box, he developed complex computer systems to optimize logistics for large organizations. A majority of Fortune 2000 companies use his logistics systems to control the movements of millions of products and goods around the world. Walt wanted to apply his ingenuity to the biological world to help find cures and treatments for troubling diseases. He quickly found that the scientific community would not allow you to think outside of the box of Darwinism, thereby restricting the advancement of knowledge. Instead of bowing to the high priests of Darwinism, Walt made a movie to challenge their “supremacy”.
Many people do not realize how overt racism is in Darwin’s writings. The full of the textbook found in every science classroom is The Origin of Species Through the Process of Natural Selection of the Preservation of the Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. On page 178 of Darwin’s book The Descent of Man, he states, “At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world…The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, instead of as now between the negro or Australian (Aboriginals) and the gorilla.”
Racism must be countered and I believe this film will mobilize millions of Canadians to blot out this terrible scourge in our society.
Please clear a couple of hours this Wednesday to meet Walt and view his film.
Please call 416.391.5000 RSVP.
Dr. Charles McVety
President, Canada Christian College
P.S. An anti-Racism Rally will follow at the Darwin exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Thursday, June 12th at 12:30. Please invite your

It is staggering to me that people utter such nonsense, but even more incredible is their inability to actually comprehend what they are reading. I often joke about the black/white world of extremists, especially our right-wing in this country and in our current government. Their inability to understand nuance is astonishing, but they continue to reinforce my contention.

This reference for instance:

On page 178 of Darwin’s book The Descent of Man, he states, “At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world…The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, instead of as now between the negro or Australian (Aboriginals) and the gorilla.”

What he actually wrote:

At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked (18. ‘Anthropological Review,’ April 1867, p. 236.), will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.

As I read this passage, Darwin is not arguing that 'savages', (which incidentally was a term often used then and is now replaced by aboriginal), were not equal, were less, nor is he suggesting that they were a different species. The thrust of the argument is that links that support his theory will be eliminated, providing those who do not countenance it will have an argument to say 'see, there is no link!'

Well that discussion is long and complex to be sure and not really one I want to get into. The simplistic manner in which McVety is presenting it is a discussion that I'd like to have. His presence in our culture is not, imo, something to be taken lightly. If there is no clarification offered, as we've seen in the US, the movement grows to have a voice that is accepted, even embraced in government. That should be worrying.

McVety is either an idiot, or, he's crazy like a fox. I tend to lean toward the former.

Let's expose the nonsense. The right spends all of it's time twisting reality, let's spend ours straightening things out.

Friday, June 13, 2008

There is No Panacea, but...

I've been thinking about the Poilievre comment and it led me to reflect on the fact that this kind of commentary is becoming more and more common in our society. In much of our media, it's the norm in fact.

Consider the number of talk radio stations across the country. Personally I cannot think of any that promote progressive ideas. Indeed they promote precisely what Poilievre said and more/worse. He's somewhat controlled by the PMO, but continues to serve the Con's purpose. Radio guys? Well, they are not controlled and they lie with even more regularity than the party they defend.

Harperites may be tempted here to suggest that CBC has Cross Country Check-Up. Think about who the host is and give your head a shake.

Additionally, we have all these rabid columnists that not only lie, they promote an agenda that is so far out there it contravenes logic. Yet people are reading and listening to this stuff and swallowing it whole. There is a discussion to be had as to what kind of individual would do that, but let's leave that aside for a moment. The lack of counter perspective is obvious.

I'm not talking about counter spin, I'm speaking of truth.

I think it's both futile and counter productive to launch media with an aim to spin against the spin. What I think might be more productive is to adopt what the Obama campaign has done, but expand it somehow. Have it become something that transcends the net and reaches out as a source available to all. I understand that the net is the next up-rising, but there are people out there who are being fed a diet that is only destined to produce diarrhea.

I'm not sure how to do this and I would love to hear suggestions. At this point, I suspect it would cost a hell of a lot of money, but maybe there is a way to get investment by those who can credibly respond to the lies. I don't just mean Liberal supporters, I mean credible groups who can speak to issues and put the lies to rest.

