Wednesday, April 30, 2008

It's Official Harper Is A Coward

Try to imagine a Prime Minister who gets up in the House to denounce one of his own departments and then doesn't show up to vote non-confidence in that department. Well, you don't have to imagine because it happened yesterday. Harper hates Elections Canada, there can be no doubt, but not enough to be caught on camera voting against it (bad for the image you see. Don't want those nasty opposition parties holding him to account for voting against an agency with more credibility that he has). To me a coward thumps his chest and makes threats, but then runs away when he is called upon to take an action which might come back to bite him. In my mind, our PM exemplifies that definition, in spades.

Update:And in case anyone is in doubt what this whole "in and out" stuff is all about, Lorne Gunter helpfully explains the real Tory goal -- the end to spending limits during elections.
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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Please, Can't They All Just Go Away

Here is the kind of drivel that drives me mental. Don't get me wrong, it is great that a Tory actually admits that his party is crooked. But, in the next breath, he falls back on the old "but look at the Liberals" routine. By the end of the piece, I couldn't help but admire the nerve it took to be proud of being slightly less crooked than the Liberal Party of Canada. I also wondered why the collective political leadership in this country is still walking around, free.
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Friday, April 25, 2008

Oh Peter Van Loan

Why won't you learn, sir? You just have to make a fool of yourself every day, don't you? I was watching the Newman show at supper time and who did I see, but Duff Conacher (begin at 16:16) who said that Van Loan repeated half of a sentence uttered by Conacher on tv, in order to make it look like Democracy Watch supported the government's position on the in and out scheme. Conacher has demanded an apology.

Now, any normal politician, in any other political party would have admitted some kind of error. But, this is not ordinary politician from no ordinary party. Van Loan is now demanding that Conacher apologize to all Canadians for misleading him by making a false statement of support on television.

This is amazing to me, but illustrative of what we are dealing with here. A politician takes part of a statement by someone, uses it under false pretenses, gets caught and then blames the person whose statement he falsely used. It kind of sounds like the thinking behind the in and out scheme itself. These conservatives believe that the ends justify the means and they will not let anything, not even reality to get in their way.
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Question Du Jour

I wonder, if this guy was named "Ahmed" rather than "John" and he was a recent immigrant from Pakistan, rather than a former Ontario cabinet minister and he pleaded guilty to possession of a restricted weapon, whether he would have been let off with a shrug and a "He's been embarrassed enough" speech, by the judge? It's nice to be one of the boys, neh?
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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Learn From It

I see the Tories are complaining that the RCMP scared young party workers, when it conducted a raid on Tory Central. Perhaps that isn't such a bad thing. Being on the other side of a police raid might give these young Tories some perspective. Perhaps they won't be so quick to mouth off about "locking up the bad guys and throwing away the keys". Perhaps they will drop their slavish, unquestioning support, for everything someone in a uniform does. To me, such an outcome would be a good thing.
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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Nudge, Nudge

The "logic" of this post seems to be that Sarah Polley is a Nazi because she played one in a movie. By that same logic, Jeffrey Hunter must be Jesus.
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According to David Akin, the Conservatives okayed a scheme to allow Canadian forces personnel to join Bush's war in Iraq, but failed to let anyone else know.
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Harper Channels His Inner Gipper

Doesn't it seem strange that this statement:
"This is the same story as before," Mr. Harper said. "Elections Canada's view is that some of our local spending should count as national spending. We have a different view. We looked into this at the time and that's the view we've taken."
Is bizarrely reminiscent of this one:
"I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart tells me that's true, but the facts tell me it is not."
It is just another example of how conservatives don't let facts cloud what is, for them, a wonderful fantasy life -- until confronted by the law. Even then reality is just another option, one that conservatives are forced to accept, rather than acknowledging it is, in fact, reality.
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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Conspiracy Takes Another Turn

It seems another agent of the world-wide conspiracy against the Conservative Party has been uncovered...and in a most unlikely place.
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Latest Tory Spin

Now They Tell Us! What do you think? Do you think people will believe that Elections Canada is changing the election rules, post facto? If this is so, why didn't the other parties do what the Tories did during the last campaign? Surely, if it was allowed in the last campaign they all would have done the same thing, no?

