Thursday, August 31, 2006

Support our troops? Then give Jack Layton money

You probably heard that today NDP leader Jack Layton called for the withdrawal of Canada's troops from Afghanistan. The NDP's always smug and simplistic takes on issues of foreign policy never cease to both amaze and nauseate me, but that’s not what I wanted to write about tonight.

Just mere hours after Jack’s righteous statement, the NDP used it as to solicit donations from Canadians in a fundraising e-mail that arrived in my inbox. Apparently, the way to “support our troops” is to send Jack Layton $100:

I’m not sure which I’m more disgusted by, this or the Harper Conservatives using the war in Lebanon to raise money for the CPC at a time when thousands of Canadians were still desperately trying to flee a war zone. I think it’s a tie, both are nauseating.

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Cons kicking ex-candidate out of the party

I really wonder why this story isn’t getting more attention, as from all the circumstances outlined in this piece it sounds just disgusting.

In a nutshell, Alan Riddell was the CPC candidate in Ottawa-South in 2004 but was blocked from running in 2005/06 in favour of another candidate. When that candidate dropped out, he began to seek the nomination again but was asked to step aside for sponsorship whistleblower Alan Cutler, who lost to Liberal David McGuinty.

Riddell said he was promised $150,000 by the CPC for his expenses in exchange for stepping aside for Cutler. The CPC, shockingly, admits they had agreed to a payout to Riddell, but since he had the temerity to go public the deal is off.

Now, Riddell is suing the CPC for breach of contract and things are getting nasty. The latest: now the CPC is trying to expel him from the party, calling him an embarrassment, while Riddell says the move is intimidation to get him to drop the lawsuit, and he has appealed directly to Stephen Harper to block his expulsion.

This whole thing is smelly for so many reasons. Blocking nominations, secret payoffs to people to drop out of races, trying to kick whistleblowers out of the party. Doesn’t quite fit the picture Conservatives like to paint of themselves, now does it?

Former Tory candidate asks Harper to prevent expulsion from party

(CP) - Former Conservative candidate Alan Riddell is appealing personally to Prime Minister Stephen Harper to stop the party from revoking his membership.

Riddell, who is embroiled in a nasty breach-of-contract dispute with the party, maintains the move to expel him is designed to intimidate him into dropping the lawsuit.

"The sole object . . . is to intimidate me, and others, from pursuing judicial redress through the Canadian court system simply because those against whom the redress is sought are powerful elected party officials on the national council, including yourself," Riddell wrote in a letter to Harper earlier this week.

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A (hypothetical) question for Scott Brison...

...that occured to me while shaving this morning. Scott, if Michael Ignatieff wins the leadership will you run again?

Just wondering

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I find your lack of faith disturbing-- UPDATE

I know they feel Linda Diebel has taken some creative liberties in past interviews with Michael Ignatieff, so if the good folks on his campaign feel she misrepresented what he said in her piece in the Toronto Star today please let me know. And I hope she did. Otherwise, Michael, say it ain't so.

Here's the jist of it:

Toronto MP Michael Ignatieff won't commit to running in the next election if he loses his bid to become leader of the federal Liberal party.

"Depends who's leader," Ignatieff said yesterday when asked at a meeting with the Toronto Star editorial board if he would run for the party in the next election if he loses the leadership vote in early December.

Hey Michael, if it's Volpe I'm with you. In fact, you'd be more than welcome in my No Joes Liberal Party™. But otherwise, I don't at all like the thought of someone that only wants to be the leader and isn't committed to staying on the team if he loses.

I also have to question his political instincts here. I'd be interested in hearing the question that drew this answer, but still his answer was so wrong. Let's say he doesn't intend to stick around if he doesn't win. You don't say that Michael! You answer something like I'm not going to discuss hypotheticals, we're running to win and I plan to be successful in Montreal. I've been a Liberal for yada yada, next question.

Even if he does become leader, its incidents like this and others that make me wonder if his political naiveté would be liability to the party, particularly given that, say what you will about him, Steve Harper is a cagey political operator.

But strategy aside, as someone who values loyalty to the cause quite highly, and who likes Ignatieff and has had him ranked quite highly on my own preference list of late following my own candidate of choice, I find the revelations in this Star article quite unsettling. I hope there's a clarification here, and soon.

UPDATE: Here's a lenghtly partial transcript of the interview from the Star, and Cerberus (who is backing Ignatieff) responds to the story here.

UPIDYDATE: It's a Star Wars reference. Lack of faith disturing...anyone? Anyway, CP has a story on Scott Brison tearing Ignatieff a new one and calling him an "error-prone amateur" and comparing him to a jet skiing Stockwell Day:

"These gaffes are damaging to a leadership campaign but they will be terminal to a national general election campaign," Brison said in an interview.

Gerard Kennedy saying the same thing more diplomatically, with faint praise indeed:

"I don't think Mr. Ignatieff pretends to have a lot of experience, per se. I think that's one of the things he would argue is offset by other attributes."

Ken Dryden taking a shot too:

"This is pitch-in time, get-mad time, do whatever needs to be done time," Dryden said. "Some things are more important than who is party leader . . . this isn't a time to pick up your marbles and go home."

and Ignatieff offering a clarification of sorts:

Ignatieff clarified his intentions in an interview Wednesday with The Canadian Press.

"Let's be clear. I am planning to run in the next election in Etobicoke-Lakeshore. I love being an MP and I've enjoyed it enormously and I'm looking forward to doing it again," said Ignatieff, who first won election last January.

He added that, whoever wins the leadership race, he will do whatever he can to help him or her defeat Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the next election.

Asked why he didn't say that when the Star first asked, Ignatieff said he considered hypothetical questions about his political future should he lose the leadership contest to be moot.

"I feel I have good reason to believe I'm ahead in the race and I plan to win. So the hypothetical is not going to arise."

Oy, man. I could go on and make some comments here, but I'm done.

UPDATEARONI: Except, here's Dion in the Globe this morning:

Stéphane Dion, former senior Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin cabinet minister, said he would support whoever the new leader is and show the same loyalty he showed to both those Liberal prime ministers.

However, he added he expects to be "loyal to myself."

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Liberal media my behind

There's a new chairman of the board at CanWest Global, owners of the Global Television Network, the National Post, Ottawa Citizen, Vancouver Sun, Calgary Herald…well, let's just say they're the biggest media conglomerate in Canada.

And who is this new chairman of this Liberal media monstrosity, you ask? Maybe Jane Fonda or Cathy Sheean? Nope, it's none other than Derek Burney.

Highly qualified for the position, Mr. Burney is senior strategic adviser to the law firm of Ogilivy Renault and is a Visiting Professor and Senior Distinguished Fellow at my alma matter, Carleton University. He was also Brian Mulroney's Chief of Staff, but that was years ago.

There's one item missing from his CanWest supplied bio though:

Statement by Prime Minister elect Stephen Harper

24 January 2006

OTTAWA – Statement by Prime Minister elect Stephen Harper:

“The Conservative transition team will be led by Derek H. Burney, who served previously as Canada's Ambassador to the United States and as Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. Mr. Burney will be assisted by a group with extensive experience in government. Their main objective will be to ensure a smooth transition from the outgoing to the incoming administration."


