Friday, May 29, 2009

Pleading Ignorance

Once again, the politically tone deaf Pierre Poilievre, gives us reason to wonder how on earth he made it to the Hill.

During QP today, in what I'm sure he thought was brilliant prose, he used the term 'tarbaby' in yet another inane attack on Ignatieff.

Mr. Pierre Poilievre (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, CPC) Mr. Pierre Poilievre (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the Liberal leader should give himself more credit. He fathered the carbon tax idea. Then he generously put it up for adoption to his predecessor. And now, of course, he wants a paternity test to prove that this tar baby is not his. He says the coalition on which he signed in support of would break up the country. He attacks the deficit that he voted for and wants billions more of spending, even on a 45-day EI work year. When he is in Britain, he is British. When he is in America, he is American. When he is in B.C., he is against the auto bailout. When he is in Ontario, he wants it to be bigger. The Liberal leader does not seem to know who he is.

He didn't make this reference once, but twice.

After question period, Ralph Goodale stood and tried to give Poilievre the benefit of the doubt, but explained how the word could be offensive and suggested that perhaps he'd like to withdraw the comment and apologise.

In typical petulant Pierre fashion, he turned the table on Goodale and asked him for an apology. Yes, I know. Bizarro world.

As if that wasn't enough though, the PMO is now out defending him, per David Akin.

Yep, instead of just making this a non-story, the brain trust in the PMO has chimed in to say, "but, but, they did it too!'

Children...running the country....we can't make this stuff up.

For the record, while the term can be used in different ways, it's generally thought of as a derogatory term these days and one to stay away from. While it's often noted in the US as being offensive, (Mitt Romney and John McCain have both withdrawn the comment in recent times), it is still considered offensive in Canada.

From Marlene Jennings:

Well, as someone called a 'tarbaby' right here in Quebec when I was a child, I can tell you this expression is as hurtful, as offensive and as pejorative here in Canada as it is in USA!

Wouldn't an apology just be easier?

Update - Tim Powers crying 'but you did it too!' That's their strategist?

Thanks for the Tip Ian

Ian Brodie, Harper's former chief of staff, has kindly offered the Liberal Party some advertising strategy.

He claims that the Liberal's fiscal record just isn't resonating with Canadians. He bases this on market research done for the Conservative party, which immediately makes one a tad skeptical. While I'm sure they hire the best and the brightest to provide this data, their 'tin ear' would suggest that they either interpret it to suit themselves or they ignore it all together.

Regardless, if that is what the data is telling them, then it's also telling the Liberal party to amp up advertising in that area. Granted, before recent events it would have been a more difficult task. Simply saying that the Conservatives were mismanaging the finances without tangible evidence, is a tough case to make. Telling Canadians that the revenues were declining and expenses were increasing, due to political pandering and flawed ideology, well, that just doesn't have a nice ring to it in an advertising campaign.

Now though, we have a poster boy in Jim Flaherty. We have his provincial history now amplified on the federal scene and the contrast between the Conservative and Liberal records is stark. Brodie even admits that what Canadians believe isn't true:

"Even despite Martin's enviable track record as finance minister, Chrétien's enviable track record as prime minister, there you go," Brodie said, arguing that parties often end up with an image they don't want or even help to create.

"We resolved that the term `competitiveness,' the term `productivity' and the term `innovation' was never going to appear in anything we said or did in the 2005-2006 election campaign."

Oh those cards! They certainly do enjoy pulling one over on us don't they?

I'll leave it to the pro's as to how to get the message out, but in the meantime. I want to thank Mr. Brodie for his unsolicited advice.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


We all knew what the plan was all along, didn't we? The Conservatives have had one plan and one plan only.

Their ideal scenario would be to be rid of the CBC entirely, but they don't have the courage to take such an issue face on...bad PR don't you know. So instead, they have been cowardly in their refusal to provide funding, hiding behind fictitious Heritage increases and denying bridge financing that would have at least prevented some of the carnage we are now seeing.

I saw recently that Stephen Taylor thought the Liberal line used in some previous advertising was old, stale, irrelevant. That line had to do with not recognising Canada when Harper was through with it.

The line is neither stale nor irrelevant. In fact, it's perhaps never been as poignant as it is at this moment in time.

I have no idea whether or not the Liberal party is at this moment in favour of an election, but I can tell you that with each passing day and the news that is coming out, I'm ready.

Much of the damage being done by this group of incompetent ideologues is reversible, but in my opinion, we are now at the point that some of these reversals are going to take some time and that time lost will have an impact that can't really be measured.

The intangibles...the loss of hope, the focus on everyone fending for themselves, the pitting of group against group and region against region...all of these things and many more take a long time to reverse and their effect permeates beyond the obvious, only to become clear much further down the road.

The Real Deficit?

When Jim Prentice was named Minister of the Environment, there was much speculation as to why. We'd had the absurd Ambrose, then the bombastic Baird, so the accomplished Prentice seemed an odd choice.

At the time, I thought he'd been chosen because he's clever enough not to ruffle feathers and can smooth talk with the best of them. He never really says anything, but when you're being interviewed, that doesn't seem to matter much, especially with this government. Really. It's astonishing what they get away with not answering.

It's been suggested that he was put there to take him out of contention for the top job. Maybe, but I don't see huge signs of upheaval in that caucus, so I stand by my observation, especially when I read something like this.

'Pretty word Prentice' will try to wrap this complete farce into a neat little package that no doubt a good portion of the media will buy and try to sell to us, but really, haven't we woken up yet? The intention of this government was to do nothing on the environment and for once I can say they have done a hell of a job!

They have no credibility on this file or any other as far as I'm concerned and the ramifications are beyond tragic.

The real deficit in this country? The Conservative government.

Let's Try This Again...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tape Obsessed

I watched QP today and when Harper said:

MR. Speaker, what's at issue here is the credibility of the leader of the opposition. ( Interjections ) who has been here week after week, demanding not just that the government spend more, but that it spend more permanently, mr. Speaker, and now -- and now, mr. Speaker, he tries to come and pretend he's concerned about the deficit. Mr. Speaker, I can't fire the leader of the opposition. With all of the tapes i've got on him, i don't want to.
(from CC transcripts)

I confess that my mouth flew open. Did he just say tapes? Did he just stand in the House and 1) admit to being behind the negative ads and 2) say that he has more tape? Yes indeed, I'm sorry to say that Nixon came to mind.

