Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Welcome to the Bush Leagues

The Ballot Box Question - Leadership?

Harper spokesperson Kory Teneycke has responded exactly as you'd expect, to the charges of plagiarism that are dogging the PM today.

With a shrug and a dismissive comment he attempted to toss aside the fact that Harper plagiarised parts of his speech given in the House by depicting it as 'old news'.

"I'm not going to get into a debate about a five year-old speech that was delivered three Parliaments ago, two elections ago, when the prime minister was the leader of a party that no longer exists," Teneycke said.

He went on in an interview with Chris Hall of the CBC, to suggest that the real issue of the election is the economy and the Liberals are trying to divert from that. Hmmm. I thought the Conservative brain trust wanted this election to be about leadership?

What kind of leader plagiarises? A dishonest one.

The Conservatives I imagine are scrambling at this moment and we can only hope that the media will not buy their ridiculous spin once again.

This is important. It speaks to everything about Harper that he has tried for so long to conceal about himself. His character. Anyone willing to speak to the constituents of this country as an elected official, be he the PM, the Leader of the Opposition, or just an MP for that matter, should be expected to speak with integrity, honesty and most importantly with his or her own voice. Not just their own personal voice, but one that reflects, and is relevant to, this country and it's history.

Those of us who have watched this man over the years may not have been aware of this particular incident and gawd knows the media didn't seem to notice or tell us about it at the time, but I can tell you I am not the least bit surprised to learn that the man stooped to this level. He in fact will do anything to grab support, any and all support he can get, without regard for the ethics (or lack there of) involved in attaining it.

Consider the following actions in direct contradiction of how Harper said he would conduct himself and the business of the country:

- the appointment of Michael Fortier
- the poaching of Emerson
- the partially enacted Accountability Act that gives him room to cheat it.
- the character assassination of the Opposition Leader and members of the Liberal party.
- the 'Quebec is a Nation' ploy
- the cover up of Afghan detainee torture allegations
- Income Trust promise
- the disregard of Canadians detained abroad, especially in the US
- doing what he said he never would
- lying about an Environment plan
- lying about what his opponents are proposing
- breaking the fixed election date law for partisan reasons

Quite the stand up guy that Harper! Shall I go on?

Harper is not a politician, nor is he interested in governing this country in a manner that would take into account all of it's citizens. He is an ideologue in politician's clothing, willing to employ every and all unethical tactics to gain power to shape the country into his narrow ideal. An ideal I may add that has succeeded no where in the world as a democracy and has no relevance in the integrated world in which we live.

As this story gains momentum, I'm reading elsewhere that the BT's are bringing up Rae and Ignatieff quotes from the past.

Nice try guys, but issue is plagiarism, ethics and integrity. We're not talking about a change in philosophy or political stance. To the best of my knowledge Harper has never stood down from his desire to go to Iraq and I certainly haven't heard him deny this latest allegation.

Leadership is the last word that any Canadian should associate with Harper.

Update - Harper is asking the consortium to extend the debate on the economy to 1 hour from 12 minutes.
Update II - The NDP are rushing to defend their buddy Harper. What a surprise! See last paragraph.

Harper is Hollow

Have you ever wondered why Harper seems to have no real policy to offer during this election?

In fact, he really didn't have any to offer the last time around either. Oh, he dangled small candies wrapped in shiny paper and an electorate looking for change grabbed before they really determined what might be in the wrapper.

Truth be known, there was nothing in the wrapper. You see, this is a man who doesn't really believe in 'policy' per se, nor is he equipped to make any on his own. Oh, he has an ideology of how government should be run, but real policy? No there is none of that. Nor does he have the talent within his caucus to provide him with any, so what's a leader to do? How do you speak to Canadians and fool them into thinking that you are as capable as your opposition, when you have nothing to offer?

Well, as we've seen throughout this campaign, you lie of course. If you are a leader who is willing to lie to the electorate, what else might you be willing to do? Steal someone else's words perhaps and pass them off as your own?

You be the judge.

Stephen Harper. A man so bereft of ideas, so lacking in an understanding of how to develop foreign policy based on Canada's history and commensurate with it's values, he instead opt's to copy policy from another country, another leader, someone who was in lock step with US.

That's who the Conservatives call strong? Harper is not a leader, he is a follower of the worse kind.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Wake Up Canada!

This picture best describes what Harper thinks of 'regular' Canadians. At least those who do not consent to providing their name and address before getting into pre-arranged events to see him.

He's not interested in speaking to Canadians who disagree with him, you see. During this campaign he's not held one event that wasn't vetted. He's content to stay in his bubble where even the media will lob him soft balls.

You may have noticed that Mansbridge has invited all the leaders on to the National for an interview and a segment called Your Turn. Layton went first, tonight it was May, Dion is next week and Harper said he may appear, but he would not participate in the Your Turn segment.

Are you surprised? I didn't think so. You see, it would be easy enough for him to answer the question, because often he lies when he has to answer something that would shine the light of truth on him. He gets away with that because reporters are not allowed a follow up question.

On Your Turn though, Mansbirdge does often follow up and then Harper could be put on the spot. I say could because I've yet to see anyone in the media actually challenge the man so who knows if Mansbridge actually would, but apparently it's not a risk that Steve is willing to take.

So there you have it folks. Big old, brave Stevie just doesn't have the courage to face you because he knows that you could expose him for what he is. Furthermore, he doesn't care what you think. He has an agenda and he's going to follow that come hell or high water so your thoughts are irrelevant.

I'm not making this statement simply based on this one show you understand. Since the campaign began the number of events that Harper has opened to the public? 0 In contrast, Dion has attended at least 38.

Tell me again who cares about the people of this country and is prepared to tell them the truth?

Conservatives continue to push the line, in these uncertain times, (but our economy is strong, cough), you need a steady hand on the tiller that will keep us going in the same direction. Not if we are heading for a storm we don't.

We need someone who is willing to listen and consult others that have a different perspective and can navigate the storm instead of plowing headlong into it.

Harper knew this economic storm was coming and he bet he could call an election and get through it before the worse hit. Based on today, I'd say his timing was a bit off.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Ignoble Mr. Harper

Stephane Dion was in St. Thomas today making general announcements and announcements that will affect agriculture specifically.

He was introduced by Gerrard Kennedy, as the man he is. A man who has fought for the unity of this country and has remained in politics only to contribute to making the country stronger.

When he approached the podium, there was something a little different that I couldn't put my finger on. He seemed to cast aside his notes and certainly wasn't encumbered by a tele-prompter in the middle of a field. Very quickly, he re-capped why he entered politics then referred to Mr. Harper and the style, (if you can call it that), he adopts against his opponents.

He reminded us with a hint of disbelief of how, when Dion asked about the treatment of prisoners in Afghanistan, Harper called him a Taliban sympathiser. He went on to say, with justifiable resentment in his voice, that he thought Harper couldn't go any lower after suggesting that his Action Plan would divide the country. He then shared with us Harper's latest insult that I presume he uses to fire up his base and that is, 'Stephen Harper has now said that I am virtually cheering for a recession'. He didn't disguise his anger or his incredulity.

