Decision Canada 2006

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Well, it's almost the end of this blog.

As you know, I created this blog strictly to cover the 2006 election. With the election now and over, this blog as fufiled it's purpose.

My "new" blog is over at blog.canadianpolicywiki.ca
- it will be a site news / political news / rants blog all in one.

I will also be posting over at http://centrerion.blogspot.com/ a fair bit during the inter-election years and be sure to look out for Decision Canada 200x when we have our next election.

In the meantime, why not help give our government some direction by adding your two cents to the Canadian Policy Wiki? The site has slowly gained some strength and it will only be getting better.

Again, it's been a great ride, thanks for reading (all 15,000 of you!)

How ironic: I just tested the site in internet explorer and it looks a little funny. I'm a FireFox user (if you want it, there's a link on the right of the page) and I didn't really pay attention to how it looked in IE. If you have a chance, download Firefox, it's a really good browser and it makes this (and a lot of other) blogs look proper!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Quebec's Pro-CPC Surprises: Commentary/Analysis

10 probable seats for the CPC, with 8 confirmed. That's the least of the surprises. There's much more, and the portrait painted by the election's results in Quebec is positively shocking. My numbers are from the CBC. Though I don't trust them for insight, commentary, or even news reporting, because of their shabby style and frequent slants, the numbers can't be played with (that I know of).
  • From a very French-Canadian riding (as the mention of the 1800 Quebecois rebels, les Patriotes) indicates, comes this exceptionnally strong showing for the CPC:
  • DISTRICT: Verchères-Les Patriotes
    Candidate Party Vote Count Vote Share Elected
    Luc Malo BQ 30085 57.37% X
    Jean-Félix Racicot CON 11438 21.81%
    Alanna Woods LIB 4590 8.75%
    Simon Vallée NDP 4278 8.16%
    Carl Danis GRN 2045 3.9%
    January 24, 1:24:13 AM EST 197 of 198 polls reporting
  • Many rural, very French-Canadian ridings indicated similar results.

  • The city of Quebec itself had another impressive showing by the CPC, polling ahead of the Liberals!
  • DISTRICT: Québec
    Candidate Party Vote Count Vote Share Elected
    Christiane Gagnon BQ 20805 41.57% X
    Frédérik Boisvert CON 14842 29.66%
    Caroline Drolet LIB 5743 11.48%
    Michaël Lessard NDP 4634 9.26%
    Yonnel Bonaventure GRN 2372 4.74%
    Dan Aubut IND 812 1.62%
    Alexandre Raymond-Labrie PCP 512 1.02%
    Francis Bedard LTN 325 0.65%
    January 24, 1:57:23 AM EST 237 of 237 polls reporting

  • Less surprising to me was Meili Faille of the Bloc beating Mr. Marc "My-feet-taste-great" Garneau, the Liberal astronaut. Responding to Garneau's comments, Gilles Duceppe aptly and wittily characterized the man as being "dans la lune", which translates approximately to "off in a dreamworld". As I posted earlier in my debate commentary, Duceppe either has someone writing him great one-liners, or else he's a very witty person when it comes to off the cuff comments.
The Bloq topped off at 51 seats, 3 less than last time, and 41%; nowhere near foolish analyses placing him as a potential leader of the official opposition, and certainly not even close to his own ridiculous comment of aiming for 50% support.

Overall though, the greatest surprise is that overall, the Conservatives came in with 24% and change of the Quebec vote (906 K); the Liberals polled ~20% (761K). However, because the Liberal support is more consolidated and the rural Bloquiste vote didn't swing sufficiently to Harper et al., the CPC came out with a rather small number of seats (10), as mentioned above. The CPC are Quebeckers' #2, when early in the campaign, a La Presse humourist caricatured Harper's 5% as the level of his support in Quebec, (it's the level to which he wants to cut the GSTax, from 7%).

Why?
La Presse came out and supported the CPC officially, and had some unofficially pro-Harper material prior to that. I must credit them for pointing out that Harper was leading on policy around Christmastime, which led to my own analysis calling Harper as leading, period. Harper earlier promised to deal with the fiscal imbalance, which was HUGE to my fellow Quebeckers and I who see Ottawa surpluses as being accumulated on our ( and other Canadians') backs. This ultimately meant more than his stance on social issues to many people. Another key factor was that Canadian Quebeckers have realized most political power in Canada rests in government, not the opposition: the Bloc is a relatively inferior vote because it can't be in power.

Well, no shockers here

A Conservative minority it is going to be. Liberal leader Paul Martin is going to step down. We have no chance of a coalition government with the present numbers so that puts an end to that.

All I can say is what we expected to happen happened. I am still following a few ridings that are in doubt including my own West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky country which has Liberal Blair Wilson leading by 900 votes with about 27 polls to go. I'm on the verge of declaring him elected but still not quite there.

I will post some more as we go along, it's been almost 6 straight hours of blogging now, things are not going to change that much more now. I'm due for a break :)

Update: Global TV just declared Blair Wilson elected.

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It's early but.......

This might be the election where the Green Party takes a seat.

1 Green
1 Independent

I will try to pull the ridings those two candidates are in ASAP.

The Popular Vote

Is being led by the Liberals 35.8 to 35.6 (a 0.2% margin.) I'm thinking this is a trend that this will be a one time Conservative government.

2 Independents leading right now, that is a bit interesting to see.

268 seats have results, I think the only thing to see is how strong of a government is it going to be.

Decision Canada predicts a Conservative minority government

Yes, we are now predicting a Conservative Minority government. More to come.

Results so far

Well, the official numbers come out in 12 min, but I'm not going to rush.

The Liberals have a fairly nice lead in the Atlantic so far, this is rather interesting, I expected the Conservatives to gain a fair lead there.

This is going to be a nailbiter, well, at least so far.

Less than 40 ridings

With a slight Liberal lead. The Atlantic has traditionally voted Liberal, but the Conservatives have a huge gain in comparision to last time.

Quebec is up in a few min, that should be very very interesting.

Early Trends

It's fairly tight. The Conservative gains in the Atlantic haven't been very big but it's really early right now.

Government declared

Well, the Decision Canada team is now predicting a Conservative government. We are not sure on if it will be a majority or minority but it will be a Conservative government.

Harper will be the next PM.

The Globe and Mail has live results @ http://www.theglobeandmail.com/elections/fed2005/fragments/results/federalResults.html

I will keep posting commentary as we go along.

First legal results

Well, here we go. I just got "legal" feeds so I'm postning normally here

Conservative 82
Liberal 69
Bloc 27
NDP 23
OTH 1

Well, lets go for a breakdown in a second.

Thats the hot result.

Quebec closes in 3 min

Well, 30 min until the results start to flow. More to come.

Google for results, I'm not officially posting them here - just commentary.

My prediction at the moment is to close to call:

The first info

It's still very tight, we don't have enough polls reporting to call anything yet, we shall see what happens.

The results are really in flux right now.

Live Results

http://www.rcinet.ca/rci/en/

How nice of the CBC to give us a feed.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Less than 8 hours until the polls open

Well, it's been a crazy two months or so. Over 125 blog postings, over 10,000 people have read this blog from every corner of Canada and abroad.

Now, the ads have almost stopped running (thank goodness) - the signs will (start to) come down Tuesday (thank goodness.) We will have to wait until midnight or so Pacific until we know what is really going to happen, it might be so close we have recounts.

Let's hope we don't have any scandals, any "chad problems" that have caused so much turmoil in other elections.

Regardless of what party or candidate you will be voting for, please go out tomorrow and VOTE. A democracy is not a democracy without you, the citizen voting. Please help respect all who died to keep our world free and exercise your democratic right.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

The "gag law"

In short, I agree that it is in violation of the Charter and should be abolished as soon as possible by parliament.

Non withstanding, it is presently law. As such, I won't be posting election "results" here. I will be posting a last second poll and the trends contained within.

At 10 EST, 7 PST I will be posting the full show including all of the results we have so far and I will start naming results.