Immediately after that thought though, I remembered how tapes have played a prominent role in this PM's career. We had the Grewal revelations that really should have told the country all they needed to know. Then we had the Cadman tape, that again revealed the man for who he is. Now, he is spending his time reviewing tapes of Ignatieff? Not tapes of Ignatieff doing anything untoward mind you. Just tapes of Ignatieff either doing his job at the time, or speaking to a reporter.

Like the Grewal tapes, the tapes that Harper seemed to revel in today are those that have been doctored. Intentionally designed to present what isn't there into a reality. That's the basis of all of their ads after all. Ignatieff now and Dion before him. I suppose that might be why they jumped to that defense when the Cadman tape came out. 'They're doctored!", they cried.

Harper really exposed himself today. He gleefully put it on record that he is spending his time, lying in wait, to use tapes against Ignatieff.

What a class act this PM is. Nixon himself would indeed be proud.

Vid from BC'er.

CTV and Senator Duffy Broke Codes

Vindication at last. Sadly it comes late, but it is heartening to note that what many of us saw as outrageous treatment of Stéphane Dion has been born out by the ruling by Canadian Broadcast Standards Council.

Oh, and that charmer that Mr. Harper decided to reward for all his partisan assistance, Mike Duffy? His show was named too.

On Track? To Where?

GritGirl's latest

Ideology Comes Home to Roost

The Conservatives, to their chagrin now I'm sure, never hid their animosity toward the CBC before coming to office. Since taking power their rhetoric has been toned down, but the 'perception' they created never really left them.

In fact, it's been exacerbated by careless offhand comments about the Arts in general and Harper only has himself to blame on that count.

So, when you see a poll like this, well, there's really no surprise is there?

Levels of support and satisfaction with the CBC are high but Canadians believe their national public broadcaster is being starved of funds by a government with a vendetta against it.

Oh, the tangled web we weave.

What's particularly interesting is that the unknown carpetbagger, the guy who has been out of the country for so long he has no relationship with it, is the person most trusted to handle matters of Canadian identity.

Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff is regarded as "most trusted" to handle matters of culture and Canadian identity in broadcasting by Canadians, a view that is amplified among Quebecers and Atlantic Canadians.

Ha! I'd stay out of Dean Del Mastro's way today. Just sayin...

Speaking of the CBC, this is just wrong.

Conservatives - The Natural Deficit Party

Video courtesy of - BC'er in Toronto

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

How Accountable Do They Want To Be?

If you're not familiar with this man, he is Senator Dennis Dawson. Today he tabled a Bill in the Senate, that is designed to plug a loophole that was left by the 'set election date' law...(as if that wasn't a big loophole in itself).

It will be interesting to see how the government reacts to this Bill. Gawd knows the NCC already thinks the rules are too onerous re' third party advertising and considering Harper's history, something tells me that he's not going to be too keen on this little addition.

What can he say though? The aim of the Bill is to increase accountability. How can the Conservatives, with any credibility, say they are against that? Wasn't Baird screaming from the rooftops that his Accountability Act was all about elections not being 'bought'? Wasn't one of the aims of his legislation to 'level the playing field'?

We know through the In and Out investigations that the Conservatives are not adverse to skirting election spending rules. This Bill is just another step in preventing what I'm sure that party believes is extremely creative accounting.

To be clear, the Bill would still allow pre-writ advertising, but anything spent within 3 months of an election would be considered an election expense.

In a minority situation, it's a rather interesting proposition when you think of it.

Calling John Baird.

Update - forget John Baird...we have Steven Fletcher instead.

Steven Fletcher, the Conservative minister of state for democratic reform, immediately slammed the bill as an anti-democratic and "un-Canadian" assault on free speech.

Yep, there's that NCC line that I was expecting. lol Sigh. They are so predictable.

50 Billion?

This government is officially out of control. 50 Billion!

Monday, May 25, 2009

New Liberal Site

New Liberal site here.
Note, it's still being rolled out.

I Think The Deficit Will be This High

Is there anyone left in this country that actually takes this man seriously?

Yes, I know forecasting of this nature is predicated on a myriad of factors, but this government and this Minister specifically, have been so colossally wrong each and every step of the way, I can't look at the man without bursting out laughing.

From predicting a surplus, to insinuating there may be a small deficit, to oops, there will be a big deficit, to OMG, it's going to be really, really, big, how on earth does the Conservative party have the gall to tell Canadians, nay the World, that they are 'model' fiscal managers?

Even if you factor in the unpredictability, it's the manner in which this government comes out and announces the most ludicrous statements time after time. Didn't Harper campaign on a kind of 'read my lips' basis? Did he not tell everyone that there would be no deficit?

The Conservatives ability to pull the wool over Canadians eyes must surely be waning. After all, how much wool is there in a blue sweater vest?

Bye, Bye, Mon CowBoy

I know it's only one poll, but really, things aren't looking too good here for Mr. Sure of Himself.

For those of you who don't understand the reference, it's an old Mitsou song.

What? I could have used the line: Bye, Bye Mon Gigolo, ;).


- Chantal Hébert weighs in.

... the speechwriters who had the Prime Minister proclaim – as he did Wednesday – that he has not written off Quebec missed the point for it is Quebecers who are about to write off the Conservatives in the next ballot.

- And there is more here from Hubert Bauch:

In Québécois preference for prime minister, Stephen Harper ranks behind Jack Layton, never mind runaway favourite Michael Ignatieff.

"It seems from these numbers that the Tory bridge to Quebec is burned to a crisp," said Peter Donolo, whose Strategic Council firm ran the mid- May poll. Others say it suggests that Harper is by now irrevocably branded in Québécois perception as a mean-spirited political thug

Also see, BC'er, Impolitic, Diatribes and Far and Wide.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Week Ahead

Well, the gang is back after a week away in their respective constituencies. What do you expect to see this week?

I have no idea what everyones schedule is. Is the PM in town? I'll have to check assuming that info is out there, but forgetting that, I expect to see some motivated MP's.

I imagine we'll see more questions about EI and more non-answers unveiling a disdain for the unemployed. I also anticipate a rigorous line of questioning concerning Chalk River. To that we'll get calm, but cutting replies from Lisa Raitt, that will be undermined by the industry and stakeholders come Thursday or Friday. Foreign Affairs of course will come up and if MacKay is on the premises, he'll deny saying what he said and toe the party line. Questions about the stimulus package and it's slow release will be on tap as well, I imagine.

If you're looking for petulance, don't forget to tune in early for Members Statements. They will be filled with taunts and lies about Ignatieff and perhaps about Dhalla. I expect a raucous response from the official opposition.

Any other thoughts?