As I said, I don't doubt Mr. Burney's qualifications, I'm sure he'll do a great job. I just bring it up as another piece of evidence, in addition to, you know, the actual coverage by CanWest properties, that this whole Liberal media bias stuff is crap.

Unfortunately though, as Mr. Burney wasn't successful in getting Harper to lift the government lobbying ban on transition team members, he can't ask Steve to do something about this whole government fight with the press gallery and maybe backoff on this question list thing. Although, given recent developments, no lobbying may be necessary after all.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

This heightened security is getting silly!

I'm going to New York next week on a business trip (first time in the Big Apple) and luckily I'll have some time on my own to explore the city while I'm there.

One of the things I'd like to do is the tour of the NBC studios at 30 Rock. While researching it today though, I came across this note on the tour page of the NBC Web site. Bolding is mine.

Due to security reasons, we cannot allow people with firearms to go on the tour. We also ask that you limit bags and packages to a minimum in order to expedite the security process.

I bet a bottle of water is out now too. Damm you Osama! All I'll say is this: you're lucky Conan! :)

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Radio Canada on blogs and the leadership: Now Quebec thinks I’m a nutjob too!

Nearly two months ago, not feeling like taking the time to write something insightful, I fired off a post of “short, snarky comments on recent news stories” on a Thursday afternoon. One of the stories was Joe Volpe’s strong membership sign-up showing, and I made the following snarky comment:

Snark: Looks like we may be forming a new party on Dec. 4. We should start thinking about names now to avoid any CCRAP issues with the acronym.

That little throw-away sarcastic comment earned me a mention in a Globe and Mail story on blogging and the Liberal leadership race (now behind the subscriber firewall) where I come off as some kind of Liberal counterinsurgent nutjob. Still, no such thing as bad PR, right?

Well now that one, innocent snark has caught the media eye again. Came across this recent piece on the Radio Canada Web site (en français, naturellement) on blogging and the Liberal leadership race. It mentions Cerberus, Calgary Grit and Shoshana, among others, including myself and that dammed Volpe line, of course:

Un autre exemple: Stop Iggy, qui s'inquiète de la candidature de Michael Ignatieff, les créateurs du site trouvant ses positions trop à droite. D'autres, comme le blogue de Shoshana Berman, évaluent quels candidats devraient se retirer de la course ou encore, comme ABCer in Toronto, proposent de fonder un autre parti si Joe Volpe devient chef du parti.

Allow me to translate: there’s this crazy mofo from B.C. that is hoarding arms, ammunition and beef jerky in Scarborough to launch a counter coup if Joe Volpe wins the leadership. He will establish a socialist paradise, and invite Iran to station nuclear missiles near that imprisoned Toronto Island Airport.

Oy vey, will I ever live this one down? Hey, trust me MSM, while I don’t like Joe Volpe, I won’t be the one launching a countercoup if he wins (which he won’t). Ask anyone that has met me IRL. Fidel Castro, I am not. At least not until hockey season is over, or the Canucks are out of the playoffs. And with Luongo in goal now this is our year, so Joe would have until July to consolidate his power, suspend civil liberties, etc.

Actually, truth be told the MSM has found me out. I will be forming a new party in the event of a Volpe win in Montreal. It will be called the No Joes Liberal Party. Here's how it will play out:

“Cool party, can I join?” Joe Volpe will ask.

“No Joe, look at the name, it’s the No JOEs Liberal Party!” I’ll reply.

“But you let in Fontana!” he’ll complain.

“It’s called No JoeS, we’re allowed one,” I’ll tell him. “And if Fontana leaves to run for Mayor in London, Comuzzi is next on the waiting list. Take a hike Volpe!”

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Monday, August 28, 2006

Liberals must whip it…whip it good

After a parliamentary session where the Liberals were outsmarted and outmaneuvered at seemingly every turn, it's time for our caucus to get its proverbial head out of its you know what and, after a good shower, come out swinging: we need to vote, as a caucus, against reopening the SSM debate.

I agree with Kyle, Bill Graham needs to whip the caucus on this one. Those that don't want to fall in line can abstain, call in sick or hit the road. We need to come out as a party united, take leadership on this issue, and expose the whole exercise for what it is: a political sham by Sideshow Steve designed to appease his base with the appearance he's doing something about SSM, when really he has no intention of doing so because it would kill his dreams of a majority government.

This is a closed issue. We already had this debate, and SSM passed. All Liberals, with the exception of the cabinet (as is parliamentary tradition) were allowed to vote freely on the issue. Everyone has had their say. As Zac notes, it has been over a year since the SSM legislation passed and there hasn't been rioting in the streets. Society hasn't crumbled. Not one person has told me their marriage has failed because two guys can now get married.

I think most of the MPs that voted against SSM, except perhaps the most ardent and zealous, can agree this is a closed issue. It's time to move on. And certainly those Liberals that voted no can agree it serves us no purpose to treat Harper's sham exercise in political gamesmanship as a legitimate policy debate.

And I'll go one step further. We don't need to legitimize this debate. We should be there for the vote, but let's not take part in this sideshow otherwise. No long-winded, pointed speeches. We should relinquish our time. Let the Conservative windbags pontificate amongst themselves. Canadians expect us to be doing real work.

So, to the Liberal caucus, I call on you to expose Harper's ploy for the sham that is and refuse to legitimize it. No matter what their position on SSM, all Liberal MPs need to vote NO on reopening this debate. It's time to whip it good. Whip it real good.

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Liberals and beer

Paul Wells columnizes from Vancouver this week on this marathon of a Liberal leadership race. Mainly he focuses on Michael Ignatieff, but I LOL'd at this line he had about the politician formerly known as Iggy:

He is the Keith's India Pale Ale of Liberal leadership candidates: those who like him, like him a lot. Those who don't, like Stéphane Dion.

Hilarious, and probably not far off the mark. Is Ignatieff a beer drinker though? I would have pegged him for more of a scotch man myself. Or maybe brandy, or cognac.

And speaking of alcohol, it seems Gerard Kennedy knows how to party. While photo doctoring is distasteful (and a long-held tradition of the political right), I think this time it backfired on the Cons. It makes me like Gerard a little more, it makes him come across as a little more just folks, average Canadian and less nerdy foodbank guy.

Just as long as it wasn't an import, or even worse, a weak-assed American beer.
That would be an even larger scandal than Ken Dryden's fondness for American burgers.

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Friday, August 25, 2006

What they’re blogging about instead of Kenney, Day and terrorists

Just for fun, I thought I’d take a look at what some of your “top drawer” Blogging Torries have been blogging about instead of, and apparently consider more important than, the links that the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Stockwell Day, and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, Jason Kenney, have to a banned terrorist group. Call it your Friday smile.