I think this ban is disgusting and I the Supreme court should be ashamed of it's total misinterpretation of the Charter.

theProject's Predictions

Here are twenty riding predictions for January 23rd.

Gains:
Vancouver Centre, BC -- Svend Robinson (NDP from LIB)
Edmonton Centre, AB -- Laurie Hawn (CPC from LIB)
Surrey North, BC -- Penny Priddy (NDP from IND)
Newmarket-Aurora, ON -- Lois Brown (CPC from LIB)
Pontiac, QC -- Lawrence Cannon (CPC from BQ)
New Westminster-Coquitlam, BC -- Dawn Black (NDP from CPC)
St. Paul's, ON -- Peter Kent (CPC from LIB)
Outremont, QC -- Jacques Léonard (BQ from LIB)
Northwest Territories -- Dennis Bevington (NDP from LIB)
Trinity-Spadina, ON -- Olivia Chow (NDP from LIB)
Vancouver Kingsway, BC -- Ian Waddell (NDP from LIB)
Beauce, QC -- Maxime Bernier (CPC from LIB)
Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC -- Josée Verner (CPC from BQ)
Brossard-La Prairie, QC -- Marcel Lussier (BQ from LIB)

Keeps:
Churchill, MB -- Bev Desjarlais (IND)
Richmond, BC -- Raymond Chan (LIB)
Etobicoke-Lakeshore, ON -- Michael Ignatieff (LIB)
Simcoe-Grey, ON -- Helena Guergis (CPC)
LaSalle-Émard, QC -- Paul Martin (LIB)
Kings-Hants, NS -- Scott Brison (LIB)

Edmonton Center voters list mixup - I know that some people "live" at their offices but to use it as their voting address?

Currently bars, truck stops, offices, stores, mini-storages are being listed as addresses in which people reside for purposes of voting. The issue is being raised by the mainstream media in Edmonton Center but I think this might be a nation-wide issue.

According to the Edmonton Sun Liberal candidate Anne McLellan who has always won by a very slim margin. Conservative supporters are claiming that McLellan's friends who have office space in the riding are using it to vote multiple times for her regardless of the fact that they do not live in the riding.

Of course, many others with no connection to McLellan have received voter registration cards to their places of business. Currently most people receive a card based on one thing, the little box you check on your tax return. If you have your tax return sent to your office, the CRA tells Elections Canada that you reside at your office and they register you to vote there. Doesn't make a lot of sense does it.

In addition, I have seen people who (should under C-261) do not meet our present age of majority required to vote receive voter registration cards. As one does not always have to show ID on voting day this loophole allows additional voters to cast a a ballot. I have nothing against this pratice because it is only permitting additional Canadians to vote - a right guaranteed to "every citizen of Canada" by the Charter. It just goes to show, if you file a tax return and check the "I agree to share my registration information with Elections Canada" - you will get a vote regardless of age.

This system is broken, we need to fix it fast. Requiring ID that shows your address to vote would be the least we could do.

So, students "voted" on official Elections Canada ballots - what is the big deal?

According to a lot of blogs - sparked by this Canada Free Press story we are hearing about how high school students made "random" marks on official Elections Canada ballots. The article is being a little paranoid, why not let those votes count? The students in grade 11 and 12 can already get an official ballot by filing a tax return and their votes are as educated as ours (well, the majority of Canadians). Why not let them count?

When I was just under the legal voting age, I found it as fustrating as all that although I pay the same taxes as any voting Canadian and although my passport said I was a Canadian citizen, I could not vote. I see no difference. Let the kids vote!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Decision Canada's election night coverage

We will be hitting the blog scene at 4 pm Pacific, 7 pm Eastern on the 23rd and will be posting until everything is in. We will give our take as the results come in and what we can see out of the future government.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

What is wrong with more English in Quebec?

Most of the country speaks English and a little French. Quebec will still speak mostly French regardless of Bill 101.

Harper wants to soften 101 to allow more use of Canada's other official language in Quebec. Duceppe of course doesn't want any more English because he sees it as an infringement on Quebec's culture.

I think Duceppe is out to lunch. If Quebec wants to stay competitive in the mostly English North America, it needs to loosen up a bit. I'm not calling for French to lose official language status, I think we need to preserve the culture but restricting English is just plain stupid.

That is my 2 cents on the issue, I'll post more later when I have a chance.

The final lap

The cars are rushing to the finish line. Team Harper is in the lead but their car is losing air pressure in the tires slowly. Team Liberal has turbochargers on the engine and is slowly catching up to the lead. Team NDP is back there but is steady for a good 3rd place finish.

Now, the fans are being treated to the pit crews from both teams going at an insane battle. The ad crews are starting to run a few battles. Thankfully, this is family entertainment and the ads have calmed down a bit.

The Liberals are running Paul Martin on a message about his values, the Conservatives well, they haven't calmed down and the NDP is still not positive but the ads are not disgusting.

All of the parties have made their respective flopups, the Liberals have the "Buzz comment" that was a pretty damn stupid thing to hear, the Conservatives have the "we want Toronto first" line which will turn off some western voters and the NDP has the Jack Layton health care hypocrite issue.

The Liberals are picking up some steam, the Conservatives have the leak, it's going to be a photo finish. So, log in, read the blogs and prepare for a thriller of an ending!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Poll: Private Health Care

71% of Canadians in a poll told us that they have no problem. The poll was conducted by the private health care providers but the question seemed fairly neuteral.

Do you favour a mix of public and private care as a way to put an end to waitlists?

I have no problem with private health care. Jack Layton has a hard line on being 100% against it, maybe he should have polled a few more everyday working families first.

Of course, I have had a private MRI because it would have taken 6 months to get it in the public system, because it was covered by private insurance, I got to jump the que and get my MRI in a week. Maybe that is what the public system needs, a good kick in the pants.

Harper's Toronto Centric Government

Today Conservative leader made a mistake almost bigger than the Liberal's "Soldiers, with guns" ad. Harper said "We want Toronto to be part of the truly national government we are asking Canadians to give us," - Wait a second.

Harper is the leader of a party that traditionally derived it's support from the western provinces. To many western based Canadians, Harper's statement is a kick in the face.

How would a Conservative government that has put a strong emphasis on Toronto help end western alienation? Harper just turned a lot of western voters off the Conservative Party. Are we simply going to replace one eastern centric government with another?

Don't take your powerbase for granted, BC is a huge battleground this election. Telling BC that Toronto is #1 on your priority is telling us that you will suck up to Toronto and not give a rip about the rest of the country.

A government that focuses on Toronto isn't a government for me! At least the Liberals did not make a statement essentially calling Toronto the "center of the universe."

Sweet move Harper, great job! You haven't been in BC in ages. Mr Martin is spending a LOT more time in BC than you are. Why do you insult your core voters?

So Mr Harper, I ask you. What will you do to ensure that the west recieves it's fair share. Toronto is NOT the center of the universe, Canada is a big country, don't sell the rest of the country for one city!

Does Jack Layton speak for you?

I was wondering when this was going to happen. The Conservatives are scared that a well run Liberal sprint to the finish line might snatch their victory so to shore up support, they are going after the party that has no chance of forming government, the NDP.

The latest ad has a bunch of pictures with people with a cutout of Layton's mouth pasted over them with some of the promises that he has made. It end with "Does Jack Layton speak for you? - vote Conservative!" Well, they do have a point, Jack Layton has attempted to sound like he has been speaking for everyday Canadians when in fact, a solid majority when polled said he did not. There have been several articles in the blogosphere about that, even a letter from a newsgroup posted here on Decision Canada which give that message.

Does Jack Layton speak for you? That is the simple yes/no question of the day.

I've bumped this to the top of the blog - with the latest NDP ads, I want to see what your reaction is!

Voter turnout in advance polls is up

Does this mean

a) Canadians are off for holidays and needed to vote before the election
b) Canadians are busy on Mondays
c) Canadians are getting out and voting!

