Monday, January 30, 2006

Two Down...

That's Manley and McKenna both out of the Liberal leadership race; both were front runners with multi-region appeal.

Is somebody going to start a pool on this or what?

I'd be inclined to put my money on Ignatieff, but again, I don't know enough about the other contenders. The Bob Rae line is appealing to me personally, but that one definitely seems like a long shot (if it comes through though, I will cow-tow to Kingpengvin).

I haven't heard any mention of Carolyn Bennett being considered... dare the Liberals look to a female leader to guide them out of these difficult times? Could be an astute move; Hey, she wasn't mentioned slandered on the Liberal deck of cards, so that has to be a good sign.

Of note: Paddy Torsney of all people gets put on the deck for voting againsy Bill-312, but they don't mention that Conservative member Richard Harris of Cariboo-Prince George did too.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Out of the Gate...

An interesting prologue to Harper's Conservative government; A press conference rebuking the U.S. Ambassador for saying that his government (along with most nations, apparently) dispute our claim to artic waters. Am I the only one who finds this exchange convenient? At any rate, the Ambassador is already backing away from the issue, conveniently.

Whatever the case, I'm also begining to question the necessity for a deepwater port in Iqaluit. $5 Billion is a lot to guard our sovereignity over the North, and who are we guarding against? The U.S. or Russia? I hope not, because $5 billion is not going to cut it. Then maybe the Danes? Seriously? If a situation ever arises where we need 'boots on the ground' or ships in the water in the North to defend our sovereignity, then somebody has already screwed up, and we're in trouble. I can think of a dozen other priorities for $5 Billion in spending that should come before military bases in the North.

We'll see a free vote on same sex marriage sooner than later; apparently that election victory, however slim, went straight to Harper's head. Why else would he want to bring up such a divisive issue so early in his *ahem* mandate?

The confrontation will be that much more interesting if Mr. Brison is chosen to be the interim leader for the Liberal party. At the very least it will be a great opportunity to gauge Canada's commitment to civil rights.

Reading some of the pro-Conservative blogs has convinced me that our "Neo-Tory" movement in Canada (which has nothing to do with Neo-Cons... or so I hope) is already hopelessly deluded. The general sentiment is that everyone in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver who voted Liberal is just a bunch of latte swilling yuppie swine who are out of step with the rest of Canada. Did any of the new-Right's pundits notice that those three major urban centres are spread accross this country, and represent a great cross section of Canadians from different regions? Try telling a Vancouverite or Montrealer that they are a Liberal clone of a Torontonian, and you'd better be running the other was as you do so.

The idea is, they should be asking themselves, why didn't they win over more of these voters? Chalking that up to "effective Liberal fearmongering" before the election just doesn't cut it; and even if it did, then aren't those 'fears' legitimate? If Harper's regime is bent on somehow testing whether or not our goverment should allow a portion of our population their full measure of civil rights, don't we all have a justification to question their values?

They should be reminding themselves that over all, more Canadians voted for other parties besides the Conservatives; somehow, I think this realization is going to come to them the hard way.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre. (Part I)

I think I've recovered sufficiently to post something...

Monday was a long day. The Elections Canada staff at my polling station at St. Paul's Catholic Elementary School in Burlington were nice to deal with. We pulled most of the confirmed Liberal voters on our list by 8:30 PM, so my pull-team (Steve) and I waited to scrutinize. Paddy won one of the four polls, but Mike Wallace took the other three; two by very close margins (which were recounted), and one by a wide margin.

I stopped by the victory wrap party. Paddy gave a speech thanking all of the volunteers, both young and old, along with her constituency office staff. I was pretty tired, so I said so-long to a few people, and left.

Tuesday was back to work, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I barely had time for much else, and I even worked through lunch.

The dissapointment in the riding results was tempered a bit by the national results, which weren't nearly as bad as had been predicted.

It was good to see that Belinda Stronach, Scott Brisson, Paul Martin, Judy Sgro and Ralph Goodale had at least been brought back in their ridings.

Someone I was talking to said they thought Belinda would lose because her riding was Conservative; it appears the turth is that her riding is "Stronach" by nature, at least for the present. Still, I like her values. When she was running for leadership of the Conservative party, I remember distinctly thinking that her platform would make more sense if she were to have been running for the Liberal leadership... interesting.

