Tuesday, December 23, 2008


... isn't lost on Stephen Harper and his nodding numbskulls.

In a typical week, the CON government will blame certain realities/bad decisions on the opposition/Liberals. Taking responsibility is not part of the Harper gameplan. But he and his underlings have been known to broaden their aim when they want to deflect the spotlight from their own stumble-bumness. Any scapegoat in a storm, apparently.

Last week, when Flim-flam Flaherty pointed a finger at the big banks and told them to "Lend more money!" it was to shunt the glare off their own un-plan for Canada's quickly deflating balloon. Because, unlike what Harper and his munchkin minister have pitched us over the past six months, we are very much a part of the economic crisis. But the Canadian banking system does have sounder financial pillars, thanks to business decisions by the banks and past governments unwillingness to unlock the regulatory locks. Harper, who always tries to tag-team his way into that bit of good news, in fact was eager to join the coalition of the fiscally irresponsible early in his first year, when he unveiled the so-dumb idea of 40-years, 0-down mortgages. After pressure from the industry, but not before some were signed, the program was bounced. The Canadian bankers were not interested in getting into the 'a mortgage with every toaster' scheme that weighs so heavily in the American-leveraged meltdown.

But back to the present. Harper and Flaherty are pointing fingers at the banks for not lending, especially considering the lowest rates from the Bank of Canada.

The bankers counter -- look, we are lending. There have been fewer people requesting loans, but it is also due-diligence that the banks lend responsibly. And if we were to ease our lending requirements, wouldn't that essentially be following the worst examples of the American problem?

Harper must have his scapegoat, however. It harkens back to the days when the rapidly rising Canadian dollar caused consumer angst at the cash register -- 'why are we still paying $1.20 for every American buck on a book, when the current price is a wash?' Then, it was Flaherty lambasting businesses for not dropping their prices, using a Harry Potter book for a prop. The only problem? Every Canadian business and distributor were dealing with months-old, if not year-old inventory, purchased at the old low-Canadian loonie cost. However, it made for a nice photo-op, man-of-action fodder for the sheeple.

So while Harper's gang tries to score points off easy target corporations and industries, they do so knowing that the initial rewards can be plenty. It helps that 'avoiding responsibility' thing. And while those banks and companies no longer can donate to political parties as in the past, what Harper and his doofus minister may learn is that when Don Drummond talks, or chooses to get involved, people in the know will follow.

So keep pushing, CONs. One of those buttons you're hitting may just be for a hidden ejector seat.


Buried beneath the list of bland, if somewhat mildly accomplished humans, power-hungry Stephen Harper has plucked a secret weapon in his battle against the scourges of ancient justice.

The only means to eradicate the chief thorn in his search for all-encompassing power is the senate, which labours slowly and meticulously over his hastily sketched and nefariously crafted bills.

Under the guise of democracy and renewal, he has snuck in four among 18 who at first believe Harper's intentions are honest and plan to fight for the Forces of Reform: Mister Elastic, aka Reed Richards, who can help Harper stretch the truth to convoluted and awesome lengths! Invisible Girl, aka Sue Storm, who disappears and sneaks up on you with invisible powers! The Human Torch, aka Johnny Storm, who fights back with super-heated kung-fu powers! And the Thing, aka Ben Grimm, who can crush opposition with his sizeable mandibles!

Together, they do Harper's deeds in disrupting the House of Sober Second Thoughts. But can anyone end Harper's destructive rage on democracy?

Monday, December 22, 2008


Tell me teacher, what is the lesson today?

Besides the 3 R's, are your students able to look you in the eye and see how happy you are to be leaving?

Don't worry. While they may be sad and disappointed that their classroom leader is leaving, they'll be happy to know that she will be well taken care of. Who knew that there was something better than a teacher's pension? But that's the senate for you.

And you're still young. Think of all the things you can influence from Ottawa, all the little minds you can shape. What, that isn't in the job description? You won't be bringing your insight and own decision-making skills to the table? Well, we all have to follow orders sometimes, right?

That was an important lesson you shared with your class, too.

Remember how you showed those young, impressionable minds that it's tough being a bully, that bullies are people too. Sometimes, bullies are right. One bully is right all the time, and we should never doubt it. And bullies never have to take responsibility for their actions. Yes, you taught that well.

And we heard around the schoolyard about another vital lesson, where it's important to stand by your word -- and keep silent no matter who or what is asking the questions?
People come in all shapes, colours and sizes, but those who disagree with our bully, err, leader aren't worth listening to, right? That message was also received.

Now, you are showing the kids another lesson in reality, that accomplishments in life aren't all that important. You can really carve a nice niche for yourself on a smaller scale, but if you tow the party line you may just win the 'senate-seat-for-life' lottery. Remember kids, it's who you know and how you serve them. Being qualified is good, but being agreeable to the terms set by a bully is better.

Class dismissed.


But they aren't singing a hummable tune. Rather, it's business as usual. You know, the kind of business CONs and before them Reformers use to lambasted and heckle their rivals about when they were on the opposition side.

It is the season for giving, after all. But in these turbulent, topsy-turvy times, pretending to be Santa for your well-heeled (and 'Heel' is a good turn of phrase) pals is taking it a lot too far.

Harper's reneging on another promise -- well, it's apparently his passion in politics -- isn't about the deed. Admittedly, it's his perogative to fill the vacant senate seats. And certainly its within his powers to fill them with underwhelming, undeserving and totally wholly partisan hacks and hackettes. Yes, previous Liberal governments did exactly that, but typically with more artistry and a little show for balance. By my count, during the last years of Chretien and in Martin's appointees, there were 1/3 named from other parties; there were also 1/3 whom had very credible resumes when it comes to serving in the Chamber of Sober Second Thought. Now I doubt these new people are allowed to think, never mind stay sober.

There is much to be concerned about this deluge since Harper barely hung onto his political skin by proroguing parliament just weeks before. Is it a defiant act in the face of possible defeat come January, or just a shrewd use of the 'coalition' as a cover for his latest promise-breaking twist?

Either way, his choice of Mike Duffy -- a man who played the role of a working "journalist" while apparently singing and zinging from the CON hymn book -- reeks. It also underscores the cynicism attached to this Harper manoeuvre. So this is how you play chess - with a 300-pound pawn?

One important question that remains to be answered, and since all citizens are on the hook for this it certainly requires asking - What pledge have these 18 made, to win the annual $130,400 plus perks for-life lottery?

Apparently, they've agreed to support Harper's plan to democratize and make more efficient (code words for 'Think Like Us') the upper chamber. Does that mean they all intend to retire after eight years? Or if in eight years time, if its a Liberal running Ottawa, are they allowed to remain in their cozy, fully indexed chair? Are they all onboard to run in an election if their provincial body so demands, or is it just Wallin?

Harper is also rumoured to have demanded that his new appointees "oppose a coalition government" -- which certainly leaves much open to speculation. Does that mean by taking up arms, or just bleeting the daily talking points to the cameras, misusing governmental mailings, etc? What if this coalition is comprised of Liberals, Progressive Conservatives and NDPers? Is it just the Bloc's agreement to support a coalition the trigger point, or is Harper setting another of his "ugly precedents" that can only apply to his opponents -- because he was certainly fine with a coalition with the Bloc in 2004. What if after another minority government is elected, but there is party support to make a Conservative-Independent-Western Separatist coalition? Is that Okay? Or what if Mario Dumont's Quebec party, the Action Democratique, is resurrected on the federal stage and they were formidible enough to give the CONs a coalition to overtake a possible Liberal government?

Well, we know just as Harper owes no responsibility for his actions, he is also neither tied to his own conditions.

Move over Denmark. To paraphrase Shakespeare, there is something rotten in the state of Harper.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


While they decry - but didn't campaign on it - the idea of public-funding for political parties, apparently the CONs see nothing wrong with taxpayers footing the bill for their legal fees in the case where Elections Canada says they've overspent their allowable limit (in the 2006 campaign)... Just as they were doing fancy footwork to avoid turning over documents before (with the end result being the RCMP making a pleasant appearance at their office), Harper's lawyers are taking the shady alley in hopes of drawing out a inconclusive judgement.