Just a Thought

Just a thought for our increasingly inept government. When your Minister of Defense says one thing, then your Foreign Affairs Minister...oops strike that, the Foreign Affairs department contradicts that, you'd probably be better served to have this situation clarified by someone other than Deepak Obhrai.
I mean seriously. This government has looked like the gang who couldn't shoot straight many times, but Foreign Affairs and all it entails has really suffered. Mr. Obhrai may have his talents, but providing clarity isn't one of them. This is the same Parliamentary Secretary that gets up day after day in the House, mumbling the same inane script as it applies to Khadr, Abdelrazik and anyone other Canadian that is not deemed worthy by this government to be returned to Canada.
Obhrai was on QP today. Too his unacknowledged embarrassment, he was on a panel with Bob Rae and Paul Dewar. Say what you will if you are not a Rae supporter, the man knows this and every other Foreign Affairs file, inside and out. Obhrai did nothing more than read notes and sound muddled, as usual.
While it's tempting to urge the government to keep sending this man out there so Canadians have a clearer picture of who is in charge, I confess that I really do worry about the inept perception we must be creating out there.

Friday, May 22, 2009


More than a h/t, a thank you to Aaron Wherry for this video.

I know some of you will watch this and find fault. The point is though, Ignatieff is not what the Conservatives are trying to portray him as and he knows exactly who Harper is and what he is not doing for this country.

More on the absurdity of Harper and his record tomorrow.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Again? Have You Learned Nothing?

I swear this government is pathological. This is Bill Ayers. Does he look like a terrorist threat to you?
Yes, I know, you can't tell a terrorist by how he/she may appear, but really, we know who he is and we further know that he is no threat. Just as we knew that Galloway was no threat. Will the government allow either of them in? Of course not.
I really do wonder what the end game is here. Is this really just all a show of force for the Harper core supporters? You know the ones. Those who see terra suspects on every corner, or scream for the death penalty to be reinstated, or more importantly, those who have no problem trampling over our rights and applying the laws of the land as they choose. Because if that is who they are trying to satisfy in this country, that certainly leaves the majority of Canadians out.
What benefit can there be to that? Those people would support Harper if he changed our currency to wood in an effort to save the lumber industry.
No, to my mind if you add this to how the government has reacted to Khadr, Abdelrazik and Kohail, there is a distinct reverberating tone that should tell everyone that they are selective as to who they believe have rights. They are selective as to who they believe should be treated humanely. If you go against their philosophy, their rigid ideology and they can get away with treating you differently, they will, in spite of evidence that renders their argument moot, if not ridiculous.
That said, I know the usual's will jump on and claim the old...but, but, the Liberals! Save your breathe. Circumstances have changed, evidence has been provided and in some cases our courts have ruled against the government. The Liberal position on all of these issues today is clear. What another caucus decided, at another time, doesn't have any bearing on what is going on today.
If anyone doubted the stranglehold that the Reformers have on this party, it surely should be clear by now.
They have learned nothing and are completely out of touch with Canadians....and they couldn't care less.

Dear Canada

The following is yet another interesting response to the Conservative ads. The ads by their inference, have given rise to what it means to be Canadian and what we value in our citizens.

I'd say the Conservatives have begun a conversation they weren't prepared for.

Dear Canada: An open letter from abroad
About: I'm a Rhodes Scholar completing my doctorate in Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford.

My take: Dear Canada,
I write with sadness to confess I have been unfaithful to you, my home and native land. It seems I lack national sentiment, or so I have been told by your governing party’s most recent advertising campaigns.

Why am I anti-nationalist and unfaithful? Sporting not one, but three Canadian flags lovingly stitched by my mother onto my backpack, I have abandoned you to travel and study outside your borders. I am unfaithful because, like Michael Ignatieff, I have left you to study in England. Because on Canada Day, I, alongside other Canadians working and studying overseas, unfurled my Canadian flag with pride in London’s Trafalgar Square instead of back home in Saskatchewan.

We Canadians abroad who wave our flags from afar on July 1st, who carry our Tim Horton’s mugs, who search out specialty stores that sell maple syrup and Molson beer, clearly must be less patriotic than our peers who stay at home.

For we, like Michael Ignatieff, are now of the world: we have become ‘cosmopolitan.’
Dear Canada: you are one country, but are you not cosmopolitan too? As John Ralston Saul tells us in his most recent book, you are a Metis civilization, historically formed out of aboriginals and the arrivals of newcomers over the centuries. You are composed of not one (or even three) languages or cultures, but rather many.
You house people of many views and experiences and professions; and you are connected to even more outside your borders. You consume coffee from Colombia, bananas from Ecuador, chocolate from Switzerland and movies from Hollywood; use computer chips from Japan, phones fabricated in China, wear clothes made in India and shoes made in Spain.

Like it or not, Canada, you are a member of a global community: you yourself are a cosmopolitan global citizen.

You need the world beyond your borders and you need the people beyond your borders and that world also needs you. Which means you need your people to have experiences outside your borders. And you need them to cooperate with people on the outside, as well as people on the inside, because both are equally important. You need to appreciate the talents of all your people all the time, regardless of where they are in the world or where they have come from.

We, the immigrants from other countries who chose to come to you, we are yours. And we, who are born in your borders but leave you for a time, we remain yours. None of us are citizens of the world who come from nowhere: we are all Canadians living in one global village.

Our cosmopolitan identity doesn’t stop with our people: our national livelihood is global too. International exports account for more than 40 per cent of our GDP. International trade, especially of our commodities, is the fastest-growing area of the Canadian economy and our country relies on B.C. lumber, Alberta oil, Arctic oil, prairie crops, hydro from Quebec and Manitoba, mining from all over, steel and the auto industry in Ontario, and oil and gas and fisheries from the East Coast. A recent study says one in three Canadians is in some way dependent on exported goods or services for their income.

What this means for Canada is not just that we are dependent on our resources and international trading partners but that we are dependent on our own people who work in these industries: our commodities workers are vital to our prosperity. In turn, their livelihoods — like the livelihoods of all Canadian citizens — depends on our ability to understand the international community and befriend it. Thus, as we harvest the profits of our industrial workers, we must also harvest the international experience of some of our other citizens.

We are interdependent — we need each other. In this international world we need our workers and our politicians and our ‘elite’ intellectuals. Most importantly, we need them to communicate and to cooperate. Especially as we face this current financial crisis.

Why, then, are our current leaders talking about spending money on advertising campaigns to attack each other? Why would we even think about spending money to attack one of our citizens instead of to provide tools for the people of our country to learn and to communicate with each other?

