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CuriosityCat: How Trudeau can remove the debate veto imposed by Harper and Mulcair

Possible debaters

So Mulcair has decided he will only debate if the prime minister is debating? And Harper has decided not to debate in a forum that would attract the widest public viewership. This leaves the Liberals twisting in the wind. Or does it? One of the secrets of martial arts is to use the momentum of your opponent against him. You go with his movement, but change it to your advantage. Justin Trudeau can do this and stop this Harper-Mulcair spoiled-child bickering with a proposal to the CBC consortium that would allow their debate to take place, and would (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Election: EKOS poll – Seniors will return Harper to power as Prime Minister

A key statistic is not who favours what party before election day, but how many voters actually cast a vote on that day.  Seniors vote. Younger voters don’t vote in the same proportions. The latest EKOS poll explains why Stephen Harper will be Prime Minister on September 20, 2015, leading a minority government: Neither the Liberal Party nor the NDP has managed to make big enough inroads into the senior vote in order to knock Harper’s Conservatives out of power. This means the key to who will actually govern Canada will be settled in the months after the election, (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Harper’s Just Not Ready attack boomerangs!

Seems the Trudeau attack ad works with Conservatives but is making NDP supporters think about voting for Trudeau’s Liberals: A Conservative Party attack ad targeting Liberal leader Justin Trudeau for being “just not ready” to lead the country is actually working to convince Canadians to vote for him, a Forum Research poll has discovered. The survey found that 32 per cent of Canadians who had seen the ad were now more likely to vote Liberal in the upcoming federal election. The ad is having an adverse effect on NDP supporters as 21 per cent said viewing it made them more (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Harper’s Just Not Ready attack boomerangs!

CuriosityCat: Donald Trump will become President in 2016

Trump’s Powerful Slogan

Chances are very high right now that in early November 2016 we will find that Donald Trump will be the next president of the USA, after narrowly beating Hilary Clinton in the election.

And the symbol of his meteoric rise to the most powerful elected position in the world will be his newly-minted, hot off the assembly line, baseball cap. That cap, and the slogan on it, are extraordinarily powerful statements of just what Trump is hoping will be the ballot box question in 2016: The perceived loss of American power by so many Americans. Trump’s slogan (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Vanity Videos and the Morphing of the Tories

Mister 100 Percent Satisified

Move aside, YouTube: here come the new, improved Harper Tories’ Vanity Videos, made especially for every Canadian voter:

Employment Minister Pierre Poilievre won’t apologize for using taxpayer dollars to produce YouTube videos of himself promoting the universal child care benefit.Poilievre insisted Friday that he’s simply using innovative ways to inform Canadians about the newly enriched and expanded child benefit.But opposition MPs denounced the “vanity videos” as a new low for a government that has a penchant for producing partisan advertising on the public dime. And the Canadian Taxpayers Federation agreed.

The Cat has (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: The Perils of the Welcome Change in the 2015 Election Debates

Good news: the Conservative Party has refused to debate the other opposition leaders before the traditional news broadcasters, and have suggested a dramatically different – and very welcome – change of format.

But this decision by Harper’s election brains trust might prove to be the first major blunder in their campaign. 

Unlike the kneejerk reactions from some pundits that this change plays to Harper’s strengths, and kneecaps Justin Trudau, the odds are that Harper is the one who will lose in the new style debates.

Stephen Maher in the National Post describes the surprise change in the debate rules (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: 2015 election: Harper on road to minority government?

The problem?

The latest compendium of polls by 308 have good news and bad news.

Good news for Harper who – based on these results – would form a minority government after the 2015 election.

Bad news for the Liberals, whose support is slipping.

And good news for the besieged Mulcair’s NDP, which has steadily lost whatever magic it had in the 2011 election, despite herculean efforts in Parliament by their leader.

Here’s the chart showing the steady but slight erosion in Liberal support: And here is the 308 forecast of possible seats if those polls hold:

With these levels (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: 2015 election: Harper on road to minority government?

Accidental Deliberations: On enduring foundations

The framing panel at the Progress Summit included plenty of ideas as to how the left can shape political debates. But I’ll note that it seemed to miss a couple of related issues.

Most notably, there was an almost exclusive focus on reaching out to swing voters rather than framing issues in a way that would actually serve to build the progressive movement in the longer term. But that of course utterly misses the point that one can’t afford to completely ignore base-building in the name of appealing to the currently-undecided – as even if one’s goals focused solely on (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: The Legacy of Ottawa: The Gutting of Canada

When Stephen Harper’s spinners start pontificating about his steady hand on the tiller over the past decade or so, think on this: Is Canada’s economy really that much better off under his watch? Or has he presided over a country whose financial and economic muscles had continued to waste away.

