Monday, March 31, 2008


Must say the sparring match between Thomas Mulcair and Ralph Goodale on CTV's Question Period (sorry, my technical ludditism does not permit me to post the link to the video, but you can find it at was entertaining, to say the least.
Unfortunately, it did let cuddly Peter 'if my eye brow hits my hairline, I must be lying' Van Loan off the hook for most of the segment on CTV's political show Sunday.
But there's an interesting angle that the NDP seems to wish to evade during all this 'You can't pick the timing of an election!' lambasting 24-7.
It's been difficult, as a firm Liberal, to sit through all this abstaining over the last few months, but I do understand there's strategy involved.
When your role is one to oppose, you should do it vigorously and with honour. However, being ready to form the next government is another part of the equation -- something the NdP has never had to worry about.
They can howl at the moon without worrying about cleaning up the mess afterwards. In fact, their dream would be to see Stephen Harper gain complete control of Ottawa for the next 4-5 years and make Canada over in his own image, just to jump the queue and be the 'second-most popular pig in the sty.'
That makes their role pretty easy.
In 2005, as the opposition party that held the balance of power in the Paul Martin minority government, they chose to work on concert with Stephen Harper to pull down the government -- which is their right. Despite getting some decent concessions in one budget, and some major accords signed on issues they apparently cared about once a time ago, Jack Layton and his NdPers decided that it would not permit Paul Martin to live for TWO MORE MONTHS until the Gomery report was out. The rush to judge, or maybe the inside info on the inside info 'scandal', was just too hot to let stew.
There just had to be an election, damnit.
So they had bided their time over 18 months supporting one government until it was timely to bring it down. Don't tell me that there wasn't legislation brought in during that time that was a slap at all those socialistic principles Jack holds so dear? Guess those have been well protected under a Stephen Harper dictat... er government, right?
Although there is no necessary conflict with these actions, it does point out how their peripherary view has affected the cause of social justice, economic parity and progress on a number of issues.
That and Jack Layton's pre-leadership victory opinion of Stephane Dion will get you a nice hashish brownie in Danforth, I suppose...

Sunday, March 30, 2008


The mainstream media's passion for all-things Dion is becoming almost comical, if not for the strained, traffic-jamming nature of it all.
Liberal Arts and Minds gets to the nuts of it in her usual graceful way, and I can't help but concur all of her points. No need to rehash them, other than to say as someone who's working in the media and employed by one of the biggest offenders, there's nothing discreet about 'creating a meme' for the purpose of filling pages/news time.
Let me first concur that Stephane Dion has an image problem, some of it by his own hand; But he's not the only one. However, he is the only one being dissected ritually on a daily basis.
Disharmony in the Liberal ranks is a story, yes; but is it truly a story when someone who is outed as a self-inflated malcontent proves to be the best spokesperson, or that nearly every column and story -- except this one -- is propped up by the 'ol' reliable but unidentifiable source'?
Where are the stories about Prime Minister Stephen Harper's brand of leadership? How he has essentially put some fear on the faces of the free media as his way of doing business and winning allies, and how his silencing his MPs from speaking on anything but the official CON shopping list of priorities has essentially stripped away real concerns of millions of Canadians? How for expedience, he's erased a priority (there were only five, so don't tell me you didn't catch it) and then preceded to pitch woo at one province, hellfire at another, while trying to pretend that he's a uniter?
Issues like this and this are verbotem it seems in the government's side, and why is there an accepted assumption that this means 100% unanimity on the part of Conservatives? I'm shocked, SHOCKED! that there isn't at least one or two 'ol' reliable but unidentifiable sources' to suggest that the PM's powertrip is wearing a little thin...
Well, at least it has crossed some reporters'/columnists' minds.
The likes of Hebert and Macdonald have their axes to grind in the spirit of fair comment, although one has to wonder if their interest in a Dion failure isn't either for personal pleasure or financial gain.
It means nothing to the new ethics of both corporate raiders, political rightists and now the 'insider' media that Harper has already demonstrated that there is no level he won't sink to, no rule he won't shatter to get to that elusive target -- establishing the CONserfatives as option One of a Two party system.
Would it be asking too much for the mainstream media to shine a little light on this government?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