Update: And before I start getting comments to the effect that They all did do it! , you had better have more proof than the say so of other Tories.
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Four Horsemen Alert

There is a National Post editorial today with which I have only minor disagreements. In this paragraph:
The law under which Elections Canada is investigating the Conservative Party of Canada for alleged overspending on advertising in the last election is a silly and undemocratic law. It should be repealed. But until it is, it remains the law of the land. If Conservatives knowingly violated it, they should suffer the legal consequences.
I disagree with "silly" and "undemocratic" and with the idea that it should be repealed. However, I agree that if people and parties disagree with a law, the proper course of action is to bring in legislation to repeal the law, thereby suffering electoral consequences if the public disagrees. Ignoring and or deliberately breaking the law just because you don't agree with it is even sillier and more undemocratic than the law is supposed to be. It is the attitude of thugs and tyrants not parties of a supposed mature democracy. This is exactly the point I was trying to make with my commenter PaulM, yesterday. Thanks to the National Post for doing a better job of making my point.
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Note To Tories

Please do not repeat this over and over:
"The only point where we get hung up is whether it is acceptable for local riding campaigns to advertise or promote national leaders, national issues and national themes."
No one cares -- not even a little bit, if local campaigns highlight national leaders, issues or themes. We do care that you follow the spending laws in doing so. We care that you don't appear to fake invoices to advertising companies and we care that you don't try to cover up these actions by trying to tear down the idea of government itself.
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Monday, April 21, 2008

The Real Central Question

A Tory official in today's Star:
Conservative officials scoffed at suggestions extra spending by the national campaign might have made the difference in a dozen or so ridings and helped the party win the election.

"The fundamental question here is this: who has the right to determine how a party electorally advertises itself?" said one.

"I believe I have the right to determine that if I wanted to use Stephen Harper and the central message to advertise regionally, I should be allowed to do that ... "
The Conservative Party believes this, but that is not relevant. The Parliament of Canada passed a law which put limits on party spending during elections and made Elections Canada the judge of how parties spend their money. The only thing to be determined here is whether or not the Conservative Party broke that duly passed law. The real central question in this case is whether the Conservative Party feels bound by law? If the answer to that question is no, that the party does not feel obligated to follow the laws passed by Parliament, then we must conclude we do not have a legitimate government at the moment.
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Friday, April 18, 2008

Beautiful Minds

The beauty of being paranoid is you can never be surprised. If the Tories lose this case, they will just add the courts to the list of co-conspirators ("no surprise here we knew they were in on it too!"). On the other hand if they win, the Tories will pat themselves on the back for the brilliance of their argument ("no surprise here we were right all along!") and count it as a victory of the "little guys" over the dark forces of Liberal hegemony. We are through the looking glass here people.
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Another Piece Of The Conspiracy...

Against the Conservative Party falls Into Place. Damn, "they" are subtle.
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Current Conservative Thinking About Responsible Government

Asked to explain why Defense Minister Peter McKay replied to questions about his department by referring to the NDP as the "communist corner", Mr. McKay's communications director told the press:
"They voted against the budget, the NDP, and then they ask questions," Dan Dugas said. "So are they concerned or are they not concerned? It’s called question period, not answer period, and there’s give and take in the House of Commons. I don’t find it that surprising." (emphasis mine)
Just another day at work for our glorious Conservative government.
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What You Call Paranoid, I Call Normal

The Tories and their fellow travelers, have been firing up the paranoia machine over the RCMP raids on their headquarters. Tales of dark conspiracies and talk of revenge are on the lips of the true believers. One might conclude that this is just the result of the silly season in parliament, caused by the special circumstances of a minority parliament. That would be the wrong conclusion. This paranoid style of politics, as practiced by the Conservative party has been around a long, long time, and is integral to American politics, the wellspring of modern Canadian conservative thought. No one should be surprised by this flare up of paranoia. It would have been more surprising to me if it hadn't made an appearance.
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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Flaherty's Mole Problem

Yet another Liberal public service mole has surfaced, this time in Jim Flaherty's department. It seems this mole told Jim he was breaking the rules by giving an untendered contract to a good Conservative. Damn those Liberal moles, they are everywhere in the public service. Everywhere!
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Oh Really Mr. Baird?