Where have all the CON-voluters gone who were bragging this would end out absolving the CONs? Crickets of late.

Should the CONs lose this case, I'm hoping that they'll have the balls to do their own separate fundraising (with no tax credits) to pay off Election Canada's legal dues.

Yeah, right.

And just to make it perfectly clear, I also feel that public funding for political parties needs to be re-examined. My suggestion is that every ballot should have a box -- do you wish to fund your political party of choice with a $1.50 donation annually? Those who abhor it, can make their decision clear. Those who don't mind, can continue.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Signs that all is not right on the bridge of the SS Minnow...


Quotes from the Hill Times:
"He's bruised a little bit," said one top Conservative insider who spoke to
The Hill Times on condition of anonymity. "He has hurt himself in the sense
that the story of his mastery of Parliament and opposition parties -which was
assumed to be well-believed by caucus and by many in the party - has been
questioned now but he's certainly not crippled and he's certainly proven in
past circumstances that he knows how to adapt and come back and he's still
the Prime Minister and the power of power has an amazing ability to keeping
people in line."

"People are frustrated but Stephen Harper still commands the support of the
party because were it not for him, many people wouldn't be where they are
and I think people have good memories of infighting and are not
inclined to go into that because today he's still the Prime Minster and
there's a greater fight ahead against the Liberals and no aspiring future
leadership candidate
would want to be the first one out of the gate to go
against Harper."

...And although the political crisis in Ottawa is not over yet, the Prime
Minister's hold over his party is firm at least for now, says another

"I think he has a high degree of control over the party. There's no heir
apparent at all, there's no one working behind the scenes to challenge
him...There's no Paul Martin ...," said Tom Flanagan, a former top adviser to Mr. Harper who is now a
political science professor at the University of Calgary.

Mr. Flanagan noted, however, that while the possibility of a Liberal-NDP
coalition supported by the Bloc Québécois is looking less likely, it still
remains a possibility and therefore the potential for damage to Mr. Harper's
is still there.

Meanwhile, another source said that Conservative ministerial staffers were
having second thoughts about the Prime Minister's judgment because they
would have all lost their jobs within a few days if the Tory government had
been defeated on Dec. 8 by the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Québécois.

"This is the first time they're questioning his decisions on a particular
issue. What the issue did was it served as a lightning rod for a lot of
issues that people have. It crystallized a lot of thought. It provided a
forum for a lot of people to voice their opinions and because he [Mr.
Harper] put their livelihoods in jeopardy, they were quick to come forward
with those opinions. Before, when you make bad policy decisions, you're
getting lambasted, that's one thing, but when suddenly you could be
unemployed in the next 48 hours, that tends to focus people's attention,"
said one top government official who also requested anonymity.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


While Michael Ignatieff was toiling away as an MP for his riding, running in an election and helping to hold the CON-serfative government accountable, he was able to finish another book.
Stephen Harper's publishers, meanwhile, are working on the final edit of his story. With the same urgency as Mats Sundin, the PM continues to also work on his hockey book, whose working title is 'The Great One'.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Where's a good size 11 oxford when you need it?
Would our 24-7 partisan distempered PM take a shoe for his cause?
Because that's what I felt was warranted after hearing the typical pap-and-smear by Deceivin' Stephen Harper on his home-team network ConTV tonight.

He took to the airwaves over the past week, trying to remake his scuffed image. An image that even some right-wing writers couldn't polish clean after his disgusting attempt to incite a unity crisis from the pot of political soup he stuck his foot in.

He told CTV last night that the coalition of Liberals and NdPers were trying to overthrow the elected government:

"We only found out later that they had been planning to overturn the results of the election ever since election night."

Excuse me? Talk about paranoid - shouldn't he be implementing the War Measures Act if that's the case? But as I recall it, all the other party leaders made their concession speeches, telling Harper they were ready and willing to work with him. Even that ol' so-called leader made like he wanted to work with the House he was dealt... until hours after his Throne Speech was passed.

By trying to stab at his opposition on the first real day of work, Harper chose to ignore that result. While the coalition idea has in a few polls appeared unpalatable, the overwhelming majority on Oct. 14th thought Stephen Harper as PM was unpalatable, too.

It seems that Harper is the one who isn't pleased with our democratic system. But that's just him being Harper. Back in 2004, when he was "threatening to overturn the results of the election" by working out a coalition agreement with Layton and Duceppe, the electorate were wrong again.

If he had his choice, he would continue to ignore the current economic storm and demand we continue to vote until he got his majority. An election after an election after an election. More people would stay home until he and his bitter core of CON-verts got the power they demanded.

That doesn't sound like responsible government. Sowing the seeds of dissent in Quebec and out west also isn't what we expect from our governments, but hey, Harper's willing to throw that in free of charge.

It appears to me responsibility is not part of the Harper DNA.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


If Harper is anything, it seems to be someone who craves unfettered control.

Whether it's in his own party or as the elected leader of a country, he follows his own script tightly, providing even his most skilled ministers little room to exercise their own abilities. Perhaps the lack of Tory talent explains part of it, but many are now publicly coming to the conclusion that Harper has no faith or trust in others when it comes to making or even pronouncing decisions, but doesn't have the judgement skills to avoid self-inflicted wounds.

That is one reason why the blame for Parliamentary gridlock cannot be shared equally. Who is in control of the government's agenda? Who but the opposition, usually the Liberals, has bent and given way to his often ideological demands? What circumstances were in the way of governing prior to the fiscal update? And did Harper not hear the will of the Canadian people, who favoured giving him a little more rope, but still on a leash?

Harper is not capable of accepting responsibility, and definitely no blame, when cornered with the results of his dictatorial manipulations. Heck, even take his support of the Invasion of Iraq. While Ignatieff has come around and admitted that his support was in error, Harper avoids the question, thus leading to the only conclusion -- He would do it again. The interview with Mansbridge this week highlighted just that trait, as did the press conference outside the G-G's mansion. This current predicatment has even drawn some comedic arrows. When a little contrition could go a long way, even as a political piece, to soothe this trouble, he denies it.

So I was thinking (excuse me for this fruitless exercise, I don't have a dog to walk) what can we read in the tea leaves of today about this narcissist?

He's cornered in a way, although still holds a powerful tool, that being the threat of an election. Just today he's signalled another loss in principle by moving to load the senate with 18 CON zombies to follow his orders. Is it because he feels this is his chance to do it, under cover of a coalition threat, or is it because he sees the writing on the wall entirely?

Put it this way -- he spent nearly 2 years attacking his nearest rival with never-before-seen-in-Canada adverts outside an election cycle, denigrated an honest man's whole career essentially through the power of money and many bleating sheep repeating the false mantra. And the end result was a slightly bigger minority, not a majority. He broke another promise to just get to that point. Could his fiscal update have been a belated tantrum meant to slap the opposition silly while continuing to stick to the whole 'There's nothing wrong in a Conservative Canada' meme that cost him the chance at a majority?

The whispers behind the door have yet to escape outside, but they are there. Harper has heard them, if not just in his own self-obsessed mind. Just as he refuses to provide elbow room for a possible successor, he most likely won't want to hand over or share any power at this stage.

If his measure of Ignatieff is that a Harper government must offer an authentic olive branch, or risk it all in a high-stakes (playing with Canada's national unity like so much kindling) game of poker, would this 'winner-take-all' type revert to running away like he did in the past?

Could Harper, who has felt the heat from inside his own office, despite the timidity of his staff around him, be preparing to exit?

Are we watching a man rehearsing his own pirouette?


