Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ooh's and Ahh's at Rideau Hall

Androgyny ~ Norval Morrisseau

I may have more to say tomorrow, but for now, the real highlight of today's swearing-in ceremony was seeing this painting.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Going Forward

During the election, the media focused on the horse race, as did the polls and just about anyone speaking on the subject. Personally I think that did us a disservice.

Now that the election is over, the media is still pecking at Dion while focusing on the horse race otherwise called the Liberal leadership race. It would seem that the economy, or the upcoming meeting of the L20 is not interesting enough, (though I'm sure Paul Martin would disagree), so they are stuck going around the same track, over and over again. Fair enough, but I'm not interested in joining them at the moment.

Following today's caucus meeting, it was interesting to see Liberal MP's commenting on what went on inside. Obviously, the media was not going to be told everything and I have no doubt that there were some very emotional moments while saying thank you and goodbye to members who had lost their seats. There were likely moments that smarted when campaign realities were faced, no matter how briefly, but overall, it appeared that there was unity toward a common cause.

That cause for me is not just unity, though that is a critical building block in the foundation, (can you hear me Mr. Volpe?). I agree with many others that a complete, thorough, from the ground up rebuilding of the party is necessary.

So ignoring where the media wants to lead us, I'd rather hear what real people have to say about what the party needs to focus on. Whether you are a long time party member, political devotee or a new-comer to the process, if you could speak to those in the party that will shape it's future, what would you offer?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Deficit? "Who Knows? Who Cares?" ~ Norquay

Isn't this the guy who said that we would not go into deficit? Didn't he assure all Canadians, along with hop-a-long Flaherty, that the economy was strong and that Canada would be fine? Didn't he tell you to go out and buy stocks only to see them take a dive the following day?

How, pray tell, did this man and his government get the reputation of being good fiscal managers? It was obvious before the election that they were not as they had spent more than any government in history. It was made more obvious during the election, yet the myth persisted. The media helpfully gave weight to this myth in a myriad of ways, not the least of which was citing that Harper is an economist at every opportunity. Well, news flash people! Not all economists are created equal.

So, in spite of all his bravado during the election, Harper is apparently prepared to go into deficit. He's been slowly changing his tune in recent days. After stating that Dion was panicking by issuing a 5 point plan during the debates, Harper has of course adopted most of it. He's gone on to leave the door open to a deficit, as has Flaherty, by using very precise language such as, 'we do not foresee a deficit this year'.

Of course, everything this man does, he does with an eye to what it means for him politically. Not just in the classic sense. No, he doesn't simply look to minimise reaction to unpopular decisions, he searches for ways to corner the opposition, to make them culpable for his choices. Even our economy is a big political game to him.

"We're going to have a deficit next year," a government official predicted.
"(Harper) will be able to have a deficit and take no criticism for it.

Who's going to criticize him for going into deficit when you get their buy-in first?"

A Conservative MP made it clear what political tack the government would take if forced back into the red. When asked whether he expected a deficit the MP smiled and replied: "Only if the opposition agrees."

Meaning that once again the Conservatives are consumed with setting traps to cover their own bumbling. I dare say that the Liberals have enough financial acumen, let alone political skill on their benches to avoid such stratagem.

Oh and if you think that I'm being unfair in assigning a rather cavalier (and devious) attitude to Harper and his gang, maybe hearing it from one of his top strategists will be more palatable, (go to about 6:10 on the clip).

Yes indeed. Geoff Norquay when asked whether or not the government will go into deficit replies with, "Who knows? Who cares?"