Harper, a man who is so driven to gain more power, he resorts to attacking the character and motivation of an honourable opponent, without any regard for the consequences is leading this country people and is asking for a blank cheque to continue.

Well, if today was any indication, I can tell you Dion is not going to take the barrage of lies and insults ling down. My words, not his, were enough is enough and I suspect those who saw Dion speak today could hear them too.

I saw the speech on CTV. It was also on CPAC, but the CBC in their infinite wisdom chose not to carry it. I don't know if you've noticed, but this is not the first time. It' also common for them to break into a Dion speech, in order to cut to Harper. If there is a company out there that is tracking exposure for these leaders, I'd be really interested in the numbers.

As an aside, this morning Dion spoke at a seniors residence that Gerrard Kennedy had arranged. It was not a grand affair, and the speech certainly wasn't as fiery, but it was fine. Immediately following the speech, the seniors themselves were given an opportunity to ask questions. A few did then it went to the scrum. After a couple of questions from the press about the Liberal candidate in Winnipeg, a senior stood and said, 'We don't care about that stuff. I thought this was for us!" Dion took his question, then it was back to the anointed story tellers, (am I getting cynical?), and more irrelevant questions, which got the whole crowd yelling at the media. I confess it made me laugh out loud.

Dion was in a tough spot, but being who he is, he said he was not Stephen Harper and we must respect the freedom of the press. What do you suppose Harper would have done in the same circumstance?

I later heard Susan Bonner describe the incident and she was quite indignant, saying she'd never seen anything like it. In other words, how could those people have done that to the press! She of course missed their message and what most of the country is saying.

We don't care about the trivial bits you are feeding us because it amounts to the level of debate we get from Harper. Mean spirited and meaningless. We're interested in the issues!

Note to Dion handlers: Let Dion speak as himself. Throw away the tele-prompter and speeches whenever possible.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What? Did I Just Hear a Question on Policy?

Following his speech in Trois Rivieres today, Dion as usual made himself available for questions.

I don't recall the first one, but it was something much along the same lines as we've heard throughout the campaign. In other words, hollow.

Suddenly though, he was asked about Free Trade, then the Oil Sands, then again something with substance. I couldn't believe my eyes and ears. I practically shouted finally at the tv, but then of course, the inane came in right on cue.

Once again CTV's Graham Richardson was telling Dion, and us, what Canadians think about Harper and that they don't believe what Dion is saying about him.

Dion did point out that Richardson's characterization of what he had said about Harper was inaccurate, but Graham just doesn't seem to get it. So, my advice to Dion would be to answer with, '...it's not the man that people should fear, it's his philosophy, his ideology, specifically as it relates to economics and the economy of this country that people should know and beware of. That describes how he is similar to Bush and speaks to what we seeing going on in the US.

In an earlier scrum, Dion said, "It's the Economy Stephen". Good line. I'd keep it and point to how precisely he is the wrong fiscal manager for this time, use the US example and dig up some quotes of how Harper believes the economy, vis a vis government, should be handled.

Just as an example of how differently the press treat Harper, one of the journalists in his scrum today began his question with something like, "Mr. Harper you're one of the most prominent trained economists in the country...".

Please. Do you remember in all those years before he entered politics anyone calling on him for his expert opinion? No, I didn't think so.

Now, can we please get down to issues and could someone kindly ask Harper what the heck his vision is for this country, let alone his platform?

Yes Virginia, There is an Ideologue

Haven't the Conservatives been trying to spin their financial cuts to Arts groups as simple re-allocation and management decisions?

Well, the guy who holds purse strings begs to differ. In fact, for once in his public life, it seems he actually spoke the truth.

Mr. Flaherty yesterday described the cuts as cost-containment measures, but he noted politics played a part in the decision-making process.

"We are a Conservative government and the ministers who sit on the Treasury Board have that hat on as well," he told the National Post editorial board. "This is not a bureaucratic process. The decision is made by the ministers who sit on the Treasury Board and they have views on certain programs."

This decision was not prudent financial management. It was a conscious, ideologically based decision and I would add a vindictive move, full stop. This is yet another example of who this government is really comprised of.

Is the picture getting clearer yet?

You know, I listened to Graham Richardson ask Dion some questions today at his scrum. Richardson kept harping on the fact that Dion compares Harper to Bush and suggested that Canadians just don't believe that. He, Richardson, should perhaps tell us why that is. Could it be because the media has been telling us that since he took office?

While this particular example is of Flaherty admitting why the cuts were made is really only a small example of what they are able to do in a minority government, does anyone really think that there would be funding for the Arts at all if they had a majority?

What Dion is trying to point out is the 'let the free market handle it' mentality that the two men share. I'd like people like Richardson, (whom I generally respected before this tour it should be noted), to disabuse me of that fact.

Can You See the Pattern Yet? Hint, It's Not Paisley

Let me introduce you to MP Lee Richardson. He's one of those MP's you don't see much of or hear from too often.

He broke that pattern recently though during an interview with Fast Forward, and here is some of what he had to say.

In light of recent shootings in Calgary, Fast Forward contacted Richardson September 18 to ask how the Conservative approach to crime compares to other parties’ approaches. In reply, Richardson said Canada has been too “soft on crime” by showing too much sympathy towards offenders and their civil rights. “Particularly in big cities, we’ve got people that have grown up in a different culture,” said Richardson, 60. “And they don’t have the same background in terms of the stable communities we had 20, 30 years ago in our cities… and don’t have the same respect for authority or people’s person or property.”

“Canada accepts so many refugees, for example,” he said. “These are people that have had a very difficult life from whence they came. If you’ve been in a refugee camp, then you live day-to-day. And those are troubled people. They come here and, well, it’s easy to take advantage of people that are trying to help.”
Richardson added: “Talk to the police. Look at who’s committing these crimes. They’re not the kid that grew up next door.”

So, there you have it. The Conservatives want to increase immigration, but only if they look like them and were brought up like them. Maybe their next announcement during their kindergarten presentation of, 'It's Crime Week boys and girls', will include locking up immigrants with 14 year olds?

Wake up people! This party is not your Mother's or your Grandfather's PC's. How much do you need to see to realize just who they are?

Ryan Sparrow, Tech-shoppe boys, Gerry Ritz, Lee Richardson, oh the list does go on. And what is the pattern? The mentality these people hold is not that of mainstream Canada.

They, including Harper, call Dion and Layton, 'fringe and extreme'. Are you kidding me? No, it is the Conservative Party of Canada who wins that award and the sooner Canadians open their eyes, the better.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Rober Fife & Loser LeDrew

If you don't recognise this man, don't worry, you're hardly alone.

His name is Stephen LeDrew and he once was the president of the Liberal party. He perhaps had some credibility and influence in his day, but believe me, that is far in the past and to pretend that he knows or has anything useful to add to a contemporary conversation is ridiculous.

Robert Fife doesn't seem to think so though, perhaps because he is of the same time. Fife is basing his comments on Dion this morning based on what LeDrew has to say and that is how he is describing the campaign. Never mind facts, never mind issues, let's just report what a 'has been' determines to be important.