One question: Why does Stephen Harper keep saying he's looking forward to "rebuilding our great nation?" I wasn't aware that it needed rebuilding; a fine tuning can never hurt, and we all know that the Conservatives hear sounds at a different pitch, but rebuilding? Take off, eh?

The Toronto Sun gave the analogy that Canadians were giving the country to the Conservatives for a "test-drive." I would add that's fine, just don't drive to fast and be home before dark.

The Liberal leadership race could be interesting, or a snoozer. I'm not to sure about McKenna; he seems to have all of the qualifications, but so far I don't get a good "gut feel" from the thought of him as leader, but this could change; to be honest I really don't know enough about him.

My buddy Kingpenvin, who voted Conservative for the first time in a decade, surprised me on the weekend with something I hadn't heard; Bob Rae's name is being bandied about as one of the potential runners... now that's interesting. I think Bob Rae would bring credibility in many ways, and is well respected; I think the only problem for him would be the shadow of his exit from politics having been swept from office in Ontario. He'd need to be surrounded by good people, and the party is still brimming with experience... could be a good fit. Kingpengvin says he's the next leader, mark his words. I'm guessing Mr. Rae would bring back some Liberal voters to the fold (like 'pengvin)

I liked the prospect of John Manley becoming leader (and not just becuase I've met him), but his reasons for not running are as sound as they come; if you're happy with your life right now John, stay where you're at... being the leader of a rebuilding party is bound to be a thankless job. (PS. nice meeting you).

Anyway, more later.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

1.5 Days...

The final push is on. Best response yet while canvassing today, so things are looking up; although, it's just likely that today I was lucky enough to get a more Liberal poll to work in.

Try not to get to excited by the Leger poll info posted at POGGE this afternoon... it's a typo (unfortunately).

Friday, January 20, 2006

2.5 Days...

I'm expecting the time between now and the election to be a bit of a blur. I'll be fitting canvassing into whatever free time I have in my schedule over the weekend, and Monday will be spent working for the campaign in Burlington.

Hey, Stephen Harper got to enjoy a home-run derby on CBC last night. I noticed that Peter Mansbridge (or 'Manbridge' as everyone was calling him) didn't give him the same hard time over calling the Martin government "corrupt" as he did to Jack Layton.

The SES polls are encouraging, in the same way the SC ones aren't; I'll be looking forward to seeing which are closer to the truth.

A buddy of mine, who has gone over to the dark side, fancies himself as satirist. The writing's not bad; I've gathered he doesn't care much for PM.

Oh well, here's to hoping the Conservatives are held to as slim a minority as possible. My next post(mortem) will probably be Tuesday.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

4 Days...

Five minutes to go in the final period. Team Liberal had been down 4-1 at the start of the third, but have rallied to put another one in to bring the score within reach (Ok, it may have been an errant pass that went in off an opponents skate, but who's complaining? We'll take it).

That's pretty much how I read the polls. If I took the time to think about it more, I could probably come up with an analogy about a goal being called back after review... and that might be likened to Harper's desperate grab for the tit at the press conference where he asked voters not to be afraid of a Conservative majority.

That has to be one of the strangest open appeals to an electorate from a politician that I can recall, rivalled only by Jack Layton's own adolescent pawing for the soft Liberal vote to go his way.

Either way, I'm guessing that those are both key moments we'll be looking back at after the election... maybe that and Harper's bizarro "Ich bin ein Torontonian" thing he has happening today... What up with that?? Oh yeah, forgot, will say anything for votes.
01/18/06 Ok, I should mention that I know he was born and raised in Toronto, his politics weren't though.


Paul Martin may not be at his slickest right now (Ok, I like the guy, but I'm not sure slick is a term that ever even applied to him... he's more like my Dad in that sense), but I think his fumbles at least have that honestness about them; if he were really trying to sell snake oil, or if he could, he's sound more like Stephen Harper.

4.5 Days...

Ok, my apologies to Jack Layton; he showed up for the home-run derby last night, and there was a pitcher on the mound.

Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed the way Peter "True Grit" Mansbridge put the boots to the NDP smear of the Martin Liberals and the confrontation on strategic voting. I just don't know how NDP'ers would have felt... can I get some input here?

Meanwhile, Stephen Harper tries to calm voter fears by letting us know that the Liberal dominated senate, civil service and courts won't let him get away with any radical changes. Yep. Vote for ineffectual change, vote Conservative.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

5 Days...

Stephen Harper finally got around to booking time on the CBC's 'Your Turn' segment (this Thursday night). It fits with the conversion that the CBC have undergone since the New Year, when they reluctantly stopped being partisans for the Liberal side.