I know advance polls mean nothing, but our voter turnout rate has sucked as of late. Elections Canada is reporting a huge increase in advanced polling turnouts - is this the trend we're seeing to improve voter rates.

Or, is this simply a "let's vote 'em out" motion - or is it "let's make the pollsters look stupid and vote Liberal"

Either way, numbers are up, so be sure to get out and VOTE on the 23rd!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Is the best thing for the Liberals to get wiped out and start fresh?

Current trends are pointing to Harper getting a fairly strong (~178 seat) majority government. In that scenario, the Liberals would be almost wiped off the map.

The question is simple. Is the best thing for the Liberal Party? In British Columbia, the provincial NDP party was almost wiped out going from a majority government to 2 seats. What happened during the lapse is the NDP found a way to shed a new light on itself. The "old" NDP was basically organized labour - the "new" NDP attempts to include more business and not be nearly as hard-line socialist as they were. In short, they have become more of a mainstream party and less of a "far leaning" party. With their new more centrist policies, the BC government is able to co-operate on some key issues and it works fairly well.

If the Liberals get wiped out it's highly likely that Paul Martin will not be running at the helm of the party next time around. Would new leadership - leadership that has no connection in any way shape or form to the "scandal" reform (no pun intended) the Liberal party?

It's happened before - this might be the best thing for Canadians possible - a new stronger and hopefully more ethical Liberal party.

I'm not saying that Liberal candidates are bad, in fact, I am strongly considering voting Liberal for the candidate as the Conservative candidate would not return the Decision Canada's team's requests for comments.

So, in short, vote for the candidate. All of the parties will mash up regardless, so go for who will best represent you, the Canadian!

Ad Reviews - I've stopped

Because every single ad gets 0/10!

Every ad I have seen has been one attack after another attack after another. The Liberals "soldiers with guns" seems to be the biggest in the blogosphere but they all suck.

The NDP is running the boot theme and attacks on both the Liberals and the Conservatives, the Conservatives are running pictures of Martin and the Liberals are running fear ads on Harper.

Of course, the third party ads are just as bad. The first one I heard today was a fear ad trying to make people think that a Conservative government is going to kill private health care. That ad put on by the "Seniors Council of BC" included the classic vote NDP message.

Last BC election, I was sick of third party ads - let's hope they don't get even uglier right now.

A majority is not a majority - Harper

It is an odd statement but it does make sense.

According to Harper
  • The Courts have been appointed by the Liberals
  • The Senate was appointed by the Liberals
  • The civil service was appointed by the Liberals.
Well, this does make some sense it is still all behind a push by Harper to "out the Liberals" - people are still a little uneasy to Conservative but want to see the end of the Liberals.

We shall see how this plays out, but the Liberals ad blunder combined with a well run Conservative show, I think we might see a much different government. I don't think it's going to be anything like the NDP wipeout in BC - though it is possible. It's also possible we will see another Liberal minority. We are in the third period of a nailbiter, it's a one goal game and the refs (third party advertising) are calling everything.

Monday, January 16, 2006

How big is the vote split going to be

With NDP leader Jack Layton calling on Liberal voters to support the NDP this time around to do exactly what - give the Conservatives a majority. Layton's line was "Lend us your vote while the party you have supported in the past cleans itself up,"

It simply doesn't make sense for a Liberal voter to vote NDP. In most ridings the Liberals will still be a close second, giving your vote to the NDP will ensure that the Conservative candidate wins.

Sure, Layton may be going for the $1.75 per vote he gets - however, it seems far more likely that he could form a coalition government with the Liberals.

That is the issue I'm thinking about, a coalition government with the NDP. It's possible, it would be interesting to see. I think I'd like to see it. How about you (sorry, no yes/no today)

Memo to Martin: Accept questions from reporters

Today Paul Martin had an press conference in Vancouver. One of the issues he talked about was western alienation. It was highly ironic that he chose to talk about it because later, in question time, all of the questions with the exception of one were by Ottawa based reporters. In BC, a western city the Liberal party would not accept questions from BC reporters while Paul Martin talked about western alienation!

I am not making this up!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

all candidates meeting w van library

At the all candidates meeting, the Green party, the Conservatives, the Communist, the Liberal, and NDP parties gave opening statements, closing statements and answered questions. The Communist Party candidate was brave but did not sway any votes. The NDP Zimmerman did an articulate job, Blair Wilson did a so so job, Weston did a so so job and the Green did a reasonable job. Both Wilson and Weston spoke too far away from the microphone. You could hear what they said but the emphasis and the punch was not there. Weston spoke like a lawyer and did not make any mistakes, and occasionally engaged the audience. Wilson engaged the audience more but lost his delivery when he often turned his head to speak to the audience on the second floor. Wilson stuck his foot in his mouth twice. He said something unwise twice. Using the notwithstanding clause to state the conservatives will repeal abortion and other laws was a big mistake. Even Liberal voters had to snicker when he said that. Using scare tatics against the conservatives in an educated public meeting was Wilson's mistake. He should have kept on emphasizing what good he would do regardless of the policy of the Martin liberals. He was doing well until he used the scare tatics. He sounded like a credible candidate. Until he blew it. The NDP was business like and would not take any guff from any questions. She sounded like a credible candidate. The Green candidate had some good and some not so practical ideas. When I entered the meeting my opinion of Wilson was high and Weston moderate. After hearing Wilson sound like a Martin toady repeating party lines, he lost a lot of the credibility that I had for him and the hard work he put in the last election. Granted he had a lot to overcome from the scandals in Ottawa, and was doing well enough for me to vote for him. Then he spouted off like a Martin mouthpiece.
Polytick

Why are the Liberals using the same style attack ads as the "Soldiers with Guns" ad?

It seems rather foolish to me to use an ad in the style of one that was panned severely by the Canadian public.

The ad that started it all, of course is "Soldiers with guns in Canadian cities, we are not making this up." It has been described as "the worst ad ever" according to Greg P and a lot of bloggers, people on the street and mainstream media people alike.

So....

Why are the Liberals using something that they know is going to spark a negative reaction. I don't like the new ads, they've gotten an 0/5 on the ad review scale. I really don't really want to know how evil the other guy is, I can figure that out for myself without you screaming it at me in 30 million ads every show!

So, will the Liberals smarten up on their ad strategy and try something positive. It's going to take one crazy campaign for the Liberals to mount a comeback, they're starting off on the wrong foot!

On another ad note, the NDP ads finally attack both the Liberals and the Conservatives, but being an attack ad, it gets an automatic 0/5 on my ratings scale.

This has been one of the dirtiest campaigns I have ever seen with respect to ads, one would think we're in an election south of the 49th! It really is the style we started to see in presidential elections!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Will the Liberals be wiped out?

According to the Bloc yes. But....

That is the Bloc, the same Bloc that wants to seperate from Canada. It is the same Bloc that is in bed with the Conservatives.

I don't think the Liberals will be wiped out at all. In fact, I think we even have a possibility of another Liberal minority goverment if....

1) The Liberal/NDP/Green split goes Liberal
2) Martin gives a great show, Harper goes lame

We still have 2 weeks, one bad ad and polls can go the other way and fast. This one is going to be a nailbiter, the Conservatives don't have it in the bag.

On a side note, why is the NDP attacking the Liberals - they really should be attacking the Conservatives if they want more seats.

I admit, I'm on a brief break post debate, I'll have more in a bit.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Jack Layton - the health care hypocrite

One of the most often recurring themes we hear out of NDP leader Jack Layton is the fact that he does not support private health care in Canada. Layton is on record as saying that he or his wife would never use a private clinic to jump the line for surgery.

Except of course that he already did...

In documents found today, it was found that Mr Layton had hernia surgery at the Shouldice Hospital, a private facility in the Toronto suburb of Thornhill, while he was serving as a Toronto city councillor.