Here is who Fife is depending on to guide him through what is really going on.

LeDrew, doesn't believe that we have anything to do with Climate Change. He'll occasionally admit that weather patterns seems to be extreme, but claims there is NO scientific proof that we have a thing to do with it.

Last year, he ran for mayor of Toronto. He got a whopping 1.3% of the vote, hence my reference to loser.

Currently, he has a radio talk show with the socially right-wing commentator, Michael Coren and though the show is meant to present 2 contrary points of view, he often agrees with Coren, not that it matters because generally the show devolves into flatulence jokes and self indulgent proclamations.

LeDrew has slagged Dion since he won the leadership. In his opinion, what Dion has to offer is less important than how he offers it. He frequently derides him in the same way that Harper and co. do, even claiming that the puffin incident was extraordinarily funny and Canadians should just get over themselves.

He makes no bones about being a Stephen Harper fan, who he thinks has been doing a great job with the country.

Stephen LeDrew, is to me, about as deep as a puddle. Oh, he's studied and knowledgeable in historical political trivia, but he is a relic that does not speak to today's realities and obviously has not expanded his political studies far enough to know who Stephen Harper is and where he intends to lead this country.

Politics is a big game to this man, even at a time when the outcome really does matter.

So, Robert Fife who mournfully told us that Dion is not getting the big rally turnouts like Harper is, depends on the likes of LeDrew to bolster his narrative. Rather than telling us what Dion is speaking about and why it matters, he refers to it being tough to sell a carbon tax, which of course is a ridiculously simplistic and inaccurate way to sell the platform.

Newsflash Fife. While Harper has been busy restricting his large audiences to party faithful and small ones only to those who would provide their name and address, Dion has been meeting with real people in Town Halls, taking questions from everyone, even dissenters.

While Harper uses the RCMP to shield himself at times and his candidates from journalists, Dion answers everyone of your inane questions knowing that you are likely to twist his answers.

Today Fife said that Dion only met with a Chamber of Commerce group and a few students in BC. A few students? 500 packed into UBC and the reception was incredible.

The press has been making these false claims from the outset. It's not only false, it's disrespectful to those who rely on their words and an insult to democracy.

Oh, one last thing to the media who attend these events. I suggest instead of searching for a way to keep your false narrative going that you do two things. First, listen to the questions the students ask. They are far more considered than most of what I've heard from you thus far and second, try reading the platforms that are being offered. I promise you you'll learn something useful to pass on to us.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Platforms and Pessimists

Dion released the Liberal platform today. I happen to really like it for a few reasons.

It highlights what we can achieve going forward by taking a different approach to our economy, specifically as it compares to the past 30 months.
It not only speaks to fiscal discipline with the guarantee of not going into deficit, (by use of the plan), it also speaks to the specific areas of our country that have been either ignored or hit by the previous Conservative government. Of course, all of this is done through the lens of environmental sustainability.
All aspects of the plan are important, but the one that I don't think is being factored in enough, (especially relative to the polls), and the one that I think will resonate with many are the social justice issues that the Conservatives have ignored or cut completely.
Do not underestimate the power of reinstating Kelowna. It's true it cannot be reinstated at the same rate it once could given what the books are likely to look like, but it will be reinstated at a more cautious pace. Don't underestimate how real daycare and early learning will be received, nor the benefits for post secondary education. These things and others, combined with tax cuts and credits, really do speak to the hearts and minds of average Canadians and obviously they will be discussed at length over the next few weeks.
Now, there are indeed some pessimists out there that argue the platform should have be put out sooner. Fair enough, but then again, it's also being argued that no one is yet listening or cares, so how would that have helped? Would it have staunched the lead the Con's hold? I don't know but if the listening level is low, probably not. The Conservatives would simply have changed the record and would be making up new nonsense as they did today when they took over 4 hours to respond.
Jack also responded with some nonsense of his own and it cannot be ignored that he's been doing alright in terms of the numbers, but, he's about to come out with his own costing and given that it's based on not understanding the value of corporate taxation levels, it's hardly going to be a plan that is broadly accepted by economists, etc.
Meanwhile, Harper offered us more threats by suggesting that all crime bills will be a matter of consequence and some more tuff on crime legislation. In this case making it possible for 14 year old's to spend life in prison. Insanity. Such vision for the country and hope for it's future.
Time will tell as to the success of Dion's plan, but watching him today it was clear that he is ready for the fight. Which reminds me. Could we maybe do without the teleprompter for a while? His passion and belief in this vision are so much more evident when he speaks off the cuff.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


The YouTube vid at the end of this post is one that I think is exceptionally clever.

It's aimed squarely at the Conservative bill C-10 and does an excellent job of poking at the McVety types in the party. While it's very funny, the level of production and the very fact that it's been made tells you how seriously the Arts are to Quebecers.

This is something that Dion knows and believes in.

Now. I'll give everyone fair warning. There is some strong language and some of the production is in French. So if swearing disturbs you or you don't care to listen to French (though you can still get the intent), please don't listen.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Don't Believe Everything You Read In the Paper

How many times today did you hear that Dion hasn't mentioned the Green Shift in two days? It's absolute nonsense, untrue and yet another example of the press creating a false narrative.

I confess, when I first saw the headline today I was more than troubled. I was shaking my head and saying whaat the hell!?

Then I re-listened to the tape on CPAC this afternoon and while I only came in part way, I heard him mention the Green shift twice.

So right off the bat, the headline and the manner in which many stories are being reported are wrong. No, more than wrong. They are lies. Why are they trying to destroy this man, should be the question?

From day one they ran with the narrative that the Con's put out and they have amplified it. The government that wanted/wants, nothing to do with them, the press, they mirror! It's incredible but it's happened.

Robert Fife of CTV tried to nail Dion at this afternoon's scrum by framing his question something like this.

You've always said that the Green Shift was the (inaudible so it may have been the word central) plank of your platform.

Dion responded with, you've said that, not me. He went on to explain that the Green Shift was the foundation.

To build a solid house, you need a solid foundation. I've said the Green Shift is important and it's important for Canada, but it's not the only part of our platform and not all we have to offer.

Note. I'm paraphrasing.

He also said that all his announcements, including yesterday's infrastructure announcement, was based on green principles, as was the farming announcement that he made today. Components of the Green Shift are applied in both announcements, but it's not everything.

You know what really tick's me off? Last week the media was screaming that Dion has to bring out the team (which was always the plan) and ditch the Green Shift. This week their inaccurate narrative is that he is following their former narrative and isn't that terrible! Bizarre doesn't begin to explain this.

I guess the name of the game for the press following these tours is to make themselves relevant. Newsflash....the election is not about CTV or CBC or Canadian Press. This is dangerous stuff and how we've allowed this is more than concerning.

Seriously people, we have a problem here. Our democracy has a problem here.

I know there is angst out there among Liberal supporters and perhaps some of it is deserved, but I ask that you consider the source of what raised your temperature and measure that with what is true.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Friendly Fire Running Rampant?

Umm? So you are running from, for the Conservatives because......?
Link - Another witty take.