Small Dead Animals

Nothing on the Conservative government’s terrorist loving twosome. Kate does find the time to oh so cleverly call women that don’t support her views on women’s rights pigs as part of a screed on the Conservative blosphere’s crusade to eliminate the Status of Women…agency (emphasis mine):

It isn't just "social conservatives" who want the "Harper government to axe Status of Women Canada" and marginalizing their critics in such a manner is disingenuous - at best. Had you bothered to report on who and what SOW spends our taxdollars on, those fearful squeals from feminists might have been placed in the appropriate context.

Clever and classy. But then, she did coin the term Liberanos.

Stephen Taylor

Well, the Blogging Tory grand poobah has been taking it easy since his victory over the forces of evil, aka the CBC, so he’s only had time to post a YouTube video and do some housekeeping lately. I’m sure that any day now though he’ll turn those fine journalism skills he employed on the Borys/Hubert affair to cleaning up the rot in his own party. Any day now. (Love those colourful boxes, btw).

Steve Janke

Besides leading the crusade against the Status of Women, what else is the angry man up to? Well, one thing he’s not up to is wondering why Kenney and Day are so chummy with banned supporters of terrorism. What has he found worthy of his posting time? Well, apparently he’s shocked to learn that, at the recent Liberal caucus meeting, people had different opinions on stuff and they, like, talked about it. Sounds crazy, I know, to a member of the Harper Way or the Highway party. Democracy can be messy. Scroll down, still no terrorists, but if you want the latest on the guy accused of committing a murder in the U.S. some years ago, look no further.

UPDATE: For the record, Janke has finally weighed in with a piece of silly spin that absolves Kennney of any responsibility (he's just stupid and ignorant, it was an unnamed staffer's fault), attempts to shift the blame to the Liberals, and completly ignores the role of Stockwell Day, the Minister responsible for this stuff, who is also knee deep (probably because that would negate his attempted anti-Liberal counterspin). Now we know why the Conservative spin machine was silent for so long: they've been furiously digging for something, anything they can use to shift the spotlight off of them. Accountability if necessary, but not necesarily accountability, that's the Conservative motto.

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Tie a Red Ribbon around that sagging Liberal tree...'s been seven long months out of government, do you still love me?

With my PVR recording Thursday's re-runs of The Office I’ve read over the full text of the LPC’s Red Ribbon Task Force on Reform. My first impression? This must have been written by lawyers, because they never use three words when 30 will do. (Although, I'm afraid this post of mine is far too long too.)

guess that’s just my journalistic bias. Still, it was a touch more interesting than the report I read this morning on The Future of Enterprise Software. But snarkiness aside, hidden in the excess verbiage are some interesting recommendations, some I agree with and some I don’t.

My view on the LPC today

Let me start with my own raw, unfiltered impressions of the LPC after 10 odd years of riding and youth commission activism: the barbs the Cons like to throw around about cultures of entitlement aren’t far off the mark. It is, by and large an elitist organization. While there are people here and there generally committed to policy development/making a difference, by and large most of the people in the upper reaches of the party are committed solely to the acquisition of power for power’s and ego’s sake.

That’s effective, to a point, at winning elections when we’re all on the same team. When it fractures, chaos ensues, and grudges form that carry on through generations, with people forgetting how it started in the first place. Turner v. Chretien became Martin v. Chretien, and so on. I’m sure it began somewhere back in the Clear Grits era, or a fight Alexander Mackenzie had with Wilfrid Laurier.

The LPC is a top heavy, top down organization. The grassroots are bodies to stuff envelopes and stack meetings, and advance the position of the elites. They’re to be placated with the impression their voice is being heard on administrative issues, and on policy issues through long, tedious policy development processes that produce resolutions that are then ignored.

So why, then, you ask, am I a member? Because I believe in the core principles of the Liberal Party. Because I naively hope, perhaps in some small way, I can help make a difference. Because all the parties, to some degree, have the same issues (I hear lovely things about the Greens, I’d tell but they’d sue). And because I think, perhaps naively, there is hope for change, if the grassroots ever get serious about it.

The report, and recommendations

The report, will all its verbiage, certainly does a good job of identifying (some) of the problems. And many of the recommendations won’t be surprises to those that heard LPC president Mike Eizenga speak at the LPC(O) in May, and I’m sure he’s made the speech many times elsewhere.

Anyway, I’ll touch on some of the recommendations now, they’re in bold.

* The LPC Constitution be amended to accommodate a national membership. Such membership would confer upon anyone eligible to join an automatic membership in the EDA and the PTA in which they ordinarily reside, and in any Commission for which they are eligible.

I’m in favour of this. As I mentioned after Einzenga’s speech, it just makes sense to streamline memberships nationally, achieve savings through economies of scale, and free up PTA resources to focus on organization. Membership turnaround by the PTAs has been poor, it makes sense to outsource it, but in doing so the PTAs should set and demand performance benchmarks for processing forms, receipts, etc.

* A national fee should be imposed for such memberships, and that a percentage of said fee should be allocated to cost recovery, to be determined by the National Executive, in consultation with EDAs/Ridings through to the Council of Presidents. The remainder of the fee would be returned to the EDA/Riding of origin.

National fee makes sense, esp. if it’s going to be a national membership. The question is, though, should the fee be cost recovery only, or, as is envisioned, should the portion over cost recovery go back to the riding as a fundraising mechanism. I must say I’m on the one hand pleased they said to the EDA and not the PTA, as today it all goes to the PTA (to cover admin). That’s unfair, as memberships are mostly generated by the EDAs, which today incur more cost each member they sign-up but don’t see a penny of the fee. As a riding comms. chair I was faced with this firsthand when our membership soared from 150 to 1200 during a strong nomination race in 2003/04. But on the other hand, accessibility is the most important thing, so a membership fee as close to cost recovery as possible is preferable. It’s unclear to me if a staggered fee structure for youth would continue or not. So, I’d favour a national fee at cost recovery for youth (and possibly low income peoples) and slightly above cost recovery (a few bucks profit per) for adults, with the profit kicked back to the EDA that signed them up.

PTA Structure: I won’t go into these reforms in details, but basically the role of the PTAs is to be strengthened, with PTA reps forming the core of a streamlined national executive. Much of what their role is to be doesn’t sound new to be. But, in principle, more power to the regions is good.

Standing Committee Structure: More streamlining here. Fine with me. Generally speaking, I find committees to be fairly useless. I was on the LPC(BC)’s communications committee before moving East, we never had a single meeting.

The report envisions a revamped and strengthened policy committee, and details a whole long, seemingly unwieldy policy development process. Read the report for the full details. The goal is to make a tighter link between the leader and policy development, and hold the leader accountable for implementing it, and if not explaining why. I’m not convinced it will change the status quo though, nor am I convinced how, with the streamlining theme, a new, larger policy apparatus is advisable/the answer.


* That a minimum of 50 members be required to accredit a Commission club.

The goal here is to avoid repeats of the paper campus club fiascos of the past, and I heartily agree there. Is 50 too high? Frankly, no. On a university campus that shouldn’t be a huge challenge if the goal is a thriving, active club and not a paper vanity exercise. Clubs will be permitted to be formed with less, but to elect delegates the 50 member threshold is right.

* That commission ceases to exist once Party members, at Convention, determine that they have completed or fulfilled their mandate.