We need people who can cooperate across difference. We must empower leaders who foster community rather than conflict: leaders who succeed for society through a politics of unity rather than succeed for themselves through politics of division.I am worried, Canada. I am partly worried for myself: when I come back to serve you with the knowledge and experience I have gained from afar, will you call me opportunistic and turn on me too? But I worry more for you: once you start rejecting the skills and knowledge of your own citizens where will that leave you, dear Canada?

Thursday, May 21, 2009 11:43 AM ET Submitted by JanaLee Cherneski

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The New Conservative Mascot?

I really have no idea whether or not the Liberals were seriously contemplating forcing the Conservatives hand next month, but seriously, have you ever seen a party running so scared?

Yeah, yeah, I know that the Liberals moved opposition days as well and that the most repeated line used by the Conservatives is 'the Liberals did it too' , but this government has been demonstrating it's fear and paranoia since taking office. In fact, they have spent more time manipulating the system than they have governing. Prorogation anyone?

According to the article, the opposition day has been moved to the 17th of June. Isn't that when the Conservatives are due to table their report? How pathetic?

I hope the new Ignatieff video gets lots of exposure, because the contrast it creates between the two parties is staggering.

Ignatieff Responds

Update - Susan Delacourt writes about the response.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Idiocy Issued In Increments

I have a confession to make. When I see a new column penned by none other than Tom Flanagan, a slight smile comes across my face. Obviously this is not the smile of a fan, but rather my bemusement at the potential of gaining, yet again, a little insight into what Harper so often obfuscates.

Now what the good professor writes are his own thoughts of course, but given the relationship between the two men it's difficult to imagine, that in general, their views on these issues would be terribly far apart. With that in mind, I read his column today and realised that once again an issue that had long been resolved is resurfacing for debate and that is due to who is in power. By that I mean, that by having a Conservative in power, Conservatives across the country are feeling empowered to make everything old, new again.

Today we were treated to Tom's view of the Human Rights Commissions in this country. Now I'm well aware of the Levant, Steyn sagas, so I know that Tom isn't leading this band wagon, but he jumped on it in such a clumsy way, that I just couldn't help reacting.

Tom of course thinks that these commissions are foolish and in fact unnecessary. Though he seems to mock Levant and Steyn by using the term media gadflies to describe them, he does take up their cause.

...we should remember that the existence of the commissions is itself an abuse. They have little to do with genuine human rights such as freedom of speech and worship, security of the person and ownership of property. They are specialized agencies to enforce anti-discrimination legislation, and issues of prejudice and discrimination are far too complex to be resolved by human-rights sloganeering.

Notice how he has defined human rights and separated that from discrimination and prejudice legislation. He rights himself a bit by claiming these issues are too 'complex' for these commissions, but you quickly get a sense what his belief system is.

Call me crazy, but being discriminated against because of your sexual orientation, your religion, your race, etc. and bringing that to a commission because you lack the resources to go through the judicial system, doesn't seem all that complicated to me. Granted, some of these issues are difficult to find on, but that doesn't negate the value of having a system that provides an avenue for those who have no alternative.

So what's his answer? Like all good conservative, (or in this case I'd go so far as to say libertarian) thinkers....let the markets handle it! That's right folks. Let's allow discrimination to occur and you know, eventually, in time, that is unless a lot of people think like you do, your competitors will put you out of business.

In Tom's world, a landlord that refuses to rent to homosexuals will have to put up with the market taking away his business and sadly have to exist only on the trade of all of the other bigots in the area that share his or her view. How about a business that refuses to hire Muslims? Oh, they'll soon have a bad rep because you know, there just isn't any backlash against that community at all these days.

There is discrimination in the private sector, but it is self-liquidating over time because of the costs it imposes on discriminators.

The opposite argument of course can be made. His solution once again gives the discriminators a right to promote their cause and grow it. Just look at all the crazy causes being resurrected and promoted at the moment. Creationism? Really? That's back in the arena of debate? Have you seen the legislation that they are trying to pass in Alberta?

I won't go on. You get the picture. In Flanagan's world the answer to everything is to let the markets handle it. He ignores history, though he selectively pulls it in and he ignores why we have come to where we are in establishing such commissions. Forget the commissions, his view is astonishing to behold given our current ecomonic circumstances. That anyone would have the gall to say out loud that the free market is the answer, well I guess that's what makes me smile when I read his columns. That and gems like this:

I'll never forget the experience of owning rental property in the recession of the 1980s; I would have rented to Martians if they had showed up with a damage deposit.

I suppose he's trying to be funny, but my take away? ...I was doing so badly that my normal standards would have been kicked to the curb. I wonder who he rented to in boom times?

His complete and utter disconnect with reality further reinforces what I see in the Harper government. Were they to be given a free hand, believe me, this country would be a very different and unpleasant place.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Last week, I wrote a post about a committee meeting that I had seen a part of. I commented on just how offensive Dean Del Mastro was, but usually that seems to be as far as these things go. Few people tune in to these meetings and perhaps fewer realise that this is where much of the tension we see erupt in QP originates. That's not likely to change.

What is interesting to me though is that the participants in this meeting, who took obvious and understandable exception to the tone I described, wrote an open letter to the PM in La Presse. The title? Arrogants et Grossiers or, Arrogant and Rude.

Here's the google translation:

Arrogant and rude

Levasseur, Alex

Mr. Prime Minister, on behalf of my organization, the Syndicat des communications de Radio-Canada, I would like to express my indignation as a result of our move last Monday to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.

Representatives of the Conservative Party, including Mr. Rod Bruinooge and Dean Del Mastro, have shown arrogance and rudeness towards the witnesses who appeared before them, particularly against French groups, as our union or the National Federation of communications, and even with the Guild Canadian media.

Your members have behaved as people without education, even coarse characters: they are almost not heard a word from our presentations, standing in turn to leave the room, instead of questioning us on our respective memories or our presentations, they are engaged in lengthy and vehement verbal protest, claiming that we were there only to blame the Conservative government and accusing us of not being duly authorized by the people we represent. Such behavior is unworthy of their functions and public role they are asked to fill in their parliamentary duties, and for which they are highly paid, at that.

The Syndicat des communications de Radio-Canada represents about 1,600 workers in Quebec and Moncton. It is true that these people are dissatisfied cuts $ 171 million and cut 800 jobs at the CBC. They are in shock and are now living in uncertainty resulting from this kind of situation. Upon request, our organization before the people's elected representatives to encourage them to increase government funding of the national public broadcaster. This has been done on our side, with the public institutions and individuals.

We are entitled to expect as much from the side of your representatives. Mr. Prime Minister, I expect that you repair the insults and rudeness that we have been provided by your representatives.