It's just a thought, but Canadians are being exposed to only one side of many arguments over and over. It's time to put a stop to that. A website is a good start, but I think it needs to go farther.

What say you?

Sad News

Tim Russert
1950 - 2008

I don't know about you, but I cannot imagine the U.S. election without him. Very sad.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Missing the Point...Once Again

Reading and listening to reaction of Poilievre's initial remarks and his forced apology today, I'm astonished at how people are already starting to slough this off.

You expect the BT's to both agree with Poilievre's initial claim and then say 'get over it', he apologised. I don't expect the PM, MP's and an aging journalist to either misread the events or discount them as not worthy of disciplinary action.

The journalist I refer to is Craig Oliver. He may be a nice guy, I have no idea, but his misreading of so many events is incredible. Tonight, he rightly condemned Poilievre's comments, but then went on a rant as to how angry Harper was and how Pierre had ruined Harper's 'moment'. He actually said something to the effect that this was Harper's finest moment since taking office and Pierre screwed that up.

Harper's moment?

Well Mr. Oliver, the last time I checked, the apology wasn't about Mr. Harper, nor was it about the Conservative party. No, believe it or not, yesterday was actually about Canada doing the right thing for it's abhorrent actions taken against our aboriginal communities. Oliver doesn't even realise that with his comments, he demeans what the moment was meant to be. Astonishing.

By the PM saying the apology is enough, ignores what Poilievre actually said. He didn't make a mistake, he spoke his mind and revealed his beliefs.

What's being ignored is this. He said:

- 'Some of us are starting to ask...'

Who are the some he refers to? Somehow this guy doesn't strike me as someone who hangs out with people outside his party.

- 'there are some chiefs that do not want those rights to be extended to individuals'

He's claiming that the Lib's are blocking legislation to include aboriginals under the Human Rights act, ultimately blaming Chief's who he suggests wield too much power. The truth is, aboriginal women's groups asked for the Bill to be delayed so they could find the best way to implement it. Pierre knows the truth, but he twists it which reveals his built in bias.

- 'Along with this apology comes another, FOUR BILLION DOLLARS, in compensation for those who partook in the Residential schools...'

Partook? Aside from being an idiot, is he insane? Additionally, he's obviously making the point that any and all money going to aboriginal communities is wasteful and fails to understand what this compensation is for.


- 'My view is we need to engender the values of hard work and independence and self reliance, that's the solution....'

Well, it goes without saying that his view, (note, he said my view), is what got us here. That it still exists is beyond comprehension but that a 28 year old twerp continues to believe that he is superior to a group of people and can teach them something, is beyond disgusting.

How many more are out there? Many, I suspect, but thankfully not the majority. Good grief we're seeing the same language being used against Muslims today.

What Poilievre actually said cannot be brushed away as Harper attempted to do today. It's not a 17 year old comment that was dredged up, it happened on the very day that the apology was to be delivered. Poilievre, like some other members of that caucus, really believe that Canadians embrace the radical views some of them hold and further believe that is why they are in power. They call fellow MP's terrorist lovers, thieves and criminals on a daily basis.

To leave Harper out of that equation would be wrong. He may have delivered a statesman-like speech yesterday, but were I in his place, not only would Poilievre have lost his PS status, I would have booted him out, period. Something tells me that Dion would have done the same.

We have all been 28 and perhaps some readers here haven't yet reached that age...but we weren't all bigots at that age who reformed as we got older. His youth as an excuse has no place in this argument and his apology means squat.

Harper set himself and his government up yesterday to take real action and give his words substance. A mere 24 hours later, he failed to take the situation seriously.

Credible apology? Both Harper and Poilievre, imo, answered that question today.

Hey Pierre...Watch This!

Many have already commented on Poilievre's disgusting remarks yesterday, so I'm not going to waste too much time or energy on it.

While obviously it wasn't expected, especially yesterday, sadly it's not a complete surprise that he and I'm sure others in that party, were only going through the motions as they clapped without enthusiasm as their leader spoke.