Most of us do Geoff, including, I'm sure, some Canadians who voted for your boss.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


"There are certain moments when we might wish the future were built by men of the past."
Jean Rostand

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Why Dion Should Stay

It's difficult to keep up with the stories about the Liberal party, it's leader, and the future of both today.
That said, I think what they are musing about and what those cowardly 'senior officials' are whispering in their ears, completely misses the where the party is and what the focus should be. Additionally, I'd like to know what the rush is? This to me is precisely the time when cooler heads should prevail and some conversation should be had as what the options are and how they might play out.
To that end, I can say after having thought about it, I haven't changed my mind since yesterday. I still support Dion and I see no merit in considering a replacement. My reasons take into account both the man and where we are as a party.
Obviously, the problems that the party is experiencing at the moment cannot all be laid at the leaders feet. If there is responsibility to assume that Dion can identify as his own, I am confident he will do so. The problem plaguing the party however is far deeper and broader than one person and they certainly did not begin when he took over the helm. There are many issues that should have been focused on since the last leadership convention, or in some cases, as it was going one, that have been ignored.
Party renewal is almost a generic term I suppose, but it's one that the Liberal party has not taken seriously enough, imo. Every aspect of how the party operates has to be evaluated. From policy, to really developing a strong grassroots network, to parliamentary strategy and election readiness and strategy. Renewal hasn't occurred and until it does and is implemented in a way that has everyone singing from the same song sheet, a new leader will be faced with the same problems. It's time for an overhaul of the back rooms, and to mangle a tired expression, I wouldn't be saving the old furniture, I'd be chucking it to the curb.
To go through a leadership race, in whatever form, would accomplish what exactly? Will it squelch the desires of those who were not chosen, yet again? Will it stop the constant vying and campaigning behind the scenes? Will it help the party rebuild and put together a message that is able to reach all of those in the country who do not share the current government's views? I don't think it will achieve any of that nor all the other things that the party should be addressing at the moment.
What it will achieve though is precisely what Harper set out to do. He more than anyone wants to see the party in disarray. A party that is consumed by leadership woes will be unprepared to deal with the issues of parliament, not to mention the economy at the moment will provide he and his team ample opportunity to push through whatever he wants.
Flanagan has told us Harper's strategy. He wants to destroy the Liberal party. Surely going through another leadership race, in whatever form it might take, is playing right into his hands. The party would be distracted and it certainly wouldn't be filling it's coffers.
We all know the results of this election are not what anyone wanted to see, but is that really all up to Dion? Hasn't he been through just about everything that Harper and the media could throw at him? Do you really think the Conservative party doesn't already have another attack campaign ready for whoever takes over, especially if it's the 2 front runners from the last go around?
Actually, when you think that through logically, Dion came in with no baggage, (except in Quebec) and they still managed to throw everything at him. What do you suppose they'll do to those that would arrive with a steamer trunk full of their past?
I suppose it comes down to what precisely do you expect in a leader? Dion is policy driven, intelligent, sincere, honest and willing to put himself out there for what he believes in. No games, no tricks, no gimmicks. Oh yeah, he's shy, perhaps a bit awkward, not slick and he speaks with an accent. Since when did that disqualify someone from having the right ideas?
Dion was chosen because he was different and I think that is exactly what we require right now. He developed some skills during the campaign that certainly showed up near the end, but he never lost who he was. Standing up to the machine that Harper built, (with the assistance of the able hammer wielders otherwise known as the media), I think would speak volumes, not to mention strength. It would prove the story tellers wrong.
Having the party unite behind this cause and outing those who have been handing the nails to the aforementioned hammer wielders, would go a long way in providing an atmosphere where the real work could be done with enthusiasm and purpose.
When I consider the possible choices for the party and it's future, I still stand behind Dion.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Stéphane Dion ~ Thoughts

Readers will know that I have supported Stéphane Dion for a long time. In view of that, I'm not able to articulate all that I am feeling today, but here are a few thoughts.

My principle reason for supporting him was because he did politics differently. He was elected as leader by those who were attracted by that and were tired of how the two other front runners represented the status quo.

I continue to support him, because his vision for this country is precisely what is required at this time. Dion wasn't in this for himself or the power he would gain with the job. He was there to present the country with a way forward and has articulated more than once that he saw that as his solemn obligation as leader. Personally, that is a leader I can follow and that is the type of person I would like to see heading this country.