What, you say? Hey, I might be wrong, but I was pretty sure I could detect the Liberal bias before, and if I could, you just know anybody who might be extra sensitive to perceived bias would, like supporters for other parties.

Sure enough, when you do a search on Google you find sites like the CBC Watch which rage against the CBC, along with the Campaign Confidential segment which I have been enjoying.

Incidentally, a posting on a weblog at CBC Watch claims to have insider information, and that Joe Clark is indeed the 'insider' providing the piece. That doesn't make the conservative types who are incendiary over the ideological bias in the nations cheif public broadcaster any less displeased.

And they have a point

It goes without saying that the CBC should have been much more careful to avoid any bias towards any one party; by not doing so, they have compromised their journalistic integrity and position as the voice of the nation.

I can imagine that had I been tuning in to watch the news on CBC and found they consistantly promoted another party to the detriment of the Liberals, I would have had a hard time watching.

We're used to a certain amount of bias in the privately owned media; I refuse to listen to 1010 CFRB AM radio in Toronto, or read the Toronto Sun (or Sun-group) paper(s) because I find the partisan nature of these outlets personally distasteful. But when a publicly funded national broadcaster exhibits that kind of favoritism, it's hard to watch, or it should be for anyone no matter what their affiliation.

So now we wait for what is appearing to be an inevitable Conservative government to one extent or another, and I have to worry about my favorite television and radio outlets suffering funding cuts from a potentially vindictive government; and what could anyone say? How can you justify spending tax dollars on a media outlet that only a portion of the population trusts or enjoys?

Tonight I'll tune in at 10pm EST to see how Jack Layton does in the political version of a home-run-derby that is the 'Your Turn' segment. I'm guessing there will be more pleading for Liberals to castrate themselves; if so, I'll be going to bed early.

Monday, January 16, 2006

6 Days and Counting: A Parting on the Left (well, sort of... you know what I mean)

For the last couple of days, we've been hearing Jack Layton making his case for 'strategic voting,' but in his case, he's asking for all Liberals to 'lend the NDP their votes' this time around. Apparently, Jack doesn't understand how such things work.

Instead of making a case for a rational strategic campaign, where NDPs help Libs where it makes sense and vice versa, he's decided the time is ripe to ask the Liberal supporters to cut their political throats for the NDP. Commit seppuku like good Liberal Samurai, and die.

Never mind that Jack's strategy all but ensures a Conservative majority, where the NDP can dangle and swing in the wind. Now is the time to fire their bolt, and hope to become one of the two top contending parties.

My first federal election vote was cast for an NDP candidate back in 1988. In the end, it counted for bupkis. I've voted Liberal ever since, but I've always remembered that campaign where the slogan "This time, Ed" caught my budding political mind and heart, and I've always maintained a soft spot for the NDP. While later I loathed the Reform party, the Alliance and finally the current iteration of the Conservatives, I have always until recently liked the NDP.

The NDP were always the 'next on my list' party who I wouldn't have failed to vote for had I been in a riding where I felt such a vote would have counted; had circumstances been different, I likely would have revelled living in one of those ridings, especially during the past year.

I think I noticed the change first when I learned that the RCMP investigation into the current Liberal finance minister Ralph Goodale's possible leaking of the governments direction on income trusts was in fact triggered by the NDP. While I can't fault them for drawing attention to the possibility of a criminal act, I can fault them for timing; well that's not entirely true, in a machiavellian way I can totally appreciate the stab. Just like helping bring down the government when they did, the move to create even more sound and fury over possible criminal activity on the part of the Liberals must have been an opportunity to juicy to pass up, especially for a party that desperately wants it's shot at the big time. Being a power broker must have whet their appetites.

Was it that calculated a move? We may never know. I'll be interested to see if Ralph Goodale is fully exonerated. I'll be even more interested to see where all this calculated political maneuving and stabbing lands the NDP; I do know the aren't the same party I've always admired, and may not be again until Jack "Stab" Layton has moved on, and the NDP again resemble the party that Ed would lead.

For over a decade the Liberals have enjoyed their supremacy thanks to a divide on the right, but now a parting on the Right is now a parting on the Left; now we wait to see if the NDP and Liberal voters have the sense to come together to limit the power of the resurgeant right-wing in Canada.