Here's a little exchange between David McGuinty and Environment Minister, John Baird over the alleged intervention of a private anti-Kyoto group into the 2006 election.

Mr. David McGuinty (Ottawa South, Lib.):

Mr. Speaker, Friends of Science has admitted it was Mr. Paulsen, Barry Cooper's right-hand man, who planned the ad campaign and picked the five markets in Ontario while working for the minister on the Conservative campaign. They even bragged that these radio ads reached hundreds of thousands of people in ridings where they could influence the outcome of the election. In fact, they did.

Will Canadians have to wait until the RCMP comes knocking on the minister's door, or will he simply admit that Friends of Science act as an arm for the Conservative Party to break, yet again, campaign financing rules?

Hon. John Baird (Minister of the Environment, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, until yesterday I was unaware of any radio ads. I have never heard of the Friends of Science, and I have never heard of Barry Cooper or Douglas Leahey. (emphasis mine)

What the Liberal member for Ottawa South is doing is saying things with which he has no ability to provide one ounce of truth to back them up. If he is so brave, if he is so convinced he has the facts, let him tender those facts outside of the House of Commons. Let him say exactly what he said here outside of the House of Commons. There is a reason why he will not, because it is not true and he knows it.

"I have never heard of Barry Cooper". Really, Minister? Is that your final answer? I am sure Mr. Cooper will be crushed when he hears that. I am sure some intrepid reporter out there will want to verify that Mr. Baird has never met nor heard of one of our Prime Minister's biggest supporters.
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Break Out The Tinfoil Hats

I guess when you are so used to manipulating the media yourself you assume everyone else does it too. Don Martin confirmed probably the worst kept secret in the world -- that the Tories deliberately leaked the announcement of Hillier's retirement in order to blow the raid on its headquarters off the front pages and newscasts. No wonder the Tories see conspiracies everywhere.
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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Psycho Steve's Pity Party

“Why are they picking on the Conservatives?” The mating call of the Lesser Whiny Tory. This "Everybody is out to get us" routine is so tiresome. Please Dion, for the love of God, please bring these guys down.
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Yes Ben

I agree with John Stewart. Americans have had 8 years with a guy they would share a beer with. Isn't it time for a change?
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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Did They Serve Tea?

Via Kady O'Malley comes this TASS-like press release from the Conservative Party, on the subject of the raid on their headquarters:
"Today Elections Canada visited the Conservative Party of Canada Headquarters. This is related to an on-going court case initiated by the Conservative Party of Canada in the spring of 2007. The Conservative Party has provided Elections Canada with all the information that they have requested."
It sounds like a lovely time was had by all. Funny there is no mention of the RCMP. I guess one doesn't discuss the comings and goings of one's servants, does one?

Update:Is it harsh to suggest that the Conservatives are "misspeaking" again about the reason for the raid? It is highly unlikely the RCMP would be involved in a raid over a civil suit launched by the Conservative Party. This is more likely a raid over the in and out scandal, or perhaps the Cadman affair.
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Monday, April 14, 2008

I Agree With This Guy

We have, once again, seen modern spin politics at its worst. The whole ginned up "bitter" controversy in the U.S. election is yet another example of taking an intelligent, rational argument, disregarding it, and then using single words from that argument to frame personal attacks on candidates. Fox News, the example par excellence of this phenomenon, dispatched a reporter to Pennsylvania to forward this type of attack. Fortunately for all of us, the reporter ran into this guy.

Hat tip to Red Tory.
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Saturday, April 12, 2008

But I Von!