When you've got such a brilliant message, flaunt it.
Or send out scripts and times to call in, which buttons to press, and when to hang up when the talking points get a going-over.
Don't lead by lying. That's the Prime Minister's job. But naturally, the rest of the talking points are complete blarney. But keep talking, y'all.

Apparently, CON supporters are not only pulling the wool over their fellow Canadians' eyes, but they wear it, too.

Monday, March 24, 2008


According to Stephen Harper, the Mexican justice system is working perfectly fine, thank you, and he wouldn't dare interfere with it as it deals with a Canadian.

According to Stephen Harper, torture and illegal detaining a Canadian teen soldier, is within the right of the United States.

According to Stephen Harper, his government wouldn't dare criticize Israel even if their actions result in the death of Canadian citizens.

But when the recently elected government of Ontario wants to make a 'made-in-Ontario' solution to the current troubling times in the global economy, Stephen Harper and his stooge Jim Flaherty suggest they're irresponsibly endangering the economy of Canada's largest province.
Although it is to laugh, coming from one of Ontario's worse finance ministers ever, and despite the reality that the Ontario government has already cut business taxes to the tune of $1.1 billion to affected sectors. To cut more would be to follow in Bushian economic folly, thus undercutting the province's ability to react and respond to any urgent needs in the future.
However, it is apparent that Harper's strategy of carpet bombing the Liberal colours, where ever and when ever possible, is a potential winner.
It distorts facts and disconnects reader/viewer from reality. Thus, despite the reality that Harper has whittled down a $14 billion dollar surplus to nickels in just two years -- while giving the average Joe and Josephine a .08 savings on their latte -- he's forecasting his troubles onto another leader.
Of course, it's the kind of leadership we'd expect in the Medici era, where all is fair in love and war.
And all those who rationalize Harper's tactics, silently theorize the gameplan, or tacitly agree with his bloodlust, are creating the same climate that begot the worst President in American history.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Many people advised that the Stephen Harper's government's decision not to demand clemency on this case would lead to this.

The decision by Harper, justice minister Rob Nicholson and ufo occupant Stockwell Day may have been to signal that Canada is now 'Tough On Crime!' or to their supporters, that nudge-nudge, the 'so-called' secret agenda is on track. Either way, it said loud and clear that the Christian right were walking in unison, and held a firm grasp on the decision making process in the PMO.

But with Canadians running afoul of the law -- either by their own volition or through accident -- it now puts our government in a position that they may never have wished upon themselves.

You've got Brenda Martin, who has received spotty if even negligent assistance from the Canadian government regarding her two-year imprisonment in a Mexico jail -- Mexico, a tried-and-true example of fishy justice and faux democracy if there's ever been one.

Then there's Mohamed Kohail, tried and convicted for a murder in Saudi Arabia. While it's not even pretending to be a democracy like Mexico, Saudi Arabia has its own sense of justice, and apparently it moves a lot quicker than our southern friends. Kohail, 23, faces a public beheading within 65 days unless an appeal is successful. The government has stated that it will help with his appeal, but has offered none of the strong talk and definite 'Stand Up for Canadians' talk that was so useful on the election campaign.

If you were to ask Saul Itzhayek, sitting in an Indian prison due to the fact he entered their country with no visa, he'd likely question our government's interest in having justice served.

And what of Bashir Makhtal? Most likely, and thanks to our government's indifference, you haven't even heard of him.

For every Huseyin Celil there are many more that the government is trying to hide from the public eye. Apparently there aren't any votes in standing up to the Ethiopian justice system as there is to China's. It's all in the optics, people.