I recommend watching this clip from CPAC, (f/f to 47:05). If that man's pain does not affect you and you cannot grasp the depth of what so many endured, you are one frightening individual.

What will be telling is whether or not Poilievre will be disciplined. That will tell us all we need to know about Harper and his sincerity.

Those who think this has gone unnoticed, think again. During votes in the House this morning, Poilievre was booed every time he stood.

Pierre's nasty remarks here @ :50.

Monday, June 09, 2008

A Moment in Time

Like all polls, this one reflects only this particular moment in time, but given the doom and gloom lately, I thought I'd put it out there as a bit of good news.

Yes, I know it may be fleeting, but it is an interesting snapshot that suggests the Con's have far less room for growth than the Lib's do.

The Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey compared attitudes toward the Tories and Liberals in a head-to-head, two-party format. The telephone poll of just over 1,000 Canadians found that 44 per cent of respondents would prefer a Liberal government after the next election, compared to 37 per cent who preferred the Conservatives.

Bruce Anderson of Harris-Decima says the survey indicates the Tories are ahead of the Liberals on leadership, but trail the Grits on questions of front-bench strength, values, and ideas for the future.

NDP supporters said they'd prefer a Liberal government by a three-to-one margin compared to the Tory alternative, and Green supporters favoured the Liberals by more than two to one.

Anderson argues that in a sharply polarized election campaign, the numbers could work in the Liberals' favour.

Going back to something I said in a previous post, an election about ideas could certainly keep us ahead and if the current ad strategy is any indication, it's guaranteed to be polarized.

This is a bit weird though;

Only Bloc Quebecois supporters were more favourable to a Conservative outcome, by a 43-35 margin.

More information revealed.

The poll also suggests that the Lib's will not pay a huge price for not felling the government.

- 8% want an election now
- 27% want it in the Fall
- 52% later than the Fall

Yes, leadership is still an issue, but I go back to what I've said for some time. Dion has be defined by the Con's, but he will define himself as he gains more press and especially during an election. The leadership issue is yet improved as well.

Harper - 35%
Dion - 26%

When you remove the other leaders, the gap narrows. Add to that no formed opinion, it narrows even more.

In the end, there were many of us that wanted to bring the Con's down now. I'm one of them. Was I wrong? The election will tell me that, but at this point I'm not going to pout.

My intent now is to watch and listen to what goes on during the summer.

Something tells me that substance will win over attack.

Track the Fear Mongering

Paul Wells has an interesting idea here.

In an effort to track paid ad buys geographically he's asked all of us to let him know when you here or see the juvenile ad campaign being launched by the Con's.

It's an interesting idea and I would encourage those of you who are interested in this issue, (how the parties intend to target the electorate), to take him up on his offer.

Apparently the ads at the gas stations will only appear in Southern Ontario, but the radio and TV spots appear to be national buys.

It'll be interesting to see how this plays out. The more I hear the gas pump bit, the more I'm reminded of stereotype of the guy on a NYC street corner who says, Pssst, wanna buy a watch?

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Call Me When the Adults are Back In the Room

We used to be a country that was taken seriously on the world stage. Our reputation for protecting human rights was solid, our Foreign Policy was respected and we had Ministers that actually knew what they were doing. We had solid fiscal management and when Dion was president of the UN Climate Change conference we were known as being serious about what the planet was facing.

Today? We have a buffoon as an Environment Minister that spends all of his time sabotaging legitimate action to fight climate change. He not only does this at home, but on the world stage. His aim is to step out of the way and let the provinces assume the responsibility his office is meant to shoulder. In short we have an Environment Minister focused on not doing anything for the Environment.

We had a vainglorious neophyte 'playing' at being Foreign Minister, before he was forced to resign for losing classified documents. Before him? Another neophyte who spent his time gushing over Condi Rice and telling her what a big fan he was of hers. So, 2 Foreign Ministers who knew nothing about foreign policy.