There's little doubt that Stephen Harper has the authority to lather his bagmen and yesmen (and maybe a yeswoman if he can find one) with senate seats for the holidays. In one of his very first moves as Prime Minister, he appointed one so-called democratically challenged senator, who proceeded to sit at the cabinet table. But while he has the power, this lame-duck leader has tossed away nearly all conviction (well, except when his own Karlheinz comes clean) as he white-knuckles his grasp on power.

I'm not going to get high-and-too-outraged about it, either. As CON-tributors around the blogs have pointed out, Liberals are finely skilled at filling the red chamber. The current score reads 58-20, and there is no doubt that Harper's laggard ways in filling vacancies has slowed down the senate's ability to debate and process the bills sent its way. That the Harper spin remains way off base, that its Liberals stopping his plan to democratize the senate, is just more of his 'throw it and something will stick' routine. A bigger thorn in his plan remains a majority of provinces, some who have a lot of clout.

But I'm completely amused how it remains now a repeated meme from the CON-patrol: The Liberals did it, so can we!

That has become a bigger motto than the Northern Star malarkey, or even the Canada Is Back hoo-haw.

While some PMs have displayed a little sense of contrition by throwing the opposition a bone appointment now and then, this PM has made it clear that he intends to put only true Blue Believers. So while the CON caucus covers its mouth, the CON cabinet covers its ears, he will pack 18 more senators into the comforts of the red chamber to cover its eyes while Harper lamely attempts to seem concillatory.

Canadians can only cover their noses.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


For the second time in just over 20 months, Stephen Harper has almost singly-handed drowned Jean Charest. Only due to Charest's own popularity, and the strong political machine that is the Quebec Liberal party, has the former Progressive Conservative leader overcome Harper's habit of soiling his Quebec bed -- the previous time when Charest squeaked through with a minority.
You don't think Mario Dumont also wishes he'd never flirted with the Conservatives' constipated leader?
On the other hand, separatists in both Quebec and Alberta have a true friend in Harper. Forget that, when in opposition, he was pretty geared up to consumate a union that would have brought down the Martin government. Ignore that the foundation of the Bloc Quebecois was born out of the singed ruins of federal conservativism, which at the same time fueled the bitterness of Alberta-based separatists, who many went on to join the Reform party. Encouraging mob rule against the tyranny of democracy -- afterall, who's essentially protesting the Oct. 14th decision of Canadian voters but Harper? -- is only enabling those who want to break up this great country.
Well done, Tory toads.

Monday, December 8, 2008


No matter who we Liberals replace Stephane Dion with, the first task at hand should be establishing a strong, positive image of him for the Canadian public.
I don't just mean some neat shots of him, his family and Liberal forefathers caught in a confetti-strewn hug; we need to have the leader's images and words in a variety areas of life (personal, historical, global) displayed and framed before the CONs do it for us.
Either Michael Ignatieff or Bob Rae will be an outstanding choice, but both will have their achilles. And Harper's gang of thugs will be swinging for them, as noted in this well-written piece by Charlie Smith of the Georgia Straight.
On the plus side, Harper's own credibility is suffering at this time, even from some of his more friendly servants in the media; he has never been shy about being a divisive leader, however, in the past he has resisted taking his eye off 'the ball' which in this case is going for the Liberal jugular. With serious questions on his leadership creeping out, one would expect that he would shift his focus.
Another plus is that we've seen this show before. Canadians have been exposed to the CON strategy and they needed 20 some months to make it stick last time. I am willing to bet that people will be more cynical to any CON ad campaign that insists on flinging monkey feces while the government has a huge economic crisis it should be expending its energies on.
Another positive point? Stephen Harper's actions over the past few weeks may have done more for uniting the left-centre and centre than Brian Mulroney ever did.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Well, apparently the leadership 'race' has come down to two horses.
Dominic Leblanc, setting up as the alternative choice and youth candidate to replace embattled Stephane Dion, is stepping down today as a candidate, and rumours are he will stand behind Michael Ignatieff's candidacy.
That should not be considered an insignificant endorsement at this time.
Leblanc was a serious candidate, and at the early stage he had racked up a few significant names. Here in BC, I was impressed by the people who jumped onto his ship, caught up by the image that this well-educated, deeply-rooted Liberal brought to the mix.
He had the credentials to be taken serious. However, as developments go, this is no time for a lower profile, learn on the go type of leader.
The Liberal party is at a cross roads, as is the Canadian Parliamentary system. Harper has demonstrated complete disdain for the role of the opposition -- nevermind the important bodies that protect our democracy, like Elections Canada and now the Governor General -- and remains completely obsessed with the idea of smothering the Liberal Party out of existence. It's incredibly shocking, too, that the media at large does not call this economically-challenged ogre for not doing what he supposedly was elected to do -- govern on behalf of all Canadians. He refuses to take a non-partisan position on anything. Instead, he's twisted and contorted our democratic beliefs, with bald-faced lies, faux outrage issues like election fraud by women wearing face coverings and now the 'coalition' with the Bloc. And most reprehensible, ignoring serious issues while fiddling away his energy and resources on kneecapping his rivals. He must be stopped.
And if there was to be a vote on the Liberal leadership, and I was to be eligible to vote, I would support Ignatieff. I've come to see that my prejudices of long past were misconstrued opinions, some through ignorance, and that the candidate himself has shown evidence of growth and human resilience over some of the issues he was damaged by during his first campaign.
I was a Bob Rae delegate last time, and hold immense respect and liking for Mr. Rae. He would make an outstanding leader and Prime Minister, and as a statesman there are few parallels among Canadians. However, I believe that two critical areas will hamper his ability to win, hold and earn a place among first Liberal hearts and secondly, the Canadian public.
His NdP baggage, while appealing for someone here on the left coast who usually supports the BC provincial NDP party, will always be an issue and be elevated beyond importance by our rivals. And with the CONs' heavy influence among some TV and newspapers, that will be difficult to combat, despite Rae's well-known talents as a debater and raconteur.
Secondly, the ideas that Ignatieff brought forward during the last campaign have either been tried and tested (Quebec) or tested and tossed (green shift). Rae chose not to run on issues and policy ideas last time around, and in the end that did hurt him. No one can debate that both men are deep thinkers, people who have experiences that would be an immense improvement of Mr. Grumpy. It'll be up to Ignatieff to listen better than his predecessor, to invigorate and invite the grassroots to become more involved, while also present a quick and appealing introduction to Canadians, an introduction that will help counter the deep-pocketed lies and exaggerations from the CONs.
If we're not going to have a May convention, I do support the idea that Rae is promoting, that the party can still provide a one-member, one-vote option to decide this. It is do-able, whether it combines internet, telephone and mail ballots. There could also be a one-week cut-off to attract new members (which could cause plenty of trouble if the CONs try to stack our rural ridings out west)... I'll leave it up to the brains of the party to decide, and will accept their decision.
However, although I believe Harper has opened a great big window of opportunity here (and you can read some good inside opinions at the Hill Times) having revealed his crass hand to the Canadian public in his efforts to both cripple the opposition and avoid our democratic process, we will have a lot of work to do. And I support Michael Ignatieff for the job.
As it has been said, many times over these many days, we do live in interesting times...

Saturday, December 6, 2008


The CONs may have some spring in their step, thanks to some panicky-looking polls that were released yesterday. However, I can't help but think there remain many nervous Tories in the woodwork, wondering if they just escaped a harrowing Harper-implosion, or if their forecast has a monsoon in its future.
Playing fire with Canada's unity, while intentionally creating a burning-man target and isolating a fairly sensitive part of our population, has left their party looking like bitter-baters and raving conspirators. Funny that, considering the Reform-Alliance part of the CON team has its own 'separatist' ties.
But how do we counter Harper's gambit, and make our vision clear and void of his lined-up attack spiel?
We need to keep harping on the Harpocrisy of this government and its members.
Stephen Harper has gone on to prove that he supports set-elections (except for him); he believes in the right of a minority parliament to vote non-confidence (except if it's against him), and on those minority opposition parties to form allegiances to replace the government (again, unless it's his government). We already know about his insistence that others follow Canada's election laws (except him) and that the Governor General has a right to offer an opposition party/coalition the duty of governing (unless it's against him).