The author is president of the Syndicat des communications de Radio-Canada. He signed an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

And to that I say, bravo!

To finally read what many of us often witness, is both distressing and a good sign. It's distressing that our committees have been allowed to function in this manner for so long, but a good sign that people are no longer content to sit back and take it.

Will this start a trend? Highly unlikely, but if this person felt the need to take this step, you have to know that there are others who were also treated this way, and they told two friends, who then told two friends, and so on.

Will Harper take action? Even more unlikely, but people are noticing and that's certainly not doing the Conservatives any favours.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Where's Canada?

Jim Travers wrote an interesting article today, pointing out the ways in which Stephen Harper is changing this country. It's not the first such article that he has written, though he does seem to be a bit of a lone voice out there. Why others don't write about this is a mystery. Perhaps they don't realise what is happening? Perhaps they don't understand it? Or maybe it's just not sexy enough? Indeed, maybe some are happy to see the changes and would prefer not to have them highlighted.

Travers refers to the ads that the Conservatives have launched, but notes that while they infer that Ignatieff doesn't know the country because he's lived outside it, even if he hadn't, things have changed.

There's accidental comedy in new Conservative ads attacking the Liberal leader as a globetrotter who doesn't know the country and was only drawn home by opportunism. The dark laugh is that the Canada Stephen Harper is creating would be hard for Michael Ignatieff to recognize even if he had never wandered away.

If Ignatieff is just visiting the country, as this week's new TV spots claim, Harper is more than simply tinkering with the way it works.

This Prime Minister's Canada is as unfamiliar to those who stick close to the neighbourhood as it is to expatriates.

Indeed it is. Travers goes on to say that Harper is taking incremental steps to change the country to the model I suppose he has always envisioned. What he aspires to is not Canada though. It's all well and good to have views on what you'd like to change in the country, but that does not give you the right to manipulate a system, and a population, to fashion a nation in an image that suits you and one that does not relate to it's origin.

Harper's method:

It grafts presidential powers and situational expediency to the Westminster democracy that has served well, if imperfectly, for 141 years and then wraps it in the rhetoric of Reform Party populism.

By incremental steps and leaps of logic, the Prime Minister is taking advantage of public confusion to advance a political hybrid. Worse, it's being finessed with little public debate and no national consensus.

That's the real tragedy isn't it? No debate, no consensus, just his view. There are names for such leaders.

And it's not just here at home where things are changing. Of course that too would be tough to tell given all the rhetoric that comes from government. They have pranced around and shouted from the rooftops just how influential Canada is in the world. After all, didn't Harper tell the world that only Canada had a banking system that could withstand the current crisis, or at least remain the most unscathed? Didn't he boast that everyone should follow our lead? Day talks about our influence in the US and Prentice is now suggesting that the Canadian model on the environment is the one to follow. In fact, for all the crowing, you'd think that Canada would be the lead story in just about every newspaper around the world.

Here''s some truth though.

For three years, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has had his diplomats and ministers sell the idea of a “new, muscular Canada” to Europe – a forward-leaning image of a wealthy, militarily strong, export-oriented country that is more than just another middle power.

It hasn't worked though. To the contrary.

“I don't think Canada is sending any message at all. It has become invisible in Europe,” says Jeremy Kinsman, who was Canada's ambassador to the European Union until 2006 and served as prime minister Brian Mulroney's ambassador to Moscow.

“I think you can see that. This government has failed to reciprocate initiatives from the Europeans, it has not listened or offered anything that matters to them – we have just faded from the European picture.”
That view is echoed, in less-public language, by Canadian officials across Europe, who say it has become difficult to get any significant hearing from European leaders.

“Canada's mistake,” says a senior EU official involved with the trade talks, “was that they didn't play the diplomatic game – they didn't do the Henry Kissinger stuff and make a big, visible sacrifice so they could get something in exchange. They just wanted to win everything.”

And that's because of who Harper is:

His immovable principles collided head-on with Europe's needs and desires, sending exactly the wrong messages on several fronts.

Sound familiar? If nothing else the man is consistent as he is doing abroad what he does at home. He is an ideologue with no tolerance for any other view. He plows forward and the rest be damned.

As with most unsuccessful campaigns, this one seems to have failed because we did nothing to win the locals' hearts and minds.

Lest you think this is only being noticed in Europe, you might want to read Glen Pearson's blog and if you are so inclined, here is the committee meeting that he refers to. (Go to 1:03 to hear the witnesses he mentions)

We don't really have a clear articulation of Harper's image for Canada do we? That should be troubling to all, given what little we do know.

Harper's MPs and talking heads are busy claiming that Ignatieff hasn't put forward any policy. Don't you think it's about time we heard what the government's agenda really is?

The life of states cannot, any more than the life of individuals, be conditioned by the force and the will of a unit, however powerful, but by the consensus of a group, which must one day include all states.
~Lester B. Pearson~

How's It Working So Far?

Friday, May 15, 2009

That Didn't Take Long

It only took one day to see what the Conservatives ostensibly spent a good deal of money on, turned into a parody.

Telling, isn't it?

h/t - Impolitical

Video Challenge

Canada's Young Liberals are responding to Stephen Harper's negative attacks with a "Positive Politics" video challenge, offering a $308 prize for the best grassroots-developed video response from Canadians far and wide (everyone, even those of you living abroad are encouraged to participate). The $308 prize reflects the Liberal Party's new outreach and engagement plan, the 308-riding strategy!

Excellent idea.

I look forward to seeing the creativity I know is out there.


I took a little wander through the list of Conservative MP's and while I didn't examine them all, here are a few that were either born outside the country or lived and/or worked outside our borders.

Rona Ambrose
Tony Clement
Jim Flaherty
Nina Grewal
Jason Kenney
Peter Kent
Deepak Obhrai
Lisa Raitt
Devinder Shory
Vic Toews
Alice Wong

Let's hope none of these people have higher political aspirations than being an MP.

Wherry has another list here.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thanks Steve!

Well it seems that the master of tactics, or strategy, depending on your view, may be learning the lesson of 'unintended consequences'.

You see, though his spokespeople deny it, his office officially launched the negative ad campaign yesterday. Yes I know, it's been written that this is all about the party and not the government, but that's nonsense. Kory Teneyke and Dimitri Soudas were the ones who announced the campaign to the media, period, end of story.

Here's the fun part though. Contributions to the Liberal party are flowing in as a result. One source said that they'd had the best response ever from the e-mail I referred to in my previous post and Marlene Jennings had this to say tonight:

The Conservatives may have actually done us Liberals a favour by running their negative ads as it's helped our fundraising! Money is starting to pour in as Canadians are rejecting Harper's old-style politicking.