I never had difficulty understanding the direction he wanted to take us in and the more I saw of him, the more I realised just how reasoned and logical his path for us was.

It took courage for Dion to bring forward an idea that would push us to think about the future of this country and it's place in the world. It took strength and conviction for him not to back down on what he knew was right.

To say that I am disappointed doesn't begin to address how I feel. In Dion, we have a leader of a political party in this country who is a man of integrity, humility and one who wasn't interested in pandering to specific niche groups, but rather was interested in putting forward ideas that everyone could benefit from. It is for that reason that I see him as the only truly progressive leader we have in this country at the moment.

There will be time for an analysis of what occurred last night, but for the moment, Stéphane Dion deserves to be recognised for who he is and what he brings to our national debate.

Monday, October 13, 2008

We CAN Win and Why We Should

I'm not going to get into detailed predictions of specific ridings nor am I going to speculate on a seat count. There are many such theories out there, some credible, others not so much, but you can choose your favourite and watch how they pan out tomorrow.

Instead of speculating, I'm simply going to suggest that there are some close races out there and if undecideds and progressives break in our favour, we do have a shot, so take heart.

I will state why we should win however. Detractors will dismiss my comments as partisan and to a certain extent they are, meaning that I believe in the Liberal platform. More than that though, when I consider where this country is today and what we are faced with, I see the Liberal platform as the most sound and realistic way of overcoming hurdles and moving forward.

The Green Shift has been derided and distorted beyond belief. The truth of the matter is, it is the only solution out there that reconciles the economy and the environment in a manner that the country can absorb and benefit by.

That's not just me speaking. That is the assessment of all leading economists in the country, all leading environmentalists and now, the Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman, who has not of course come out and endorsed Dion specifically, but he has been advocating for such a plan for years. He like others know that this plan is our only solution.

Mr. Krugman believes that the most efficient way to resolve today’s carbon emissions problem is to provide market incentives to burn less carbon. “The most straightforward policy would be an across-the-board carbon tax” and “any new tax on carbon could and should be offset by tax cuts elsewhere,” he wrote. (New York Times, November 29, 2000) Mr. Krugman joins 250 other leading Canadian economists in supporting the idea of shifting taxes away from income and investment and putting them on pollution.

Other Nobel Prize winners have been more directly supportive.

Three senior Canadian members of the 2007 Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are publicly urging those who really care about the environment to vote Liberal.

“We face a critical moment,” Dr. Andrew Weaver said in a news release.

Dr. Weaver told the Ottawa Citizen that a vote for the Green Party “is not a green vote.“A green vote is for a Liberal government and Stéphane Dion. There is no other candidate you can vote for,” he said. (Ottawa Citizen, October 12, 2008)

There is much more to the Liberal platform and it can all be found here. Every issue that concerns this country today has been addressed realistically and robustly. No other party has put forward such an ambitious or realistic plan.

Those are the factual reasons why the Liberals should win. Add to that the leader of the Liberal party, Stephane Dion, and you have a progressive agenda led by a man who had the courage to propose it knowing it would be a difficult sell. It's not a difficult sell because it is complicated as the media has claimed. It was a difficult sell because no one outside the Liberal party actually told the truth about the plan.

This plan and this man are what this country needs, right now. We've had over 2 years of dishonesty, manipulation and secrecy. Dion offers Canadians, honesty, transparency, sincerity and direction for the country that would return us to our rightful place on the world stage. That is a country that is respected for being progressive, fair and an honest broker.

The Conservatives have offered no plan and have received no endorsements. The NDP have offered a plan that could never be realised due to their flawed economic model and they have received no endorsements .

We can win and if Canadians outside the polling figures have not been too bombarded with the smoke screens that both the Conservatives and the NDP have thrown up, we should win.