If I were a commission I’d be concerned about why this recommendation is here. It seems to be a prelude to disolution.

Now we move to executive streamlining, and here’s a quote that illustrates why it is so needed:

Each meeting of the National Executive now costs over $50,000. It is reasonable to ask whether those resources would be better spent on one of the Party's core functions.

Damm right it is. So, the report recommends:

* A Council of Presidents be established.
The Task Force believes that this new entity is vital in a renewed effort to foster greater engagement with the Party's grassroots and greater coordination of Party activities. The Council of Presidents would meet annually, as a "stand-alone" in one year, and in conjunction with Biennial Conventions in the next. Logically, its meetings would also coincide with one of the two meetings of the National Executive (and one of the four meetings of the Management Committee) to be held each year. Its duties would be to review and consider the annual strategic, organizational and fundraising plans of the Party and each of the Commissions, the election readiness plans of the National Campaign Committee, the Policy development plans of the Policy Committee and its subcommittees, and consideration of by-laws related to the National Membership Registry, such as fees and procedures. It will also provide a useful forum for the Leader to outline his or her plans for the future. Perhaps most importantly, it will allow representatives of every single EDA to be consulted on, and gain knowledge of, all of the policies and procedures of the Party.

Sounds nice. I have long felt riding associations get the shaft in the LPC. My concern though is how much power would this council have? Could/would it effect change, or would it just be a rubberstamp for the national executive? The LPC(BC) has a council of riding presidents that means, IIRC, quarterly. I attended once for our riding president. It was a useless meeting that accomplished nothing but hear reporters from the executive, and make a few complaints that fell on deaf ears. If we’re going to create such a body at the national level it needs to have real power to effect change, and provide a counterbalance to/overrule the national executive.


* Increasing the size of EDA delegations to LPC Conventions to 20, of which ten (10) would be male and ten (10) female, including six youth. Aboriginal delegates could be elected from EDAs, instead of the current algebraic delegate formula. No change to current ex-officio eligibility is contemplated, although we do note that their representation would be further diluted.

The report notes by spreading out the convention costs amongst a larger pool of delegates the cost of the convention borne by each delegate will be lowered, and that’s a good thing. My concern though is that, by increasing the delegations, urban ridings with many members will send more, while rural ridings with less members will still send less than full slates, leading to an even greater overrepresentation of urban delegates. If we go to one member, one vote for leadership (see below) that will be slightly less of a concern, but the rural voice would still be diluted in crafting policy.

* Offering delegates a choice between a "status quo" and a "weighted one-member, one-vote" method of leadership selection at the upcoming Convention.

Yes, and I favour the weighted one member, one vote system that, as the report notes, every other party uses.

* Streamlining the current leadership review process by removing the "double vote" and requiring review only after an election loss.

Streamlining good, but requiring only after a loss bad. What if it’s a minority win? We need more flexibility here to remove the leader IMO, not less.

Final thoughts

Overall, I have to say I’m underwhelmed by the report. Some of the structural changes are promising, but it’s unclear they will have the needed results, beyond cost savings, which IMO is creating an apparatus more responsive to the grass roots. The council of presidents has the potential to be this grassroots voice is it is given the power to hold the executive in check, and if the members have the gumption to use it. These changes are structural, I’m not that the need for an “attitude change” is acknowledged as well.

I’ve said before that, whatever the structure of the party, the way to make change happen is for the grassroots to look at candidates for party office beyond the leader, and vote for candidates that share their views around how the party should be run. To that end, I’ll be looking at the platforms of the candidates for high party office as they declare, and those interested in being interviewed for this blog should drop me a note, I'd be happy to talk.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

“Eliminating the Status of Women”

Remember my post the other day about Janke and his Conservative friends wanting to eliminate the federal government’s Status of Women Agency? Well it turns out that it’s not just one Conservative blogger behind the idea. In fact, it wasn’t even his idea in the first place, he’s just doing the bidding of what our Conservative friends would call “the special interests”, as CP reports today (h/t John Murney):

Status of Women agency under attack in blogosphere
Canadian Press

Ottawa — Several pro-Conservative Internet blogs have signed onto a campaign to eliminate Status of Women Canada, a Trudeau-era federal agency that promotes women's equality and advancement.

The campaign was kickstarted by REAL Women of Canada, one of Canada's most vocal organizations of social conservatives. It has long urged the federal government to axe Status of Women — but this time its message is being widely discussed and supported among some in the Conservative Internet community.

Stay tuned to hear lots about that evil Liberal MSM…

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I am shocked, shocked I say to learn there's gambling in this establishment!

Hey Conservative MP Jason Kenney, remember that speech you gave to a rally organized by members of a banned terrorist group? What up with that?

In an interview with the Star, Kenney told the newspaper he did not remember being at the rally, then recalled an invitation from "something called the Committee for Human Rights in Iran. ''

Kenney, MP for Calgary Southeast, said he "would be shocked'' to hear his picture was posted on the website.

I am shocked, shocked I do declare! Kenney said that they "had done our due diligence" before accepting the invitation from the Committee in Defence of Human Rights in Iran, which is linked to the National Council of Resistance of Iran, which is the political wing of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran, aka Mujaheedin-e-Khalq.

Those terrorist groups, they're tricky.
I guess Jason's research (Google?) didn't turn up this statement from the GOVERNMENT OF CANADA's WEBSITE:

"This Islamic socialism can only be attained through the destruction of the existing regime and the elimination of Western influence," says the statement on the Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada website.

"To achieve this Islamic ideology, the use of physical force, armed struggle or jihad is necessary," the statement reads, adding that the organization has been linked to Saddam Hussein, the Palestine Liberation Organization, and has been suspected of collusion in Afghanistan's toppled Taliban regime.

Here's how the group describes Jason's visit:

"Dozens of Iranians and supporters of the Iranian Resistance joined in a rally in front of the Canadian Parliament to condemn (the) clerical regime's plan is to execute political prisoners in Iran, specially those affiliated to the PMOI," the national council says on its website.

"(Kenney) started his speech by welcoming participants to the rally on his own behalf as well as the Prime Minister and stressed that the new Canadian government would work hard to establish fundamental freedoms in Iran," it says.

Only natural Jason should bring Steve's greetings, after all, he is Steve's Parliamentary Secretary. Tell me Jason, did you tell Steve you'd be bringing his greetings to terror supporting friends of Saddam Hussein and the Taliban? (See Cerberus for more on how Conservative principles don't apply to Conservatives, and Accidental Deliberations for a disection of Kenney's spin. And The Dan Report has art.)

And we can expect your resignation when, Jason?

Meanwhile, over at Blogging Tories

Don't worry, these guys are all about principle over politics so I'm sure they'll get around to this one sooner or latter. Right guys? Janke? Taylor? SDA? Anyone?

UPDATE: Cerberus ignored the family Thursday night (actually, they're at the cottage, it's OK) to write a very comprehensive overview of the whole affair, and, as Pogge notes, ol' law and order minsiter Stockwell Day is up to his neck in this thing as well.