Layton defended himself with

"It's just part of the system, The doctor says, 'Go there.' You pay with your (Ontario health) card. It never occurred to me (it was) anything other than medicare, which it is.
Of course, Layton does have the defense that the facility was non-profit, it was set up for veterans coming in from WWII and he did pay with his Health Card. I do not, however, buy into the excuse that he did not know, he openly admitted it was public knowledge that the facility was private.

Some private health care facilities are not an evil thing, I'm not saying that choosing a private clinic was a bad thing. Mr Layton just needs to watch it when he uses the word "never" as histories are not hard to check.

Liberal's press release - very interesting timing

On the Liberal site today, we have a press release that states

Media reports today reveal that in July 2004 Conservative candidate Derek Zeisman (British Columbia Southern Interior) was charged by Canada Customs with attempting to smuggle a Mercedes-Benz and 112 containers of alcohol from the United States into Canada.

Now that we have this information, which is still not exactly a huge release, will we see more Liberal ads telling us about how unlawful Conservatives are. Sure, it would be slightly better than the last ad. Lets hope the Liberals dont' sink that low.

Update: The Conservative Party has gone into damage control and has stated that Zeisman will not be sitting with a Conservative goverment if elected. Will they start pulling his signs too?

CBC.ca news story

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

A real threat to Canada...... the Liberal admakers!

After the "Worst Ad Ever" - the blogosphere is full of parody ads mocking this pretty disgusting ad.

First of all, here's what gets to me about the Liberal ad.

Soldiers have guns. Wow, so do police officers, some security guards and members of the public. In the US, they even have soldiers on duty with guns!!! in the airports. If I understand it correctly, Harper's plan is to have an emergency response force in every Canadian city and I think it's a great idea.

I live in Vancouver, Canada's 3rd largest city. We don't have any troops on the lower mainland, the closest Canadian Forces are over on Vancouver Island, a good 45 min flying time away, of course, that's an air squadron that sometimes is not equipped for what we need.

Say we have a mudslide or a major avalance. We could use our city's military personell to help dig out and help with the rescue operation. If we have a crisis, we need people to help NOW, not to wait for them to fly in from Edmonton (a good hours plus flying time away.) With the Olympic games coming in 2010, we're going to need all of the security help we can get anyways, why not have a group here to help for anything else that comes up.

So, here's a funny spoof from the Colbert Report (this is NOT on TV, it's not that "report"

BC's "key ridings" - our predictions

With BC playing a huge role this time around, our predictions man JL whipped up a powerpoint of all of the lower mainland.

Vancouver-Centre (Incumbent: Hedy Fry)

This is one of the only ridings where I don’t select anyone. Hedy Fry is not the type of person I would like to see (again) in Parliament, she just isn’t that useful. While Svend Robinson cannot gain the trust of the constituents after the infamous “ring incident”.

Prediction: Liberal

Vancouver-East (Incumbent: Libby Davies)

What more can I say, NDP blow-out. The poor Liberal here, David Haggard doesn’t have a shot. I quite like Davies, but I believe she’s in the wrong party.

Prediction: NDP

Vancouver-Kingsway (Incumbent: David Emerson)
This will be certainly be a riding to watch, where we could see the fall of a prominent Liberal cabinet minister (Emerson). I believe the Conservatives will give this riding to the New Democrats. There has been quite a demographic switch which benefits the NDP.

Prediction: NDP

Vancouver-Quadra (Incumbent: Stephen Owen)

While I believe the Conservative, Stephen Rogers will give the Liberals a scare, the Grits will retain this riding again. In 2004, Rogers lost by over 10,000 votes which I believe will be reduced to around 4,000-5,000 this time around.

Prediction: Liberal

Vancouver-South (Incumbent: Ujjal Dosanjh)

I don’t see how anybody in their right minds would ever vote for the premier that sunk BC to the lowest level. But that’s just my opinion. He’ll win.

Prediction: Liberal

Burnaby-Douglas (Incumbent: Bill Siskay)

This is THE Lower Mainland riding to watch. What some would call a three-way race. I truly believe it’s only between the Liberals and Siskay, who I see being re-elected after good work in Ottawa.

Prediction: NDP
Burnaby-New Westminster (Incumbent: Peter Julian)

Another fairly close race to watch. The NDP incumbent faces a big challenge. But he’ll be re-elected if the voters have any sense. Peter’s a great guy and a hard worker.
Prediction: NDP
North Vancouver (Incumbent: Don Bell)

This riding to me is what I call a “False Alarm”. In this case, voters are saying this will be a super close race. On election night, that will be proven wrong, and Don Bell will walk away with a large chunk of the Tory vote because of Silver’s flip-flopping views on many important issues.
Prediction: Liberal
West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast (Incumbent: John Reynolds, retiring)

Again, this could play out to be a “False Alarm”. Wilson hasn’t stopped campaigning since he was narrowly defeated back in 2004 and his chances are much better now that the NDP doesn’t look like it will take much of the Sunshine Coast.

Prediction: Liberal

South Surrey -White Rock -Cloverdale (Incumbent: Russ Hiebert)

While this riding has been said as being closer than we think. Conservative voters in White Rock come out strong on election day. Judy Higginbotham, who ran against him last election, was a much stronger candidate than Jim McMurty.
Prediction: Conservative

Why did the Liberals want to hide the red book

As reported by lots of blogs, a leaked copy of the Liberal Party's "red book" also known as their platform circulated the internet today.

What I wonder is, why did the Liberals want to keep this a secret, there is nothing there that we didn't already know.

Well, maybe we didn't see the fact that the Liberals did not list the nonwithstanding clause, after Martin's "I don't believe the prime minister can cherry pick rights" quote. I wonder if they chose to keep the document a secret until after the debate so they can edit it based on what the polls are telling them. You guess is as good as mine!

Liberal education plan even worse then it first appeared

I was a critic of the Liberal’s “50/50” plan when it first came out. That was before I actually ran the numbers.

The leaked copy of the Liberal red book (available at http://westernstandard.blogs.com/shotgun/files/platforme.pdf), says that “– Students will have the choice either to opt in to the new (50/50) plan, or to draw benefits from the existing Tuition Tax Credit and Education Expense Deduction.” Ok, fair enough, either you get the cash, or get the tax credits. That wasn’t announced as loudly when they announced this plan, and for good reason – the tax credits are better.

Follow along with me:

As of 2003/2004, the average Undergrad tuition was 4,025/year. That works out to a savings of 4,025 under the 50/50 plan.

The total cost for University (if completely self-paid, via savings, scholarship, or loans) is, on average, 16,100 of tax-refundable tuition expenses. Consider the average University student spends 4 years studying full-time 8 months out of the year, that works out to 12,800 that can be claimed as an educational expense deduction. So, 28,900 in total. 16% of that is 4,624 in tax savings – far better then the Liberal’s handout of cash, and this hasn’t yet accounted for other tax refundable education expenses.

These tax deductions can be saved until the student starts working full-time – giving them more of their money to pay off loans, or start up a family.

Worst. Ad. Ever.

Canadians have seen plenty of dirty attack ads over the years, from both sides of the spectrum. This one will take the prize for dirtiest ad ever.

The Liberals went beyond attacking Steven Harper in this ad – they attacked our men and women in uniform. Our military was compared to that of one of those developing nation militaries that randomly overthrows the Government.

I’m pissed. These people have risked their lives to guarantee our rights – and the Liberals repay them with not only shoddy equipment, but now with outright insults.

To make this story even better, John Duffy apparently tried to intimidate Mike Duffy into not running or discussing the ad during the post-debate commentary last night. God knows, I don’t always agree with what Mike Duffy has to say – but his “we will not be intimidated” line was bang on. Hopefully he speaks for the Canadian people.

The Liberals want us now to “Choose (our) Canada”. Ok, I choose the Canada where we respect those that vow to defend us (military), properly equip those that try to protect us (police, customs agents), thank those that try to help us (whistleblower legislation), and do it all without stealing our money. There is only one party that has promised to deliver on all these, and that’s the Conservative Party of Canada.