Does Jack Really Want Change?

Let's be serious for a moment shall we? This morning I heard Jack say he is still applying for the job of Prime Minister. I suppose somewhere there are some who will justify him repeating that statement, but is Jack being fair to those who might support him? Is he being honest about what he is offering Canadians? I'm not suggesting that he is lying, but I am saying that he is not giving people the facts as to what kind of change they might affect tomorrow.

Jack will not be PM and in fact if the polls are to be believed, he won't be leader of the official opposition either. So what exactly is it that Jack and his supporters want at this moment in time? Going along the path they are on, I suppose it's possible that they could pick up a couple of seats, but in the end, how will that fundamentally change the course of this country? It won't.

That's not change.

There is a way though that the NDP could be the most important players in this election and really change it's direction. Not only could they make a difference in reducing Harper's minority, they along with the Liberals, could get Harper out of Ottawa for good! Isn't that really what all progressives want?

If Harper were to go down to defeat to a Liberal minority, he won't be around for another election. That means the ideology that he has been force feeding this country would go with him, as there is no one strong enough in his party who shares that ideology able to keep it alive in the way that Harper can and will, even with a reduced minority.

If NDP supporters, Jack Layton and people just toying with the idea of voting NDP are serious about changing the direction of this country, if they are serious about wanting to re-instate a progressive agenda, if they are serious about child care, the environment, the Kelowna Accord and fighting poverty, then they will consider moving for the moment to send Harper back to Calgary for good.

Many will say they have heard this plea before, but it's not the same this time. We have now seen the damage that Harper can do, first hand. This is not a hypothetical situation as it was in the past, this is real. Harper's platform promises to continue exactly what he has been doing and we all know that is leading the country backwards and in many ways, not the least of which includes the environment, that is dangerous.

I'm under no illusion. I understand that many in the NDP are perhaps more unhappy with the Liberals than the Conservatives for various reasons, but I am appealing to your values. There is so much that we share in terms of a vision for this country and we have in front of us, right now, a way to achieve that. Some of our methods may be different, but surely you have to agree that we are more able to move forward together than we are by pitting ourselves against each other.

You have a choice and I know it's a tough one having worked so hard only to think about a different kind of vote, but this decision is too important to close your eyes to. If you honestly believe what you have said about Harper and what you want for this country, now is your chance to keep him out of power for good and begin the work of achieving your goals.

Let's join together where it makes sense and defeat enough Conservative candidates to put a Liberal minority in place and then, and only then, can we have substantive discussions about the best way to move the country forward without the extreme right blocking our progress.

Update - Check here for one scenario of how the NDP can still pick up seats and send Harper to Calgary.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Think Before You Vote

If you are Green party member, or an NDP member, or maybe at this point you are simply inclined to vote for those parties, I'd ask you to think before you vote.

If, in your riding, you are certain that your candidate will win and there is no real contest, then vote with your heart, but do your homework first.

I'm not talking about what most of us do. That is hope that our candidate will win. I'm saying look at your riding objectively and take into account current polling data, the last election result data and determine honestly who you believe will win.

Armed with that information and trusting that you do not want Harper to form the next government, vote with your head not your heart and vote for whoever will keep Harper at bay.

Now, there are many riding's where the only logical choice will be Liberal and I know especially for the NDP, that will be a tough choice to make, but it's the right one if we share the same goal. I think it may be less of an issue for the Greens, though I know that you too would prefer to see your plan enacted.

The bottom line here people is that close to 70% of us do not want Harper to take the helm again and the only realistic choice to prevent that from happening, is Stephane Dion.

Here are two people who have already made such a decision.

Green Party candidate Danielle Moreau, Longueuil - Pierre-Boucher has thrown her support behind Liberal candidate, Ryan Hillier.

And here is a very interesting NDP supporter who has decided to join the Liberals as well.

So, I leave it with you. You have a chance to make a real difference this election.