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Full 'red ribbon' panel report text

The report of the Liberal Party's "Red Ribbon" Renewal Commission has been discussed in the media and in the blogsphere today, but the only place I've seen the full text of the report yet was at Public Eye Online, and he had it last night.

Unfortunately I didn't see it until this morning, and I'd already gotten sidetracked by this dammed fundraising nonsense. So after a thorough read I'll have a full analysis this evening (work comes first), but for now if you want to get the straight dirt and read the full report itself check out Sean's site.

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Another trip in the fundraising spincycle

As was the talk on the blogsphere last night and this morning, the LPC messed up the release of updated leadership fundraising numbers yesterday. I’m not sure of the accuracy of these figures, but let’s assume they are for now.

There’s been some spin of the numbers in a bad way for my guy, but I really think that’s a shortsighted and inaccurate way of looking at the numbers. In fact, I think the big winners here are Stephane Dion and Gerard Kennedy.

But first, let’s look at the total figures reported yesterday,:

UPDATE: These numbers are more of a mess then I'd initially realized and frankly, it's tough to make sense of it all. Some numbers the LPC released have been updated by the candidates to July 31st, some haven't.

The Rae figure reported below is from the campaign until July 31st. The Ignatieff figure is from the LPC release reported as of July 31st, reports from his campaign say that figure is low, but I haven't heard another number. Kennedy's number was updated by his campaign to August 12th, so that skews these numbers somewhat. Volpe is current to July 31st, updated by the campaign. Brison, Dion and Bennett's numbers were updated by their campaigns below as of Aug. 22. Dryden, Hall-Findlay and Fry are from the release as of July 31st, Dryden's camp says the true number is over $100k.

So where does that leave all these nice little charts I made this morning? Worth even less than earlier. Still, I think the basic trends the numbers indicate are still valid. Even if it's not a true apples to apples comparison, it's still fair to say Kennedy has been doing well, and Dion has made a strong comeback. The bottom four still have some decisions to make. Just take it all with a few more grains of salt.

I apologize for the confusion.


OK, not many surprises, Rae and Ignatieff still the leaders, and Volpe is up there. Kennedy with a very strong showing . The back four still well back. The concern I’ve heard expressed is Dion still lagging well back of the leaders, and how will he ever pay back all those loans. While I do wonder why they structured the campaign that way (actually, I suspect starting further back of the pack with less first choice support meant a smaller team that had to focus more on memberships than fundraising in phase one, and is now building both momentum, support and fundraising), I’m far from ready to panic yet. In fact, I'm optimistic, and even confident.

Because here’s another, more revealing and illustrating way to look at it. Let’s compare the fundraising numbers circa July 31st to the fundraising numbers reported a month ago that were current as of June 30th, and rank the candidates by $ increase over that one month period.

Well, that certainly puts a different spin on things, doesn't it? It was a big month for Kennedy; if fundraising is any indicator rumors of his death were greatly exaggerated. While they started with big leads, Ignatieff and Rae were at the back of the contender pack this month. Volpe, Brison and Dion well back of Kennedy but all within $8k. Again, the bottom four well back of the rest.

Just a note, as I’m said I’m not sure of the accuracy of these figures, esp. since it shows Fry’s numbers went down. Grain of salt.

And finally, let’s take a look at the percentage increase when we compare the June numbers to the July numbers. This will illustrate one of those oh so important factors in politics: momentum.

Now that’s definitely interesting. It was a huge month for Dion, with a large increase in fundraising activity in July and a whopping 380 per cent increase in donations. Clearly, a) the campaign is placing more emphasis on fundraising with the membership deadline passed, as it said it would, and b) as people evaluate the field many of them are coming over to the Dion camp. A very impressive performance by Kennedy as well, Brison is still a contender, and Volpe continues his fundraising strength. Interestingly, Ignatieff and Rae lag back by this indicator, indicating that either a) their momentum is slowing, or b)they’ve tapped their major sources and/or met their numbers and are slowing down their fundraising machines. Again, the bottom four lag well back.

So, there’s a lot of numbers for you to chew on. What does it all mean? Hey, who knows. As I’ve said before, no one needs to amass huge war chests. You only need to raise and spend so much to be a contender and have a shot in Montreal, anything over a certain figure just means sausage rolls instead of cocktail wieners in the hospitality suites.

I’m confident that with the momentum he has shown and the fundraisers held this month and still scheduled Dion will be just fine. Clearly the fundraising momentum is on his side. Kennedy should have put himself back among the top contenders, not that he ever left them in my estimation. Brison showed strength, Volpe as well, and Rae and Ignatieff had already established their standing.

If I took anything from these many numbers, it would be that Bennett, Dryden, Hall-Findlay and Fry have some hard thinking to do. Clearly their fundraising is drying up. They need to consider if they’ve raised enough to get through to December and Montreal. If they can do it, go for it. If they haven’t, they should consider bidding adieu before delegate selection in late September.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Convention fees, endorsements, debates and nominations

  • I've blogged in the past about the ridiculously high cost of attending the Liberal leadership convention this fall, particularly the $995/adult delegate fees. The other parties don't charge near that much. Kyle Carruthers has created a petition at his blog, The Northern Liberal, along with a letter to Mike Eizenga and Steve McKinnon that puts the issue well. I hope you'll go sign it. UPDATE: CP has a story on the high delegate fees, and how it could hurt attendance in Montreal. The talk of a non-partisan delegate fundraising effort is encouraging. Here's another idea: LPC, lower the fees!

  • News out of B.C. that Stephane Dion has picked up Maurizio Bevilacqua's former BC campaign chair, provincial Liberal MLA Karn Manhas. The announcement was made at a successful fundraiser for the campaign in Surrey that attracted 350-400 people at $100/ticket. Also endorsing Dion last night was LPC(BC) president Jamie Elmhirst. For the record, I'm a bit uneasy about people responsible for organizing the delegate selection process supporting candidates. I strongly hope there is a separate structure of neutral people appointed in all PTAs to handle the delegate selection process.

  • Rob Edger was at Monday's Liberal leadership debate in Surrey, and filed a report. Apparently Dion and Hall-Findlay, to show their environmental commitment, took Skytrain to the event. In Surrey. Luckily they made it unscathed. Vancouverities, you know what I'm talking about.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Liberals: Be fruitful and multiply. Now!

Forget the Middle East, I want to know where the Liberal leadership candidates stand on the following issue, and the answers may just change my support: we need a comprehensive, detailed plan to increase Liberal reproduction levels, and we need it now!

I read an alarming story in the Wall Street Journal today, and while its statistics are American I’d imagine the picture may well be similar North of the border as well. There’s an alarming baby gap: conservatives are having more babies than liberals, and the gulf is widening:

According to the 2004 General Social Survey, if you picked 100 unrelated politically liberal adults at random, you would find that they had, between them, 147 children. If you picked 100 conservatives, you would find 208 kids. That's a "fertility gap" of 41%. Given that about 80% of people with an identifiable party preference grow up to vote the same way as their parents, this gap translates into lots more little Republicans than little Democrats to vote in future elections. Over the past 30 years this gap has not been below 20%--explaining, to a large extent, the current ineffectiveness of liberal youth voter campaigns today.