We have a Finance Minister that played a role in destroying the economy in Ontario, now doing the same thing to the country. His idea of a national strategy is to pit provinces against each other and like Baird, get out of the business of government as we know it. Our Finance Minister is best known as being a disastrous provincial Finance Minister.

Our Health Minister chooses ideology over sound policy and as such could conceivably put people at risk. Brilliant, a Health Minister unconcerned with the health of those citizens that do not fall under his neo-con umbrella.

Our Minister of Justice actually only works to protect and ensure justice for some people. Under this Minister, you will see justice if it fits his idea of same. Not all Canadians are treated equally by the Attorney General of Canada.

And then of course there is the Prime Minister. A megalomaniac who is obsessed with control. Control is paramount, because without it he would be unable to implement his ultimate plan, which of course is having the provinces essentially take care of themselves, rid us of any form of central social agencies, look after the military and defense and allow the free market to handle the rest. The person who heads up our Government has no interest in actually leading the country as we know it.

We no longer honour International Treaties and have reneged on our former commitment to work toward human rights for all, even Canadian citizens. The list goes on but you get the picture. How this country is being run and who is running it is a joke. Sadly the joke is on us.

In addition to all of this, the political discourse in this country has been reduced to childish taunts, bullying and political attack ads that are better suited for Saturday morning cartoons than an intelligent electorate.

I'm not going to link to the ridiculous ad campaign that the Con's have come up with, but I'm sure you've all seen it by now. I have never seen a political party, let alone a governing party, reduce itself to such inanity. You expect third party advertisers to get nasty, but the behaviour being demonstrated by our Government is beyond embarrassing and foreign to me.

This form of advertising suggests, that the Con's count on the lowest common denominator to be their supporters. Perhaps it's as simple as they have no intelligent way to combat real ideas, so this is what they are left with. Lies and juvenile ridicule.

It's also indicative of the fact that behind all their bluster, they are worried about Dion. They have no complaints about Quebec or BC bringing in carbon shifts, just Dion. Why? Because the idea has currency amongst serious thinkers and the last thing Harper wants is to be forced to concede that, let alone implement yet another federal program. Dion's plan is a threat to Harper's ultimate goals. I expect as more policy ideas by Dion come forward, a similar campaign will be launched on those.

It's difficult to think of two men more diametrically opposed in their vision for this country. Since Dion is rarely written about for his ideas, this obvious fact will likely not be seen before an election.

While it seems doubtful that Dion will pull the plug this week, I still wish he would. It would be nice to hear some adult conversation for a change.

Saturday, June 07, 2008


As I'm sure most of you have read in the Globe by now, Dion seems to be at odds with some members of the caucus as to when to call the election.

He seems committed to wait but he's being pressured to go now, the reverse of course of what was happening a short while ago. What has changed his mind?

It's hard to tell really. Perhaps the reluctance to change plans that have been put in place over the summer in terms of rolling out the tax shift and other policy ideas? While I respect the desire to take some time to lay out the environment plan carefully, I do think he'd have some powerful allies to help him explain the mechanics.

My sense is now is the right time. Watching the media panel on Newman's show yesterday, (ff to 39:00), I had mixed feelings. Somewhat excited to know that some Lib's want to go now and somewhat disappointed to learn that Dion is dead set against it. As always, I'll take the reports with a grain of salt, because I haven't heard Dion proclaim on this, but because names were mentioned and I haven't seen any of them come out to say it is untrue, you have to believe that the dynamic or at least a form of it exists.

A couple of things stand out. If Dion is really as isolated as is suggested, that is not a good thing. I understand Dion to be a pretty stubborn guy but I also read that he is collegial. So, I suppose we must ask what trait will dominate? The last time he was adamant, he seemed to take the collegial route. Could that happen again? My sense is that it could if, and only if, the arguments being put to him are logical and not craven.

I'm sure there is angst in the party about their ability to win. I'm also sure that Dion wants the conditions to be such that they can. That is the argument that must be put forward to him.

