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Babel-on-the-Bay: The Hair’s hopes in Quebec are fading.

The pundits are catching on. There are a paucity of votes for the Hair and his party among voters in Quebec. Mind you, there are even fewer for the Bloc. This fall in Quebec, it will be a head to head contest between the Liberals and New Democrats. The other votes are just spoilers. And do you think Quebec voters are not conscious of the position they are in?

Quebec, more than any other province in Canada, wants change. The province wants to get out of the Conservative yoke that it put on when it voted for the Orange Wave (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: It’s the Third Law of Politics too.

Not all of us are trained in physical sciences but we seem to easily grasp Newton’s third law of physics. It simply makes sense that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. It should come as no surprise that it also applies to other aspects of life. We have become used to it in politics. We expect it.

The difference in politics and human relations is that the reaction to a given force is not necessarily immediate. The energy expended in a slight or perceived grievance, can be stored and accumulated over time. In that time of (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: It’s not in the cards for Tom Mulcair.

Whether you prefer to use a crystal ball, tarot cards, automated telephone calls or the entrails of a sheep, forecasting the results of the fall federal election in Canada at this early stage is a waste of time. And making up stories about New Democrat Leader Thomas Mulcair being the likely game changer is a joke. The recent win by the Alberta NDP was nothing other than good news for Albertans.

The pundits should remember that the Alberta Liberals all but bowed out of the provincial election. Albertans, desperate for a second opinion had no other option. The NDP offered (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Why is the Hair laughing at the TV Networks?

Do you really think the Hair is going to debate any of his opponents in this fall’s election? Not if he can help it! It just is not in the Hair’s DNA. After three national elections with debates staged on the major television networks, you have got to understand how the Hair feels. He now knows that he does not have to do it.

Instead of negotiating, the Hair is letting the kids in short pants in his office screw the networks around. He knows that he can let his people dick the television people around until September and he (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: It’s the icing for the ignorant.

Canadians do not have to be told how many millions of taxpayer dollars the Conservatives are spending on promoting themselves for re-election this fall. And they are doing it because they can. The same unethical, foolish waste of taxpayer money was going on during previous Liberal governments in Ottawa. Maybe not as well, nor as studied, nor as blatant but only the Conservatives and New Democrats were complaining about it back then.

But you have to face the fact that there is nobody more short-sighted than a politician. What works for you today is what counts. All the rest is (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Are your 15 minutes of fame finished Mr. Brown?

The new leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives must have been saving money on speech writing when he talked to the Ontario Legislature on Monday. If there was ever a time for Patrick Brown to be gracious that was it. It was a courtesy that he was asked to address the members of the legislative assembly. They had Quebec Premier Phillippe Couillard giving a statesman-like address to the legislature and, in a non-partisan gesture, the Liberal government invited Patrick Brown, as a new party leader, to say something.

Premier Kathleen Wynne’s people must have known he would blow it. His (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: The high hopes of the Hair.

The Hair is on a mission. The Prime Minister thinks he can pull off a miracle in October and win a second straight parliamentary majority. While his strategy makes sense, his assumptions are faulty and his tactics are far too heavy handed.

Strategically it is vital that he keep his opponents divided. The more the Liberals and New Democrats attack each other, the easier his work becomes. As it is, he is concentrating his attacks on the Liberals. With nowhere to go in Quebec but down in numbers, the New Democrats have been looking hard for signs of gains. They (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: “Author, Author”

Having written many political speeches over the years, it would have been a pleasant surprise to hear the shout for the author to take a bow among the applause at the end of many a speech. Having listened to MP Patrick Brown on Saturday when he accepted the leadership of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives, that call would have been deserved. The speech was a good balance for the occasion.

Brown was gracious to his opponents and a bit obsequious to his friend MPP Monte McNaughton. McNaughton was the only candidate to quit the race and bring his socially conservative supporters (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Do Ontario Tories need a leader?

The Ontario Progressive Conservative Party will announce its new leader tomorrow. Will anyone care? Is it going to make a difference? With three years to go before an election in Ontario, will the voters notice the change? When you hear that timing is everything in politics, you get the idea that this is lousy timing.