It's easy to walk away from Ronald Smith, who pled guilty of murdering two U.S. citizens, and not ask his sentence be commuted -- despite the fact that an official plea will almost certainly fall on deaf ears.
Now that you've become a government that makes value judgements on the lives of Canadians' in harm's way, it is easy to see how fraught with consequences your own judgement is.

If you were the government of the day, would you have stood up for this man? And how?
Or this one?
We know what you think of this guy, and remain the only U.S. allied country to not request that your citizen be handed over.

One quaint irony is that a few of our 'so-called friends' whom we'd give the benefit of the doubt -- the United States and Israel -- were recently listed by an official federal document as nations that use torture.

It means that once you leave Canadian soil, a Canadian refuses to be considered 'someone of interest' to Harper and his hypocrites. They can't even keep their reasoning straight other than to appeal to the cold satisfaction of the eye-for-an-eye crowd.
You've ceased to exist, especially if you should run into trouble. Just like those Lebanese-Canadians who were killed during the Israeli bombings of 2006, you may have become entangled in a "measured response."
Brenda Martin, for whatever reason, has fallen into the 'undefendable' column for Harper and his cronies. It was apparent after the MP for her own hometown told a local newspaper after studying her case for a few weeks said she deserved to be in jail.
We know what the Mexican judge believes was her crime -- but what does Harper think she did? Does he know how she voted in 2006?

Friday, March 21, 2008


This story gets stickier and stickier.
It's obvious that Brenda Martin is suffering from the effects of being persecuted and been robbed of her dignity in this whole affair by the Mexican authorities. Whether that country's justice system requires a speedy trial and fair and open discourse over the charges laid, it appears from afar that the opposite has actually occurred.
It's been two years already.
And that's where the questions for the Harper government come bobbing up. Where the hell have you been?
Liberal MP Dan McTeague, who's been on this case for many months now, has been pressing for answers and action. Former Prime Minister Paul Martin visited Ms Martin -- no relation -- during a business trip last week.
Prior to that, Harper's potted plants gave canned statements and mild inquiries into the whole affair, virtually defending the Mexican justice system instead of Ms. Martin. Of course, when you remember their reaction to the poor Canadians who were caught, and some killed, during the bombing of Lebanon, I'd say you can see that this is par for the course.
But now that the media has finally jumped with both feet onto this story, Harper's Half-Assed team is stumbling into action.
But now we can see a few of the carpetbaggers for what they are.
Shadow-caster and secretary of multiculturalism Jason Kenney joined Ontario CON MP Rick Norlock for a visit yesterday with Ms. Martin, under the guise of 'getting things done.'
They were apparently accompanied by a CTV camera crew, who fortunately took time out of sunning themselves to catch the pair looking concerned and making tortilla-like frowns over Ms. Martin's situation.
Harper's emissaries are on the job!
But when you read this CTV story -- and note, previous stories carried by the same website that offer a straight, unbiased reportage have a CP tag -- it's as though Harper and his merry band have been right on top of this, Gunga Din fashion, trying to carry Ms Martin to safety. Just look at that lead - "Prime Minister Stephen Harper has intervened on behalf of Brenda Martin, a Canadian imprisoned in Mexico, just days after she made an impassioned, desperate plea to Harper to save her life."
The word "intervened" carries with it a powerful, dramatic meaning. But from everything else we can read and see, it's more like Harper took another siesta, typed his daily quotient of that Hockey Book he's working on, rifled through a few boxes of Timbits, sent out a few memoes on gagging civil servants, and then called Calderon for a weather report.
If anything, he's proven to be more dithering than Paul Martin. But Harper can't even feign true concern, as even his words stick with some prickly jargon meant to remind Liberal-friendly people that you too can be thrown into a Mexican gulag.
Scary still, is that it appears he has another willing enabler in distracting Canadians from his incompetence of disinterest.
I'd bet that the CTV honcho who okayed the above story Tuesday had already worked out an exclusive deal with the PMO on being part of the 'Kenney Magical Rescue ship.'
They went down there expecting to get footage of Ms. Martin being comforted and embraced and then calling it a day.
It's a 'you-scratch-my-back' kind of arrangement not so uncommon on various levels, but not usually on something where death or lengthy imprisonment are an option.
When Paul Martin ventured to the woman's prison hold, he had no cameras, and he has given no interviews.
Kenney and his tan-buddy have been trying to do damage control from the moment things started turning a murky brown on this case.
And for more evidence of that, read this.
The MP from her own hometown, the Norluck drone, apparently had little interest in Ms Martin's future residence back when it was a minor story. Kind of reminds me of Harper and crew's 'concern' for Maher Arar back during his Syria 'holiday'. Just another fishy flip-flop that the MSM has given Harper a pass on.
Until it served them, they didn't lift a finger. And now that its on the 11 o'clock cycle, the Harper team is going guerilla on it. Isn't that precious.
If you were thinking of voting for these guys, do yourself a favour -- don't travel without the phone number of the local CBC or CTV office. Because unless your story makes the evening news, your troubles aren't Canada's.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