You can view the attack ad, plus John Duffy vs. Mike Duffy, here.

The new Liberal national ad

It's in the same boat as the Conservative / NDP ads. It is a flat out attack ad and doesn't tell us anything at all. All we have is "If Harper is elected, it will put a smile on George W Bush's face" etc.

Whoever is making these ads needs to get a clue, attack ads are the fastest way to get a mute button on a LOT of televisions. If you put out a positive message, people might see you as someone who wants to run the country but is not going to go down to immature methods to do it!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The latest poll numbers.......

Well, the latest polls just game out, although as per usual, I'll take polls at face value, as polls.

Currently all of them are predicting a Conservative government with a Bloc official opposition. We have some predicting a majority (a huge turn) while we still have minority claims. The interesting point is the Bloc as the official opposition, this may be very bad news for Canada with respect to separation.

I'm not going to spend a lot of time going into each result, as they change by the day.

What is a bit interesting to see is who else is losing support. The NDP seems to have a slight downwards trend, I'm wondering if the Conservative support is coming from the NDP or is it coming from the Liberals. It seems a little weird for the NDP support to be going to the Conservatives, it seems like we're two ends of an table there.

Of course, we are still 13 days until the big day, polls can be right, but polls can be wrong. I think we will see a tighter race as we move closer.

So, take it as you wish, but I think we're in for a very very wild ride to the finish line.


Here's the links to the results (PDF warning):
Strategic Counsel
Ekos
SES
Angus-Reid

3 Easy Steps to Calculate Your 2% GST Tax Break

Martin's said cutting the GST is peanuts, giving one 50 cents on the purchase of a new toaster. Ignoring the irony and apparent partisanship of him not wanting to cut the GST when he said in the 90s it had to be done, let's see what the GST amounts to, for average Canadians.
Stats Can has the average family income, from 2003 (the most recent I could find; anyone with mor recent data is invited to comment), at about $60,000. It may have changed significantly since then, but I doubt it (the economy's strengthened, so if anything, the tax cuts will be slightly greater than shown here).
Anyways, here's how to calculate one's break under Harper's GST cut.

1) Calculate your after tax income. My mom earns about 60,000 as a teacher here in Quebec (though I think they're trying to cut it, but that's another post for another time), and for her that means $35,000 after taxes. It may be slightly different for families totaling 60,000, but it won't be anything drastic.

2) Estimate and then deduct the percentage of your income that goes to GST-exempt things. This primarily includes savings and investments, most groceries (anything essential, GST is charged on junk food). My mom spends 30-40% of her income on groceries, and I guessed 10% goes to savings, which is probably more than the national average (statscan says we're spending more and saving less, though I couldn't find exactly what the averages are). It makes for easy calculations though: 40% for food plus 10% for savings means 50% goes to GST-exempt things. My mom spend $17,500 on items taxed by the GST.

3) Multiply the remainder of your income by 0.02 (2%). This should show you how much of your income will be saved by the tax cut. Rather than going to the government, it stays in your pocket. In my mother's case, 17,500 x 0.02 = $350.

My mom, and the average Canadian family gets a tax break of a few hundred bucks.

Statistics Canada

While we're crunching numbers, I'd like to point out that Harper's way out front in the EKOS polls. Notably, they're saying we Canadians believe he's most able to articulate a vision for the country. I'm proud to say that I said he was leading, before the polls came out, because of policy. Fellow commentators, besides pundits and people taking and calling odds on the election might care to check it out when I said on Dec. 26 that Harper's in the lead.

This article was written by lcrentre over @ http://centrerion.blogspot.com/ first. As lcentre's a member of the Decision Canada Team, I decided to crosspost it here, although I strongly suggest you read both blogs daily!

The new Liberal ad in BC

Well, I guess someone from the Liberal Party was reading Decision Canada's reviews of the ads so far, as in BC, we are seeing a positive election ad. I'd just like to give kudos to the Liberals for cutting the attack ads, I hope I see the new Conservative and NDP ads do the same.

More of those NDP boot ads lately, those are as annoying as all, you're not telling us anything we don't know.

As for the Conservatives, I have not seen any of their ads today, their previous attack ones sucked, lets hope they've been reading too.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Let's all do the Charter

In tonight's debate, Paul Martin came out with a plan to make Canada's beloved and brilliant Charter of Rights even more worthy of celebration - the Liberal government will introduce a constitutional amendment and start the process for the removal of the authority of the federal government to override constitutional rights.

Stephen Harper shot back that a Conservative government would amend the Charter to include property rights.

Jack Layton looked bewildered and, unable to ante up, delivered one of the many painfully dry advertisements (completely with slogan) that he delivered throughout the night, this one about healthcare. (Bravo, Jack, bravo.)

Gilles Duceppe... ah, no one cares about Gilles Duceppe or the Bloc. I'll be pretending they don't exist for the remainder of this.

And so in an odd twist, there is one federal party leader who currently supports the constitutional status quo, and it's... NDP leader Jack Layton. Quite the strategy to marginalize the smiling socialist, and I while I can't speak for other Canadians, it worked on me. (And might I just say, for shame Jack - for someone who supports same-sex marriage rights so vehemently, you should be on board for removing the power of the feds to take them away.) I was leaning towards the NDP going into that debate - mostly due to my support for proportional representation, and because I feel I owed Jack Layton a vote due to his campaigning for gay rights before it was cool, way back in the 70's - but the moment Paul Martin said the words I'd been waiting to hear ever since I first heard about that infernal clause, "[T]he first act of a new Liberal government is going to be to strengthen the Charter, and we're going to do that by removing by Constitutional means the possibility for the federal government to use the notwithstanding clause," I was floored. And the moment Jack Layton refused to endorse Paul Martin's plan, I was up again and sold. It's the Liberals for me in two thousand and... okay six. (For some reason, every rhyming slogan I come up with that includes the number "six" is just dirty.)

But I'm not without respect for the position of Stephen Harper on this one. His support for the notwithstanding clause is shameful and proof to me that he doesn't deserve to be prime minister, but he did say something I agree with. "We feel that the population must have the right to own property, to have a legal process in cases of expropriation, and we feel it's necessary to compensate people in such cases, and I feel those priorities should be protected by the constitution." Stephen Harper wants to amend the Charter to include property rights.

Now I must say, I am a fan of both of those proposals, though I obviously lean towards Martin's more. Just about the only thing Jack Layton could propose that would swing me back his way would be including "sexual orientation" in the list of protected categories. (It's already been read into the Charter by the courts, I know, but it would be symbolic. South Africa has it in their constitution - and I'd rather be more progressive than them. It's a pride thing.) Or possibly eliminating that obnoxious reference to "God" in a document that obviously has nothing to do with him, being that I'm a firm believer that mixing government with religion is bad for both. But even then, removing the notwithstanding clause still might resonate more with me.

Of course, the Liberals may well lose and not get to implement it. But now, at least, they'll go down fighting for something more than just power. Now, if they lose, they'll go down fighting for individual rights and freedoms, just like Trudeau did in what everybody thought was his last hurragh in 1979. (Need I remind you what happened next? Trudeau reclaimed power in 1980 and gave us the Charter of Rights itself in 1982.)

Unfortunately, there is an ugly side to this (besides just the possibility of a Liberal loss.) The ugly side is, of course, politics. Stephen Harper has refused to endorse removing the notwithstanding clause; the reasons for this should be copiously obvious. The notwithstanding clause is the only way for the social conservative wing of his party to legally implement their radical agenda, including stamping out abortion rights for women and scribbling "NO FAGS" in red ink across the pages of the Civil Marriage Act.