If you want to see Harper happily retired in Calgary while the rest of us get to work putting this country back on it's progressive feet again, vote Liberal where you know it may make the difference.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Yeah, yeah, I Care About You

Steve's not watching the ticker at the Stock Exchange here, but based on his comments today and the smug look on his face in this photo, he might as well be.

This truly compassionate Prime Minister of ours, the one that is so out of touch with real people, actually thought he had a way to reach out to those who have lost so much. Not only on the markets, but their jobs and perhaps in the near future their homes.

Harper's plan? He thinks this would be a great time to snatch up some bargains on the market! After all, with stocks plummeting the way they are, there are bound to be some really great deals out there right?

I kid you not. He said that not once, but at least twice today. He said it during his scrum after releasing his summary of the campaign, or as he calls it, Stephen Harper's Plan for Canadians, and then said it again in an interview with Peter Mansbridge. Even Mansbridge had the decency to wince and ask if he really wanted to 'put that out there'.

Harper has kept himself in a bubble and no longer has any sense of what is real and what is not.

Reporters have given Dion a tough time on this campaign, asking him over and over again why is he going to smaller venues and audiences? They implied that he wasn't really campaigning because he wasn't doing the huge, restricted rallies. Well guess who got the pulse of the people right?

Things have gone downhill for Harper since the debates. That is where Dion demonstrated that he has listened to Canadians and Harper showed us he hasn't a clue what people are really worried about.

Tell me again what it means to be a leader?

Stephen Harper's Plan for Canadians

Stephen Harper's plan for Canadians isn't the title of my post, it's the title of the Conservative platform. Seriously.

Think about that for a minute. It's not the Conservative plan. It's the Harper plan. He and he alone knows all that has to be done for the country and he and he alone will make sure, if elected, that it will be implemented. The Stephen Harper, One Man Band Government.

His ego and arrogance really have no limit.

So, what does Harper have to say about his plan? Well, mostly that it's not the Liberal plan. For days, no maybe weeks, both Harper and some complicit media have suggested that the Liberal plan has changed, that they were no longer talking about the Green Shift, that they were making it up as they went along and most recently, Harper is trying to say that Dion is panicking and making things up on the fly. It's all utter nonsense of course, but it's interesting to note if only to point out just how Harper seems to be projecting.

During the debates, it was quite obvious that Harper had no platform and hadn't intended on presenting one. He'd gone across the country sprinkling money here and there, where he thought he'd be able to buy votes and continued to say that his government had done what they could and he was going to continue to do that throughout the campaign. In other words, 'I'm the PM, I know what's best, trust me'. I am convinced beyond any doubt that he didn't think he would have to put together a platform. But, he got caught on that didn't he? The leaders debate kind of left him hanging out there without any reply to the question. So, lo and behold today we see it.

Talk about putting it together on the fly! I give kudos to whomever stayed up nights working on this, but if you don't think that a spiral notebook presentation with photos in it taken as recently as last Saturday isn't a rush job, well what can I say?

It's not a platform. It's a 40 page photo album of Stephen Harper with bullet points of all the dribs and drabs of spending he's announced. Not in detail of course. That would mean that he'd have to tell you that the increase in your child credit will be $2.67/month. Not exactly inspiring in these difficult times. Or, he'd have to tell you that the .02 cents he reduced diesel fuel by was eaten the next day with a .02 cent rise in price.

In short, the PM had no plan and has no plan. His plan was to call an election. He's been itching for one for months because if you think about it, they've spent all of their time on election readiness and very little on policy. Those 5 promises he laid out in 2006 were never completely realised, yet he had little else to offer, so why not change the channel?

I really think he believed that he'd lulled the country into this collective Conservative sleep and that he'd be re-elected with a majority. Hell, he almost had me convinced that he'd lulled the masses to sleep.