Sometimes the facts get the way of a good story, and the facts about the sinews of our country’s economy are bleak indeed. As Eric Reguly summarizesin today’s Globe & Mail: Entire Canadian industries – steel, brewing, mining, forestry – got hollowed out, leaving a few sorry subsidiaries behind. (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Pipelines and Ottawa’s dropping of the ball: Gordon Gibson nails it

Gordon Gibson: The Nailer

If you are a politician, or work with any political party –federal or provincial or municipal – you should definitely read the succinct, well-written and politically significant articleby Gordon Gibson in the Globe & Mail, entitled Enough with pipelines. Refine it. Gibson summarizes, in one short article, the crux of the national debate about our crude oil pipelines. Here’s some of the article: There is a win-win-win response to all of this, if any national political party has the savvy to step up. The public opposition is really against pipelines to export bitumen and the (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Will Canada have a snap election over new anti-terrorist laws and ISIS?

Big Brother is watching …

There is a clear fault line between the two opposition parties, and PM Stephen Harper’s policies with regard to how to combat ISIS. 

The Conservatives favour actual fighting (planes dropping bombs etc.), while the opposition parties are against this. 

The NDP is further from the government’s position, while the Liberal Party would have Canadian armed forces join the anti-ISIS coalition led by the US and help its efforts (including transporting goods for the coalition), but short of Canadian planes dropping bombs on ISIS targets. Now another fault line has appeared: the Conservatives want (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Will Canada have a snap election over new anti-terrorist laws and ISIS?

CuriosityCat: Why is Justin Trudeau dancing to victory?

Heather Malleck in the Toronto Star has a few good reasons why our next Prime Minister will be named Justin Trudeau:

But what makes some politicians attractive and others repellent?

Trudeau is intelligent, humane and self-confident, a Québécois who is devoted to Canadian unity and has the most marvellous family: a sophisticated career-minded wife, Sophie Grégoire, and three adorable young children with the interesting names that only confident parents bestow: Xavier James, Ella-Grace and Hadrien. He has an English degree from McGill, a UBC teaching degree and taught for several years. He has his father’s intellect and wit, while being (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Israel & Framing the Issues: The Israel Project and Frank Luntz

A key to understanding the inner workings of modern politics is to understand what role the framing of issues takes, and the key to that is to understand why Frank Luntz, the Republican advisor, ranks at the top of political framing. The news is full of interviews of Israeli and Palestinian spokespersons, with the occasional Hamas leader appearing. When you watch and listen to these people represent their sides, ask yourself which spokespersons do the better job of framing the issues. Here’s one take of what is governing the framing of issues by Israeli spokespersons, by the senior political analyst (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Israel & Framing the Issues: The Israel Project and Frank Luntz

CuriosityCat: Visionary Concept of Wildrose Party’s Danielle Smith: A National Energy Corridor

Danielle Smith: Visionary

Canada’s wealth depends largely on our ability to export goods and services that others want to buy from us. And one of our major exports is energy – whether it be electricity or oil and gas. Our ability to export large quantities of energy is under threat from those who are targeting our oil and gas resources in order to promote their agenda of greenhouse gas reduction worldwide. There is little we can do to persuade people of that mindset to allow us to export our oil and gas. The Closing of the Windows of Opportunity: Exports (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Visionary Concept of Wildrose Party’s Danielle Smith: A National Energy Corridor

CuriosityCat: Harper’s new Conservatives out of step with Canadian values

Harper Norquist: Ideological soulmates

Many feared (and fear) Stephen Harper’s hidden agenda, and for good reason. Patterned on the far right wing Republican model, Harper’s Reform Party took over the old Progressive Conservative Party in a semi-hostile merger, and has systematically set about implementing the strategy of Norquist Grover. Grover’s gift to modern politics is the single-minded drive to remove the central government from the public space in the USA. His means is simple: starve the government by cutting back its revenues, so that it becomes weak enough to drown in the bathtub. Here in Canada, Harper has worked diligently (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Harper’s new Conservatives out of step with Canadian values

CuriosityCat: Abortion: Why Trudeau’s decision on pro-choice candidates is a good one

Justin Trudeau: Decisive

Ever since Justin Trudeau’s team came out with the announcement that anti-abortion supporters need not bother to run as candidates for the nomination of Liberal MPs in the coming election, the right wing has had a field day trying to make hay out of this single straw. Take the absurdity that Robyn Urback wrote in the National Post, as an example:

What twaddle. The Liberal Party supports the Supreme Court decision regarding a woman’s right to choose. Fullstop. So why not expect potential candidates to do the same in order to run for nomination? The Liberal Party (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Abortion: Why Trudeau’s decision on pro-choice candidates is a good one

CuriosityCat: Glenn Ashton's political blog: Is our Democracy save in the hands of Stephen Harper?