The Larger Narrative

Not only is Harper defending Ritz, he's alluding to the fact that the public service is to blame. Of course he is. That's what he does. How many times have we seen him do that before?
I think it is really important for Canadians to compare and contrast the Conservatives and the Liberals and their respective visions for the country.
On the heels of Ritz's deplorable comments coming to light, we learn about a plan to deregulate food inspections even further.
If elected, a federal Conservative government plans to stop delivering provincial meat inspection programs in Manitoba leaving local consumers exposed to the risk of unsafe meat.
The plan is revealed in a secret Treasury Board of Canada decision record, dated May 6, 2008, documenting the acceptance of a proposal concerning "Provincial Meat Slaughter Establishments (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, British Columbia)" which calls for the "elimination of federal delivery of provincial meat inspection programs."
"Meat produced in provincially registered facilities in Manitoba would not be inspected by anyone under this plan," says Bob Kingston, President of the Agriculture Union
Keep in mind that this comes after the changes made in April of this year that affected the inspections at the Maple Leaf plant. At that time food inspector's were relegated to reading the reports of inspectors from the plant, not actually doing the inspections themselves.
This plan is really what is at the root of the remarks by Ritz, or Cannon's assistant, or similar remarks made by Tony Clement, in August who avoided the listeriosis crisis all together. (update: Clement denied that he made any remarks today.)
While rarely reported it on, it is well known that Harper's model for Canada is to decentralize to the extreme, have a group of provinces fending for themselves and allow a free market to look after everything else. In other words, government isn't there to look after it's people. One would think that in order to believe that, there has to be a certain amount of disdain held for some of the people they are supposed to be serving. I'm not saying Conservatives are heartless creatures, but I am saying that this particular party is comprised of many people who have a very simple worldview and that is reflected in many of the comments we have heard them make over the years.
In short, we have a government made up largely of people learning on the job, trying desperately to re-shape Canada without letting it's inhabitants know the plan. It's necessary that they do not let us know, because it's a minority position. Is it a valid position? It's valid only in that it exists but one need only look south to see whether or not it's effective.
Compare that group, to the Liberal benches and, well, you just can't. Dion alone has 10 years of cabinet experience and I can't even count how many former Ministers are in the ranks. Separate and apart from that, the vision the Liberals have for the country is one that most Canadians know, expect and share. Fiscal discipline balanced with investment into those areas that require help.
So as vile as the comments were, the story is much larger and it would be nice to see the media expand their narrative to at least examine that. There is an agenda media. You just seem unable or unwilling to explore it.
Update - These are real people, not just stat's.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Who Is the Conservative Party of Canada?

Well we all know who runs the party and who sets the tone, it's Harper of course, he told us as much last week when he had to apologise twice for gaffes made by his staff.

I'm not sure it's fair to call them gaffes really. The staffers involved were likely simply following standard operating practices.

Those of us who follow this stuff as closely as the aroma of fresh coffee in the morning, have seen this behaviour from day one. In the House, at committee or by the behaviour of the PM with the press, etc. We see it in how he governs with no regard to how people are affected by his policies, so it's not new. I'm not however convinced that people who do not follow politics actually are aware of just how 'goon-like', while at the same time juvenile, some people in that party really are.

Week one brought us two examples. This week brings us one more.

Workers on the campaign of a Conservative MP who declined to participate in the in-and-out advertising scheme in the 2006 election were denounced as "idiots" and a "bunch of turds" by senior party officials, who wanted to "put the fear of God" into them for not taking part in the contentious TV and radio purchases.

This one is a little more interesting isn't it? Not only is there some evidence that they do indeed strong arm their members, it's linked to that darned In and Out scandal that just won't go away.

Mr. MacKenzie's campaign manager, Bruce Richards, said in one email that the plan for the campaign to contribute $10,000 to the media buys "has caused some concern internally."

Mr. Richards is the former chief of police in Ingersoll, Ontario.

Poor guy. He actually seemed to have some ethical radar. Little did he know that is not valued in the Conservative Party of Canada.

Mr. Richards replied that the Oxford campaign didn't have enough space under its local spending limit to take on the extra $10,000 expense limit, anyway.

Realising it was going to put him over his limit, he did the right thing in refusing, but the right thing isn't the same as the right wing, thing.

"These idiots in Oxford have now told me they don't have room for the $10K," Mr. Bracken wrote. "These people really take the cake."
Mr. Donison wrote back: "What a bunch of turds - this is not going to cost them a cent nor give them a moment of cash flow problem and in fact will allow them $6,000 more in their reimbursement and they still try to wiggle out!"

Yeah. Tell me that these people didn't know exactly what they were doing.

But he asks Mr. Donison to "do me a favour Mike and have the heavies from Ottawa come down like a ton of brick on BRUCE RICHARDS."

I don't generally do the Bush comparison thing, but if this doesn't sound Rovian, then I don't know what does.

I haven't seen the national media run with this yet. After all, they are much too busy explaining Liberal strategy to us. But we'll see.

So, we have an other example of who the party is and how they abuse people and power.

One other small example was cited today at Harper's announcement. Apparently, you could not be near enough to actually hear the PM, unless you gave your name and address.

Open, transparent, man of the people! Right.

h/t - Far and Wide

Monday, September 15, 2008

What the Media Isn't Reporting

This is one of the French ads I referred to earlier.

I really like these too. If you don't understand French, it basically goes through Harper's record, Arts cuts, lining up with Bush on the environment, watching thousands lose their jobs without lifting a finger to help, etc. and asks, is that a strong leader? It answers it too with a resounding, no. That is not a leader.

It then goes to what a real leader is. Someone with courage, conviction and someone who promotes hope, not fear. It expands to suggest a real leader is someone who inspires through his passion, his ideas and his integrity.

It closes with, a leader is someone who crosses the country to explain his plan and answers the questions of Canadians. The real strong leader is Stephane Dion.

And that brings me to the point of this post. Dion travelled across the country this summer to both big and smaller crowds. He had the courage of his conviction to propel him and it was rewarded by interest and an understanding of who the man is.

He's continued this during the election, holding 18 'open' events, (meaning no screening), since hitting the road, including 2 Town Halls. How many do you think Harper has held? Guess.

Zero, zilch, notta one! Oh, the media goes on and on about all of Harper's events and how enthusiastic the participants are, but they are all partisan supporters. Does he have the courage to do a Town Hall? Not on your life. He barely tolerates the media and is only taking them in on the election tour to promote his phony 'nice guy' image.

Dion isn't afraid of questions from Canadians, because he believes in his plan and he has nothing to hide. Harper? Not so much. He doesn't completely believe in his plan but is tolerating it in order to have Canadians buy that he is a centrist. He also has quite a bit to hide, doesn't he?

Additionally, it's been notable that few members of his team have been available to the media. Some have, but it's my understanding that unless you are a cabinet minister, say no to media.