But I'm not letting the Liberals off easy. Within minutes of the debate, the Liberal Party called Harper's plan to entrench property rights - another fundamental value in liberal society which is conspicuously absent in our Charter - a "radical right-wing plan". I was actually surprised by that, because the Liberals don't usually venture into the blatant socialist territory of condemning private property. Even the NDP doesn't do that. It's a misstep in my opinion - one of many by Martin's less-than-stellar braintrust - but I can chalk it up to politics, because I know at the end of the day that a millionaire like Paul Martin really has no choice but to support private property, and with people like Scott Brison and Belinda Stronach in his cabinet, I'm not too worried about a socialist takeover of the Liberal Party happening any time soon. Still, it's disappointing rhetoric all the same.

It's disappointing because the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a wonderful document, but it is not a perfect document. Some would argue that it could never be perfect, and they may be right. But there are some changes that could be made to it in order to push it in that direction. Those changes include removing the notwithstanding clause, or at least making it almost as difficult to use as implementing a constitutional amendment. Also included is recognizing what the majority of people already recognize as the right to property property. Adding the right to privacy in general would, as well, be a boon. Removing the psuedo-theocratic reference to God would also be welcome for the constitution of a modern, secular society - God is best kept in the hearts and minds of his followers, not on a government document. And adding sexual orientation to the list of protected categories, along with gender, race and ethnicity, in recognition of the fact that gays, lesbians and bisexuals are just as much citizens of Canada as straight people. If that were done, the Charter would still not be perfect, but it would be damn close.

Ok, this is another crosspost from http://centrerion.blogspot.com/ which is in turn a crosspost from BlueGrit - I just really like it!

English Debate #2 recap

Well, an exciting two hours of television is done, and it’s time for the pundits to talk about who won and who lost.

It started off poorly for Mr Dithers, saying “my vision of government ethics is honesty… it is also about telling the truth”. For most of us, those are the same thing.

Layton made the next odd statement, in saying “I think a big part of (the lack of civility in the House) is not having enough women in Parliament”. I guess he’s never heard Landslide Annie talk. Civility isn't a gender issue - it's an individual issue.

The blockbuster of the evening – Martin committed to removing the notwithstanding clause of the constitution. More on this in a bit.

Martin dithered again on handguns, saying, “we have 500,000 handguns in the hands of collectors that are one break in away from being used in a crime”. I thought that after he stated he would ban all handguns, he relented and said that collectors and target shooters would be allowed to keep their handguns. Following that quote, he said again he would ban all handguns.

After admitting that doctors offices are privately run, Martin stated that, “any money the federal government is putting into health care is going into public health care.” Maybe for him – he whips out his Visa when he goes to his family physician, but for most Canadians, our provincial health care system pays for our visits to the family doc.

The tax questions went better then I was expecting. Harper made a very good point – the 30% of the lowest income Canadians will not benefit from any income tax cut.

Martin stated that he “(doesn’t) know any country that can touch Canada in what we’re doing”. Well, he sure wasn’t talking about health care – we’re ranked 30th. He wasn’t talking about cleaning up the environment – our greenhouse gas emissions are going up. He wasn’t talking about the economy – our unemployment rates are higher then the OECD average – and higher then the individual rates of Japan, the UK, and the USA.

The national unity question – Martin was stammering and stuttering worse then we have ever seen. He seemed genuinely afraid to answer direct questions from Gilles Duceppe – or from Harper or from Layton, when it comes to national unity.

The biggest part of the debate, as I mentioned before, was Martin promising to withdraw the notwithstanding clause. This would, to use the left’s term, Americanize our constitution, and gives judges the final say on the law. This works for the Americans – they have congressional oversight on the appointment of judges. As we have seen – if one of the parties is very uncomfortable with a judge, they will ensure that he or she does not go through the nomination process. In Canada, the Liberals have embraced the appointment of judges by the Prime Minister alone, without any meaningful input by Parliament. This, when combined with removing the ability for Parliament to overrule the judges, gives the Prime Minister the powers of a dictator. The laws of Canada will no longer be up to the elected representatives of the people, they will be up to the Prime Minister and his group of cronies.

This frightens me. The PMO already has too much power – and this removes any potential oversight by Parliament. If the Prime Minister wants something, under Martin’s plan, it will be done, and anything that goes to the Judges will be ruled on, essentially, by the Prime Minister’s closest friends.

To wrap up – the clear looser was Martin. He couldn’t stand up to Duceppe and the separatists, he couldn’t stand up to his own promises, and he couldn’t stand up to his record. The Winner? Duceppe did ok, but it was pretty clear that this was a throwaway for him – tomorrow’s French Language debate matters. Layton kept stammering about a third option – better then Ed Broadbent, but it was a one-hit wonder. Harper… he did well. He looked and sounded prime ministerial – no huge bombshells, but he remained solid. With Harper seeming more and more to be the man to beat, that pretty much counts as a win.

My final thoughts

Winner is a coin toss between Harper and Martin. With my Canadian Olympic Loonie, I choose Harper as heads and Martin as tails. According to my coin, Harper won the debate.

The first half of the debate was interesting with some actual debating, the second put me to sleep. In the first hour, we actually saw some issues come up, sure, we had way too many attacks on the scandals.

Harper was trying to make sure he didn't say anything stupid, I'll pull the interesting quotes out later, he has a few.

Layton gave us a good 4 infomercials and a lot of recycled footage and a few good points, but not too many.

Duceppe finally used the word "Canada" to describe the country but went to show us that voting for the bloc is a vote for a divided country.

Martin looked as scared as all, I wonder if it was the poll numbers, or if he was just sick of this debate?

Well, those are my final thoughts after watching the debate, I'll put the usual play by play up later, it's time consuming and I don't have enough time to do it right now.

From Vancouver, I'm signing off for now.

Martin's Infomercial + Debate proposal

At least he's only done it once although it was slightly less than Layton's infomercial. Harper's starting one now though.

I still raise the question, this is a NATIONAL debate. What is best for "Quebec" is one of the 3 phrases that is being recycled and recycled out of Duceppe. Why are we letting the Bloc debate nationally, why not have a "Quebec debate." See my previous post regarding the Greens in the National debate.

Layton's infomercial

I thought this was called a DEBATE not an infomercial. I don't usually watch infomercials because I don't want to spend money, stop trying to dumb it down to an informercial level!

So, Mr Layton, how about some new words and not the same stuff again and again!

Editors Note: Welcome CBC readers. I hope you enjoy the blog, it's going to be updated a LOT during the next few days. If you're looking for more, please checkout the Canadian Policy Wiki to discuss and write policies and more so Mr Layton can have some fresh content from Canadians!

Quebec is NOT a nation

Nation:

Wikipedia defines it as

One of the most influential doctrines in history is that all humans are divided into groups called nations. It is an ethical and philosophical doctrine in itself, and is the starting point for the ideology of nationalism. The nationals (the members of the "nation") are distinguished by a common identity, and almost always by a common origin, in the sense of ancestry, parentage or descent. The national identity refers both to the distinguishing features of the group, and to the individual’s sense of belonging to it. A very wide range of criteria is used, with very different application. Small differences in pronunciation may be enough to categorise someone as a member of another nation. On the other hand, two people may be separated by difference in personalities, belief systems, geographical locations, time and even spoken language, yet regard themselves and be seen by others, as members of the same nation. Nationals are considered to share certain traits and norms of behaviour, certain duties toward other members, and certain responsibilities for the actions of the members of the same nation.

Nations extend across generations, and include the dead as full members. More vaguely, they are assumed to include future generations. No-one fixes a timespan, but a nation is typically several centuries old. Past events are evaluated in this context, for instance by referring to "our soldiers" in conflicts which took place hundreds of years ago.

The term nation is often used synonymously with ethnic group (sometimes "ethnos"), but although ethnicity is now one of the most important aspects of cultural or social identity for the members of most nations, people with the same ethnic origin may live in different nation-states and be treated as members of separate nations for that reason. National identity is often disputed, down to the level of the individual.

A state which explicitly identifies as the homeland of a particular nation is a nation-state, and most modern states fall into this category, although there may be violent disputes about their legitimacy. In common usage, terms such as nations, country, land and state often appear as near-synonyms, i.e., for a territory under a single sovereign government, or the inhabitants of such a territory, or the government itself; in other words, a de jure or de facto state.