I’d like to know what each of the leadership candidates are doing on this front. How many children do they have? Are their adult children having children? They need to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Leadership by example!

As a preliminary measure, I propose the elimination of the GST on the following items: wine, oysters, and Barry White albums.

My fellow Liberals, we cannot allow this baby gap (note the lower case) to continue, and to grow. It’s time to take back the nation’s nurseries, before its too late. We must fight them in the beaches, in the bedrooms, and in the car backseats! We must never surrender!

UPDATE: The call to the cradles is already being answered. This evening Closet Liberal and his wife brought a new Liberal boy, Justin Alexander, into the world. Congratulations to them! And keep it up heroes, we can't afford to lose the baby race!

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Compare and contrast

On one side, we’ve got people talking about getting more women involved in politics, and releasing a comprehensive 10-point plan on how to do it, from appointments to crown corporations to women candidates and ministers.

And in that party on the other side, they want to eliminate the federal government’s Status of Women agency. (And before you ask which male Alberta MP heads it, the minister is actually Bev Oda.) According to the agency’s Web site, it’s purpose, in part, is promoting…

...gender equality, and the full participation of women in the economic, social, cultural and political life of the country. SWC focuses its work in three areas: improving women's economic autonomy and well-being, eliminating systemic violence against women and children, and advancing women's human rights.

Yeah, I can see how such work isn’t necessary anymore. Really, could the contrast between these two parties be any more stark?

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Radwanski on Bob and the Chretienites

Remember how worried we were about all the Martinites getting behind one candidate? Interesting column by the Post’s Adam Radwanski on Bob Rae and the heavy concentration of key former Jean Chretien supporters on his campaign team.

Is Chretien really pulling the strings behind the scenes though? While I wouldn’t be surprised, I have to wonder if it’s more of a John Rae thing than a Jean Chretien thing. I can think of at least one rabid Jean-a-holic that isn’t keen on the idea of Rae as Liberal leader.

Myself, I'm tired of hearing about Martinites and Chretienites. Remember when we were Liberals?

Published in The National Post on August 18, 2006

The old gang's back

It was supposed to be Paul Martin's supporters who wouldn't let it go. Who refused to relinquish control of the Liberal party until it was pried from their cold dead hands. Who tried desperately to relive past glories because they couldn't quite figure out what to do with themselves now. Who insisted on dragging the party back into the past, rather than let it move forward into the future. Who were expected to find some stalking horse, and then give him the dubious pleasure of doing for him what they did for Paul Martin.

And yet, less than four months before Liberals gather in Montreal to choose their new leader, the senior Martinites are nowhere to be found - at least collectively. A few have scattered to various candidates; most seem to have stayed out of the race entirely. This may not be by choice; after leading the Liberals into the ground, they're not facing bidding wars for their services. But say this much for them: For once, they can lay legitimate claim to the high road over Jean Chretien's crowd.


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This is no softwood victory

With a combination of heavy political pressure and a handy lowering of the bar of required industry support, the Harper government's softwood sellout will get enough reluctant industry support to go to Parliament for a vote. And with the BQ's support looking likely, it will pass too. That doesn't make it a good deal.

Now, that won't stop the Conservatives from telling us how fantastic a deal it is. It's a deal, but it's far from fantastic, or even good. The fact that they've been able to browbeat a tired, demoralized Canadian industry into submission should not be cause for celebration for Harper and Emerson. And it would be insulting to every forest worker from Port Hardy to Peggy's Cove if they pop the bubbly.

Because the forest workers aren't celebrating, and I doubt forest company executives are breaking out the caviar either. That over $1 billion bribe they had to give to the U.S. forest industry probably put a crimp in the caviar budget.

The industry is coming on board with this "deal" but that doesn't mean they like it. They had no choice. The Conservatives made it clear this was a take it or leave it deal, like it or lump it, but they were done. Reject this and no more assistance for depressed communities and laid-off workers. This is one issue the Cons have no trouble politicizing.

Abandoned by their own government, a government that couldn't be bothered to tough it out and Stand Up For Canada, they were faced with the prospect carrying-on with expensive lawsuits on their own, and even knowing they were legally right, facing a U.S. government that has shown no respect for the rule of law anyway. With no support from the Canadian government what chance did they have?

I'd be interested to learn of the threats and "persuasion" that Emerson and co. engaged in behind closed doors to get their "support." So the industry has swallowed hard, wringed whatever minor changes they could out of Emerson and Harper, and signed-on. But certainly, to claim a great victory is insulting to all involved.

My own position, I feel, has been fairly consistent all along. This is a bad deal, a sellout. If this is what everyone wanted, we could have surrendered years ago. It's not the long-term fix that we were fighting for, the hope of which sustained us through the tough years. I felt we should continue to fight, because we're in the right.

However, I also felt that we need to defer to industry. After all, it's their $5 billion-plus at stake here. If they wanted to keep fighting, we should keep fighting and have their back. If they felt their situation was such that they had to call it quits and if they felt this was a good deal, then that's what we should do.

What to do?

You can bet softwood will be on the agenda at the Liberal caucus meetings in Vancouver this week. How should we vote? It will largely be symbolic, because with Conservative and BQ support the deal will pass. I'm pretty sure the NDP will vote no. While our vote won't change the outcome, it's not any less important, particularly when we fight the next election in B.C.

Given that it will largely be a symbolic act, I think it's important that the Liberal caucus stands-up as one and votes a symbolic No to this deal. We can't let the Conservatives claim this as a victory, because it's not. We need to vote No, and make clear this was a capitulation the Conservatives rammed down the throats of the industry for political gain. The forest industry was forced to pay $1 billion to improve Harper's changes of getting his majority government. I hope they report the contribution to Elections Canada.

It's a bad deal for British Columbians, and for Canadians, that will have us right back to square one in a few years. Only we'll be $1 billion poorer, and the Cons hope to have a majority by then.

If we vote yes, there's no way we can still make the case this is a bad deal, or easily counter Conservative claims of it being the greatest deal since the U.S. bought Alaska from the Russians. We'd also leave the NDP on their own as the only party to vote against the softwood sellout, something you know they'll milk in forest industry communities in the next campaign.

If the industry really, truly believed this was a good deal that would be one thing. But given the fact that Harper had to beat and bully them into submission, not to mention redefine his "victory conditions," that's another matter all together.

Sometimes the right thing to do is also the right thing do. We need to vote NO on softwood.

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Monday, August 21, 2006

Blue Jays fight club?!

Jays pitcher Ted Lilly and manager John Gibbons nearly coming to blows on the mound, and then fighting in the clubhouse? What up with that? I just flipped the game on in the 8th, but they announcers alluded to an incident and this story was on the Web site. Apperantly, Gibbons has a history challenging his players to fights. I don't know what's happening in Jays land but something is rotten.

PS. Jays give up an 8-0 lead after two innings to drop the game 12-10.