Well, one of those Ministers was on CPAC today. That would be Baird. The show started off with I 'heart' Harper people, but things took an abrupt turn suddenly. Women started calling in and lacing into him. Calling him a liar, a bully, an embarrassment on the world stage, you name it. The host and Baird both squirmed and winced. The host, who is immanently fair, did so out of surprise at the strength of the words, Baird out of embarrassment.

There is a reason these guys aren't put before the public too often. They have a lot of heat to take on what they have done. They really do believe Canadians are stupid and haven't been watching. Guess what? They have been.

That said, I think the polls may be underestimating what is actually going on with Lib visits to regions of this country. Both Dion's and Lib MP's.

Finally, I want to say that it was brilliant to see Stephane respond to the media today in NFLD. Brennan and others were shouting out questions like, 'how can you sell a new tax when we see what is going on in the States?'. Calmly but forcefully, Dion said, 'You're framing your question the same way the Conservatives do. It's not a new tax, it's a shifting of taxes. Income taxes will come down and polluters will pay.'

I'm paraphrasing, but that is the essence of what he said and what is most important, is that he gently pointed out that the questioners/media are using the Conservative narrative as their take off point.

Brilliant and Bravo!

New Ad

In addition to some new ads for Quebec, a new English ad was also added today.

The ad hits accurately at Harper's record and shows the way forward with a plan for the economy.

It's succinct and I think it will be effective.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Week to Come...Your Ideas

What will this week bring? I'm going to focus first on what it shouldn't bring.

Last week's coverage of the election brought with it so much dross, it was hardly worth wading through. While there were a couple of objective looks at the week's events, most said more about the author than the event they were covering.

So here's the deal MEDIA. We have a scant month to actually be informed by you guys. I don't frankly care too much for your impression of how a candidate is doing, but would prefer that you cover what actually happened. I'd like to know how people reacted, speak to those people, (unless it's a partisan rally) and tell us the turnout, honestly. I read a few pieces that suggested Dion wasn't getting turnout. Do you think we are married only to your column and don't consume other forms of media? We saw with our own eyes how people turned out for Dion events and what their reaction was. Your attempt to portray the contrary is not only pathetic, but transparent.

This one for instance that suggests:

the brilliance of an early autumn weekend in beautiful British Columbia lay a trail of mangled messages, miscast backdrops and sparse crowds.

Absolute nonsense.

To be honest, I don't think opinion writers should be travelling with the party's at all. Journalists, of course, but why should opinion narratives dominate the news? Their sole objective is to glom on to what they need to either promote their guy or excoriate the opponent. I don't care what plane they are flying on. How is that useful?

That said, I think Canadians can wade through the nonsense, but we have precious little time in this country during an election to get the straight goods. Unlike the prolonged agony that we call an election in the US, our window is short. Two debates, which I think is ridiculous, and 35 days of campaigning that most people tune in and out of because hey, they have lives.

Other things to focus on this week.

The Liberals should be talking about and taking on the the report that the Con's asked for forcefully. May brought it to our attention this week. It tells us that everything they, the Con's, have been saying is patently false. We should also demand that the Conservatives tell us who supports their plan. The answer is NO ONE. Any and all handouts should succinctly note who supports the Liberal concept.

If we are speaking of things environmental, focus on Jack too. His plan isn't as bad as Harper's obviously, but demand time lines from him. Facts, details, cost, impact and the range of their relief for Canadians compared to the Lib plan. Don't let Jack off the hook.

Dion has to hit back hard. Not dirty, but factually hard. I'm a strong proponent for having an intellect leading this country. Somehow that has become a negative and I cannot understand why. Have we become a nation of non thinkers? Do we resent people who actually consider the direction of where the country should go? Have we put so little into our education system that it matters more to the masses that if you drink coffee at Tim's you are one kind of person and the 'other' is to be demeaned?

Elections should not be won or lost on this drivel.

What we have been told so far is all nonsense people. We have week two coming up. Give me your ideas of what we should do. How can we turn this around to show reality and win?

Look forward.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Week that Was and How the Press Saw It

I watched Don Newman's Politics tonight and was both intrigued and put off by the press gallery's take on the week that just went by.

They saw Dion's week differently than I did and I think differently than most Canadians who saw him did. Obviously, I'm a supporter, so I'm going to see it in a different light. That is not to say that the press don't have a built in bias too.

Now, I'm not referring to a political party bias. I'm referring to a bias of expectations to see politics and political leaders play the game in the traditional way. You have to know that these people have been avid political observers for some time and are junkies for the stuff just as we are, more so in fact. They look for the big traditional moments and gauge a campaign on that.

Paul Wells made an interesting comment and said that 'politics is a craft'. He's right to an extent, except with that statement he infers that it must always remain thus and models of the past are the only ones to go by. I disagree.

Oddly, the panel all nodded in unison at how May was doing things differently and it was a good thing, but they didn't say that about Dion. I grant you, May has a quirkiness about her and she's a good orator, but she's not status quo. Nor is Dion. Why is that not discussed? May is not going to be PM obviously, but they are putting out different standards for what makes news.

Dion is far more animated in front of groups than is Harper, yet they see Harper as solid. He's not evasive with the press, and while Harper has been more open this time around, he still ducks the issues and throws out patent nonsense. Yet they give Harper credit for his handling of the press. Bizarre.

It's very curious to me that not once during the discussion did they speak to the substance of what each person is offering this country. They did mention the Green Shift, only to reinforce the ridiculous cliche that it's complicated. This on a day when Dion offered Canadians:

A Liberal government will invest $575 million over four years to:
double direct financial support to $10,000 for any household that invests in energy-saving measures like insulation, weatherproofing and efficient heating systems;

provide interest-free green mortgage loans of up to $10,000 per household to help Canadians pay for the up-front costs of major energy-saving home retrofits; and

create a $140-million Low-income Homes Retrofit Partnership Fund to help upgrade low-income housing across Canada – including federally-funded co-operative housing – and reduce energy costs for those least able to pay.

Complicated? Really?

No, the issue is the media is not interested in the substance of what each man and one woman is offering. They are only interested in the manner in which it is being offered and our country is being done a disservice by this mindset, imo.

We should ask them what Harper is offering Canada and hey, maybe they should ask him that question too. So far, I've seen precious little of that.

Dion has never made a secret of the fact that he was going to do things differently. Russo suggested that Dion was strident in his reaction to the juvenile website puffin attack on himself. Strident? His reaction was, 'it says more about them than it does about us'. How is that strident? Gentlemen and lady, if you would care to look at the Conservative message, it falls under the definition of strident in every dictionary. How'd you miss that? Why do you not speak to look that?

I've also noticed that a few fellow bloggers are getting panicky about recent polls. I won't link, you can search the blogs for yourself. I think it is nonsense to rely on rolling polls after 5 days. Rolling polls are designed to correct direction, they are not predictors.

Can we do things a bit differently? Of course, that's what elections are about but, if you expect Dion to be who he is not, you're dreaming. I see who he is and how he wants to proceed as an asset. Can he change some things? Sure. That's what campaigns are for.

My number one choice would be to ask the media why they are not speaking to issues. Every call-in show I listen to, Canadians say they want to know and hear the issues. They are tired of the junk and want to know what each leader is offering. No one is actually reporting that.