That being said, I do not support an aggressive, united Coalition force during the current break. For whatever reason, the wind of public opinion is not on the side of the Coalition, and while I agree with many, including Ignatieff, that its presence has provided some moral gains in the short term, its long term potential -- if any -- is very short. The question would be whether the first explosion would come from without or within seems to be 50-50 right now.
So, my hope is that the Liberal Party alerts the NDP that the deal isn't dead, but is more than dormant during the 50-some days between now and the return of the House.
Let's face it, there's nothing that can ground our reputation as the rightful Opposition (and next in line) as being stitched together in a desperate group of victims. Tied along with an expected endless string of CON advertising on 'the Coalition with the separatists', the public relations war does not look winnable at the current time.
Yes, Harper's a malicious cretin who will get his comeuppance. We have to stand up and make sure that in the meantime, the country and our party are there to counter him. Once he's delivered a budget, then we can talk Coalition again. But this time, no signing photo ops with Jack and Gilles, please (a major blunder)!
Despite his obvious and blatant disgust for our political system, Harper has suffered some battle injuries here. But to take advantage of them, we need to re-establish our strengths, which are national unity and a socially progressive, fiscally responsible platform. Those hard-earned points of honour have been badly damaged, and I'd agree undeservedly so but still, by Harper and his liars chorus.
We need to present a better, more restraint manner in which to deal with the most Gruesome Leader this side of Putin. He's already shown us his secret weapon, which will likely be used at a later date to draw an election (likely when it appears our new leader is at his weakest)... So another suggestion would be for the next leader to diffuse the public financing of political parties quickly, by promoting the same idea. The Liberal Party, if elected, would eliminate public funding of political parties within two years of taking office.
I don't have a lot of hope for the coalition as it now stands. Even with Dion's ouster, we are all aware that Harper is using all the carrots and no doubt sticks to pry as many members away. He is probably enjoying Kinsella's blog and taking notes.
However, we need to get the channel changed. The economy is going into the tank and we need to be at the ready to be promoting strong, sensible ideas. Tying our future with Layton doesn't look like a winner right now. Untying the Liberal Party from the branding currently under way by the lying CONs is where our focus has to be.

Friday, December 5, 2008


So even at the risk of his own reputation, Harper has confirmed in the past few weeks what we've all known. His reason for being, well, being repugnantly surly, is the extermination of the Liberal Party.

It's been obvious for a few years now, but there's no doubt now how serious he is making that goal. An economic crisis? That he virtually ignored. A national unity crisis? If his slap to those who supported the Bloc during the last election didn't get the point (along with most other Quebecers, too), its that he will pay-back anyone who crosses his path, with ruthless abandon. So re-charging a situation that was essentially dormant for nearly a decade seems down-right destructive.
Yet, it also seems like he's got more markers with the media then any normal political party could counter. Harper may also have an inside man helping in his 'destroy the Liberal brand' mania. It's not like we've really put together a good counter offensive.

But there remains plenty of reasons why the Liberal Party can still pull out of this nose dive. However it will require some drastic actions, a little luck, and serious team work. Okay, the last part we may need to import.

I like the idea that Steve has come forward with (and even more so the one Olaf added to that post). We're so early into the leadership race that no one has had a chance to shoot their debt load, exhausted their sponsors, or established an unreversible course. It's looking very good for soMeone In caucus for a first-ballot victory, however.

I do have serious doubts that the people at the highest level -- a few whom seriously need to be ousted, especially for the lack of a serious fundraising drive over the last week -- can divest themselves of the romance of a convention. How about the idea that no one will be watching? Or that even the Liberal troops are seriously demoralized (and cash strapped)?

Well, if the idea of having the caucus (or an emergency membership vote) make the decision is unpalatable, I'm certain everyone can agree on this: we still need to say thank you and bon chance to Stephane Dion.

At this stage, we'd be doing the poor guy a favour.

In his stead, with an ongoing leadership race and serious issues to confront nationally, we have to rely upon someone who can command instant respect and calm, a presence that will imply that the Liberal Party is getting it's act together. That person, I believe, is Ken Dryden.

He's a compelling speaker, a great thinker who is well-liked across the spectrum (even a Les Habs disliker like myself), and also someone who deals from the heart, who's accomplishments will settle down the queasiness caused during the Three Amigos/Tres Stooges debacle. Dryden may not be as eloquent in the french language, but he can get by. However, the most serious damage done to the Liberal Party during this current blitz came in English-speaking Canada. Harper will continuously paint us as being in cahoots with the Bloc, ignoring his own history. So we need someone who can rise above that, but also go toe-to-toe when the talk about who loves their country more hits the fan. And besides, Dryden's legendary status in Quebec would provide a real positive force to counter the hubris of Harper. Plus, we have a number of excellent Quebecois MPs who would be suitable as second-in-command.
And we need to put the Coalition talk on ice, because it reduces the Liberal's ability to be the viable 'Next Government, current Loyal Opposition' force. There doesn't need to be an official break-up, but we need to signal that we will be submitting ideas for the budget, that we will look at it on its own merits, and act accordingly. It's also about trying to restore respect to the institution -- let the Conservatives wear their disrespectful, rule avoidance habits like a crown.
More to come...

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Did you notice that Harper did NOT state exactly what he planned to do today when he visited the Governor General?
He tried to sound leader-like, firm but also without a millimetre of contrition. Even his talking boxes don't deny who began this parliamentary crisis.
My bet is that he demanded a new election, that the current parliament is so poisoned, that federalist forces were 'under seige' and only a complete new mandate would cleanse this wound.
It is a virtual photostat of the Bush-Cheney action plan that rallied the nation for its illegal and irresponsible invasion of a foreign country. This time, Harper has used an imaginary threat by the Bloc to stoke fear and hatred -- as visible on the blogs, talk shows and burnt signs in Nathan Culley's riding.
But proroguing won't be enough. He needs a do-over, and while he couldn't defeat a lame-as-advertised opposition leader, he should be able to crush an opposition that is both broke and fractured. The Conservatives have the money, and in could not spend it all overwise. In the meantime, he's put the Governor-General in an incredible hot seat, selling his advice as the necessary tactic required to save Parliament - a parliament that he has refused to work with.
There is no depth he won't plunge to disengage our current democracy. His distaste for the parliamentary system is noted. A man who states proudly that he could care less if Canada had one, two or 10 national governments is now in the driver's seat.
Although I have not wholly embraced the idea of this awkward coalition between Stephane Dion and Jack Layton, I do see merits to a new voice that could speak above the din that Harper is cheerleading (and his media mouthpieces) on. However, the only realistic option I believe is for the Governor General to prorogue, to try and let saner voices take control. And hopefully, forces inside the Conservative tent will come to the realization that Harper's designs are not in the best interest of the Canada that most of them love.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Or so goes the defence.
There's no need to dissect all of the desperate Harper potshots, because I've got limited band width. However, a few obvious points should be made:
1) When one tries to wrap themselves in virgin maple leaf cloth, one should not have danced with the je accused devil; he should not have mused indifferently about whether Canada ends up with one, two or ten national governments; and he should call on Howie Meeker to 'check that tape' before making foolish remarks.
2) While framed as an irreparable disagreement between political parties, with a looming financial crisis hanging over its head, the general public is neither eager to embrace either Harper nor a strange awkward coalition of flower-bearers.
3) Throwing good money after bad to save the political life of Gummo Harper may seem like a good investment, but why should tax payers be subsidizing it - especially if their argument is that tax payers should not be subsidizing the party that they vote for?
4) When the CONservatives come to their senses and realize that they need a completely different, more relaxed and low-key point person, will this man want the job?
5) Is Harper just P-O'd that he's become Duceppe's 'sloppy seconds'?