6.5 Days...

Will the cavalry (by way of NDP strategic voters) show up in the nick of time to hold off the CPC majority? There's a great analysisof the ridings most likely to break Liberal if the NDP voters don't vote for their candidates who don't have a chance. Still, it's likly Jack Layton will work against strategic voting

I haven't seen a similiar set up for the Liberal voters who may want to vote NDP should their candidate have a better chance... are there any?
01/17/06 Don't know how I missed the button for the Liberal strategic voting plan, but it's there on the same page. It didn't apply to my riding, but hopefully Liberal voters will check it before they go out on Jan 23rd. Rob

Sunday, January 15, 2006

7 Days ...

What to expect this week? I'm guessing that PM will again schedule the Atlantic-to-Pacific whistle-stop marathon that he carried out last year. It will be interesting to see if Harper tries a similiar approach, especially after his last election experience where he spent the last three days in Alberta to no great gain. Never underestimate the benefit of getting out and shaking a few extra hands.

Other than that, I'm guessing the policy statements are over, barring any unforseen ad-libs (no pun intended). The last thing I want to say on the Notwithstanding clause issue from last week is how surprising it is to find so many people coming to the defence of the clause. It's interesting to note that one of it's uses was by the Quebec government as they crushed the rights of english speaking Canadians within the province.

My own plans for this week are to get out at least once or twice doing whatever I can locally; on the weekend I canvassed a bit more, fixed a couple signs and gave an elderly person a lift to and from an advance poll. I should be able to get out for both days of the weekend 'final push.'

I haven't heard any other guesses as to who the mystery insider is contributing to the CBC's Campaign Confidential. I'm still sticking with Joe Clark at this point, having previously guessed Sheila Copps and Carolyn Parrish.

Here's hoping something happens to shake things up this week (in favour of the Libs, of course).

Friday, January 13, 2006

10 Days and Counting...

Day by day over the next week, the shape of things to come is going to be clearer and clearer; in the meantime, I still plan on getting out and doing some canvassing tomorrow.

At this point, anyone who isn't a Conservative supporter can only hope that the situation doesn't degenerate further and lead to a majority government for the fake PCs.

One thing that voters could thank the Liberals for in the end (but they probably won't realize) is that they will have inadvertently planted the stakes that prevent any 'right wing' agenda from surfacing. Yeah, before I go on, I'll admit that this is a 'false-negative', and that if it doesn't happen, it is remotely possible that it never was going to.

Having said that, consider what we know about the Conservative support base and the FACT that much of it is not just Christian, but right wing-nut Christian with a yearning to save all of us whether we like it or not. They want to save us from our society being smited by god for allowing gays the same rights as everyone else. They want to save us from the corruption that they regard a woman's 'right to choose' as.

Maybe they weren't going to try and pull strings with their friends in high places (Ottawa, that is); but it's just as likely they were. I'm pretty sure that Harper's tactic of announcing the free vote on gay marriage in the first week of the campaign was the quiet nod to their supporters in the Christian right to begin mobilizing, and to let them know just where they stood. Having got that issue out of the way early, the Conservatives could avoid it as much as possible, and even claim that they wouldn't use the notwithstanding clause to push through a parliamentary vote against gay marriage, over-ruling the Charter of Rights.

One thing is certain, that if there was a chance that was going to happen, it has been greatly diminished. Any such move by a Conservative government would be a red flag that a future iteration of the Liberal party could wave in the face of voters.

Another Quality Candidate... not.

Maybe if we're lucky, Harper won't let this guy sit with the Conservatives either.

Well, if we're really lucky he won;t get elected... I'll have to check to see who he's running against.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Notes from the Campaign

Arriving at the campaign office tonight to do some canvasing, I was greeted by John Manley; that was a pleasant surprise, and helps make up for not being able to go to the rally tomorrow that Paul Martin will be attending.

Mr. Manley was in Burlington to do some rush-hour campaigning, and then was attending a fundraiser with Paddy Torsney.

This was my first time "working the phones," as I've only done door-to-door until this point. People were mostly receptive, so that was good. I was worried that they might be put-off by being called at home, but surprisingly, many people seemed glad that someone from the Liberal party called.

I've heard surprisingly little from anyone about the french language debates; on the other hand, I am hearing quite a bit about the new Liberal attack-ads, and curiously enough, not the Conservative ones. I guess everyone just expects the Conservatives to be on the attack constantly.