When media catches up with that sentiment, it may be too late. We need to push them to focus now.

Newman may like PM's and Presidents who are good actor's, and I take his point, but that is not what the country needs right now.

At this moment in time, we need someone with vision, not someone who is happy with the status quo. The media is happy to push status quo, perhaps unknowingly, but they are sending a bad, incorrect, message.

They are doing us a disservice. I for one am tired of them deciding what the next 4 years will look like.

The dumbing down of politics has become a mainstay of pretty intelligent people. How did that happen?

Update - Steve has a similar take.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Unravelling of the Blue Sweater Vest

More gaffes from the Con's today and I don't just mean the Sparrow incident.

Kady is reporting that the Con War room is using tape from various networks without permission on their juvenile website and Robert Fife is reporting that the PMO is using the RCMP to keep the media away from Harper.

I guess Harper thinks because he came out before his speech today and announced that Sparrow had been suspended, he's under no obligation to discuss it anymore. During that little announcement, Harper mentioned that he set a tone and an expectation for this campaign and he expects to see that carried through. Well I'd say it is being carried out and it's a tone no different than we've seen from this guy since he took office. Lie, manipulate, control, get nasty and flaunt the rules.

When you consider what he said today about the Green Shift,

The Tory leader told reporters the Liberal plan would be an economic catastrophe and suggested it would trigger a recession worse than one that struck in the early 1980s.

He added that it would jeopardize national unity. Not only are these assertions ridiculous, they are reckless. He's lying to Canadians and instilling fear in order to grab votes.

This is the same Harper that we have seen since day one. If you disagree with any of his positions, he goes into hyper nasty partisan mode and hurls insults, lies and ignores the rules. That's the tone he's set for his party and it's staff and that is precisely what they are following. They employ all the tactics they have seen Harper use for months and go for the jugular.

What do you think Sparrow was doing? Mimicking his boss. What do you think their webmasters were doing? Mimicking their boss. What do you think all the MP's are doing with these mailings? At the very least they are playing at the margins of the rules and taking yet another opportunity to lie and mock the leader of the opposition. So, mimicking their boss.

How is all of this happening? Because until now, we've seen precious little honest reporting on it. With the exception of a few, such as Steven Chase to whom I linked earlier, journalists just aren't doing their homework.

Today, I cannot count how many reports I've read or heard, praising the Conservatives for reacting so quickly to their gaffes. Why would you praise a political party for doing exactly what any reasonable person should expect from a government? Ridiculous.

The blue vest may not be completely unravelling yet, but there is a definite snag in it. Let's see where the focus goes from the media. Will it be on the snag, or how nice what remains of the vest, looks?

Best line of the day? Dion's reaction to Harper's national unity threat.

"While he was busy talking about building firewalls in the West, I was fighting to keep my country together," Dion said in New Brunswick, where he was speaking to the Board of Trade. "I do not need any lessons from Stephen Harper on fighting for the national unity of my country."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Harper: 'Let the Market Handle It'

No, Harper wasn't referring to the supermarket or the Farmer's market as this photo would suggest. In a radio interview in Newfoundland, we learn that Harper is determined to go full steam ahead with his plan to allow the free market handle all sectors in Canada, so that he can realise his dream of reducing the role of the federal government in this country.

Dave Coles, The national president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers' Union, was on a popular radio station in Newfoundland. He had met with Harper about a specific project and anticipated job losses.

Dave Coles told Newfoundland and Labrador’s VOCM radio today that Prime Minister Harper personally told him that there would be no package to support the newsprint industry. The union leader said Prime Minister Harper told him in a private meeting that anyone who loses their jobs can move to Fort McMurray, Alberta.

“Forest industry workers should just let the market decide, and if you lose your job, and he (Harper) said this to me personally, you could always go to Fort McMurray. And I think that’s insulting for forestry workers and pulp and paper workers who live in rural Canada to hear that kind of answer from the Prime Minister,” said Mr. Coles. (You can hear a bit hear.)

Astonishing isn't it? Not surprising necessarily, because we all know what Harper's plan is as I said, but I didn't know that he was working for the Alberta government to help increase their workforce at the expense of Newfoundland.

Speaking of Newfoundland, I don't know if anyone heard Danny Williams today, but there can be no doubt that he was dead serious about his ABC campaign. Something tells me that we haven't heard the end of Danny boy.

Newfoundland was not the only province to feel Harper's wrath though. The province that no one should invest in , was included in his let them eat fruit attitude as well.

Harper's Canada is not my Canada.

Truth - Not a Core Value for Conservatives

Anyone remember her? She's been relegated to the back benches so she's rarely seen, but all too often she's heard. Usually she's heard saying something outrageous.

In 2000 she told gun owners that they should resist the gun registry or,

“go like lambs to the gas chamber as the Chrétien Liberals strip away our rights.” (National Post, November 21, 2000)

In 2004 she compared abortion to Nick Berg being beheaded in Iraq.

In 2005 she suggested that Christians were being persecuted by the Liberal party.

In her latest householder, Ms. Gallant is lying once again.

OTTAWA—The Liberal campaign today revealed that controversial Conservative MP Cheryl Gallant has outrageously added to the growing litany of fabrications about the Liberal Green Shift plan, baselessly claiming it will “destroy the lives” of many Canadians by “taxing or banning the use of firewood.”

Ms. Gallant’s mail-out contains other fabrications including an absurd claim that the plan will result in “increasing gas pump prices by 60 per cent which would equate to $1.70-$2.00 a litre at the pump” and would lead to “spiking electricity bills up to 50 per cent more each month.”

These claims are ludicrous of course, but Gallant seems to be especially talented in promoting all things ludicrous. Interestingly enough, as I'm sure you can tell, she's a strong social conservative. A defender of all things Christian and a strong voice for the religious right. I guess telling the truth doesn't have a place in the lives of these particular Christians.

You know, I just watched Dion deliver a terrific speak to a group of High School students. At the end, the students asked questions of him. The students were thoughtful and certainly had full understanding of what climate change is and what it means for them. They also seemed to easily grasp the concept of the Green Shift. Imagine that? The complex plan that has the PM confused was understood by High School students.

He too lies about the plan and did again this morning at the Indo Chamber of Commerce. Well, now that both Harper and Layton have buckled to the pressure of including May in the debates, it will be interesting to see how his lies go over on television.

I call this party the Con's quite intentionally, because that is what they try to do. Con Canadians.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

This is Dion

The real Dion, which is the complete opposite to what the Conservatives would have you believe.

If you know someone who is still unclear of who Dion is and what he stands for, send them the site. Contained within this site is a link to the Liberal site if they are looking for more detail.

Monday, September 08, 2008

InteGRITy vs CON-job

The first full day of campaigning and the Conservatives have wasted no time putting more lies out there and of course, more childish attack ads.