It seems 'Better Late than Never' is the new motto of the Stephen Harper administration.
They've once again made slow-footed, soft-intentioned disinterest a big part of their meme -- good bye 'Northern Star'!
Jason Kenney and Maxime Bernier are the two-left-foot soldiers for the hero of Canada's right flank. And even with the most generous, CON-serfative friendly coverage, the moronic duo are demonstrating that being 'over your head' and 'out of your league' is in fashion.
Meet Jason Kenney, gadabout town and Vulcan, Alberta's official mascot for the 2008 International Donut Games. Today he's in Guadalajara, stumbling ham-handedly -- and I mean ham-handedly -- into the Brenda Martin case. If you aren't aware of Ms. Martin, it's because for most of the past 2 years, our government has turned a deaf ear to her pleas for help. She's been locked up and denied any sense of justice by the Mexican authorities, who accuse her of being part of a foreign scam. Of course, Mexican justice apparently has a high reputation around the Harper household - it is a 'respectable' democratic ally, afterall.
Of course, if you read this story, you'd get the impression that Harper and his merry man were right on top of things. But try listening to Lisa LaFlamme's reportage, also available in the above link, where she uses the so-apropos descriptive analogy of a hot air balloon fffzzzzzing out. That's Kenney.
Of course, the cold-hearted bungling by this government on Ms. Martin's file is lengthy, including stonewalling and blatant disinterest by foreign affairs minister Bernier and his cold-hearted accomplice Helena Guergis.
Over the past month, Martin's health has seriously deteriorated, no doubt exasperated by Harper's minions inaction. Even former Prime Minister Paul Martin, in Mexico as part of a G-7 get-together, spent time with the ailing woman and offered support. He wasn't posing for photos.
Why has dithering Harper sent Kenney to the rescue? As secretary of state for multiculturalism and Canadian Identity, perhaps the rotund one doesn't understand that Martin is a caucasian Canadian. Maybe he's hoping to line her up with a temporary work permit, because that's probably the best means that foreigners can now enter Canada these days. Or its because Kenney can gamble that his ability to eat 200 beef chimichangas in 20 minutes will amuse the Mexican judge handling the case?
Or maybe Kenney's just going to try to put on a brave face and use his super human five o'clock shadow strength to wrestle the Mexican guards to the floor, ala Jack Black.
I understand why Ms. Martin's supporters may be sceptical, with only recent media coverage finally moving the Harper government to action.
But if Kenney pulls out a $1-million life insurance policy, my advice for eveyrone involved -- run.

