Rob Ford and Stephen Harper are about as different as two politicians can be, but the one thing they have in common is an uncanny ability to brush off scandals before they stick. Harper entered the 2011 election facing a “controversy of the day” – from Bev Oda’s orange juice, to Bruce Carson’s fraud charges, to Jason Kenney’s use of government resources to target “very ethnic” voters, to “in and out”, to a historic contempt of parliament vote. What did all that get Harper? A majority government.
If I tried to list all of Rob Ford’s blowups here I’d run (Read more…)
The Onion Conservative Party reacts to their by-election defeat moral victory:
As we know, majority governments do not usually win by-elections.
In fact, Liberals have won the riding of Labrador in every election in history except for two, so we are not surprised with these results.
What is surprising is the collapse of the Liberal support during this by-election. When this by-election was called the Liberals had a 43-point lead in the polls. Since electing Justin Trudeau as leader and having him personally campaign there, they have dropped 20 points in Labrador. That’s a significant drop in only a few (Read more…)
Stephen Harper has made a huge mistake.
I’m not sure if Tom Mulcair has what it takes to be PM, but he’d make a fine Mr. Manager:
NDP leader Tom Mulcair was wondering where $3.1 billion in unaccounted anti-terrorism spending went when he uttered this gem:
“So the question is, is the money just in the wrong filing cabinet, is it hidden in the minister’s gazebo, is the money in the banana stand?”
Many of us who blog, tweet, or post political views on Facebook cannot, I suspect, avoid the periodic and unsettling notion that we are simply ‘preaching to the converted’ instead of reaching a larger audience with our perspectives and commentaries. Yet we persevere, both as a catharsis for our own outrage over social and political injustices, especially (at least for me) those induced by the Harper cabal, and in the hope that our words may influence those who don’t necessarily feel as we do. But it is always just a hope.
That is why I take such delight when I (Read more…)
Enbridge buried pipeline marker – east Toronto. Credit: Adam Scott/Environmental Defence.
Federal opposition MPs and environmental groups are crying foul over what they see as the government’s attempt to curtail public comment on Enbridge’s proposed 639-km Line 9 reversal pipeline route through southern Ontario and into Quebec.
Tucked away in last spring’s Bill C-38 omnibus budget bill from Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government is a requirement that any member of the public or other stakeholders wishing to comment through the National Energy Board on Enbridge’s proposed pipeline must apply for permission to comment on the project by filling out (Read more…)
When the Conservatives launched attack ads against Stephane Dion in January 2007, it took the Liberal Party three months to respond. Never again, they vowed. Next time we’ll fight back!
Just Visiting first aired in May 2009, yet we didn’t see a rebuttal until Labour Day .
So the first thing you need to know about the new Justin Trudeau ads, released today, is that the Liberal Party has learned its lesson (and all it took was the near destruction of the party!). In politics, you must define or be defined, and those who let themselves be defined wind up (Read more…) guest lectures rather than governments.
The form this counter-punch has taken is to briefly address the attacks then, quite literally, change the channel to Justin’s more positive message. It’s exactly what I called for last week – use the attack ads as a foil to further define . . . → Read More: Calgary Grit: Liberals Respond Justin Time
“In 2006, after the Liberal ‘decade of darkness,’ we took action to rebuild Canada’s Armed Forces.” -Stephen Harper October 2010: “Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is scrambling to contain an ever-widening scandal in which officials deliberately tried to ruin the reputation of outspoken military veterans“
October 2011: Veterans Ombudsman Questions Harper Government Cuts To Veterans Affairs
November 2011: Veterans across Canada protest against planned budget cuts and benefits
March 2012: Veterans consider suing MP accused of dozing off
April 2012: Veterans concerned over cuts to case workers
September 2012: Feds spent over $750,000 in five-year court (Read more…) against vets’ pension claim
February 2013: Reserve budgets slashed by almost 25 per cent despite Harper’s order to avoid front-line reductions
April 9, 2013: Danger pay reduced for Canadian troops in Afghanistan
April 21, 2013: Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan ordered to return danger pay
. . . → Read More: Calgary Grit: A Brief History of Stephen Harper Supporting Our Troops
Respondents describe the ads as “unfair”, “negative”…and “hawt!“.
Trudeau’s predictable win, followed by predictable attack ads, has been followed by an all-too predictable poll:
In an EKOS Research Associates survey, 70 per cent found the ads “unfair” while 74 per cent said the ads were “unhelpful.”