He continues to say that he's been working on this troubled economy since 2007 because he saw all of this coming. He stresses that he's been prudent and steady, which begs the question, why would a prudent manager of the economy call an election expected to cost millions in such uncertain times? Furthermore, if he saw all this coming, you can bet that he thought he could get out ahead of much of what we are seeing now and that was his motivation.

Thankfully, it would seem that Canadians haven't been lulled into a Conservative sleep and Stephen Harper misjudged us.

Stephen Harper's only plan is to retain power at any cost. With that in mind, hold on. It's going to be a wild ride!

New French Ads

I like these new ads. It's good to see Dion speaking directly to Canadians.

The Plan:

What the Economists are Recommending:

Health Care:

Monday, October 06, 2008


This song seems to sum things up nicely! Click on Play icon, or the song Bounce.

Note - If you support the Arts and are in Toronto on Friday, why not check this out?

Sunday, October 05, 2008

What's Happened to Canada?

Brake lines cut? Cable and TV lines cuts? Cars being keyed and spray painted? This is what our democratic elections have come to in this country? Endagering peoples lives in now fair game in supporting your candidate?

"We're investigating. Officers are paying special attention to the designated area and we take this very seriously," Staff-Sgt. Shawn Meloche, from 53 Division, said last night. "This is a danger to life as well as to property. Regardless of the motivation – and there appears to be a connection (to the signs) – this is a public safety issue."

Homeowner Jennifer Lithgow awoke early Saturday morning to find “B. Rae lies” sprayed on her house and after buckling her six-year-old daughter into her car, she found her brakes weren’t working.

She didn’t immediately connect the two incidents but after making a call to Bennett’s campaign team to report the vandalism to her house, she was told about the other cars that had been tampered with, including her neighbour’s.

“I can’t believe that somebody would do that, it’s dangerous, I could have hurt myself, or my daughter who was in the car at the time, I could’ve hurt somebody else if I hadn’t been able to stop,” Lithgow said.

Sadly this is not the first time this has happened. If you recall, when the by- elections were going on in Guelph, the same thing occured.

There is no way at this point to know who is behind these heinous acts, but we can all hope that they are caught and caught soon.

I really want my Canada back!
Update - Here is a news clip and an interview with Caroline Bennett.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Jack's Grand Deception

Jack began this campaign by saying he was applying for the job of Prime Minister.

Even in this day and age, it seems to me that when you apply for a job, a CV is submitted and scrutinized. There has been no scrutiny though. There hasn't even been a passing glance at what Layton brings to the table in the form of a platform and what he is offering to Canadians at this moment in time.

In fact, what he is offering is disastrous for the country and is all about Layton and his legacy. Maybe it's time for a closer look.

He's been leader of the NDP party since 2005. He came into that role full of ambition. Ambition that upon some closer examination was willing to do just about anything to increase his power. Anything includes deluding his own members. What am I referring to? Let's look back a bit.

Once in power, Layton made a decision to prop up the Martin government by insisting that they redirect tax cuts to other programs that the NDP could support. This gave him a chance to puff up his chest and tell his supporters, ' I , We make Parliament work'. Fair enough. Not satisfied with that however, their real agenda was to defeat the Libs, not only in parliament, but by taking some of their seats and for that they needed timing. Having told their members that they were making Parliament work, this was going to be tricky.

The release of the Gomery report and the Chaoulli decision in Quebec gave the NDP some new found courage, well, sort of. It gave the brass some new found opportunity. The people at the top wanted an early election, but many of their supporters were happy with the alliance they had found with the Liberals and felt it was a progressive path worth pursuing. Hmmm. How to follow your blind ambition without letting on to those who believe in you that that's your ultimate aim?

Answer? Call the Conservatives. In early November of 2005, the NDP called the Conservatives to propose a plan. They would put forward a motion to ask the Liberals to hold an election in January. They didn't have the courage to put forward an non-confidence vote because that would blow their cover to their supporters. Instead, they claimed they were simply appealing to the masses by trying to avoid an election over Christmas. That of course left it open for the Con's to put forward a non-confidence motion.