She went on to state what many of us know to be true and that is that people aren't interested in the nonsense anymore.

Conservatives should be using their energy to get the infrastructure financing out the door to maintain jobs and create new ones. They should be making employment insurance accessible to the tens of thousands of Canadians who've lost their jobs or will shortly and who won't qualify for E.I. Under the current rules instead of spending it conducting focus groups and making useless negative ads!

Indeed they should be, but here we are, again. Watching the Conservatives do the only thing they know how to do well and that is attack in an effort to maintain power and divert attention from their failings.

It won't happen often, but tonight I say, thanks Steve! Who would of thunk that you'd be such an asset in filling our coffers?

If you heard someone denounce the nonsense today, send them here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


How incredibly lame. This is the dreaded attack ad from the Conservative brain trust?

Sorry. The only frame created here is the one they are already in, and that's not pretty.

Seriously, they attack Ignatieff for attack ads. That in itself is a hoot but that the Liberals have released no ads is even funnier. In doing so, they highlight the portion of GritGirl's ad that has the caption 'Tory times are tough times'. Apparently they are, in more ways than one.

All I can say is, if this is the angle they are going with, there isn't much to be concerned with as a Liberal.

This was laughed at by all they'll be back for more. What's next though? His wife wasn't born here? He parts his hair on the left? Oh, I know. He's not writing a book on hockey, so what kind of Canadian can he be after all?

The polls are pinching these guys and it's obvious.

At CommitteeToday

Photo by: Sean Kilpatrick / The Canadian Press

Well, in addition to the questions that were raised in my mind about this whole affair, (see my previous post on this) there were some interesting things stood out for me during the meeting.
The testimony given by the caregivers was compelling and did give you pause to consider the plight that some of these individuals endure. I have no idea what the numbers are...those who face hardship versus those who settle into a new and happy life, but certainly if some are being taken advantage of and/or abused, I look forward to the committee report addressing the issues.
Did their testimony actually apply to their experience at the Dhalla household? It's impossible to know at this point really, except to say that Ruby Dhalla denies it and seems to have documentation to refute many of the claims. Compound that with the language used by the caregivers...mental torture, physically stressed, treated as slaves... But none of this was reported until now? 15 months after the fact?
One of the caregivers, Ms Tongson, broke down and repeated over and over again, that she didn't want to go home. That struck me as being the real issue, her real issue. That doesn't diminish it. To the contrary it demonstrates the precarious position that some of these women are in, or perceive themselves to be in.
Both caregivers obviously came prepared to tell their stories and as we all know, committees simply aren't designed for lengthy testimony. I felt for them, especially given that the chairman was David Tilson who couldn't adopt a compassionate tone if his life depended on it. He was forced to cut them off and the complication of having this testimony via teleconference, only exacerbated matters. Mic's cutting out when more than one person spoke, etc.
No doubt the stress of testifying, coupled with these circumstances, had to have played a part in Tongson breaking down. Her fear of being sent home told me that was her primary reason for speaking out. Were her claims about the Dhalla's true or was there something else at work? Additionally, it came out today that she apparently impersonated Ruby Dhalla to the HRDC. That is to be substantiated by that department.
As for the caregiver, Ms Gordo, she was a little tougher. In fact, she held her ground but unfortunately her testimony changed from previous statements. She had complained about her documents being withheld, but today said that she never relinquished them. She had complaints about Ruby supervising her, but she only worked in the home 11 days and Ruby had only been in the GTA for 3 of those days. After 11 days, she quit telling Ruby Dhalla's mother, Tavinder, that she'd found a better job at a hospital through a friend.
Dhalla's testimony was good overall. She skirted a question from Con. MP Dykstra, which I thought was unnecessary. She was asked if the home in question was her residence. She tried to play that down by pointing out how infrequently she was there, but imo, that had already been established and there was no need to skirt. Other than though, her testimony was straight forward and generally backed up by documentation. She too displayed emotion. She controlled it, but it was evident to all that this has taken a toll and she is somewhat horrified that this is taking place.
The political parties, in the main, were pretty fair. The Liberals weren't terribly deferential toward Ruby, nor tough on the caregivers. The Bloc was more interested in process and aside from one snide comment by St. Cyr I think, stuck to their script. The NDP fielded Irene Matthysen, who played the kindly aunt to the women caregivers and was matter of fact with Ruby. Then we have the Conservatives.
In an unexpected move, (to me anyway), Rick Dykstra expressed a modicum of compassion toward Ruby. On the second round however, he handed over his time to, 'I never met a situation I didn't want to exploit for political purposes', Dean Del Mastro. He was sanctimonious, sarcastic and made digs for the sake of it allowing no opportunity for Dhalla to respond. His grand finale was a question that I'm sure he thought was going to kill her. 'If your home and family is so wonderful, so compassionate, so loving...if life in that home was so incredible...can you explain why Ms Gordo left after 11 days?' , (paraphrased). Dhalla then calmly explained how Gordo suddenly quit without ever having produced her documentation.
Del Mastro, once again, was extremely successful in looking the fool. Hey, credit where credit is due!
I don't know where this will all go. If Dhalla's testimony is true, this trial by news stories is despicable. Regaining a hard fought for reputation, even having been exonerated, is a tough go for a politician.
Maybe the Star reporter will spend some time looking into the other side of the story? Yea, I know. If wishes were horses...

Did He or Didn't He?

In an interview last week, Jason Kenney wasn't sure if he'd met with any of the people making allegations against Ruby Dhalla. In fairness, he said it was possible that he may have met some of these people at a round table meeting, but he had no recollection.

Now, I don't expect politicians to remember everyone they meet, but the meeting depicted here took place on April 26th, the day after the Filipino community met with provincial representatives and apparently raised the Dhalla issue. Also in attendance was MP Kent.

The woman in the pink scarf on the left is Ms. Velasco, who testified before the Immigration Committee this morning.

Did she raise the claims made by the Dhalla caregivers with Kenney? Did she raise it with someone from his office? Did she submit in writing any claims to bolster her case to the Minister? Were the Dhalla claims included?

At the meeting, ten of the 17 participants from the Filipino community who had the chance to speak and present written submissions...

Velasco added that in her written submission to the Minister, she had indicated that she and caregivers would like to work with Minister Kenney and his staff closely, just like what they are doing now with the provincial government. “We have lots of creative ideas in resolving the issues of the caregiver program,” she said, but which would be difficult to thoroughly discuss in a dialogue setting. To this suggestion, the Minister informed the group of the presence of a staff in his Ministry who could also help.