In a more strict sense, however, terms such as nation, ethnos, and peoples denominate a group of human beings, in contrast to country which denominates a territory, whereas state expresses a legitimised administrative and decision-making institution. Confusingly, the terms national and international are used as technical terms applying to states, see country.


Quebec is a province NOT a nation. I'm sure lcentre, our Quebec blogger, would agree that Canada is a country and that Quebec is a province within this country. Why do we have to touch this seperation issue again. I am sick and tired of heating about this. If Quebec's a "nation" then BC, AB, SK, MB, ON, NB, NS, PEI, YK, NW and NU are also "nations" - I don't see anyone else going and asking to be considered a nation.

To make a long post short, lets realize that Quebec is a province of Canada and end this pointless debate.

Layton

Repeating the same words again and again really does not say too much. Please come up with something new as I'm getting tired of the words.

Same to you Harper and Martin, you're starting to sound like a broken record too.

Wow, transportation

And almost nothing on transportation. Transportation is a fairly big issue, let's see some debate not a broken ipod type speech.

Health Care comments

Duceppe has a good point about how we need more doctors. Martin's talking about how public money goes to public health care and that's fine, but is banning private health care the solution. Of course, Martin did not say he would ban private care.

Harper's got a bullet with his health care policy with the wait time list. He's the only leader who is open to it.

Layton started to attack Harper and Martin and for-profit providers. Layton made an attack on the cost of private health care and how private health care is evil. I'm sick and tired of hearing that, I'm throwing this round to Harper with Martin a very close second.

So far, a lot of words, not a lot of debate

I haven't seen much in terms of actual debate, a lot of attacks.

Harper's crime speech is looking interesting. I wonder how Martin thinks banning guns is going to keep them out of the hands of criminals.

Again, I'm going to run the tape after this with everything play by play, I'm going to keep doing some minor updates with my thoughts as we go along.

The Play by Play of the debate - it is coming

It's coming, I can't do the play by play live as it's a lot of typing.

A few things are no surprise, we are seeing attacks from everyone on everyone. Mr Layton's "you have a better choice, vote NDP" is through the roof and again.

I'm hoping this debate starts to focus on the ISSUES and not attacks on the scandals etc.

If you're interested in the voting choice, see my argument on strategic voting - it started with Layton's anti-strategic voting speech but went into why we need to change our system.

English Debate #2 Preview

Well, it’s two weeks until E-Day. The polls are looking good, and the Conservative campaign is running smoothly – no musing about majorities (by the Conservatives, anyways, reporters are a different story), no candidates shooting their mouths off – life is good. It is anybody’s game at this point – and the debates could end up tipping the scale.

Here is a preview of tonight’s English language debate.

The SSM issue will come up again, taking the form perhaps of, “Mr Harper, why do you keep bringing up SSM as an election issue”. Martin and Layton will imitate the bobble-head dolls, and throw their two cents in on the Charter of Rights. I’m going to predict a draw on that topic, with a possible Harper edge if he can back Martin into a corner on how giving the same rights is discrimination.

We will see accountability come up here. Look for Duceppe bashing Martin, Layton with the thumb point and Ed Broadbent’s name being uttered once or twice, and Harper laying out the Conservative’s accountability act (with probably a bit of Liberal-bashing). Duceppe and Harper will come out winners on this issue, with bonus points every time they make Martin start to stutter.

Justice will be talked about a bit. This one will end up a Layton/Harper draw, as both seem to have a pretty clear plan. Martin will take a bit of heat for the disagreements between he and Irwin Cotler on the issue of mandatory minimums, although he will fight back with some Harris-bashing.

Health Care… well, Health Care will be talked about. The NDP have wavered a bit on the issue of privatization, I don’t see Layton bringing a perfect performance to this issue during the debate. Martin and Harper will end up neck and neck on this issue – expect to see Martin try to close with accusing the Conservatives of wanting to establish two-tiered health care, probably at the end of the health care session or during closing statements, when Harper doesn’t have a chance to immediately refute the statements.

Taxes will be mentioned… I hate to say it, but Martin’s gonna win it. While the Conservative position makes perfect sense (we are implementing our own tax plan, not theirs), the optics just aren’t there. Martin will call the Conservatives tax-raising right-wing hidden agenda rednecks, to some (albeit limited) success.

All in all, I expect to see a close debate, with a slim Harper win. The expectations for Martin are so low right now, as long as he doesn’t start drooling on the podium he’ll at least stay at the front of the pack.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

The Comedy that is Liberal

Wow. Now I’ve seen everything. The Liberals are trying to argue that the Conservatives’ budget numbers aren’t up to snuff. That’s hilarious. No, really, the party that has underestimated the expected surplus in every budget in this millennium is complaining that another political party cannot budget properly.

And, to add fuel to the fire, Ralph Goodale took a break from leaking sensitive government material to suggest that a Conservative government would have to cut programs in order to realize their vision of a smaller government, without running a deficit. Well, no sh*t, Sherlock. Definition of smaller: “Being below the average in size or magnitude, Limited in degree or scope”. A Smaller government, by definition, would be, well, smaller. Jeez, Goodale (or somebody in the Liberal war room) took their smart pills today.

On another note, the Liberals are beating the values drum again. Martin stated that, “Fundamentally it will come down, I believe, to the very deep value differences between the two parties… And those value differences become more and manifest with every day” Judging from scandal after scandal after scandal from the Liberals… yeah, there are some value differences there. Conservatives would treat taxpayer dollars with the same consideration as they do their own, Liberals can’t tell the difference between taxpayer dollars and their own.

Martin went on today to say, “I believe that both Kyoto and the wider environmental agenda is very, very much in line with where Canadian thinking is. Mr. Harper doesn't agree. I think Canadians are going to take that into account”. Ahh, the Kyoto drum again. The Conservatives don’t support Kyoto – that’s pretty clear. That isn’t to say that the Conservatives don’t support the Environment – rather, the Conservatives want to support the Environment in an economically feasible manner. Instead of buying hot air credits from Russia (which will do, say, our smog problem, a crapload of good), the Conservatives want to improve the environment by increasing the amount of ethanol in our gasoline, and increasing the usage of mass transport. The Liberals… well, they’re content to talk about Kyoto while seeing our greenhouse gas emissions go up. I don’t agree with Kyoto but, if somebody is going to talk the talk, they should walk the walk. Kind of like cutting the GST, right Paul?

I'd suggest that the Liberals be made into a TV Movie that could count towards the Canadian content requirements - but... that won't work, because of star candidate Ignatieff and Canada Steamship Lines.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Ads Review 3.0 - CPC

(Cross posted at Centrerion)