Both Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe agreed to the plan that Tom Flanagan called the NDP two-step. On November 28th, all three parties supported the Conservative motion. The writ dropped the next day.

So, when the Liberals maintain that Harper is 'The house that Jack built', they are right. The NDP scream that the Canadian voters put Harper in power. In the end, the votes did create the parliament we had, but Layton set up and played up the conditions for that to happen by plotting with Harper.

Ancient history? Not really. You see it speaks to the character of the man. At present. Layton and Harper are still working together. Their common goal is to destroy the Liberal party. What do you think they really spoke about before Harper took his stroll, limo across the street last month? I have no proof, but I have an idea.

During this campaign, Layton developed this, 'I will be the next PM' line, knowing full well that his aspirations were to replace the Lib's as the official opposition. Let's look at what he is bringing to the table at this critical time.

His platform? Have you seen this platform actually analysed anywhere? When Canada is facing an economic slow down, Layton is proposing to cut back scheduled tax breaks for businesses. Precisely when we need to attract new business, sustain existing business and provide avenues for them to expand, Layton thinks it would be wise to make that next to impossible. How would the stock market react to this plan do you think? How many more companies would have to either cut back or close? how many jobs would be lost? How many investors would consider Canada a great place to start a business?

Have you seen one economist support this plan? More to the point, don't you think we should be seeing some denounce it for the foolishness that it is?

I know I ask too much, but in the last days of this campaign but wouldn't it be nice if some pundit or some reporter actually travelling with Jack would take the time to actually ask questions of substance?

Jack is presenting himself and being presented as a viable option to either form the official opposition or become PM. He has no platform, he has no experience and he has no team with any experience at a national level.

Now is not the time to play games or to fulfill Jack's ambition. Now is the time for an honest look at what each of the candidates have to offer, the entirety of what they have to offer, not just the inane headlines.

BTW - The 2005 recounting of what went on between the Con's and the NDP comes straight from Tom Flanagan's mouth, keyboard, in his book Harper's Team.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Dion as Dion - Reflected by Nanos

Imagine giving Canadians a chance to see Stephane Dion as he is. That is, without the media telling us what was asked of him, how many people were there, what their reactions were and what he did or did not say.

To an extent, that is what happens during a debate. Each candidate has an opportunity to present themselves and their ideas to an audience far broader than a single hall can hold. Those who watch the debate have an opportunity to see the candidates through their own filters, unencumbered by the media's meme.

New Nanos numbers have come out that seem to reflect that when people are engaged, looking out for what matters to them and seeking answers from our leaders, they see not only the Liberal party and what it has to offer but also Stephane Dion.

Question: If a FEDERAL election were held today, could you please rank your top two current local voting preferences?Committed Voters - Canada (N=1,006, MoE ± 3.1%, 19 times out of 20)

Conservative Party 35 (-2)
Liberal Party 30 (+4)
NDP 18 (-1)
BQ 10% (NC)
Green Party 9% (+1)
Undecided 16% (+3)

Question: Which of the federal leaders would you best describe as:The most trustworthy leaderThe most competent leaderThe leader with the best vision for Canada's future [Leadership Index Score - Daily roll-up of all three measures]

Stephen Harper 79 (-16)
Stephane Dion 71 (+40)
Jack Layton 48 (-12)
Elizabeth May 15 (-3)
Gilles Duceppe 11 (-3)

It's one poll, I realise that. It does though presumably include some people who watched the French debate, meaning, people who took the time to engage. Given that, these numbers are encouraging to me.

This particular snapshot indicates that part of the rolling sample seemed to see Dion as he is and the Liberals as they are, not as the media and the opposition would have you believe. Refreshing isn't it?

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Bravo Stéphane

Well, some reviews, are in and so are some polls. Also, this graph is pretty interesting. Scroll your cursor across each party for audience reaction.