This time around it looks like its the Liberals turn to take it on the chin for releasing an ad that never should have see the light of cathode ray tubes, LCD pixels, or any other means of display/projection.

Can anyone tell me what Jack Layton meant by "Selling moonshine on taxes." Seriously, I cannot get my head around what that means.

So, it appears Stephen Harper is punishing the CBC for their perceived bias by holding out on them as far as participating in their "Your Turn" segment; meanwhile, CTV shows the clip of Daniel Cook interveiwing him almost constantly. I'm predicting cuts to the CBC funding in the event of a Conservative majority.

Speaking of the CBC, I'm enjoying trying to figure out who the heck the Campaign Confidential insider is. As I write this, I'm pretty sure it's Joe Clark. I had previously thought it was Sheila Copps, but now I'm pretty certain that it's somone from the West. Anyone out there have any guesses? Want to place bets?

Fugitive in Paradise

Need a good case for banning handguns? (or at the very least having a registry for them?) This article from the Star may be just that... you tell me.

Face off

Caught two debates tonight.

The first was more of an "all candidates meeting" for Burlington with opportunity for questions from the audience. Paddy had a good showing, but met with a surprisingly raucous response from the audience when discussing the Federal Gun Registry, which she beat back with some impassioned defence by way of statistics on the usefullness of the Registry.

I have to admit that before tonight, all I have heard about the gun registry is about the enormous cost over-run, but very little detail on what it is being used for, so my interest was piqued to look up more info:

Individual Licence Refusal and Revocation
15,965 firearms licences have been refused or revoked by Chief Firearms Officers for public safety reasons between December 1, 1998 and September 30, 2005.

6,119 applications have been refused
9,846 firearms licences have been revoked.
Note: Reasons why firearms licence applications have been refused or licences revoked include: a history of violence, mental illness, the applicant is a potential risk to himself, herself or others, unsafe firearm use and storage, drug offences and providing false information.

Canadian Firearms Registry On-line
Law enforcement officers have queried the Canadian Firearms Registry On-line over 4.6 million times since it was launched on December 1, 1998. An average of more than 5,000 queries have been made daily, over the last quarter.
Note: The Canadian Firearms Registry Online service provides police officers access to firearms licence and registration information in the Canadian Firearms Information System through the Canadian Police Information Centre. This information helps the police to intervene and respond to calls effectively in order to prevent injury and crime, assists in the investigation of firearm-related crimes and helps the police to identify and return stolen and lost firearms to their rightful owners.

Affidavits
More than 5,450 affidavits have been provided by the Canadian Firearms Registry to support the prosecution of firearms-related crime and court proceedings. the Canadian Firearms Registry prepared 1,660 affidavits between January 1, 2005 and September 30, 2005 2,260 affidavits were produced in 2004; building on 1,150 in 2003; and 380 in 2002


Ok, so now I KNOW it is useful (albeit expensive)... another example of stuff the Liberals have to make sure the public are more aware of; I think people should know it is serving a purpose.

The other debate was the french language party leaders debate, which I caught the english translation of. Kinda tough for me to gague how well anyone did... beyond the fact that Duceppe probably fared best (like there was ANY danger or him doing otherwise), and that Martin didn't. No real surprises. It's was pretty feisty though.

I'll be interested to see what the media thinks tomorrow.

Oh, we also know why Stephen Harper never used to smile... I liked him better when all he did was scowl.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Not sure where you stand?

Try using this quiz to help you find out who you agree with on most of the election issues.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Ugh

Could it get any worse? Are there any other scandals out there to emerge? It's a tough time to be a Liberal supporter; mind you, it would take a lot more to make me even remotely consider supporting a party with a leader who won't unequivically support the equal rights of all Canadians.

What makes it more bitter and dissapointing is that it only makes things easier for those who would paint the entire Liberal party as 'a bunch of crooks' or 'scumbags.' Losing ground to the opposition hurts, but listening to that level of ignorance... that playground vitriol... it's just salt in the wounds.

The most frustrating thing about about these scandals that have pushed the Conservatives ahead in the polls is the betrayal to Canadians and to the Liberal party; they have tainted an otherwise credible government whose good work is now all but forgotten.

I still support my local MP, and will continue to campaign; the war isn't looking to good, but there are battles to be fought still and partisans will fight on another day.