And what possible difference in leadership potential is there between MPP Christine Elliott and MP Patrick Brown. Has either ever shown any? Has either one suggested in any concrete way how they would make life better in this province? Is either in demand as a (Read more…)

Left Over: Harper, You’ve Been Served…

“Woke up this mornin’ feelin’ fine…”

Despite every contrary act of the Harperoids, have to say that today is a good day..yes, C-51 passed, and, notably, with the self-destructive Junior Trudeau’s tacit approval…Omar Khadr may get bail, and, realizing how mean-tempered and petty Harper can be, I’m sure he’s doing everything he can, legitimate and otherwise, to prevent it…there is news today that the Cons managed to somehow neglect to spend 97 million earmarked for social services…Duffy’s lawyer is making mincemeat of the prosecution, while simultaneously holding up the Senate and its non-rules for public vilification..

Oh, yeah, and (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Lessons to be learned in Alberta.

The May 5 provincial election in Alberta is unfolding as anticipated. With pundits panicking, reporters rebelling, it will only be the final poll next Tuesday that will tell the real story. And in this cautionary tale of political progress there are entrails to be read that can foretell the political future of other provinces if not the country.

The funniest stories of the current campaign are the ones that have editors’ lower jaws hitting their desks as they read of the possibility of a New Democrat majority in the Alberta Legislature. Before there is a serious up-tic in heart failure (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Bearing bad news for NDP’s Tom Mulcair.

George Lakoff is an American who thinks. The UCLA Berkeley professor was in Toronto last week. We missed a chance to meet him. He is reported to have told his audience there is no such thing as the political centre. That must have been bad news for the New Democrats who came to see him. Their federal Leader Tom Mulcair has been busy trying to find the political centre and in the process he has lost touch with the left. Lakoff could have told him that the centre is just a hypothetical point on a bell curve, drawn by statisticians.

(Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Discovering Barrie’s Patrick Brown.

It has taken on all the elements of a farce. The Ontario news media are discovering Patrick Brown MP for Barrie. They are running lengthy, laudatory articles about him with flattering pictures. (And getting a flattering picture of Brown is no easy task.) The media think he has a lock on the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party leadership.

This is not good news for the Ontario Tories. Turning a ward healer into a party leader is a tough challenge. It has all the earmarks of changing a toad into a prince. Nobody has the stomach to kiss the toad.

Brown (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: The Morning Line: Alberta 2015.

The May 7 provincial election in Alberta is something of a wake up call as Albertans shake themselves from the Tar Sands dream. It was probably the recent Prentice austerity budget more than anything else that told people that times are changing. There is no question but Albertans need to adapt to reality. There is just is no way they will like it.

In producing a Morning Line for this election you start by ignoring all the polls. Albertans lie to pollsters. They have been lying to them since the days of Bible Bill Aberhart. And if you had voted (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Back to the Future with Joe Oliver

Finance Minister Joe Oliver brought Canadians his first budget yesterday. Instead of it being a budget for the coming fiscal year of our government, he tried to line things up for the next ten years. It was a very Conservative view of our future. And we can only hope that it is Joe Oliver’s final budget and the final Conservative budget.

It was more of a manifesto than a budget. Yet, it lacked a clear direction. It lacked compassion. It was in many cases blatant bribery. The continuing reductions in business taxes makes you wonder when it will cost more (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: The Hair’s ‘Politics of Division’

Asking a voter why s/he is going to vote for the Conservatives this fall can cause a rising anger. The anger is hardly directed at the voter. This person has been had. They have been duped. The anger can only be directed at the Prime Minister—he of the Hair!

And we watch in this land of inclusion, tolerance, sharing and openness, as the Hair spreads his politics of division.

It was just last week when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in Toronto, we saw how easily the Hair moved into the mode of pandering to the Indo-Canadian vote. It (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: ‘Diplomat’ Brown and his friend Narendra Modi.

What is wrong with Canada’s foreign relations is more than explained by the friendship of India Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Patrick Brown MP. Yes, that is Patrick Brown, the most useless member of the Conservative back bench and the candidate for the leadership of Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party. With probably less than 50 people in his electoral district from India, Patrick Brown must have been left among the final MP draftees for a country on the friendship committee.

Brown got India. The air flights there are gruelling. The food there is, well, foreign. You can imagine that India was (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Legislating Ideology.

