Thursday, October 26, 2006

Bob Rae, 'the experienced guy', starting to look good

Add "more of a statesman" to Bob's qualities, referring to his points on the kind of relationship he's have with the current US president.

I don't have any concerns with Bob Rae's ability to conduct himself on the world stage, or to truly stand up for Canada.


Source : Vancouver Sun
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Barbara
Yaffe


Of the eight remaining candidates in the Liberal
leadership contest, Bob Rae arguably has made the most headway since the start of the race.

With a bit more than a month to go until a Dec. 2 vote at the party convention in Montreal, the former Ontario premier is now looking like the best shot to win.

No fewer than four wannabe Liberal leaders who
dropped off the competition roster have thrown support to Rae: Maurizio Bevilacqua, Hedy Fry, Carolyn Bennett and John Godfrey, who early on had contemplated running.

At the start of the contest, Rae had backing from
a single Liberal MP from New Brunswick. Today, 10 MPs back his bid.

More importantly, Rae is in the No. 2 spot in delegate support behind Michael Ignatieff, a candidate who has been making too many political errors of late and has an "anybody-but" movement building against him.

It's generally recognized that, in terms of raw political skill among the competitors, Rae has the edge. While never serving in a federal cabinet -- an advantage Stephane Dion has been able to tout -- the one-time Rhodes scholar has done just about
everything but.

He pointed out in an interview Monday while in Vancouver briefly that he has been elected eight times, as an MPP and an MP, in addition to serving as NDP premier of Canada's largest province. He has headed public and private sector studies, worked internationally, and completed major contracts for provincial and federal governments.

Conservatives have readily admitted, of those vying for the Liberal helm, the one they'd least like to confront is Bob Rae simply because he is so politically experienced.

"I'm job-ready," nodded Rae, sipping coffee and contemplating the prospect of an early election. "It's one of the reasons why my experience is of some help."

In his quest for a majority government, Stephen Harper is likely to want to catch the Liberals and their new leader off guard next spring, presumably unprepared for a quick vote.

The prime minister certainly didn't demur from calling a pair of by-elections in Ontario and Quebec for Nov. 27 -- a date that's inconvenient for the Liberals starting their convention that week.

Rae's biggest handicap in the race -- being contested by others with their own fair share of handicaps -- has been the question of his Liberal bona fides.

He noted during our conversation that he formally resigned from the New Democratic party eight years ago and, until April, when he became a card-carrying Liberal, was non-partisan, prepared to help candidates from any and every party get elected.

Should he become Opposition leader, Rae
cited two priorities: Reassessing Canada's armed forces commitment in Afghanistan, and repairing a federal-provincial system of grants and loans to students pursuing post-secondary education.

Rae also said he'd want Liberals to continue opposition to the U.S. ballistic missile defence shield. He'd want to reinstate the Kelowna accord aimed at bolstering aboriginal living standards and he'd renew the Liberals' daycare strategy.

He offered subtle criticism of Ignatieff, a longtime friend and leadership opponent who, speaking of George W. Bush, told a Toronto newspaper last week: "This president has been a disaster for the authority and the influence of the United States."

Rae said such comments were unnecessary. "I wouldn't, I don't do that. I don't think that's what you do. There's no need to be antagonistic. There's a need to be independent.

"I would absolutely stand comfortably with Mr. Bush in the Rose Garden. The job of a prime minister is to have a relationship with the president regardless of his party or point of view."

Rae predicted that, as a party leader, he'd differ from Harper in style as well as substance.

"I love the political process. I'd try to run an open
government with a style that's a little less confrontational than Mr. Harper's. And less hierarchical."

Added Rae: "I'm not a control freak by nature. I
believe you've got to give strong ministers a chance to do their jobs. And we've got to be more engaged as a country in listening to each other."

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

New team strategy in the race?

Do we call this team Kenne-Dion? Has a good ring to it...

Monday, October 23, 2006

Four haiku odes to the Court Challenges Program

Inspired by skdadl over at pogge:

The Court Challenge Program
It might have been very useful
But now it is gone

You seek justice
It cannot be located
Without private funding

Yesterday it was useful
Today it is eliminated
Conservatives are like that

Stay the patient course
Of little help are your screams
Until the next election

Sunday, October 22, 2006

It was in me to give, so they took it out of me.

Blood, that is. Friday was the first time I've given blood. I tried once back in high school, but I started bruising and they had to pull the needle out before they even got half of a bag (which they cannot use). After that, I've always been a little apprehensive about the process.

Nonetheless, I've been meaning to do it for a while. When our company had a health fair a few weeks ago, I stopped by the Canadian Blood Services table to find out my blood type (its 'O' but still not sure if its +/-).

Type O negative blood is considered the "universal donor" type; anyone who needs blood can be given type O neg (listen for them to call for a bag of it in shows like ER, etc). Why? Because it won't coagulate when mixed with other blood types.

So, knowing that I had a chance of being able to provide really useful blood (it's all good, and they won't refuse any of it), I thought it was time to try again.

All told, it took about an hour, of which less than 10 minutes was the sucking extraction of the blood (and the needle wasn't bad at all). Then you get all the juice and cookies you want.

Want to know more? Go here to find out more about giving blood in Canada.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Ahhh...