Before you jump, I'm not impugning Ms. Velasco, because from all indications, she appears to be doing important work.

I do have a few questions for the Minister and his staff though. In addition to those questions listed above, and while Kenney has said that he's not sure if he met with those mentioned in the story, he has also said that his department has advised those involved that they would be protected as 'whistle-blowers' and that all their time accumulated working for the Dhalla's would be counted toward the total that they require.

It would be nice to have some time lines and a few more names here. A bit more clarity as to how the Star came to question these individuals would be instructive as well.

I'll have more on the committee meeting held today, later, but in the meantime, here is an interesting note from Susan Delacourt and a round-up from Aaron Wherry.

More too at BCer's.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sometimes an Ideology is, well... just an Ideology

I used to respect this man. Really, I did. I even defended him when the nutty NDP accusation erupted in the House last year.

To me, he was someone I disagreed with, but he always seemed honourable and steered away from the outright untruths that many in his party were willing to push. No more. Now that he is in cabinet, that seems to have changed everything. Sad, no? Telling too.

What I'm referring to is this. Moore said in committee that there would be no cuts to the CBC on April 29th. Friends of Canadian Broadcasting were happy to hear that then. Here's what they say now:

"Friends was relieved to hear Minister Moore's promise to the MPs on April 29. Obviously, we're disappointed that he misled the heritage committee," Morrison said.

Misled is far too polite, but that in the end is what the Conservatives have done on practically every single damn file. I cannot for the life of me understand why (investigative or otherwise) journalists don't point this an ongoing theme I mean.

I saw some of this committee meeting today and if I was a Conservative, I'd be hiding out somewhere. That they are comfortable saying what they do in front of cameras, to the nation, is beyond troubling.

Dean del Mastro, literally shouted down witnesses, demanding to know if they felt only the Conservative government had a vendetta against the CBC. He claimed to be a finance guy, then proceeded to manipulate numbers in a fashion that no one could follow and demanded that no one comment on his math, just answer his partisan question.

Thankfully, Scott Simms came after him and brought the real world back, but shortly thereafter Rod Bruinooge, who is generally pretty mild mannered but passive aggressive, imo, unleashed the same line of questioning.

Kudos to the witnesses, the Canadian Media Guild and the Federation of National Communications specifically, who fought back and gave as good as they got.

It's amazing that the dysfunction of parliamentary committees is to the point it is and somehow, it's not being reported on. This is our system of governance for gawd's sake.. This is where the country's biggest and best ideas are supposed to be debated, analysed and direction is meant to be taken.

It's all become a ridiculous farce with the current government. Everything is a game and paranoia seeps through every discussion. There is no thought to the future of this country. It's all about scoring political points now. No real direction, just ideology that they have been waiting years to get out there, by ANY means.

For the record, there was a similar circus going on at the Justice committee today.

Sometimes things are just as they appear. The ridiculous is trumping reason but that apparently isn't important enough to report on. If the Conservatives can trumpet some victory, it surely is that the media and the country have become inured to their idiocy, ideology.

Friday, May 08, 2009

You Want to Talk About Human Rights Abuses?

In discussing the Ruby Dhalla case in my last post, some pretty avid or perhaps I should say rabid, Conservative supporters unsurprisingly turned the story into what it wasn't. Suddenly the issue was not about workplace abuse, which is serious enough and it went beyond employee rights, to, get of slavery.

Well, lets not indulge the idiocy of those claims or the people who claim them, but rather let's take a look at just how seriously the party in power at the moment, takes the issue of human rights and abuse.

In the typical Friday news 'dump', the Conservatives have said that they will ignore what our Federal courts have to say and will work to keep Omar Khadr where he is. Not only is this action unfounded, it once again exposes the Conservatives' complete lack of respect for our judiciary and our laws.

The federal government has decided to file an appeal rather than abide by a judicial order to seek the return of Omar Khadr, jailed in a Guantanamo Bay prison, to Canada.

I've made no secret of my disdain for this government and wouldn't have thought it possible that it could grow, but it has. This and the Abdelrazik case disgust me if I'm honest. The Conservatives are playing with 2 lives for the sake of political expediency. The red meat they need to throw to their followers comes in the form of 2 human beings, who may or may not have committed crimes and both of whom could be tried in Canada if it was so deemed.

Given that important point, you have to ask the question, what is the government doing, really. There is only the one answer. This keeps my people happy, to paraphrase. That is disgusting.

We know a lot of info about the Khadr case, though admittedly that one is a little more complex legally. Not morally, not in terms of what our government could do right now, but with respect to what the government can throw in front of the public to hide behind.

Abdelrazik's case however has been exposed to the bone. The government has nothing to hide behind, except their own shadow and it's penumbra, loosely called followers at any cost.

In both cases, the Conservatives have no difficulty in witnessing and indeed condoning abuse and torture, yet they are all over the news right now decrying the infringement of human rights.

The hypocrisy is astonishing and that it's not being pointed out in the media as they feed on the infotainment stuff is rather a sad statement on where we are today.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Feeding Frenzy

Sorry folks. The more this goes on, the more suspicious I become. Everyone with a vested interest to slam the party has jumped on the bandwagon here and even those without such an interest, some journalists and panel show hosts, seem to be delighting in the story.

Robert Fife for the second night in a row was quick to tell Ms Dhalla what she should do next. Exactly when he became her communications director is a beyond me. I'm not suggesting the story should not be reported, but could we actually discuss some facts here.

According to Don Martin, the complainants haven't worked for the Dhalla's in over a year. So why are they coming forward now? Then there is this story. A third worker has now come forward to complain and states the following:

Unlike the other two workers, who were nannies, this woman was hired as a housekeeper. In an interview with the Star, the woman said Dhalla’s mother, Tavinder, worked her so hard she had no choice but to quit. She had to wash all the floors while on hands and knees daily. She also had to shampoo the rugs each day at the four-bedroom home.

If I can be a little bit facetious for a moment, it must have been hell trying to live in that house on a daily basis. I mean all the floors and carpets were wet, every day? Have you ever shampooed a carpet? This is not a 'quick dry' proposition.

That bit of obvious pragmatism aside, this woman and the others said that they were hired by and dealt directly with Ruby Dhalla. With all this in depth reporting you think we would have seen some kind of contract or other document with Ruby's signature wouldn't you?