It is when you listen to the federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver that you realize what a breath of fresh air the late Finance Minister Jim Flaherty must have been in Mr. Harper’s Cabinet of Inadequate Ideologues. You can also imagine how he would have laughed at Joe Oliver’s suggestion that there be a law passed against deficit budgets. That would be like passing a law that says Canadians cannot have a mortgage or an auto loan.

The ability for a country to borrow is just one of the many strategies available to a finance minister to level out the (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Patrick Brown is the ‘same old, same old.’

Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party is about to succumb to its worst nightmare. The party people thought they could never do worse than Timmy Hudak as their leader. They had obviously never met Barrie’s own Patrick Brown MP.

Timmy Hudak made his signature promise in last year’s provincial election at the Barrie Country Club. Sitting in the front row for that elite event was Patrick Brown MP. It was Brown who jumped up afterwards and congratulated Leader Hudak for promising to fire 100,000 provincial employees. The Progressive Conservative provincial campaign was all downhill from there.

Maybe Brown was already planning his (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: What’s the Senate all about Hair?

There is something of a contest going on. The Hair might draw the line at taking off his stuffed shirt and streaking the tourists gaping at Ottawa’s Confusion Square but no holds are barred in distracting Canadians from the Duffy Trial.

The Duffy Trial is the big show in Ottawa now and it’s getting the news media all a twitter. It is where the chubby one-time spokesman for the Hair Senator Mike Duffy is on trial for accepting a bribe.

But just a minute: maybe the Hair can explain to us why the person accepting the bribe is charged and (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Patrick Brown, we hardly knew you.

Ontario media have discovered Patrick Brown MP. Yes, that is our Patrick from Barrie. He has been our Member of Parliament for the last three parliaments. He was barely noticed. He said nothing. He did nothing. He was another mindless Conservative vote. He was your typical Conservative MP.

But finally he is being noticed. Ontario news media have discovered something about Patrick that we have been laughing about for some time. This person we know as a nebbish is quite likely to become the leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party. Despite being something of a mouth breather, bug-eyed and (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: We’ve been goosed by Uncle Joe.

Once more the Canadian parliament has been downplayed by the Harper Conservatives. Even as simple an announcement as the date of bringing down the next budget is moved away from Ottawa. It was moved to a Toronto factory where people toil at sewing machines, assembling winter jackets for a garment company.

The company is known as Canada Goose—which is American owned—and has been subject to controversy for its methods of obtaining its fur trim. It provided a cynical backdrop for the announcement by Finance Minister Joe Oliver that the 2015 federal budget will be delivered to Canadians on April 21. (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: “Rules, shmules, we the boss:” says Brother Brown.

Canadians are usually fairly good about not mixing religion and politics. It is one of the less endearing traits of American politicos. That was why it was most unusual the other day when a B.C. member of the Conservative backbench quit his caucus and said he would sit as an independent so that he could practice his religion. If more of his co-religionists followed his lead, Mr. Harper could lose his majority and we might have an election sooner than this Fall.

We mention this in passing as this commentary is also about religion in politics. It is about (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: We’re having a ‘Be Kind to Stephen Harper Month!’

At a recent meeting of the Broadbent Institute supposed communication experts were telling the New Democrats that they should not keep up the incessant attacks on the Conservative government. It is not that they are feeling sorry for the bastards. They just feel that those who oppose the Conservatives need to be more positive about their competitive programs. And we Liberals will when we can when we get some.

We are not forgetting New Democratic Leader Thomas Mulcair’s national day care plan. This plan sounds good. It sounded even better over the years when it was promoted by Canada’s Liberals. (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Who leads Canada’s progressives?

Canadian media are a lazy bunch. They follow the paths of least resistance and false assumptions. Take this past week when some supposed progressives were gathered at the Broadbent Institute in Ottawa for its Progress Summit. The one question that was never answered was ‘Who were the Liberal Progressives at the gathering?’

Ed Broadbent never invited this progressive Liberal. Nor would this Liberal attend. This is not sour grapes. We know that Ed Broadbent is not progressive nor are the sponsors of the meeting. Ed Broadbent is a staunch unionist with a closed mind. He believes in the collective (Read more…)