This only one day after Harper suggested that the campaign would get dirty and nasty. He knew that of course because that's what they had planned.
Their new ads and Harper himself said that Dion said he would raise the GST and take away the $100.00/child cheque. Lies.
When told that Dion has responded at a press conference today Harper said that Dion's denial is not credible because he (Dion) voted against both policies in the House. Yep, you read that right. Because he opposed the policy, to a Conservative automatically translates to 'he'll reverse the decision', even if Dion on many occasions has said clearly he will NOT raise the GST, nor will he eliminate the Child Care (cough) benefit.
Did the lies stop there? Of course not. More distortion about the Green Shift and finally his ridiculous assertion that Elizabeth May should not be included in the debates because she's a Liberal. Harper obviously forgets that the PC's and the Liberals did not run against him when he became leader, but he uses the fact that the Lib's aren't running anyone against May to call her a Lib.
Then the icing on the cake. Harper was asked if he would abide by Election Canada's laws on spending and not use the In and Out scheme. He said he'd abide by the rules as they have be laid out for this election just as he did last time. That sounds like a yes to me. Moreover, I've heard that Poillievre was shooting off his mouth at a church picnic about the In and Out scheme. He was asked if the party would use the practice again and he apparently replied 'sure we should It worked last time. It's legal after all'. Now, that's hearsay so take it for what it's worth, but I think the question should continue to be asked.
This really is coming down to integrity and honesty. A leader who lies is not a leader at all. He's dangerous.
Update - They, (read Harper) are keeping May out of the debate. Whether or not you wanted her in because of how she may effect your candidate, this is wrong. The consortium is saying there would be no debate if she were included because others would back out. Well the only one who has alluded to doing that was Harper. What a coward.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

It's Time to Articulate the Vision

I have written often on this blog about how Harper has thrown everything he had at Dion in an effort to discredit him. He's attempted to create an image of the man that run's in complete contradiction to who he is and what he stands for.

I've also written about how Canadians seem to have fallen for Harper's ruse that this Conservative government is just like the old PC party.

Today, that all changes. Dion hasn't missed one of Harper's tricks and he intends to not only tell Canadians the truth, he intends to do that by clearly showing what Canada would look like under a Liberal government. In doing so, Harper's record and ideology will be on view for all to see.

His speech today was terrific and indicative of how I expect him to go forward. Here is the first part of his speech.

Here's part 2.

I'd also like to alert you to the new Liberal website. It's a really intuitive and inter-active site. If you haven't donated yet or you haven't reached your limit and can spare a little more, now would be a good time to give to either the party, or your riding association which will be allocated to your candidate.

h/t - to Steve and thanks to Jeff for the vid.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Real Deal vs the Phonies

Like him or not, Dion is running for the right reasons. He has seen where Harper is taking this country and he has a vision that is at odds with that. Harper is leading us to a place I don't think most Canadians would recognise. Dion gets that and is determined to not let it happen.

He was asked in a presser yesterday if he see's himself as carrying a message like Barack Obama. Very simply and succinctly, he replied, "I am Stephane Dion" and went to the next question.

Now, contrast that to what both Harper and Layton are doing.

Harper came out with new ad's that would have you suspend reality and believe that suddenly, he's turned into a gentle, cuddly guy. I won't link to them. They are readily available at Conservative Televised Video, better known as CTV.

Harper and his advisers have obviously recognised that they need to paint a softer image, but really, how stupid do they think Canadians are? Do they really think that Harper the petulant 'my way or the highway' guy will simply be forgotten? Do they honestly believe that on the heels of concocting fake meetings with the opposition leaders and citing false reasons for calling an election that anyone is going to buy the new fake Harper?

Come on people! We've seen this guy in action. He's an impatient and angry man, hell bent on making government irrelevant and willing to play any game to make that happen.

It's fine to be right of centre. That is a dialogue we can have in this country, but this guy is off the scales and somehow we and the media in this country do not want to address that. I don't get it.

The ad's present a phony Harper.

Layton too is brushing up on how to apply veneer. He apparently thinks he is the Barack Obama of this country. This is likely his last kick at the can so there will be no limits as to where his ego will take him.

Yesterday in a Town Hall, he used Obama's words and tactics, as in taking his jacket off because he felt the room was about to become 'heated'. His shirt sleeves were already rolled up as he took off his jacket. Talk about a tightly 'staged' event. Marilyn Churley, who will run this time and was sitting in the front row, looked positively delighted when this stunt was played.

Harper and Layton are certainly seasoned campaigners as it relates to Federal election. Dion is not. I wouldn't underestimate him though.

Dion is ready and willing to be himself, present his vision and believe that Canadians will tap into that quality in themselves. Integrity and being who you are is important to most of us. Putting on airs and being phony, generally turns us off.

Harper is trying to present himself as a 'regular' guy, but he's not that. He is putting on airs and is being phony, yet his devotees lap it up.

Harper would do well not to cut any more Arts funding, because he is an actor who needs lessons. Layton? Well, he's got the acting down, but that's his problem. We all know he is an actor.

Now, Dion has been in the political game for a while and he certainly has picked up how the game is played, but he doesn't deviate from who he is.

So we have a choice this time around. The real deal or a phony presenting their visions for the country. Their vision is what you'll likely vote on, but of the two, who do you trust to implement what they say?

3 in a Week

Earlier this week we learned that David Emerson and Loyola Hearn won't run for the Conservatives in the election that will happen, but hasn't been called.

Today, Monte Solberg announced that he won't be running either. The other two were not all that much of a surprise, but I think few saw this coming.

In fairness, he's been at this since '93. That's a long time, but one has to wonder what the real driver is here.

Funny too, when Liberal MP's resign there are stories about mutiny and party disarray, dissatisfaction with Dion etc. Not so with the Con's leaving. I think they now have more people who have resigned than the Liberals have.

While indeed he has been an MP for a long time and there is no question that the life style must take a toll, it seems odd to me that you'd leave once you'd actually formed a government.

Will there be more? Who knows? But given that Harper is calling this election on Sunday, they'd best speak up now.

Boy, their benches are looking weaker and weaker aren't they?

Update - Make that 4.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

But, But....

As Kady points out, Jason Kenney's new job as Green Shift critic just got a little harder.

The Liberals have tapped into the farming community for one of their candidates in the next federal election.

Bob Friesen, president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, will be the party’s candidate in the Winnipeg riding of Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia.

This is obviously really good news as he was recently depicted as being against the plan because it did not sufficiently address the needs of farmers. He raised his concerns and the Liberals obviously listened, so now not only does he support the plan, he's willing to run for the party and promote it. Tough to get a stronger endorsement than that for the farming sector.

Not only are the Liberals picking up excellent candidates, this one will help to expose Kenney's idiotic rants for the lies that they are. How can Kenney continue to bellow that the Liberals are attacking farmers? Of course, I have no doubt that the Con's and Kenney specifically will begin bashing Friesen at the first opportunity but I suggest they do that at their peril.

I don't know if there are any more of these surprise candidate announcements, but this coupled with yesterday's news of Calvin Johnston joining the team indicates that, not only are we countering Con talking points, if these 2 win, we're going to have a pretty terrific team.

Compare that team to what Harper has to present and well, what can I say?

Conservatives: 'Liberals Shoudn't Listen to Canadians'

Are the Conservatives seriously criticising the Liberals for doing what they said they'd do?