Don Martin of course had the best argument of all. The Con's do not want an election right now. Now, Don is not the most Liberal friendly guy and if you were the cynical sort, you may think that he was putting that out in an effort to lay a trap, but I don't think so. The panel all seemed to agree and it must be remembered that they all speak to many of the same people so he would be called out if he was spewing nonsense. (For the record, I happen to like Don Martin and consider him one of the more affable reporters who happens to lean in a different political direction than I do.)

So, what are we faced with? What is the down side to going now?

1. Summer elections are a terrible idea!

Yes I know but I tend not to fall into the conventional wisdom camp. If there are issues during a campaign that capture Canadians attention, they show up just as they do during a snow storm.

2. The Party is broke.

They have secured funds for the maximum election spending.

3. There is no platform.

Their policy and platform has been in the works for many, many months. My bet is this. It's ready. It's in the box to be wrapped and it's sitting on the wrapping paper. A bit of tape to seal it and a few bows to present it shouldn't be what holds us back.

4. A tax of any kind cannot be sold during an election.

On the surface that is a sound argument, except for that fact that the only people to shoot down the tax shift idea are flat earthers and tabloid opinionators. Sure, they have their audience...the 30 something per cent who love Harper. Who cares? For every juvenile and inaccurate article written about this topic, my sense is 3 will appear to explain it and justify it. Not just from Lib's, but from the rest of the credible community who understand it.

5. We haven't got 33% of our candidates, as women, in place.

I can't find the website at the moment, but at last check I think we were at 35% or 37%.

I guess I could go on forever with resisting arguments, but if the Con's being tired and not in favour of an election is not enough of a motive to go, well, I'm afraid I'd have difficulty in finding another one.

There is an obvious paucity of policy with the Con's. They have been on the defensive their entire term and there are no new ideas that I've seen offered. It's still the tough on crime and we cut your taxes meme and that's what they rely on. What they ignore are is how many people and groups they have ticked off and they have no answer for them.

So, here's hoping that Dion will be persuaded. Here's a reason that you can keep the faith. In the Globe report, they say he's not dealing with this and won't attend a meeting because he's gone to the cottage this weekend.

Uh, not so. He was at the GM plant today. Who knows where he will be tomorrow?

One last comment. Before the discussion on the panel got into the Liberal discussion, Susan Dellacourt made an interesting point. She was referring to the presser that James Moore called this week re' the Zytaruk tape and said, "it doesn't seem that the Conservatives are accustomed to being asked hard questions about stunts or things they are trying to pull..."

No kidding? For over 2 years no one has called them on it! My frustration aside, it is an interesting point, especially if we consider the upcoming election.

Maybe, just maybe, the press will notice what the Con's are doing, both in terms of what they are doing to the country and how they are pulling stunts to deceive it's inhabitants.

Timing? I think it's now.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

"The Tapes Are Entirely Not Credible Now"

The quote in the title comes from James Moore's interview with Don Newman tonight.

The more I think about this move by the Con's the odder it seems.

To Moore's chagrin, Newman actually applied logic to the bizarre press conference today and Moore, I think showed some of the Con cards by continuously going back to a statement like, 'I can't believe you're even talking about the tape Don. It's been discredited.' Hilarious. Look for that line to be repeated ad nauseum.

This still isn't making much sense though. Listen to the tape again, carefully.

It's clear at the beginning that the author is simply introducing the content of what is to follow, so yes, that is one separate piece of the tape. Though it's mumbled, (if you've seen him interviewed, he's a mumbler), Zytaruk does say something about an insurance policy and Harper says he doesn't know the details. Harper rambles on and when asked if perhaps the offer was made by fringe elements, Harper insists no, they were legitimately representing the party. He continues to ramble, then suddenly you hear a car start. Presumably that was Harper's car with staff, in the driveway where they were talking and no doubt it was Harper's cue to make an exit, (white noise?). It sounds to me like the car was backing closer to Harper as they spoke.