Entitlements:
This ad focuses on the Liberals as a corrupt party, and cites Gomery. It's boring, features "average Canadians" in a diner, and doesn't especially make the case for voting for the Liberals. This would make more sense if the CPC, Bloc, and NDP had shared the costs of this ad, but I have the feeling the other parties wouldn't be dumb enough to pay for something so bland. The only thing to be said for this is that it features a humorous clip of some (I assume) Liberal MP saying "I am entitled to my entitlement." It would have been a better ad if they'd just turned it into a roll of Liberal bloopers ...
1.5/10
They'll Go Neg
For starters, I'm as puzzled as you are by the name of this ad. They'll Go Neg? Negotiate? Next? If the CPC intends to foster our future development by supporting education, maybe they might start by having an English prof proofread their website.
Anyways, the ad features a black and white shot of Martin while some guy says the Liberals have been in power too long and are corrupt. WOOHOO, NEWSFLASH.
0/10
Change
This shares footage of the same "average Canadians" as the Entitlements ad. The CPC will work for all Canadians, not just those with connections, says the ad. This is about as intelligent and exciting as a battle to the death between earthworms.
0/10
Our Priorities
This abhorrent fake news studio interview style. Dull, fake, and the "newscaster" woman appears to be competing with the soldiers from the Nutcracker as to who can be more wooden... and losing. They at least come to life at one point of the ballet.
There are things to be done on health, cleaning up the government, cracking down on crime, cutting the GST. After another fake "person in the street" asks "how are you going to do it when the other guys didn't?", Harper answers that they're going to be honest (i.e. not the Liberals), and make use of practical, affordable initiatives that will actually be carried through (A shot at the gun registry that doesn't fight crime? Probably just a general remark insulting the Libs...).
Generally speaking, this ad actually says something positive, giving reasons why Canucks should vote for the Conservatives, stating the what and the how of the CPC platform. The shots at the Liberals are useless, and the format/style of the ad is garbage.
7.2/10 - For saying positive stuff, this gets an average grade, a passing 'C-' (no pun intended). For being dull and wasting valuable seconds of my life droning on about the Liberals, it gets no better.
Seniors
Style: Another news interview. joy.
Message: Public pensions will be protected, private ones will be taxed less, seniors will get the respect they deserve. They fought for our country, and deserve our care.
8/10 - Dull style, gets a positive message across with no disses aimed at the LPC. I don't know how they'll be having this air, but it seems like they'll need to target the right shows, because though most Canadians agree and want to support their seniors, I doubt it's a decisive issue for them.
Trades
Style: News ......
Message: Easier to apprentice, pay for the tools.
8.3/10 - A message with wider appeal, because it speaks to Canada's future economic prosperity. Need I say something about the style? The policy itself appears to be half-baked though, from what I understand, because the dollrs for tools aren't enough to buy much. I didn't include that in my grade, because that would be appropriate in a policy review, and this is an ad review. More on that here.
Childcare
Style: News. The wording of the question reinforces what I said about how obviously fake and cheesy these ads are. After Harper says the CPC believes in a choice, a woman carrying a baby asks "Well, I want to know what you're going to do." A real newscast wouldn't have had the mother know what was just said. Bleh.
Message: Choice for parents. 100$ a month for daycare, babysitter, or help parent stay home.
7.8/10 - I don't know how broad the audience for childcare policy annoucements is, but at any rate, it can't have been impressed by this ad. The "choice" as to how to raise kids is a good point, but the dollars involved shows everyone just how half-baked this idea is. I did consider policy in reviewing this ad, because it was explicit in the ad.
Accountability
Style: News.
Message: The Liberals are corrupt ... and we're going to pass the Federal Accountability Act! It's "a real plan to clean up government."
8.6/10 - Finally! An ad that says what the Conservatives are going to do about corruption in government. Just telling Canadians that the Liberals are corrupt is boring and wastes our time. We know that! This is a diss but that actually says something meaningful, and appears to be the right way to attack the Liberals: with policy, not insults. If I were directing their ad campaign, I'd scrap anything that disses the Libs, and gives this ad the air time instead.
Taxes
Style: News
Message: Liberals been overtaxing everyone for 12 years, we're going to gradually cut the GST, which is good for working class Canadians (like the woman who asks "how about a tax cut that doesn't dissapear after the election?").
8.5/10 - Broadly popular message. My mom thinks it's BS though, because she recalls the Conservatives under Mulroney creating the GST to begin with, after promising not to. That was before I was born though, so I don't know what happened then. I'd say most Canadians like the idea, but it wouldn't be surprising if a large part of the populace was skeptical like my mom. No shots at the Libs, but still cheesy and dull.
Crime
Style: I can't type it again. I can't ...
Message: We'll ensure minimum sentences, end house arrest, make deported criminals actually leave.
8.2/10 - How many of us are going to be deciding our votes on this issue? The Conservatives have made it an issue, which is good strategy, but I frankly don't care all that much about whether or not criminals are in house arrest or in prison, so long as they're under arrest. Policy though, which is nice to hear.

All in all, the CPC ads are decent. The most recent ones are stupid, spiteful, and plain, and should be pulled off the air. The older ones state policy, but they're all in a grey style that's cheesy and patently fake. Furthermore, some of them show just how poorly thought through some of the policies are (when you pay a baby-sitter 30$ a night, you're not going to have her for 100$ a month, I hate to break it to you, Stephen), which obviously isn't to the Conservatives' advantage. The post- New Year's attack ads suck. The real ad-scam of this election is how much the CPC paid for those pieces ...
I'd review the Liberal ads, but like I've said before, they don't load on my pc (or at least, after 3 minutes of waiting, I grew impatient ... the CPC ads load in seconds, which I guess is something in their favour).
--
I, Andrew (of this blog) and the Blue Grit post centrist commentary, analysis, and humorous quips over at Centrerion.

Friday, January 06, 2006

An open letter to Jack Layton

I found this on the can.politics newsgroup and I think the author makes a lot of very valid points. As such, I have reposted it here for review and consideration.

Mr. Layton,

I am following with great interest the developments leading up to the
Election Day on January 23rd, 2006. While I will say that my voting
tendencies are leaning one direction, I have an open mind in terms of all
parties, and do not hesitate to comment for or against an idea that I have
great or little affinity towards.

For instance, please accept my congratulations on your comment proposing to
hold a by-election to allow the voters of a riding to decide the fate of a
member who, like Ms. Stronach, decides to change political parties in the
middle of a sitting government, for whatever reason. I was outraged when
this happened, and I'm not even one of her constituents. I can only imagine
what those of her constituents who voted for her because of her affiliation
with the Conservative Party of Canada, and not because of the candidate
herself, must have been thinking when she pulled this stunt.

Today, however, I am writing this open letter to you based on a statement
that you made in response to the possibility of working with a possible
Conservative Party of Canada minority government. It was reported that you
said that the Tories have little in common with the NDP and are "offside
with the views of a great majority of Canadians" on most issues.

My question to you is simple, how can you or your party make a claim that
another party is "offside with the views of a great majority of Canadians"
when that party is currently polling more than TWICE as much support as
yours?

This is not the first time that I have taken exception with an NDP MP
"speaking for Canadians". Previously, Mr. Svend Robinson took it upon
himself to speak in the name of the government of Canada while in Israel.
With all due respect, sir, it is my belief that only the party forming the
government of Canada should be speak in the name of the government of
Canada. If, one day, the New Democratic Party of Canada should form the
government, I will stand by my countrymen and women's choice and the
government they elected, but right now, your party does not seem like the
viable alternative it claims to be, and I believe that instead of spins and
comments that are aimed to give the country a false impression of your
popularity, perhaps it would be more authentic to work towards gaining such
a popularity and level of support before claiming it exists.

Respectfully,

Mark G. (signed anonymously as it is being posted in an internet newsgroup.)
Montreal, Quebec.

Yet Another Liberal Scandal!

On the heels of ITscam (Goodale-gate? Finance Fraud? Suggest your snappy name now!), and Options Canada, comes yet another scandal. Angry in the Great White North provides an excellent play-by-play of the Liberal Government paying a Liberal lobbyist to lobby a Liberal Government. And, part of that lobby fee just may have ended back up in the LPC’s coffers!

I’m still trying to get this straight – the Justice Department paid the Coalition for Gun Control to hire a lobbyist to lobby the solicitor general, the Treasury Board, and the Privy Council. That Lobbyist is a Deputy National Director of the federal Liberal Party, and is a senior consultant with lobby company “Capital Hill Group”. The Capital Hill Group, by the way, donated over $135,000 to the Liberal Party between 1993 and 2003.

I always thought that part of the $69,200 that Ministers were paid in addition to their parliamentary pay was in order to lobby their fellow cabinet members. Shouldn’t the Minister of Justice, instead of paying over $100,000/year for a professional lobbyist, have been talking to his colleagues in Cabinet?

This scandal a day proposal has some pundits wondering, should the RCMP set up a branch office at the Liberal Party of Canada’s headquarters? This should get support from all parties, not only does it help to get Canadian’s money back, but it also cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions as they wouldn’t have to drive from RCMP Headquarters to LPC Headquarters.