Thursday, November 27, 2008


... is what the CON's pointed attack at the opposition parties should serve as.
If you are a supporter of an opposition party and you read the news today about how much your team relies on public funding, you likely were shocked or at least discomforted.
The Bloc gets 86% of its financing from the dispersal of money from the $1.90-a-vote subsidy. Elizabeth May's team, which has just recently emerged on the national stage and reached the threshhold necessary for a piece of the pie, is reliant on it to the point of 65%. And us Liberals? A whopping 63% of our current funds come this way, while the NdP slightly less at 57%. Still, a far cry from the CON-temptors, who pulled in the highest total last election but it only accounts for 35% of their receivables.
Reading a sample of the better blogs, I sense the anger and passion that Harper's attempts at handcuffing opposition has done. It has also apparently created a united front in Ottawa. That all opposition parties appear on side and ready to stand up is a very positive step. Not just because of this but also for the fact that Flaherty's faux fiscal update ignores the current climate of fear sweeping across the nation. The meme from Thursday's blarney is merely a Tommy Flanagan whip to whack the achilles of the opposition.
However, another message should be received loud and clear. It is time to get into action; we can't wait for a new leader, whom ever that is, to unveil a new model and a new strategy. Reaching out, spreading the news and providing real, concise reasons for Canadians to donate must be done now. This is the kind of moment that have gotten the CONs in their wealth creation scheme. This is the way that we can help our party, and help prepare to stand up for Canada. Really. Because the last guy to use that slogan really has been sitting down on the job.
Mr. Dion, get head office to unleash a well-thought out, direct pitch to members and former members, the general public, et al. Michael, Bob and Domenic, now is the time to share your ideas with the head office, don't hold back. By looking at the CON strategy here, there is no tomorrow.
And you. Get up and donate. NOW.


In fact, I suggest everyone take a deep breathe. Exhale. Put those crumpled shreddings of a newspaper and broken pieces of a remote down.
The chances of there being another election within the next few months, never mind the next few weeks, is on the same scale as George W. being named Time's Man of the Year. It could happen, but it ain't.
Stephen Harper's intention is pretty clear in his so-called fiscal update, which even to one right-wing copy horse, is neither fiscal nor updated.
It includes no new spending, infrastructure or otherwise, to stimulate the economy or address large industrial collapses. It essentially points to the past two years and says: "Isn't what we did enough?"
Had your financial advisor told you 12 months ago to spend your rainy-day fund on a motor boat, a big limousine ride and a wild party, I'm guessing you'd have found yourself a new advisor. But that's exactly what these bozos did. A $3-billion contingency fund, set aside for an emergency, wiped out in Harper's laise-faire attempt to buy a majority. He didn't see this coming, or if he did, his blind ambition left him thinking that the public would overlook his broken promises, half-assed attempts at managing the economy and given him a majority -- which we didn't.
So now comes the No More Mr Nice Guy, having shucked the sweater for a steel girdle and a bayonet.
Just over a week after unveiling the most bloated cabinet in Canadian history, he's now bleating that politicians will set the example. The first step is to be the public funding of political parties.
To please rural Quebecois, Harper and his CON-spirators have come up with a non-veiled threat. I won't say he's attempting to undermine Canada's democracy, but certainly his goal is to weaken the pillars that were set up in replace of fairly unfettered donation regulations.
He may have a point, the current program may be in need of a change, but I'll put forth my ideas later. This is neither the time nor place, because during a period of economic and social stress, we need to have our parliament functioning together, not torn asunder.
So again, take a deep breathe.
If the discussions of a coalition breed a working agreement, I'm certain that Harper will withdraw. If not, we could be in time for a Canadian history lesson, reliving Byng-King.
In this situation, I like our odds as Underdogs.

Monday, November 10, 2008


With 2 young children at home, my movie-going hobby has become a mere ghost of what it once was. No double-dip treats at the mega-plex, nor late evening escapades to the city to see a classic on rare display.

But this past week, I made time to catch Passchendaele.

It's not likely to become a timeless classic but it does have incredible value, as both a historic lesson and a heart-wrenching entertainment. The passion of director/writer/co-producer/song writer/actor Paul Gross is there, perhaps maybe a touch too much, but I applaud him for a thoughtful, impressive retelling of a time and people that are long forgotten. That Remembrance Day is just around the corner made it a timely must-see; and the film adds another candle to some very strong Canadian films of late. The memories of cardboard tax dodges with lame laugh tracks and tinny soundtracks is so 70s ish.

Gross stars as Michael Dunne, which is a personal tribute to his own grandfather, a WWI soldier. We witness early the ravages of war that sent him home a broken man (although my main complaint is that Gross' ability to express/display the soul-numbing experience seems underwhelming) and now a recovering shell of a man in Calgary, expected to trade on his valor medals by enlisting the young and shamed. A nurse, passionately unveiled by Montreal's Caroline Dhavernas, deals with her own pain by comforting the damaged. Her brother (Joe Dinicol) meanwhile labours as a teenager in love and a shamed survivor. The cast is by and large terrific. My quibbles with Gross may be an overreaction; he is the centre of the film, after all. Along with the patriotic and powerful who attempt to wield their way over the rest, these fragile people seek means to survive.

The war becomes their recourse.

There are moments of great emotion, of delicate and skillfully played sincerity, and some truly frightening scenes of war. It made me wish that, as a young man, I had ventured out to thank the dwindling survivors of that conflict when the opportunity was still possible; now, the chance to show my appreciation for soldiers of the second world war (my mother, born-and-bred BCer, was stationed in Quebec while my prairie-raised father in Europe) is drawing closed. Whether you see this film or not, I recommend you take the time, somehow and somewhere, to tell a veteran that you care about the sacrifices they and their friends made, for us.

It should not be just a one-day-a-year type of thing.

By John McCrae

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow

Between the crosses row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

Post note: I had a brief moment during the film where I imagined, how would a Canadian version of the classic American war film be made? You know, the kind that were star-studded, cameos of everyone, and would it be successful? Of course, its to be debated whether many of those US war films were successful, but just imagine the cast:

Keanu Reeves, Gordon Pinscent, Keifer Sutherland, Michael J. Fox, Jim Carrey, William Shatner, Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams... maybe it's better as an idea in my head.

One partisan reflection from the film: At one point we are briefly introduced to the sister and brother's neighbour - a large, slovenly man with a brutish dog at his side. He is at first unfriendly and later at best a boorish bully. I don't know if there was even a need to identify this man by name, because he's just the neighbour. But Gross has the brother address him and maybe, just maybe, it was a wild slapshot at a fellow Calgarian: "Hi Mr. Harper."

Friday, October 17, 2008


The embers of Tuesday's election are still warm, and for some of us the sting remains.

Unlike some, however, I do not wish or want a hasty decision from Stephane Dion.

He wears the burden of the result but should not shoulder it alone. There remain many questions but the aim should be to decipher the right answers that will carry the Liberal Party forward, and not into the depth of despair, bigger debt and denial that our opponents are hoping for.

I am certainly disappointed but not disillusioned -- except mainly in the attention and focus of some members of the media. That may be a subject for another post, however it should be noted that few members of the U.S. media ever faced the music or examined with integrity their own roles in the build-up and unleashing of the Bush Iraq War boondoggle. So let's not hold our breath.

Instead, while some prefer to prompt an argument over leadership, I'd rather aim the march to the critical re-birth that the party needs in these times. Just as Lester Pearson, who had suffered a humiliating defeat in 1958, including some almost tramatizing embarrassments, rolled up his sleeves along with the party braintrust and many of Canada's elite thinkers, I feel that is the direction we need to move.