Fight Club at Rogers Centre
August 21, 2006

TORONTO (CP) -- Toronto Blue Jays left-hander Ted Lilly and manager John Gibbons fought in the tunnel between the dugout and clubhouse after the left-hander was pulled from Monday's game against the Oakland Athletics.

The trouble began on the mound when, staked to an 8-0 lead, Lilly was bombed in the third, giving up five runs before Gibbons came to get him. Instead of a simple pitching change, what looked like a manager-umpire argument started.

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Welcome to Vancouver

Dear Liberal caucus,

Welcome to Vancouver, and beautiful British Columbia. You could not have picked a better place for your summer caucus meetings. Wouldn’t this be a much nicer place for a leadership convention than, say, Montreal in December?

But I digress. I hope you enjoy your stay on the Wonderful West Coast. Take in the sights. Enjoy a few rounds of golf. But remember, you're also here to work. And judging by your performance in the last session of Parliament there's a lot of work to be done.

If this were a football game, we've have given-up a number of interceptions and allowed a number of touchdowns, having failed to move the yardsticks much ourselves, settling for a field goal. Luckily though it's only halftime, and there's plenty of football left to be played.

We've gotten soft. Weak. Out of shape. Too many of our veterans aren't stepping-up. OK, enough of the sports analogy. But the fact is too many of you haven't gotten the memo that we're not in government anymore. We're in opposition now, and that's a whole new ball game. Damm, I said no more sports analogies.

It's time to start holding this government accountable. It's time to be a strong, forceful opposition. That doesn't have to mean name-calling, not that our Conservarino friends are above such silliness. But with the governing experience our members have, we should be able to quite clearly and intelligently explain to Canadians the problems with this government's policies and proposals. Why aren't we?

I know we've got a leadership race on, but I don't care. Suck it up. Only a few caucus members are candidates, the rest of our rather large, veteran caucus should be back in the house doing their jobs. And yet it's our new, young MPs that have been the only ones to show any spunk so far. Where's our ex-ministers? I know you miss the limos guys, but get over it.

You need to find where you've left your guts, reinsert them, and get back to work standing-up for the Canadians that sent you to Ottawa. This is a minority government. Most of the Canadian population, and most of their elected representatives, don't support the Conservative agenda. It's time to stop being pussies and start acting like the Official Opposition.

Not everything can be a confidence motion, no matter what Harper threatens. So quit rolling over every time he makes one of his empty threats. Don't be afraid to say bite me Steve, you don't have a mandate and most Canadians don't support you on that.

We've got a communications problem. Both inside and outside the house we're not communicating our message. Instead we're coming across as weak, inconsistent, and divided. I know some debate is going to happen during a leadership race but still, it's time to smarten up. We've let the Conservatives control the message for far too long.

You guys need to stop treating Bill Graham like a substitute teacher. And Bill, you need to pick up the paddle and take charge. Everybody says they respect you, but walking all over you is a funny way to show it. Yes, you're just an interim leader, but after interim comes leader. Where have you been, man? I saw you give a barnburner of a speech at LPC(O) in May and then I don't think I've seen you since. We have leadership candidates but right now YOU are the leader. Set the agenda, enforce some caucus discipline to keep them on message, and communicate the message to Canadians. You need to get out front Bill.

I'm told election readiness is going to be on your agenda this week. That's a good thing, because we are so not ready for an election. I'm not convinced you guys have learned anything from 2004 and 2006. And we know what history says about those that don't learn from it.

I'm going back to the sports analogy. It's time to write a new playbook. Be bold, be sassy, be funny, and be aggressive. Take some risks. You've been playing like 102 individuals instead of as a team. Have a huddle in Vancouver, come up with a game plan and then come out in the fall and execute as one unit.

Stop worrying about getting your uniforms dirty. We can Shout-out the grass stains. The damage a Harper majority government could do to Canada would be much more difficult to fix.

Liberally yours,

Jeff Jedras

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Friday, August 18, 2006

Exclusive: Other issues too politicized to discuss

As you may have heard, the Conservative government has decided not to make any HIV/AIDS-related announcements just now, what with the World Aids Conference happening in Toronto, because the issue has become too politicized (quell surprise! – ed).

As a public service, I reprint this memo obtained through my super secret Parliament Hill sources that outlines other issues the Prime Minister has deemed “too politicized” for discussion at the present time.


From: The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada

To: Conservative MPs, staffers, party executives

Re: Your non-talking points

Dear little people,

Greetings from Canada’s North, where I’ve planned to be this week for a really, really, really long time. Really.

As you are aware, your government has courageously decided not to make any announcements on the future of Vancouver’s safe injection site or AIDS funding this week, due to a highly politicized environment that is in no way related to my decision not to attend the World AIDS Conference in Toronto. I know you all support this decision, don’t you? Of course you do.

After careful consideration, I am expanding the list of politically sensitive topics you will not be talking about until further notice from Sandra. It just won’t do.

Health care: It’s just way too political right now. Two-tier, public vs. private, I mean come on. Way too politicized, don’t talk about health care.

Fiscal im/balance: Crazy political. Quebecers want us to do what we campaigned on, Ontario wants more, Saskatchewan is uppity. Too political, zip it on the fiscal imbalance.

Afghanistan: Some people support the mission, some don’t. Is it peacekeeping or peacemaking. Everyone’s talking about it, it’s way too political. No more talking about it.

Israel and Hezbollah
: Do I need to even explain how that one is political? Girlfriend, puhleaze.

And basically, anything related to politics, just don’t talk about it. Politics has become so politicized. So has government, so don’t talk about governing at all either.

As a guide, here’s a few suggested talking points you can use:

The Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire. Discuss

A thighmaster is neither a thigh nor a master. Discuss.

Duran Duran was neither Duran nor Duran. Discuss.

That’s it for now. They’re taking me on a ride to see how non-existent global warming is not impacting the North. That AIDS thing is over Friday so I’m heading back home soon.

Yours in conservatism,


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Beers with Stephane

I dashed downtown after work yesterday to attend an informal youth get-together (being still young at heart, if not in hair) with Stephane Dion. It was good to have the chance to meet him formally and in person, and to ask him a few questions in a more informal setting. Thanks to the youth team for making me welcome.

I’d say 40 or so people stopped by the pub over two hours, pretty good for very short notice. It was a good mix of supporters, those committed to other candidates and the undecided. Jason was there, and it was nice to meet fellow bloggers Justin Tetreault and John "The Experience" Lennard in person.

He covered a range of topics during an informal q&a period before we got up to mix and mingle. I thought he handled himself well, including fielding some tough questions from some of the more skeptical people in the room. They might not all have agreed with him, but I think they respected his depth of thinking on the issues, and his honesty.

For the record, Stephane made clear there was no deal with David Orchard. He said David asked for nothing, and if he had asked Stephane would have said no. They share some common ideas about environmental policy, c’est tout. David, like many Canadians, sees the qualities in Stephane to be a great leader, and more people are joining the team every day.