I don't know. This just doesn't feel right somehow. I heard that the Immigration Committee is now going to call these witnesses. The fine upstanding, non-partisan, young Poilievre stated that it wouldn't be a show. Uh huh. Let's just see shall we. Do you think CPAC may limit that particular meeting to audio? Nah, didn't think so.

Robert Fife is simply ecstatic at the fine investigative journalism that is taking place. When you think of all the things that could have been investigated by the media since this government took power, it's astonishing that just as the Liberals seem to find their feet again, it's suddenly in vogue to do some homework. I'm just sayin'. Both Fife and Panetta said that they are now going to go after Ruby's mother. Lovely.

Why isn't there more digging on why the government is preventing Abdelrazik from coming home? Or Omar Khadr? Oh wait, they aren't sexy stories are they?

Look, as I've already said, if something is wrong here, by all means it should be exposed, but as it stands at the moment, it's not adding up for me. This feels like a pile-on and if it is, I hope the investigation on that side of the story will be just as rigorous.

Update - Told you so. That cranky, Liberal hating Tilson is the chair of this committee is just too rich.

Update 2 - And here we go with going after her mother. No rules were broken, but hey, let's write about it anyway. One odd thing, housekeepers seem not to be allowed. How is it then that the agency, (from an earlier linked story) provided one? Hmm. Maybe the investigation should extend to the agency, no?

Impolitical's take here.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Are You Goading us George?

Like others, I noticed George Young's query as to why no one on Liblogs seems to be posting on the Dhalla allegations.

To be honest, I've watched it unfold a bit today to try to understand it more clearly.

Let me say at the outset, that if indeed any of this proves to be true and is about her, not her brother or mother, then indeed whatever legal action is appropriate should take place. That said, since this broke, I've had an uneasy feeling about it.

This is not the first time that Dhalla has been attacked. There is a pretty powerful group opposing her, not the least of which is the Conservative candidate Parm Gill who has the support of Jason Kenney. That makes me uneasy.

Yesterday in QP, there was a tag team of sorts that began with Olivia Chow lobbing the most obvious accusations to Kenney for reply, which was followed by a similar attack line of questioning by Conservative Calandra, again lobbed to Kenney who could barely contain his glee at having yet another opportunity to push the point. That made me uneasy.

Today, well the Conservatives were practically salivating at the chance to raise the issue. Kelly Block (Con) got the ball rolling,

Mr. Speaker, two weeks ago, the ontario minister of labor heard about the member springdale household paying living caregivers less than the minimum wage. Confiscating their passports, and forcing them to perform humiliating tasks not in their employment contract. These are serious accusationS. The ontario minister of labor has admitted that he's been sitting on the aless for two weeks, essentially protecting his federal liberal cousins. Will the minister of state tell the house what options are available to these female caregivers and others facing abuse?

Kenney: Mr. Speaker, the same labor standards protect all workers in canada, whether they are foreign-born caregivers or not. If the caregivers were paid less than the ontario minimum wage and provincial labor laws were violated, I do hope that the ontario labor minister applies provincial labor laws consistently and doesn't give the federal liberals any special treatment. For far too long, mr. Speaker, women in particular, our immigrant women, have been victims. They have been afraid to fight back, and our message to them is simple: They do have rights. It does not matter who they are up against, even if it's a member of parliament, the government will protect them.
(per closed captioning)

Lois Brown (Con.) , then got into the act using the opportunity to paint the entire Liberal party with a rather bizarre, but predictable broad brush. Kenney responded as expected.

While none of that surprises me, it has quickly become partisan and nasty before any of the allegations have been substantiated. Note the highlighting of women and immigrant women by Kenney. Didn't a recent poll mention that those were two areas that the Libs were faring well? Thus my lack of surprise at the tack being taken.

The last aspect that makes me uncomfortable about all of this is my memory of how the PM, no less, went after Navdeep Bains based on allegations about his family.

The question I suppose is would I have jumped on this had it been a Conservative MP? Maybe, but generally I like to know more about an issue before blindly wandering in. In fact, it seems to me that there was an issue concerning a Conservative MP recently that I stayed away from for precisely that reason.

I guess George is also asking whether or not we treat one of our own with more deference? Probably, but I'm not sure that is unnatural. However, that doesn't automatically translate to not taking the allegations seriously and expecting that it will be dealt with in a full and transparent manner. Nor does it mean that I would jump to her defense at all costs.

I guess it's wait and see at this point.

More at Impolitical and Far and Wide.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Bits and Pieces

While I intend to go into a little more detail on some issues this week, I thought I'd jot down a few observations from the past few days in Vancouver.

First of all, it was terrific to meet so many people. Bloggers, people who comment on blogs, MP's, media types and delegates all with their own perspective and reason for being there.

In the case of the bloggers, it was great to finally put a face or personality to the name. Every one of them serious about where the party is going and interested in playing a part in that. Each with an impressive knowledge of the issues, where the party stands and where they believe the party should be heading. I have to admit, it's great fun to have a conversation about an issue without having to start from square one to explain it. More on these people and my favourite commenter from BC later.

To a person, every MP I met was terrific. Those that I hadn't met previously were who I expected them to be and more. By more I mean that the level of dedication they have for the work they do was beyond impressive. I suppose that is how it should be, but with all the cynical stories that you read, you do wonder at times.

I personally do not think that our MPs get the level of respect that they deserve. I know that they aren't perfect, but I suggest that there are very few of us who would put our lives on hold the way they do, work the hours that they do for very little in return. Making a difference is really what many of them are all about. Sound hokey? Maybe, but from what I saw it's true. Oh and that elitist label that the Conservatives love to throw around about Liberals, politicians or otherwise? What a crock! I witnessed a diverse, engaged group that came from all walks of life and every part of the country.

Now, if you want to talk about a group that exhibited elitism, we need look no further than the media. Not all of them to be sure and the exceptions were notable. I'm not going to name people specifically, but you may pick up on what I'm referring to in future posts.

That said, I do give them marks for working hard, physically. Intellectually? Not so much for some of them. The bubble they often describe politicians of living in seems to surround them in fact and the lack of intellectual curiosity was in some cases, positively stunning. In other cases, I was really impressed. Again, more later.

In general, I came away feeling good about the party. It was really interesting attending pressers and events rather than reading about them after the fact. Indeed, I found reading some of the coverage later totally perplexing. I wondered more than once what event the writer had attended because it bore no resemblance whatsoever to what I had witnessed and I'm not talking about seeing through a partisan lens here. I'm referring to facts.

So, there are some broad observations. As I said, I'll go into some more detail later in the week. Right now I have to go sort clothes to go to the dry cleaners tomorrow and try to figure out if beer will come out of Italian wool, ;).