We need to discover our brand again, unearth our purpose for governing and what we envision Canada's future to be. Is that through some large, public spending policies like national pharmacare or a guaranteed income, or updating Canadian democracy through abandoning first-past-the-post heritage that has for the most part served our party well over the past decade? Does it require a shift back to the centre, or a ambitious embrace of more centre-left ideals? Or other multiple options and proposals yet to be debated? Then there's our own machinery that is direly needing updating. The party does not serve it's grassroots well. Here in BC, a creaky, uncoordinated apparatus at the Vancouver office continually fails to respond to the riding executive's needs, whether it be providing quick and current funding reports or membership information, or responding to specific requirements, like producing and supplying information for members. I don't know how it's done in other provinces, but if it is as ineffective as BC's model, then that explains a lot.

Should Stephane Dion want to stay and fight both the backroom battleaxes and the dirty politicking of Harper and his henchmen, I will support him 100 per cent. If he chooses to step down, I will again support him. While I didn't vote for him at the 2006 convention, I have developed an immense appreciation for him, a man of rare integrity, warm intellect and awkward but certain passion.

It's incumbent on all members of the party to face one concrete fact -- the Liberal Party is not equipped currently to survive a long and entrenched battle against a wealthy and unethical foe, who has the ear and weight of the main stream media at its beck-and-call.

We need funds and we need ideas, however we seem to be chasing them in the wrong order. Let us create a platform, through debate and discussion just as Pearson and his team did during the famous 1960 Kingston conference, to lead the party into the challenges ahead. A template has already been created, by Tom Axworthy, that offers a launching pad for renewal.

Great leaders have been attracted to the Liberal Party because of that tradition, not the other way around.

Let's work together on making the party stronger.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Stephen Harper may not be a chess master, but he's certainly demonstrated some talent at malevolent manipulation, especially when it comes to the Cadman affair.

With members of his party accused of offering financial considerations -- confirmed in Harper's own words on a taped interview -- to a dying MP for his vote, he knew that this sticky mess could dampen his pitch for all-encompassing power on Parliament Hill. It would be a virtual death blow to a man who campaigned (and quickly shed) on ethics.

So, he did what a shrewd, win at all costs general would do on the battlefield -- he attacked before his opponents could launch their best shots. Harper tried first to ignore it, deny it, then with his own voice asking "is this for publication?", he chose to aim his barrel at the author who penned the book, and his chief opponent. A lawsuit proved to be adequate enough to remove the issue for what was certainly long enough for an election. Well, it turns out it wasn't. Those darn abstaining Liberals. He had to request, beg almost, for the judge to hold off his case against the Liberal Party due to an election he said he wouldn't call.

Now, after imposing his own lip-lock on the final few days of the hustings, Harper managed to squeeze out a few answers in an exclusive interview Monday night just before the election coverage blackout -- thus eliminating any opportunity for follow-up questions or counter-spin. What a leader.

While even his own tape expert has contradicted Harper's main defence, that the interview tape was doctored, he still has an ace in the hole. That ace was Cadman's widow, who was the prime witness for the author's claim that a $1 million insurance policy offer was made to secure the MP's vote. With his own cold, calculating blue eyes, Harper somehow gained the trust of Dona Cadman, whom some may call a well-meaning, if somewhat unsophisticated lady, telling her that he knew nothing of a million-dollar offer.

Completely inadmissable, but aren't the similarities between the Cadman case and the Gurmant Grewal affair, where the CON MP attempted to sting the Liberals by feigning interest in crossing the floor, cause to prick up thy ears, oh media?

Dona chose to run for the CON party in this election, thus giving Harper another alibi for his own actions. She hasn't changed her story -- Chuck was approached by men from the CON team. Now, that ugly incident that nearly stained her husband's legacy is water under the bridge. But I'm betting she didn't come up with the idea on her own. What if Harper planted a seed with the widow, of continuing her husband's work, and carrying the torch for the CONs in Surrey North? Wouldn't that be just what Chuck would have wanted? Who said a snake has no charm?

These things we do know: Mrs. Cadman has shown little skill as a politico but has followed the Harper campaign strategy to a 'T'. In other words, she's eluded the media, and refused to explain the situation -- it is before the courts, so-to-speak.

But it seems to be like that court-room tactic of where the chief witness suddenly can't testify because she's since wed the accused. If it works on Boston Legal, why not on Ottawa Improper?

Let's get this straight: Dona Cadman will only go as far as the party brand can take her tomorrow. She is not the type of person who wins over the electorate, she has none of her husband's charm, nor delivers any kind of passion for the job. While he entered politics as a one-issue candidate, the maverick earned his stripes by walking the walk, demonstrating integrity above so much callous and shallow political games. Through no fault of her own, that's not Dona. But it's as though she's a cypher for someone else, doing this marathon of hide-and-seek, likely believing in her own cause, but not seeing that she's a pawn being played.

That Harper has pulled the eyes over the media on this is without a doubt. You could even say that they've been derelict in their duty in pressing for more answers on this character-revealing case of subterfuge and distortion of democracy (question- Dona still sticks by the story that there were two meetings, despite the party's denial. Who were the men?). It's the equivalent of George W's war record. But that Harper has tarnished the reputation of the one hero in this whole affair, and used his widow to cover his tracks, is a signal that he can never be trusted. But will the real story ever be told?

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Progressive voters have a lot of power heading into Tuesday's federal election. The CON team, led by head cheese Steve Harper, remains within striking distance according to some polls, yet holds an edge that could result in what the so-called leader said is a "stronger mandate" and send a "pretty severe warning" to the opposition parties. Yep, that means 14 year olds in adult prisons, continued governing behind closed doors, and using fear as a wedge on all kinds of issues, from economy to the environment. Oh yeah, and it means science takes a back seat to paranormal dressers and gut instincts.

But that draconian result doesn't have to be, if we put our heads, hearts and votes together to put some Tory turkeys out to pasture.

To do that, we need to park our partisan hopes to one side and look at key battlegrounds. While the rationale behind strategic voting will be a work in progress until parties begin to trust their rivals, there are a few key ridings where it is incumbent that we unite to rock the CONs.

In the following six ridings, Canadians who believe in the ideals and achievements of Douglas and Pearson, Trudeau and Broadbent can send a Harper minister/heavyweight packing, need to get their acts together and support the best option available to bounce a CON.

HALDIMAND-NORFOLK : The wife of Harper's right-hand hatchet man Doug Finley, Diane has been getting a little heat for her non-appearances around the riding. She raised the ire of both farmers and citizens of Caledonia for not helping solve a heated battle over land claims. The immigration and citizen minister wouldn't be in trouble in this solid conservative riding if not for the popularity of independent candidate Gary McHale. But the real challenge for Finley falls in the form of Dr. Eric Hoskins, a physician who has travelled the world working in war zones, becoming the youngest recipient of the UN's Lester Pearson Peace Medal.

If Ndp and Green supporters get behind Hoskins in what could be a close battle, the region would replace a Harper bobblehead with a tremendous talent.


REGINA-LUMSDEN-LAKE CTR : Famous for his open-lapel, anti-gay slur in a dusty old video, Harper henchman Tom Lukiwiski made an almost teary-eye apology that was followed by complete indifference for his actions. His caveman-attitude is reflected in a lot of ideas that pass as proposals by this CON corps, so a true message should be delivered, and thankfully Fred Kress, NdP candidate, is the man to deliver it. It's a close battle where the margin of victory was less than 4,000 votes. Liberals and Greens should put their 'X' beside Kress.


EDMONTON-STRATHCONA : Although he has shed his profile as Parliament hill lothario, due to the engagement with fellow CON Helena Guergis, Rahim Jaffer has built up a reputation as an underwhelming but loyal presence in Harper's squad. However, he is the rare Tory who doesn't have his constituents unblinking devotion, thus opening the door for the NdP's Linda Duncan, a renowned advocate and environmental lawyer. It's critical that good Liberal and Green supporters give their support to Duncan to bump this CON duffus.


PARRY SOUND-MUSKOKA : Not much needs to be said, other than Mike Harris retread Tony Clement is a meddling moron. By voting for the Liberal's Jamie McGarvey, Clement can be removed from a position where he can do much harm.