Now onto Bernier. After a month of slooooowwwwww deliberation, including hiding in his closet, accidentally locked in his closet, and scrounging behind his office furniture cushions for jelly beans, Mr Bernier has announced Canada will recognize Kosovo's declaration of independence.
Apparently, 'hobbled' Harper was too timid to make a swift judgement on the Serbian province's declaration because of what it may signal to Quebec sovereignists. You mean, this wasn't enough?
Sometimes, Harper doesn't know his own strength, but its nice to see that we're leading the pack, well, leading in a way that 30 other countries have recognized Kosovo first, but Canada was thinking first!
Next week, Bernier will be recognizing turtlenecks as the latest hot clothing trend, 'Koogle' as a yummy new confection, and Brigit Bardot as the Sexiest Woman of 1966.


I wouldn't call it a great day, but it was a pretty okay day for the Liberal Party on Monday. When you get to add one great parliamentarian debater and two strong women voices to the team, that is a solid showing.
But it could have been so much better...
Definite winners were Bob Rae and Martha Hall Findlay, who upped the margin of victory and demonstrated why the self-made war on Ontario (and Toronto specifically) has done little for Stephen Harper's grand plans. I don't doubt there'll be a temporary cease-fire between he and McGuinty, at least until Harper lays out his next Acme-like trap.
Another big winner? Tory Rob Clarke, an aboriginal ex-RCMP officer who from all reports ran a decent race and made the most of liberal dissatisfaction. It was always a winnable riding for the CONs, and now Clarke goes from servant to the people to subservant photo prop for the always calculating hypocrite Harper. Expect a few weeks of front camera seating arrangements, replacing Wijad and Joe, before disappearing into the silent mob that is the CON backdrop.
I'd also like to give a tip of the hat to Joyce Murray, who brought home a well-deserved win in a tougher battle than normal in Vancouver Quadra. There are few campaigners as dogged and determined as Joyce -- I've seen her in action. This seat, while considered the safest Liberal seat in BC (though I'd give that designation now to Vancouver South), has a blue-blood tradition and was some 24 years ago a long-standing Tory post. That it was a tight margin reflects more a bye-election electorate's curiousity with the Green Party than a potential CON rising tide. The government side in fact didn't lift its numbers at all.
Perhaps the biggest winner? Elizabeth May and her Green Crew, which have made serious inroads on the NDP and even the Grits. Is there another reason why Harper should be seriously embracing May's demand that she be included in any general election TV debate?
Losers? Well, if finishing in a dog race with a party that holds no seats is any indication, you'd have to say it's Jack. The typical downplaying of these campaigns was acceptable under the pretense that none of these seats were seriously in play. However, to lose ground and tread water in the birthplace of Canadian socialism and the heart of Toronto means you may not be your buddy PM's favourite poker player much longer.
Harper? While his vote didn't rise in urban Vancouver and it took a tumble in Toronto, he added a seat -- so if he's a loser, it's in the 'Heather Mills' category.
Dion? It's not a serious blow but definitely he will feel some internal heat for having his second self-appointed candidate go down to defeat. Joan Beatty was a fine candidate, but an appointment was a slap in the face of the Liberal members of that riding. She needed to win them over honestly, not be handed a special pass. And now Dion will be hearing, at least from the media and the parliamentary cheap seats across the way, all about 'leader-in-waiting' Rae. I only see Bob Rae as an asset who'll ring up great TV moments of pressing this weasel government on topical and hot button issues when the house is in session. But others will see what they will.
But certainly there was reason for glee with the CON team, and I won't argue with the koolaid slurpers on that account.
Harper added to his seat total by taking a winnable seat back, which as sitting governments know, is usually a 50-50 opportunity at best.
He remains his own worst enemy, and this proves we've got a long way to go to capitalize on it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