It's Saturday and we need a break from the surreal goings on in Ottawa. So, let's bathe in the surreal brilliance of Andy Kaufman instead.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Don't Break Out The Champagne Yet

Because the deal isn't dead. But if the Tories do reject the takeover of MDA, they will get rare praise from this corner.
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Liberals In A Big Hole

And they just keep digging. The latest spin from Liberal HQ is they would not support an NDP motion to strip the Immigration bill from the budget because:
"We want at least one and maybe two Standing Committees to go to work on Bill C-50. We need the committees to expose the details of how wrong-headed and arbitrary the Conservative plan is. And we need the committees to provide affected Canadians with a forum to say what they think."
In English this means. "We are scared to death of an election right now, so we are hoping that if we vote with the government and then filibuster our brains out in committee, this puppy will die on the order paper when either we a)grow a backbone, or b) October 2009 turns up and saves us." I am not sure how they think they can keep the government from having a budget for a year and a half, but hey, I am not a Liberal. At some point in the near future Liberals will have to fish or cut bait. The eternal limbo dance will have to end.

Oh and I love this paragraph:
The NDP amendment now before the House at Second Reading would pre-empt any and all debate and Parliamentary study of these radical changes. Liberals will vote to send Bill C-50 to the Standing Committee on Finance for detailed study. The Official Opposition will also seek authority for the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration to examine the immigration component of Bill C-50
I call this, the "Gosh, we hope the people of Canada are stupid" paragraph. Yes, the NDP motion would have "pre-empted" parliamentary debate on the bill, because it would have defeated the government. It was, in essence, a vote of non-confidence in the government. The motion reads:
“this House declines to give second reading to Bill C-50, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 26, 2008 and to enact provisions to preserve the fiscal plan set out in that budget, since the principles of the Bill relating to immigration fail to recognize that all immigration applicants should be treated fairly and transparently, and also fail to recognize that family reunification builds economically vibrant, inclusive and healthy communities and therefore should be an essential priority in all immigration matters”.
If the Liberals had supported this motion, we would now be in an election. So rather than an act of courage, this is just another example of Liberals reaching for a carton of Depends. I will now stand back and watch as "progressives" who vote Liberal, screw themselves into the ground trying to pretend that the Liberals were right to do this and the NDP was somehow supporting the government by trying to bring it down.
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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Shorter Jeffrey Simpson

I wish everyone in the NDP was as great as Douglas and Broadbent. Well duh. It always amazes me how the pundit class in this country has internalized the idea that to rule means to rule cynically and anyone who questions this "truth" is just "sanctimonious". No wonder we have the politics we have.
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Friday, April 04, 2008

Meanwhile On The Immigration Front

The Tories are set to pass their Immigration law, which will give the minister more power to decide which ethnic groups are worthy. What about the opposition you ask? I will let John Ivision tell you:
The NDP has been vocal and active in opposition to the legislation; immigration critic Olivia Chow will introduce an amendment to the budget bill today calling for the immigration section to be removed because it lacks fairness and transparency.

However, the amendment is doomed because the Liberals will once again sit on their hands. Most Liberals would like to follow their consciences on the vote but, as in so many recent instances, they can't because their consciences are not going in the same direction as they are.
Ouch. Today's Liberal Party. As strong as Dion is popular.
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And The Kabuki Never Stops

The PM hints that Canada will stay in Afghanistan beyond 2011 and the Liberals claim to be shocked and betrayed. If no one else is going to call "Shenanigans", I will.

Update: Meanwhile, at ProgBlogs, the main topic of conversation seems to be a 16 year old video tape. I guess it beats thinking about how the Liberals are enabling Harper's foreign adventures.
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Thursday, April 03, 2008

From The What Are They Thinking Department

That a governing party which already has trouble attracting women voters, would consider halting the practice of lowering the flag on parliament, in remembrance of women massacred in Montreal, seems to me to be a bit insane. Symbols matter and gestures mirror attitudes. Women will rightly conclude that the Conservatives are dismissing the gesture as a "Liberal sop to feminists". That message will, no doubt, go over well with the Tory base (and it ironically, meshes well with Marc Lepine's opinions) , but it is hardly the way to win over women voters. If the Tories go ahead and ban the December 6 commemoration, all hell is going to break loose. Count on it.