Now here it gets odd. Zytaruk is wrapping up and says thank you for that, then, and when. The tape cuts out. Is that just Zytaruk thinking he's done and turns off the recorder? It sounds like that to me. What the when related to I'd surely like to know, but then the next portion sounds as if Harper has reinstated the conversation either from the running car or just beside it. It sounds like he has thought about his comments and wants to clarify. Look at any presser this guy has called and he does that all the time. (He says something, goes on to the next question, then tries to undo what he just said by way of clarification.) He's not the first person on the face of the planet to do this of course, but he does represent a party that is infamous for covering it's tracks.

At the end of the tape you hear Zytaruk say, 'Well thanks very much, thanks for clarif...', yes he stopped the tape again, but it's clear that Harper was clarifying.

So, we have the tape stopped twice and 'white noise', that is easily identifiable, to me at least, and that renders the tape 'doctored'? I'm no expert and I'd surely like to be paid their salary, but this is beyond ridiculous.

What is hilarious is that I would probably have never listened to the tape again, had the Con's not brought it up. Here's the other thing. We had context for this tape. We knew it was in the Cadman driveway and we knew that Harper's car was parked there. Were the experts given that context? It seems to me if you are going to have someone proclaim on these things you'd tell them all that you know.

All of that said, the question remains, why are the Con's releasing this now? I don't buy that they just got the info and had to tell the world. If that is the case they are more moronic than even I thought. Everyone is now seized with going through every detail of this story.

You could proclaim what fools they...but is there something else going on that they want everyone distracted from?

Something still tells me that this is a "shiny object" story and I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop.

'Here's What I Want You to Do...'

So, suddenly, today, out of nowhere, the Con's claim that the Harper tape about Cadman was 'doctored'.

Bizarre? Maybe, but the Harper conservatives don't do anything without a 'plan'. Were internal polls telling them that Harper was not considered trustworthy? If the past polls are any judge, perhaps but I think it's more than that.

Moore's assertion is that part of the tape is missing. The CBC report claims that Harper's words were not changed,

Moore did not say that Harper's words had been changed, but implied the meaning had changed because of the missing eight minutes.

However, the National Post reports this:

"The Cadman tape has been doctored. The questions remain: who doctored the tape? When did they doctor it? And why did they do it?" said Conservative MP James Moore.

The Conservative party said it has filed a court injunction to restrain the Liberal party from using the tape.

"The tape is incomplete, the tape was doctored by inserting a sound clip that was fabricated," Mr. Moore said, while speaking in French at a news conference.

So what was inserted and fabricated? Some reports claim 'white noise'. Does that mean that some of what Harper said was blocked? I still do not see how this discounts what we all heard Harper say.

All of that to say that this feels like a 'look at the shiny object' moment. Considering all that has been piling up for the Con's, something about this just feels wrong.

Kady reports that she got Ryan Sparrow's assurance that there were no chain of custody issues. Well I understand that she has to take him at his word, but I don't. This is the same Ryan Sparrow who was busy holding secret briefings to preferential reporters in an attempt to spin the RCMP/Elections Canada raid? Yea, that guy is always straight with the press!

Call me crazy but it's tough not to think of Grewal here. Not that I think the Con's doctored the tape themselves in this case, because that would be crazy right? After all, the author sent the same tape to many people so it would be really odd if only this one was different.

Hmmm. Looking at this CP report that includes some of what the forensic experts said, the allegation seems pretty flimsy.

Audio experts Alan Gough of Stratford, Ont., and Tom Owen of Colonia, N.J., separately examined copies of the tape and reached similar conclusions.

"The tape has been edited and doctored and does not represent the entire conversation that took place," Owen said in a sworn statement.

"This is not a continuous recording of one conversation," Gough said in his affidavit.

"The interruptions of words, changes of background ambience and changes of frequency response indicate that this may be three separate recordings."

If it's not one continuous recording of one conversation, did Harper meet Zytaruk more than once? Is it not just possible that the tape was stopped 3 times due to excess noise? How often does the ambient noise change on your street over the course of minutes?

This just does not add up.

Update - I tend to agree with Steve. Making the tape inadmissible could speak to the fact that their case did not look good with the tape in play.

Update 2 - The tape. The transcript.

Update 3 - Here's Zytaruk's response. h/t to Kady