Most Convincing:
Duceppe 33%
Dion 30%
Layton 15%
Harper 12%
May 2%
Least Convincing:
Harper 46%
May 32%
Layton 9%
Dion 6%
Duceppe 5%
Did Your Opinion of the Parties Improve or Worsen?
Liberals: 45% improved, 10% worsened
NDP: 33% improved, 4% worsened
Green: 37% improved, 8% worsened
Bloc: 21% improved, 8% worsened
Tories: 9% improved, 29% worsened
Dion 40%
Duceppe 24%
Harper 16%
Layton 11%
May 1%
Most Prime Ministerial:
Dion 36%
Harper 31%
Duceppe 17%
Layton 12%
May 1%
Did Your Opinion of the Leaders Improve or Worsen?
Dion: 67% improved, 11% worsened
Layton: 55% improved, 7% worsened
Duceppe: 41% improved, 11% worsened
May: 42% improved, 24% worsened
Harper: 14% improved, 53% worsened
This morning, I listened to some French Talk radio from Quebec City. Host, Martin Pouliot with 3 media pundits. They all basically confirmed the above with some interesting local colour. They all pointed out that Dion was the only one with a plan re' the economy question. He was prepared, Harper had nothing. Callers were mixed but primarily Harper supporters stating how great he was and how he defended his plan. I don't know what they were watching, but I heard neither a plan nor the defense of same.
Personally, I love the new format. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about it to be honest, but overall I found it provided a much better forum for a discussion/debate. The old 'presidential' podiums should be banished in my opinion.
One other point I find interesting but bogus, is how a lot of English press is devoting space to how poor Harper was 'attacked'. I cannot remember a debate where the incumbent wasn't attacked, so if that's all they've got, it tells you something about Harper's performance.
That's the English press though and really, Harper needed to reach French Quebecer's and expand his reach. It does not appear that he was successful.
Onto the English debates. The dynamics will change tonight and it will be interesting to see how the leaders change based on today's reviews. I'd bet good money that Harper's advisers got an earful this morning. I expect to see a much more combative and animated performance from both him and from Layton for that matter.
I think Dion would do well to take much the same tone. In fact, Dion was Dion, so I'm not sure we will see much change. May will be a bit of a wild card tonight, so that could be interesting.
Jean-Marc Léger or Léger Marketing suggests that the 48 hrs. following the debates are important. So far so good. Let's see what the future holds.
h/t - Calgary Grit for poll numbers.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Quick Thoughts

The Conservative spin has already begun so watch tomorrow for the repetition of a phrase that Dion has changed his platform mid-campaign. It's absolute BS of course, but hey, that's going to be the line.

That they developed the line during the debate and sent it to all and sundry tells you they are on the defensive.

The other line that will be repeated often is that Harper was ganged up on. Boo Hoo. As if the PM in any such debate hasn't been the target in the past. There was one more person there, but nothing was different in that regard.

To me it was interesting to see Harper faced by real questions and the lack of adoration he has surrounded himself with during this campaign. He seemed uncomfortable with it and offered little in the way of answers. He sounded flat, looked unengaged and offered no real platform. It was either the Liberals started it, we've already done that, or we shouldn't do anything different.

I wonder if the press will start asking real questions when they go back on the road?

Dion did really well. Do you think I'm being biased? A friend just told me that both LaPierre and Chantal Hebert concurred on this point on the National. La Pierre was going by focus groups on TVA. It's tough to call all those people bias.

Duceppe and Layton performed well, but pretty much as they were expected to do. In terms of the absolute ability to debate and being perfectly comfortable in that element, Duceppe gets that award. I personally didn't feel that Layton accomplished the task of being a viable federal leader. May was up and down in terms of effectiveness, but was gutsy all the way through. She certainly doesn't shy away from speaking her mind and while her French was anything but good, she was able to make herself understood and it takes courage to do that.

More tomorrow.