Update: The base speaks, in the form of an editorial in the Calgary Herald:
A federal committee examining the issue wanted a number of special half-mast days to be eliminated, including Police and Peace Officers' National Memorial Day in September, Vimy Ridge Day and Workers' Mourning Day, both in April, and the Montreal massacre commemorative day. That is as it should be. Individual groups whose interests centre on those days can lower their own flags for the occasion that is meaningful to them. The Peace Tower flag is a national symbol and lowering it should be reserved for the deaths of our own heads of state, such as the monarch, or governors general, and Remembrance Day. (emphasis mine).
I am sure the families of the women slaughtered in Montreal would be interested to know that the Conservatives consider them to be merely a special interest group and that the commemoration of the Montreal massacre is only of personal interest and not a national one. That the Montreal massacre is meaningful only to them and no one else. I hope to hear Jason Kenney's take on this issue very soon.
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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

That Didn't Take Long

See? Yesterday was nothing but an April Fool after all. Leave it to Steve. It is games, morning, noon and night. Not that this changes a damn thing. It is still all about optics and nothing more. It looks like Dion and Rae won't have to hide in the bushes.
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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Spin, Spin, Little Liberal

Since Impolitical does not have any comments, I guess I will have to post here. The Liberal spinner is upset that the NDP is introducing a motion of non-confidence against the government, as opposed say, against the other opposition parties. Heaven forbid the opposition actually oppose. That is just so gauche. I first must note that only a Liberal could see a vote of non-confidence in the government as a vote against them. I guess when you vote with the government as often as Liberals do, you start to see yourself mirrored in their interests. Now, on to the guts of Impolitical's complaint. He writes:
I think the Liberals stand for creating prosperity and balanced budgets, much as they did during the entire course of their recent long tenure which Canadians well remember.
Funny, I remember the massive cuts in transfers to the provinces which were passed down to the municipalities, which we are still dealing with. I guess it's all in how you remember it.
And yes, that does include evil but reasonable corporate tax cuts worked into the mix. Small business owners are "ordinary Canadians" too, don't ya know. They work hard and play by the rules and deserve their tax cuts too.
Ah, the small businessman, the last refuge of scoundrels and Liberals. I have never heard the Royal Bank and Shell Oil described as small businesses before, but it is the banks and oil sector that are making out like bandits under these tax cuts.
The Liberal approach to budgeting is starkly different from the current crop of Conservative ideologues whose policies have led us to the brink of deficit for the first time in over a decade. In fact, it's likely one of the strongest areas of contrast that the election will see. If the NDP want to make the Liberal record on the economy an issue, by all means, go right ahead.
My answer to this is, if it is so different why are you voting to support their budgets? Also, I am sure the NDP will bring it up during a campaign, thanks.
The larger point here though is one of political positioning that the NDP continue to pursue but which has failed to produce noticeable gains for them in the polls or in recent by-elections.
Cuz ya know, politics is all about the polls and power. God forbid you, you know, stand for something.
The Green Party is elbowing them out. They need to grow. Yet they're not likely to build up much goodwill with Liberal voters in order to convince them to vote NDP with this approach. That's why it's such a strange tactic, this continued onslaught. In ridings such as my own, where Peggy Nash will be facing Gerard Kennedy, I can't imagine such MP's would favour the hardening of sentiment that the likes of Mulcair are fostering. Shouldn't such MP's want to attract Liberal voters rather than ridicule them?
As for this, we will see about the Greens. This "onslaught" is about bringing down the Tories and Mulcair is mocking the pantywaists in the Liberal caucus, not Liberal voters (and that is pretty damn easy to do). Impolitical has completely missed the boat and has screwed himself into the ground. Liberals have to remember that, even though they vote like Conservatives, they are not the government. This vote is not against them unless they make it so, by siding with the Tories (yet again).
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No Troops Or Equipment, But A Moral Victory?

Really? NATO is going to tell Canadians that "We feel your pain, but we aren't going to send any more troops. However, you can write this nice document for us! Isn't that super?" I find that hard to believe. This has to be an April Fool. Surely, the government is just trying to push this line so that when they do get the troops and equipment they themselves have said is the minimum for our continued involvement, they will look like diplomatic giants? If this turns out to be the reality, even the spineless Bob Rae faction will not be able to swallow it. Right? On second thought, there is nothing Bob Rae can't swallow if it means putting off an election.
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Amazing Discovery

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