Apparently they are and the media seem only too happy to parrot their new talking points.

In June of this year, the Green Shift was launched of course and within that launch, the Liberals included a Contingency Offset. The plan was to travel across the country, have a dialogue with Canadians, citizens and sectors alike, explain the plan and obtain and pay attention to feedback.

They have done that. The Contingency Offset in the plan says the following.

We will set aside $1 billion over four years ($100 million in the first year growing to $400 million in the fourth year) which will be reserved for tax cuts designed to off-set the impact of the carbon tax on groups such as not-for-profit organizations and charities. This contingency offset will also be used to design tax relief to address unanticipated and unavoidable costs associated with the new price on carbon for the most vulnerable in society.

So, according to Dion yesterday at a news conference, he will announce some changes to the plan in an effort to strengthen it based on the feedback they promised to listen to this summer. In other words, they are doing precisely what they said they would. The horror!

The logical Conservative MP to be responding to an Economic and Environmental plan is of course, Jason Kenney the Minister of Multiculturalism? Anyway, he's there guy and as usual, he was up to his ears in spin, well lies actually, yesterday. Thankfully the Liberals were quick to react to them, though that of course isn't receiving much coverage.
(Word is he is to be in Ottawa for the duration of the campaign to be able to react on a moments notice from the fancy Conservative studios.)

So, there you have it. The Conservative's plan for the Environment is to attack the Liberals for listening to Canadians. Democracy, Harper style!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Good News and Sad News

Stephane Dion announced our candidate for Palliser, Saskatchewan today. His name is Cal Johnston and he is the former chief of Police for the City of Regina.

Johnston said he chose politics as a way to further his interest in public service. It was he who approached the Liberals, saying that he appreciated during his time as police chief how the party tackled challenges in Canadian society.

He also said the Conservative's approach to crime is "patronizing" and that he would rather see politicians address the social challenges that fuel crime, such as poverty and living conditions. Focusing on the Criminal Code does not prevent crime, he said.

I'd like to see his Conservative opponent go after him with the standard, 'Liberals are soft on crime', nonsense. I don't know what our chances are in that riding, but I suspect they just got a little better.

The sad news though relates to the same riding. The current MP, Dave Batters has announced that he is resigning.

...Batters sent out a media release stating he has told Prime Minister Stephen Harper that he will not be back to run in the election that many expect will soon be announced.

"I have been ill for the past few months, dealing with anxiety and depression. As well, I overcame a dependency on certain prescribed medications (benzodiazepines)," said Batters in the media release.

"I make this very personal disclosure with the hope that others who suffer from these conditions will seek the assistance they need."

I have heard it said that he was a really popular MP in all quarters and a really nice guy. My personal feeling is that it takes tremendous courage to speak publicly about such issues, so kudos to him.

Update - More information on Johnston here.

Monday, September 01, 2008

I Weally, Weally Twied

Good for Dion on calling this dance that Harper is having with himself and who he thinks are Canadians, a charade.

That is precisely what it is of course and it's time to call the nonsense the PM puts out for what it is.

It's Labour Day of course, so I doubt too many are yet listening, but you can be sure that tomorrow will bring with it a flurry of speculation, spin and chatter.

I wonder how Canadians will react? Are they the dupes that Harper hopes they are? I don't think so but it's important, imho, that spin be countered quickly and forcefully.

Yes, all parties spin, but there is a difference in trying to enhance your message and out and out lying. The Conservatives tend to rely on the latter, in part I think because they are rarely challenged on it. Faithful scribes write down what they are fed and that is what gets reported. Unless you follow this stuff as closely, as we do, how would you know to question the assertion? That's what they, the Con's, count on. Their Dream
Team indeed is the current media.

So what happened today?

Dion met with Harper for about 20 minutes. Harper asked for a blank cheque. Dion pointed out that Harper's request was a joke. Harper mentioned that Dion's agenda was opposed to his, so the country could not move forward. Again Dion laughed and said that his agenda for the country has always been at odds with the Con's so why now is this suddenly a revelation? Indeed.

Is it possible that our PM is so deep in his bunker, and so high on his new role of arrogance that he forgets what the Official Opposition is meant to do? Does he dismiss how our democracy is intended to work?

Apparently he does.

Anyway, the scrum was about Dion putting his mark on the charade that Harper has conducted. Would I call it spin? Of course, because that is the parlance of our time, but I'd also call it a stance. The difference here is that Dion is basing the party line on honesty and the PM is using deception as his platform and that will be an issue in this election. Trust, honesty, etc.

Shortly after Dion's departure, Kory Tenycke, (Harper's comm. guy) came out to tell us, oh so woefully, that Mr. Dion had not shown Mr. Harper that he had faith in his government.

He also mentioned, a few times, that Dion had broken a promise. You know, the promise not to impose a Carbon Tax. What he didn't emphasize however was that Dion said that in a Leadership run up, not an election to be the leader of the country, like ummm the, I'll never tax Income Trust's, promise made by Harper.

He obviously didn't highlight how Dion has spoken to this issue and explained how he evolved in his thinking. Why would he? Harper is stuck in a mould so old, the country should collectively be holding it's nose at his notions.

I'll stop the picking apart here. The rest of the detail can be found on line. The point is however, how Harper has manipulated every detail of our democracy to play his own game. I know this is all fun for some, but we are talking about almost 3 years of chipping away at our democracy.

I don't consider that fun, nor a game at this point. This election matters and what elates me more than anything, is the fact that Harper is ignoring large groups who have come out against him.

Oh, I know there is a new poll coming out tonight and I'm sure SteveV will be on top of it.

It's time to rally people.

To use Zorpheous's line.

Harper is a Mis-Leader.

I like it and I'll use it because it's accurate.

The Spin Starts Here

He's back. Beginning tomorrow evening Mike Duffy will return to his show and habit of denigrating the Liberals and chuckling with the Conservatives as he does it.

He made a brief appearance today to comment on Dion and Harper's meeting. Did he reflect over the summer on how to present a more balanced view/show? Not a chance. Same old Duff, ready and willing to present in detail the Conservative strategy in the upcoming election without providing a similar outline of the Lib's. In fact, while detailing the Con strategy, he even fails to mention the inaccuracy of the claims he suggests they'll be making.

Surprised? Of course not. CTV, or at least their political team is now unabashedly a mouth piece for the Con's. I bet you think I'm exaggerating and just whining about media bias don't you? Well you can listen to Craig Oliver yesterday telling us that he 'hates' the Green Shift Carbon Tax here. (Silly me. I somehow was under the impression that journalists view's on policy were irrelevant.) Or, if you prefer, you can listen to Jane Taber completely dismiss the fact that the Liberals are in the running, by asking yet more reporters, whether it will be a Conservative minority or majority, here.

Anyway, it looks like we are back into the thick of it. Political shows will air again and the chatter and coverage that elections bring with them will be non stop. Included in that coverage will be some good reporting and accurate feature pieces. There will also of course be poor reporting and obvious bias.

Fasten your seat belts and keep your eyes and ears open.