Asked to describe the ads, 84 per cent said they were “negative.”
“The ads have backfired on the Conservatives, at least in the short term,” said EKOS President Frank Graves. “Many, many people think this was just the wrong thing to do at this point.”
Well, that settles (Read more…). Nothing to worry about, no need to respond. In fact, there are four other polls out showing the ads landing with a dud, which you can read here, here, here, and here.
Oh yeah, if you didn’t click on those links, they’re all from polls showing that attack ads against Ignatieff and . . . → Read More: Calgary Grit: This Just In: Voters Feel Negative Ads Are “Negative”
So asks MP Charlie Angus about the subject of this video report, Mike Duffy, who, as we learn, has even less integrity than it would be thought possible for any person to have:
UPDATE: Unbelievable – now Duffy claims he repaid the money in March. Recommend this Post
Unlike past leadership contests where I’ve been fighting on the front lines for my candidate, I’ve watched the federal race largely as a spectator. Being away from a campaign offers a different vantage point, and I’ve enjoyed blogging my opinions candidly, as I slowly made up my mind who to support.
With voting now open (this is your cue hackers!), it’s time to take stock of the race…or “jog”, or “victory march”, or whatever you want to call it.
I wouldn’t consider this post an endorsement – as Allan Rock, Sheila Copps, John Manley, Gerard Kennedy (twice), and Dominic
. . . → Read More: Calgary Grit: How I’m Voting
Every political commentator loves to say “timing is everything in politics”, and every Canadian political commentator loves to say that Bob Rae never had good timing. He had the misfortune of becoming Premier before he was ready to govern, and had the misfortune of governing during a recession. His “second career” is often portrayed as a string of disappointments. He fell short in ’06. Two years later, he was forced out of the leadership race by his old roommate after a series of bizarre events. When he thought about running for leader again, the Justin Trudeau phenomenon was standing in
. . . → Read More: Calgary Grit: Rae’s Day
It doesn’t compare to the high stakes floor crossings and backroom deals that define delegated conventions, but yesterday’s Liberal Showcase still offered the speeches, signs, buttons, and hospitality suites politicos have come to expect at these gatherings. Justin Trudeau had cowbells. Martin Cauchon made swag history, handing out Liberal-red socks. Joyce Murray brought in a west coast hippie fusion marimba band.
And just like “real” leadership conventions, the program started with a tribute to the outgoing leader featuring, among other things, the clip of Bob Rae skinny dipping with Rick Mercer. That left the candidates with the unenviable task of
. . . → Read More: Calgary Grit: Showcase Showdown
The first charges in the Robocon Scandal have been laid against Michael Sona.
Most interesting in this, is that Sona’s lawyer has signalled they intend to shift the blame to the Conservative Party:
Neither Mr. Sona or I will be making any public statements beyond the following statement at this time.
Although the charge is disappointing, it represents an opportunity for Mr. Sona to finally address the allegations in a court as oppose to in the media and resolve it permanently. I cannot help but comment, that if the government was interested in the public being fully informed and
. . . → Read More: Calgary Grit: Robocon
Karen McCrimmon recognizes the odds she’s facing
When I released my first set of LPC Power Rankings in early February, I was a bit surprised to see Justin Trudeau up at 66%. These rankings aren’t intended to be a first ballot predictor, but they came pretty close to the mark in the NDP contest and it was still a bit of shock to see Trudeau 54 points above his nearest competitor. But wouldn’t you know it, Marc Garneau’s mystery poll was essentially spot on my numbers. So maybe there’s something to this.
And if there is, we are heading to
. . . → Read More: Calgary Grit: Updated Power Rankings Show Trudeau in Control
Checking my Twitter feed this morning, I came upon a link to a story appearing in Sun News, an organization for which I usually refuse to spare the time of day, given its rather robust roster of strident, often hysterical voices desperately seeking to emulate the tone of Fox News. Nonetheless, I can recommend something that strikes me as balanced and fairly reasonable, terms I never thought I would use to describe anything emanating from the lair of people like Brian Lilley and Ezra Levant.
Writing on the subject of a merger between the Liberals and the NDP, a subject
. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Egomania, Not Trudeaumania
Those of a certain age will remember the much beloved 1970′s sitcom, The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Set in a television newsroom in Minneapolis, the series chronicled life both inside and outside the studio of its many and varied employees, who ranged from the gruff but ultimately lovable Lou Grant, played by Ed Asner, to the vapid but ultimately harmless news anchor, Ted Baxter, played by the late Ted Knight. The handsome broadcaster was essentially a sendup of all those ‘pretty faces’ one sees on TV who in reality are as sharp as the proverbial bag of hammers.
. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Just Another Pretty Face
For me, one of the biggest offenses against logical thinking is absolutism, which essentially says there is only one right answer, that everything is black or white, with no gradations of gray. An example would be Vic Toews infamous assertion, when controversy erupted over his deeply flawed Internet surveillance bill, that those who opposed the legislation were siding with child pornographers. Another would be George Bush’s claim, after 9/11, that ‘You are either with us, or with the terrorists.’
Despite what the above examples might suggest, such thinking, sadly, is not the exclusive domain of those with
. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Absolutely!
After dancing around the issue for several years, it appears the NDP finally has a clear position on the Clarity Act:
On Monday, the NDP introduced legislation to allow Quebec to secede with a simple majority of 50 per cent plus one. The party also wants to impose a tougher question in the event of a third referendum in the province, such as: “Should Quebec separate from Canada and become a sovereign country?”
The NDP bill aims to replace the 2000 Clarity Act, which was passed by the previous Liberal government after a tight referendum on Quebec sovereignty
. . . → Read More: Calgary Grit: 50% + 1
Mitt Romney tries to humanize himself by going shopping.
I think most people feel the same way when they hear Paul Ryan speak
Stephen Harper signs a deal with China, expressly to try and win the “cutest photo op of the year” award.
Danielle Smith sees your cute animal and raises you a little girl.
But Garneau outdoes them both, taking us to new heights of cuteness.
Of course, the “cute kid” photo-op can sometimes backfire.
This would not be the last bottle of alcohol consumed at PC headquarters during this spring’s election
Alison Redford courts the elusive “Hipster Vote”
. . . → Read More: Calgary Grit: 2012 in Pictures
Martin then jabbed the button into Peter Van Loan’s eyeball.
Some of you may recall Pat Martin’s noble quest to bring civility to Parliament:
“This is my new policy,” Martin said, holding up a handful of party-coloured buttons he had made reading “Opto Civitas.”
“I choose civility. That’s the new me.”
He had 300 buttons made up in all party colours — including a green one for Green party MP Elizabeth May — and plans to hand them out when the House resumes sitting next week.
Martin never said anything about Twitter though:
NDP MP Pat Martin calls
. . . → Read More: Calgary Grit: Opto Civilitas
After brunch with David Merner and my trip to the George Takach launch, my tour of lesser known Liberal leadership candidates lands on David Bertschi today.
While not an “official” candidate yet, Bertschi has been campaigning longer than most. He was the first candidate to launch a website, and even released a Hollywood-style trailer in March.
The transcript below highlights the majority of my phone interview with David Bertschi a few weeks ago. A few paragraphs were edited out to keep it a reasonable length, but I’ve included all of his major points.
What’s the 20 or 30
. . . → Read More: Calgary Grit: Interview with David Bertschi
In all my years blogging about Calgary politics, I never thought “Liberals blow by-election” is a story I’d have to write. “Liberals lose” is a common headline for a party that hasn’t won a seat in Calgary since 1968, during the height of Trudeaumania (the first round of Trudeaumania that is). But while some Liberals have come down with “candidate’s disease” over the years (symptoms include house hunting in Ottawa), the reality is the Liberal Party is never even in … → . . . → Read More: Calgary Grit: Old Habits Die Hard
The moment headline writers have been waiting for all summer has finally arrived, with Marc Garneau set to formally launch his Liberal leadership candidacy this week. Despite having a lengthy string of post-nominal letters after his name, and the most impressive CV of any Member of Parliament, Garneau enters this leadership race as a heavy underdog. Ironically, the astronaut simply lacks the star power to compete with Justin Trudeau. Despite being a genuine Canadian hero and an experienced parliamentarian, Garneau … → . . . → Read More: Calgary Grit: Bring on the Astronaut Puns
Voters in Durham, Victoria, and Calgary Centre head to the polls tonight in what were originally pegged as three “safe” by-elections. The story appears to be following the script in Durham and Victoria but, unexpectedly, Calgary Centre has become the riding to watch. When Lee Richardson resigned from Parliament last spring, no one could have fathomed the type of bizarro world we’d find ourselves in, with the Tories on the ropes, the Greens attacking the Liberals, and two-year old comments … → . . . → Read More: Calgary Grit: Battleground Calgary Centre