SAANICH-GULF ISLANDS : Once again, Harper has thrusted a dangerous imbecile in over his head, with Gary Lunn having already made nuclear safety a risky option in Canada. And what do you think is the CONs' hidden answer to Canada's energy future? You guessed it. All the more reason for NdPers (who lost their candidate just after the deadline) and Greenies to back Dr. Briony Penn of the Liberals. This is a must-do.


OTTAWA-WEST : Here's another ugly reminder of that Harris regime, Johnny Baird. He so happens to be the environment minister, or manager of regressive faux outrage. To knock this redundant greenhouse gas producer from his seat, progressives must move behind Liberal David Pratt. Your wife will thank you, your kids will thank you, as will all God's creatures upon Baird's extinction from the House of Commons.



Imagine, how happy Jack Layton and his brothers and sisters will be if they crack the 33-seat barrier reef -- that'd be their second-highest total in party history.

It's why he's so adamant that strategic voting is more evil than Harper's haste. A Liberal government is in Jack's mind the biggest obstacle to his road to 24 Sussex Drive.

No, he doesn't want you NdP voters to think about what could be -- afterall, we've already sacrificed universal child care, a working plan and commitment to the First Nations people of our country, and two years of possible action on Kyoto. Instead, he wants you to sit at the kitchen table and understand that only he, Jack of all parades, can deliver from the back row of the house.

To reach his goal, he will need some tight battles to fall his way, a few from the CONs but more from the Liberals, in both Ontario and B.C.

If the electorate is as puzzled heading into the voting booth as some polls suggest, you have to wonder just what hill Jack's hoping to climb. If for a second election he plays a large role in a Harper government, this time many of his own supporters may really feel the pinch.

That's because part of the CON unspoken plan will hit home -- and hard.

Never mind having put his commitment to the environment on hold, because we all know it can wait for an NdP government in 2019, but good ol' Jack is ready to let the public sector feel the price of his own pride.

It's pure deduction, having witnessed it here in B.C. during the last left-right hand-over. We saw what an empowered, mean-spirited right-wing government will do to cut costs in troubled times. Rip up contracts, chop services, shift government jobs to the private sector - with deep slashes to wages in the process. And while the hard working people who rely upon those jobs, from Revenue Canada, Health Canada and Parks Canada, to name a few, will take the hit, Jack will have his handful of extra seats. A closer view of the catbird seat, where his pal Steve will cheer him on.
Naturally, the only way to block that tragic trajectory is for NdP supporters to vote Liberal in ridings where it's between a CON and Liberal candidate. I also endorse the idea of Liberal supporters lending Jack a vote in battles where it is the NdP with the best shot to knock off a CON. But you won't hear that from Jack. He's all about the plan.
And if Canada's middle class, the working poor and disadvantaged have to take a few punches for his prize, it's part of the game.

You go Jack. Just don't tell your followers what the exact cost will be.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Well, it should be tried, at least. True? Stephen Harper can't handle the truth. The veracity of it all stretches plausibility from someone who's control-freakiness includes tightly scripted photo ops, thorough vetting of his caucus' schedules, warring with the media, and a need to create a puffed-up perception of his intellect.

Funny, there's plenty of similarities of this to this... A man who has studied the field of intellectual property, who has done the rigors of higher academia, a person who understands the rights and wrongs about stealing someone else's ideas and words... Oh right, being a CONservative that niggling ethics thing wouldn't apply.

When Harper asks someone to fall on their sword, does it come with a golden parachute?

Do all those CON donors know exactly what they're subsidizing - the Harper Apology Agency?

Or does this give Lippert more time to finish that Harper book on hockey?

Monday, September 29, 2008


Like a scene out of Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life, people of normal
calm were tossed into a bank-run frenzy Monday when the US House of Representatives
voted down President Bush's $700 billion parachute for the buckling American
financial industry.
Politicians of all stripes turned to the easiest response, of pointing
fingers. On this side of the border, the reactions from the campaigning
leaders were predictable -- Smilin' Jack wanted an immediate hootenanny to
talk about possible WPA programs; Sweater-wearing stiff Harper dug into his
pockets and offered the equivalent of belly-button lint ("Here, these tiny
tot tax credits should keep your mortgage afloat another day").

"We cannot pretend that Canada will not be affected by what George Bush said (Wednesday) night. And he said that our entire economy is in danger...(Harper) has allowed our economy to hit a brick wall," (Stephane Dion) said. "Canadians have to ask themselves, do we really want more of this? Can Canadians afford more of this?"

Harper's whole routine has been that of pretending first that he smells no smoke. Then, he covers his ear and says 'What siren?' As he walks out of the burning building, he asks 'Do you feel warm?'
His strategy behind breaking campaign promise #34 is fairly obvious now, even to thick headed CON rubes. Beat the meltdown and then ride it out. And an economic recession will create the perfect scenario for the rumoured 'slash and burn' agenda that he keeps hidden under that sweater.
But the signs of trouble have been around for over a year. To help prepare us for the possible financial genesis, Harper began spending like Paris Hilton. Nothing was too good for his 'boys'... Soon, that big fat contingency fund was mere wallpaper money for the focus-group room. Does he deserve some blame, despite the roots of the collapse coming during the Bush error? As Austin Powers would say, Oh Yeah Baby!
There are plenty of suspects that fingers should be pointed to, lest the
ghosts of R.B. Bennett and Herbert Hoover (Calvin Coolidge, you're off the
hook again!) shake their jacob marley-esque chains in defiance.
Thanks to those Bush economics, much of the problem has created a
firetrap for pensioners, mortgageholders and investors, big and small.
Banks across the globe are scared to look in their files, aware that bogus 'wobbly mortgage' bonds lurk.
And Harper's answer, at least while his job remains on the line? "What me, Worry? I'll leave that to the rest of you suckers."

Sunday, September 28, 2008


We have the platform and the policies. We have integrity and plenty of talent.
So just what are we missing?
Dion has looked much sharper in the past few days and perhaps it's partially being the underdog. Our rivals would say it could be a result of lowered expectations, but I'd suggest that is a media creation and competition spin.
Now that Harper has demonstrated that no low blow will go unused, I believe what we need to do is to increase the heat in the leader's message -- continue with a strong focus on policy, but also striking back. Not with low blows like that prince of narcissistic sanctimony, but with sharply chiselled honest shots right at the heart of the so-called CON leadership. This is what I'd say...