I couln't help but wonder what was the thinking behind the "New Government of Canada's" decision to cancel the Court Challenges Program. Is it really going to save that much money?

Then later, I was checking out the headlines at the Canadian Blog Exchange, and then this one caught my eye, and I noticed that it is just one of a few.

Looking at the piece I first noticed, you can see why the program is going:

I am glad this abuse of the taxpayers money has finally ended. The Court Challenges Program has been used to restructure society resulting in the redefinition of marriage. The public has been deprived of having any input into these changes though we footed the bill.

In short, it's vindictiveness. The CPC and their neo-tory ilk can't seem to find the will and the means to crush the rights of some Canadians, so instead, they'll make it as hard as possible for other people/groups to fight for theirs.

They go on:

The elimination of the Court Challenges Program will go a long way to promoting democracy in Canada.

Like, how exactly? What drivel. They finish off with a suggestion to email PM Steve, Jim Flaherty and John Baird to give them thanks for all their hard work.

Oh, I'm going to email them all right, but not to say "thanks."

Update: Go here for information of the last ditch effort to try and save the program... if it's not too late.

Ignatieff Auction

It's been over a month since I won my bids. I've received the receipts from the party for my 'donations,' but still no sign or word on where my auction items are.

I had no qualms with bidding and supporting the Ignatieff campaign, because I thought it was a great idea. I understand that shipping costs could all but negate the meager donations, and so offered to arrange to pick up the items.

It has less to do with the stuff itself (some buttons and party platforms), than the message it sends. Is the Ignatieff campaign going to follow through with this properly, or not?

Update: I have received an email saying that one of my items has been sent out to me, with an apology for the delay. Thanks!

Monday, October 16, 2006

A few thoughts on the debate

My brief opinions on yesterday's leadership debate, in no particular order:

I was really impressed with Martha Hall Findlay; I noticed that she, along with Brison and Volpe, seemed pretty relaxed; likely because they were under the least pressure. Still, I think Martha's performance has increased her chances of being elected, and should the Liberal party form the next government, she should have a place in cabinet.

There may have been several leadership hopefuls, but there was one future Minister of Finance, and that was Scott Brison. No offence intended towards his efforts at running for the leadership, but barring a miracle surge in support its safe to say that he's demonstrated more than enough leadership ability to take the MOF role if and when the Liberals form the next government.

I even found myself thinking that Volpe might be able to rehabilitate his image, which has ironically only been tarnished by this leadership campaign.

I liked Kennedy; especially his nod to the party renewal which is going on right now (?) and should have been a greater part of the discussion. I might have to watch the debate again, but was he the only candidate not to mention/draw on the strength of having been a cabmin?

Bob's my guy, but he had a rough go yesterday. I think he came out a little forceful in the infrastructure debate... like he was under some pressure to land a blow, or make an impression (which he would later get to do in his tussle with Ignatieff). I liked his closing remarks (and not because I'm a Leafs fan).

Ignatieff held his own for the most part, and I liked his closing. I thought he managed to steal Dion's thunder on the environmental debate. I'd be interested to hear the opinion of an un-biased observer with regards to the dust-up that Bob and Michael had on foreign policy; I think Ignatieff is still smarting there, but then again, I'm biased.

Dion was very impassioned, and I thought at one point that his emotions might get the better of him. Ignatieff tagged him on the environment with the "but we didn't get it done" line, and Dion's comeback "Do you think it's easy to make priorities?" made me wince.

Dryden was pretty good, although I made a note during the Gun control debate that some of his remarks on "psychological insecurity" were a little too intricate for prime time. Good closing anecdote, but the reliance on cue cards wasn't.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I don't believe it.

When they said Bob Rae went skinny dipping, I thought they were joking. Apparently not. I thought Bob was courageous before this, now I'm certain.

I wonder if Michael Ignatieff is thinking it might have been a better choice to appear on the Rick Mercer show, rather than Tout le monde en parle.

Perhaps.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Slainte

I'm drinking Scotch. I know drinking and blogging don't mix, but it's probably still better than the relentless spinning that everybody else seems to be engaged in right now without the aid of any LIBations (perhaps not entirely true... based on some of what I'm reading, some people may be drinking...)

In case your interested, I'm drinking a dram of Aberlour 10 yr, which I received for my birthday today (which I seem to share with Jason Cherniak... an auspicious day indeed).

Here's to all the leadership candidates, and all the volunteers who put in so much time and effort. Slainte! (It's pronounced "Slahn-cha," and means "to your health.")





I might be spinning tomorrow, but you won't read about it here. ;-)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Burlington results

Voting in Burlington wrapped up at about 4 p.m. this afternoon, and these results were posted to the Burlington Federal Liberal Association website this evening:

Delegate Selection Results:
Gerard Kennedy 4 delegates
St├ęphane Dion 3 delegates
Bob Rae 3 delegates
Michael Ignatieff 2 delegates
Scott Brison 1 delegate
Ken Dryden 1 delegate

I'm a little surprised Michael Ignatieff didn't fare better, as I might have expected results to reflect the Ontario average a bit more. Glad to see Bob Rae having a competitive showing. I expected to see Dion do much better, but we'll see how things shake out over the next couple days.

I'd be curious to see other riding breakdowns if anybody else has them... ah, of course... democraticSPACE has them.