Anyway, many topics were covered, but as a Westerner I was particularly pleased with his answer on the softwood lumber file. In a nutshell, he said it’s a bad deal, and we shouldn’t support a bad deal. If the industry says they really need the deal, and they’re willing to forego the $1 billion, than we should accept their judgment, hold our noses and pass it. But he said if the industry is firmly against it then we have to vote no, whether Harper wants to make it a confidence vote or not. He said while hopefully we can avoid an election, if the industry isn’t onboard he’ll vote no.

I’m sure softwood will be a big topic at the upcoming Liberal caucus meetings at widely disclosed locations in Vancouver, but more on that later.


Lest I be considered a cheerleader, here are links to very hard-hitting pieces on Stephane’s dog Kyoto from Bowie and Stephane’s knapsack from Maclean’s.

*Fox News definition, not dictionary definition

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

A Paul Martin sighting...

Hey, didn't that guy use to be the Prime Minister? But seriously, good to see him getting out and about again.

It's still early but I think in time, history will be kind to Paul and his legacy.

(Conservatives flames begin in

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"Making the children happy is the most rewarding thing about this tour"

Cpl. Andrew Eykelenboom, the Canadian medic recently killed in Afghanistan, was from the Comox Vallley, my home in B.C. While I didn't know him or his family, learning he's from Comox does serve to bring the conflict a little closer to home.

I believe in our role in this conflict, and so did he. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't constantly re-evaluate our strategy and tactics in Afghanistan. But I do hope that, as the death toll continues to rise, we will still as a nation feel each casualty, and remember that each lost soldier is someone's son or daughter, mother or father, wife or husband.

A story in the Edmonton Journal tells Eykelenboom's story, and the hometown paper, the Comox Valley Echo, printed the last e-mail that he sent to his parents in Comox, just days before his death in a suicide attack, and I thought I would share it with you:

Hi Mom and Dad:

Well, I finally got the picture you have been waiting for. About two weeks ago a little girl brought her infant sister to the Unit Medical Station while I was on duty. She had 2nd degree burns on her hand from touching a kettle. I bandaged her hand and after gave a doll that your friend made to her. She instantly stopped crying and started sucking on the nose of the doll. A special thanks goes from her older sister to your friend for such a wonderful gift; and a thanks from me for being the one to accept her gratitude. Making the children happy is the most rewarding thing about this tour.

Love Andrew

A funeral service for Cpl. Andrew Eykelenboom will be held this Saturday at 1:00 pm at the Comox Pentecostal Church. He will be missed.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

This is highly illogical Captain

I support the Vancouver Canucks, and I deeply dislike the Toronto Maple Leafs. I have endorsed Stephane Dion for the Liberal leadership. Therefore, Stephane Dion is a Canucks fan and he hates the Maple Leafs. Suck it Toronto.

But wait, you're saying my premise is complete and utter prairie pie? I'd tend to agree, but not everyone does.

According to this illogical logic, there's a few questions I'd like to ask Michael Ignatieff based on some of the endorsements he has received.

1. Why are you against same sex marriage? (Derek Lee, John Cannis, John McKay, Paul Szabo)

2. Why do you support private health care? (Keith Martin)

3. Why do you not support stem cell research? (Paul Szabo)

P.S. I like Iggy (and Keith Martin). I also like logic and dislike the ridiculous twisting of logic in the name of partisanship.

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Exploding laptops, Orchard, kiddie jail and hatred, oh my!

HEATING UP: You've probably heard that Dell is recalling 4.1 million laptop batteries because there's a minor risk of them, well, catching fire or exploding. That would certainly end any chance of my carrying on the family name. Being a Dell owner I went to the Web site, entered my battery's serial number and sure enough, it's on the recall list. I'll have a new one in 20 business days, they tell me. As long as it's by my business trip to New York next month…if we're still allowed to wear clothes on flights by then, never mind bring laptops.

ORCHARD TO DION?: "Unconfirmed reports" say David Orchard will hold a press conference today to endorse Stephane Dion. Given the sources, I tend to believe it. My own sources indicate Dion has promised Orchard in writing he won't merge the Liberals with the Conservatives. OK, I made that last one up. While Orchard has his baggage and I'm not a big fan, you can't be a Liberal without being a pragmatist so if he brings some members to the table that's good. And hey, I can't blame him for thinking Stephane is the best choice for the leadership. Is it a big deal or anything? No, and neither was Maurizio going to Bob. Still, a wise choice by David.

NAP TIME AT THE PEN: No stranger to the justice system himself, Justice Minister Vic Toews wants to start jailing 10 year olds. Is this the new Conservative child care plan? This is the same guy that sheparded legislation through the House to raise the age of sexual consent from 14 to 16 a few months back. I don't have a problem with the last one. But how can someone be criminally responsible for their actions at age 10 but not competent to make a decision on sex until age 16? Anyway, speaking of getting tough on crime, the Calgary Herald off all places had a sensible editorial on the topic recently.

HATRED LIVES: I know I shouldn’t be surprised anymore, but I was yet again when reading the hateful verbal diarrhea spewed by some on the right around Harper's non-attendance at the World Aids Conference. To listen to these people, AIDS is a gay disease and anyone that contracts it deserves to die. Take this Blogging Tory, Upper Canada Catholic, who seems to have forgotten that commandment about loving thy neighbour. UCC writes:

"Every baby who got AIDS from its mother, every person who received infected blood in a transfusion, all of them can trace the origin of their infections back to a very human choice to engage in conduct judged for thousands of years to be harmful to the human race."

Concerned that these voices are going unheard in the lilly liberal MSM? Fear not, for Peter Worthington picks up your torch of hatred and ignorance and brings it to the nation. Here's a few excerpts from his column:

"Certainly there are more votes available in Nunavut than there likely are at the AIDS get-together."

"The PM can't be everywhere, and what on earth makes an AIDS conference so special?"

"Like most Canadians who don't have AIDS and aren't HIV carriers, Harper probably isn't much interested in the topic."

"Why should Harper subject himself to this (potential booing), especially when there is no gain for him, his party, or Canada?"

Now Peter brings in that old fallacy, that AIDS is a gay disease:

"Perhaps Harper was showing taste and sensitivity by ducking the conference. At least he's not a hypocrite, and not sympathetic with the homosexual or same-sex marriage crowd who some feel are more susceptible to AIDS than the rest of us. Give him some credit for that."

Some feel, but not Peter of course. Nor Stephen, surely. Yeah, I give him buttloads of credit Peter.

"It's not as if Harper is cutting funding for AIDS, it's just that he isn't comfortable in that environment any more than the AIDS people would be comfortable socializing with someone like him."

Yeah, I saw Bill Gates at a conference a few months back and the guy freaked me out too. God, this guy is loony.

Let me just say that, putting aside this gay-bashing bullshit for a moment, Stephen Harper is supposed to be the Prime Minister of ALL Canadians, not just those he'd have over for Sunday afternoon tea. I really doubt he'd have been booed, but so what. You're the Prime Minister, Steve, grow a pair!

It brings to mind a line from the West Wing, when Bartlett is campaigning against Ritchie, who fails to show up for an important event. Talking to the media, Sam Seaborn says:

"If 90 per cent of success is showing-up, we're just happy there's someone standing-up for the other 10."

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