Stephen Harper's Conservatives may be feeling that their goal of Dividing and Conquering the hearts and minds of Canadians is nearly achieved. With the polls in their favour, Stephen Harper has lowered his aim with gutter attacks at those who question his policies. Unfortunately, Stephen Harper does not think Canadians need to have answers.
He has shown he doesn't want to debate the issues man-to-man. In his contempt for the electoral process, Stephen Harper has chosen to hide, silence and stifle his own candidates for fear their own words could inform Canadians on just what Stephen Harper knows.
We've had two-and-a-half years of a Conservative government, a government that is no longer New, no longer guided by the North Star, and apparently no longer needing the Blessing of God. A government that out-spent all others, one that reduced Canada's economic standing to the bottom of the G8, and still pretends that everything is A-OK. His government has overseen job losses, economic instability, ministerial bungling and environmental sliding, and his answer is to put on a sweater.
What Canadians have also had in the past two-and-a-half years is an administration that cannot function without creating enemies.
It has spent energy and funds dividing Canadians on the purpose of government, on the good that government can do. Attacking the governments of Ontario and Newfoundland for political gain. Scaring public sector employees, scientists and the men and women who are sworn to protect Canadians' food sources and who watch over our nuclear industries, or who study climate change. Dissent nor questions are permitted, and those who do are declared enemies of the national good.
Stephen Harper's actions go against the ideals of justice and integrity that Canadians deserve from their leaders. There is no line that he would not cross, no fight he would not pick, for pure partisan gain. One has to wonder, who will he target next? Consider who he has targeted already.
He would not tolerate a few protesters from the AIDS conference in Toronto -- instead, choosing to punish those who are already victims by delaying funding announcements. Ask arts and cultural groups across this great nation, the people who are vital parts of local economies, what it feels like to be on the wrong side of Stephen Harper. Stephen Harper would even deny Canadians the right to share their grief in the repatriation of our valiant soldiers, if not for the outcries of the soldiers' families.
Instead of being part of a global solution to climate change, he chose to drag the world back from a possible landmark agreement. Under Stephen Harper, Canada is no longer a leader, a beacon of hope that other nations can turn to for guidance. Instead, Stephen Harper has us following the beat of the do-nothings, who stand at the door arguing 'After you.' These are not the actions of a government that cares about what kind of world our grandchildren will inherit.
We must give Stephen Harper his due, though. When it comes to insulting the Canadian public, he has set new standards. He's able to blame every misstep and dangerous decision he's done in the past two and a half years on past Liberal governments, while taking credit for the last eight Liberal balanced budgets. He's appointed his own Elections Canada commissioner, and when he didn't like the job he was doing investigating Conservative shenanigans, made him a Liberal.
When his team members insult the families of our gallant soldiers or make jokes about people dying from the Listeria crisis, he's responded true to form. He gave Ryan Sparrow a vacation, and put Gerry Ritz in the Conservative witness protection program.
Accountability won't get in the way of a Stephen Harper government -- it was only a disposable election slogan, like his promise to not tax income trusts. Well, we Liberals are up to the challenge of governing for all Canadians, with a platform that responds to the challenges of today and tomorrow.
In 1993, Canadians said 'Enough!' of fiscal mismanagement and growing deficits, and asked a Liberal government to correct the mistakes by a Conservative government. Jean Chretien and Paul Martin delivered. Now, the challenge is on a larger scale, one that if unanswered will bring the global economy to its knees. The Green Shift -- where Canadians have more take-home pay, while polluters pay more -- is meant to meet that challenge. Our platform has been vetted and scrutinized by independent economists and environmentalists and received positive support. The Liberal Party is ready for the job.
Stephen Harper is not up to the challenge. He has offered nothing but silence, misinformation and indifference to the economic and environmental tests that we face. The truth is, Stephen Harper doesn't want to lead Canada. He wants to divide it. We ask that Canadians who cherish social justice, compassionate and fiscally responsible governance choose the Liberal Party, for a richer, fairer, greener future.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


It kind of hit me over the head like a sack of Gerry Ritz; God has gone.

Like that Jar-Jar Binksian Northern Star, He is no longer a member of Harper's homeboys. I don't know if He's been given the Michael Chong treatment or if God has cut his ties with our so-called leader due to irreconcible differences. Maybe God just doesn't make the grade now that Harper is trolling for a majority.

It may have happened a year ago or maybe just a month back; but either way, someone's been dropped like a doobie-smokin' socialist.

Let's be clear, when our CEO of the New Government started using that tagline 'God Bless Canada', I was a trifle uncomfortable. It seemed overly ambitious for us, a nation with oil, minerals, trees and vast tracks of gorgeous coastal regions to want big ol' God to give us more. Maybe, just maybe, God had better things to do, places that really needed his blessing. Plus, it seemed to be something that Jethro Bodine's cousin southside, GWB, would demand between gun club meetings.

The official response from CON Control was that 'God hasn't left, he's still hanging with the Big Guy. He prefers to take a back row seat, that's all.'

That doesn't sound like the God I know. Oh, I'm not inferring that God's a glory hogging showoff. We all know He doesn't care to be the most popular messiah. Matter of fact, from the conversations I've had with Him, and admittedly they've been few and far between, He seemed to be kind of shy, and reminded me of Bob Hartley, no not that guy - this guy. Maybe He was ashamed of being asked to put His stamp of approval on a nation where the Saviour comes in many shapes and spirits - Canada after all is one of the most multicultural countries on the planet.

Then it hit me. God may not like narcissistic liars who treat the 10 commandments like they were some so-called list of Five Priorities. Choosing some and playing 'hide the priority' with the others wouldn't likely go well with the All Mighty.

So I was wondering, where did God draw the line? Was it Thou Shalt Not Make For Yourself an Idol? Or was it You Shall Not Make Wrongful Use of God's Name? Maybe it was You Shall Not Steal? Would his decision to disregard You Shall Not Bear False Witness To Your Neighbour be a deal breaker?

Unless of course it's Harper who's put God on the sidelines. Maybe it didn't mix well with that new image, Mr Relaxation without the talent or compassion, that he's trying to style himself on. Now that the CONs have learned that voters come in all shapes and colours, perhaps God's kind of passe. Oh, Harper will always remember His son's birthday and check in to see that all is Right on the Q-T, but maybe it was so-called leader dude who thought, "well God, time I made like a banana and split. Smell yah later."

But if Harper gets his majority, I'm sure you can guess who he'll be welcoming back with open arms. Yep, front and centre, like ol' times. Right beside Sparrow, Ritz, Bernier and Lukiwski. Hope God has a sense of humour.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


According to myth, if you keep yelling something long enough, it becomes fact.
Not always, though.
And when the one doing the yelling has proven to be somewhat prone to, well, un-truth telling himself, perhaps it's time that they should look in the mirror. Or at least face some tough questions.
Something about crying wolf while trying to hide those big teeth, I suppose.
Eyes are opening. Click the Victory button at your right to help it along.

Friday, September 12, 2008


The image makeover of the so-called CON leader has so far scored major points. Despite a few missteps and retro-tastes of Harper's mean streak -- c'mon, you don't think Ryan Sparrow didn't have the operational guide at his fingertips when he dialled up that CTV reporter regarding the dead Canadian soldier's father, do you? -- he's flying high in the polls.

Perhaps its that family guy image, ala Peter Griffin, with a blue sweater to match his heart.

Funny thing, apparently the 'family image' makeover and the sudden 'urgent need to address raging gas prices' may play well in the short term, but we know from experience, right? It's like that laugher 'fixed election dates', or the always hilarious 'make parliament work.'
But give the image consultant some credit, even if her psychic abilities didn't help prewarn that his reversal on Afghanistan ("I was against set time lines before I was for them!") would result in some blow-back. A sweater on a cold-hearted SOB does warm the cockles, apparently.

Here are a few other of Harper's favourite 'family men':

Harold Kvisle, CEO TransCanada Pipeline, who met with Harper's director of policy Mark Cameron two months ago.

Ron Brenneman, CEO Petro-Canada, who met with Harper key advisor Bruce Carson.

No doubt, they were very apologetic about the summer holiday 'price spike' and cautiously warning that, while the cost at the pumps always jumped overnight when oil's price on the market rose, any dip in the value of crude would be tempered by external circumstances, like, well, storms caused by climate change.

Kvisle, who likes playing cards with his children and sharing a beer with his chauffeur (well, the chauffeur gets the empty), is a fellow Uof Calgary alumnus, like our so-called PM. Kvisle knows about the hardship that high oil prices can bring, what with his 2007 income of $1.175m salary (oh, plus $1.55 bonus and a $3.6 long-term payout) making it hard to maintain his hobby of waxing down all of his Lexuses with fresh poodles. He's also a BMO director.

Brenneman also takes his family man position seriously, playing lots of cards with his kids while soaking his corns in champagne, in between trips to the bank. He had to skimp by on a mere $1.2m salary (and $1.5m bonus, ontop of a $3.2m long-term compensation package), and cancel his monthly caviar enemas. Yep, true family men who have the ear of our so-called leader. I wonder who they are supporting?

I'm sure Harper's 'quickly sketched on a napkin' policy prounouncement on gas prices will be a doozy that will have the energy producers' pre-approval. Because just like a lot of Harper's promises, it'll evaporate within 30 days.