Andrew Coyne is yet one more person to wonder about the danger posed for Canada’s democratic institutions by the majority government of Stephen Harper: As I say, we’ve never seen anything quite like this, not even from this prime minister. Which raises the question: At what point do Conservatives of goodwill become concerned about the long-term damage being done to their party’s reputation under its present leadership? Differences over policy come and go, but this kind of behaviour, left unchallenged, will lead many people to conclude that the institutions of government cannot be safely entrusted to them. There are (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Ukraine: Russia advances its creeping-federalization agenda

Ukraine: Doors open for Putin

Today, much to the surprise of some, a public agreement was announced by the US, Russia, EU and current Ukraine government, dealing with concrete steps to move the matter forward. The following is the full text of that agreement, with the most important part (in my view) bolded:

Geneva Statement of April 17, 2014The Geneva meeting on the situation in Ukraine agreed on initial concrete steps to de-escalate tensions and restore security for all citizens.

All sides must refrain from any violence, intimidation or provocative actions. The participants strongly condemned and rejected all (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Ukraine: Russia advances its creeping-federalization agenda

CuriosityCat: Our housing problems: Should we charge an Inflation Tax on absentee home owners?

Charlie Smith: Thought-Provoker

We all agree with the principle that Polluters should pay for the impact of their pollution. So why not make those responsible for the inflated prices of homes in our cities pay a tax – the Inflators should pay principle? Consider this question posed by a London city council for debate by its residents: It also asks: “Do you agree with Islington Council’s intention to require owners of properties which are kept unoccupied to make a financial contribution to the council, which would be used to deliver affordable housing elsewhere in the borough?” Charlie Smith in (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Our housing problems: Should we charge an Inflation Tax on absentee home owners?

CuriosityCat: Ukraine: Some Commensense on Dealing with Russia

Putin’s Push: Reality versus Rhetoric

Congratulations to Thomas Graham, a senior fellow at the Jackson Institute, who was the senior director for Russia on the US National Security Council staff 2004-2007. He has shrewdly analyzed the Russian push under Putin, in its historical context, and outlined the steps that the West has to take to deal with Putin. Visa denials and economic sanctions, while nice sound bytes, are pretty meaningless. His views:

The way to stymie Russian expansion is not by denying visas and freezing assets of Russian officials and their business associates, the West’s current approach. Nor will (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Ukraine: Some Commensense on Dealing with Russia

CuriosityCat: Ukraine: The Solution is at hand

Foreign Minister Lavrov – the man with the answer

Within a week or so the outlines of a solution to the Ukraine predicament will become clear to all. As I expected (and hoped), wiser heads have come up with a workable formula. The Russians are leading the way, with Obama ready to follow. At tomorrow’s meeting between Secretary of State Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, the Russians will table the solution: “We are bringing our approaches closer together,” Mr. Lavrov said. “My last meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in The Hague and my (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Quebec election: 20 days and 5%

Premier Marois’ Lobster Strategy

What a difference a campaign can make! Just four weeks ago, it seemed the Marois-led PQ juggernaut was a shoo-in for a majority government in the province of Quebec, and now it seems the wheels have fallen off the machine, as pollster Three Hundred Eight illustrates. In less than 20 days Premier Marois has through her ill-advised lack of discipline moved the needle from a majority government to being a government clutching a pink slip in its sweaty  hands, as its core Francophone constituency moves away:

Down 5% over 20 days in this core supporter (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Quebec election: 20 days and 5%

CuriosityCat: Quebec: Premier Marois’ Walk into Darkness

Premier Marois

The first debate in this unexpectedly interesting provincial election has yet again proved that the best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry. The Premier and her advisors had carefully planned a year long campaign designed to drive a wedge between the voters in preparation for the election, by holding public meetings to discuss their Charter of Values. And it seemed to be working well, crystallizing support among Francophones and leaving opponents waffling with Me, Too faint emulations. So Marois and her Brains Trust decided that if it worked with the Charter of Values, why (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Quebec: Premier Marois’ Walk into Darkness

CuriosityCat: The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade treaty: Evil fruit from Secret talks

It is worth reading the article by Joseph Stiglitz on the problems posed by the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade treaty. Our government is one of those negotiating in confidence a treaty that will substantially effect the livelihood of all Canadians. Stiglitz highlights the problems posed for democracies by the one-sided secrecy rules – citizens are kept in the dark while big business is invited to take a seat at the table during the negotiations: These high stakes are why it is especially risky to let trade negotiations proceed in secret. All over the world, trade ministries are captured by corporate and (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Ukraine needs help to overcome the Iron Law of Oligarchy

Daron Acemoglu’s articleon the Ukraine in today’s Globe & Mail is a must read for all who are concerned about the mammoth task facing Ukraine right now. Unlike so many writers who skate across the thin ice of ignorance in their commentary on what is really happening in that blighted country, Acemoglu gets to the heart of things with a penetrating analysis of the reality facing those young men and women who took to the streets. He starts with this succinct summary:

But at the root of the situation is a legacy of political and economic institutions that have (Read more…)