There's a big kerfuffle among Libloggers on what is the role of a liberal blogger.
Should they be cheerleaders or open, thoughtful commentators, who'll criticize when the urge hits them? Of course, there are many wise and talented Libloggers out there who do all of the above, some of the above, or even more.
It's whatever that liblogger chooses to do with his own blog, in my mind.
The somewhat heavihandedness of Jason does seem to be too much of a con-servative-type suggestion (although the CONs suggestions include an exclamation point) where criticism and dissent is bad. However, I also agree that the chief ideal behind my blog is to help end this government's bipolar and neo-destructive reign, so I try to write things which will reveal my view of the CON game.
Telling this guy to get lost is a serious mistake, however. In the end, his openness along with many others may serve or not serve our cause, but we will need the hearts and minds of many that are being critical at this time -- and there is reason to criticize, although i prefer to do majority of it in private -- when the real battle begins. Free to feel, free to think -- that will never be something the CONs can pitch as a slogan.
I'm sure the few who check my blog on occasion have noted that i border on the shrill -- partisan is definitely my intention. But i am a trained journalist and do see many of the things which have raised concerns and angst among my blog colleagues.
My continued focus will be that journalism motto -- to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Few could argue that the Liberal Party of Canada isn't among the afflicted (and self-inflicted) during these tough times.

Sunday, March 9, 2008


I'd like to feign quell surprise but why bother?
A study released by Canwest has shown that Stephen Harper has been splurging on federal funds in Quebec, and targeted his CON-held ridings by a big margin.
The economic development funds should either be distributed equally, or even better, proportionately to ridings where economic factors have put the region at a disadvantage.
But as is in Harper's world, the advantage goes to the victor, and those other have to abide for their smaller portion of the spoils.
The CONserfative ridings received more than one-and-a half times more funding -- $10.8 million to $6.6 -- than those held by the Bloc. And the 13 ridings with Liberal MPs? They received an average of $3.2 million.
Don't get this confused with a 'bail-out' either. It's specific to Quebec's needs. So all you other provinces, put your hands back in your pockets -- at least until Stephen tells you otherwise.
(The study was done last summer, just prior to the by-election wins by the CON's invisible backbencher and NDPs Mulcair -- but I wouldn't doubt that Mulcair's riding is getting close to the Bloc funding. Jack and Stephen are on good terms, you know.
Most of the Liberal ridings are in urban centres. As an attempt to punish those who vote Liberal, it's quite cunning. However, as an effort to convince those people that you are a benevolent servant fit to govern the whole province, the effort could very likely backfire. Its on the assumption that Quebeckers do not care about fairness in governance. That they can be completely bought over by a bribe. How well did that tactic work for your hand-picked agent during the provincial election?
Stephen Harper's foil-hatted minions will just say, 'You did it too!'
Even if it was true, those of you who suffered all those years in opposition should be considering that reflection in the mirror. Those supposed things you hated the Liberals for? That's now you.
But the fact is the CON party and its so-called leader's myopic hatred of all things Liberal will be his downfall.

Friday, March 7, 2008


Comedy can be enlightening.
It can also be a bludgeon in which to ridicule the ridiculous.
This week in Parliament and Canadian politics has been just such a subject that is so deserving of some ridicule. For the next few moments, the captain will be lowering the partisan shield. Please observe all the signs.
So, with no further ado, here are just a few of my favourite lines from a few of my favourite funny films and the people that keep them alive today...

-"Surely you can't be serious."
"I am serious... and don't call me Shirley." - Airplane

-"Three men and one woman are trapped in a building! Send help at once! If you can't send help, send two more women!" - Duck Soup

-"It's Dr. Evil, I didn't spend six years in Evil Medical School to be called "mister," thank you very much." - Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

-"I think your some kind of deviated prevert. I think general Ripper found out about your preversion and that you were organizing some kind of mutiny of preverts." - Dr Strangelove

-"Oh! Come and see the violence inherent in the system! Help! Help! I'm being repressed!" - Monty Python's Holy Grail

-"I believe you have my stapler." - Office Space

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Wow, what a guy won't do to change the channel.
Looks like the Smartest Guy in the Room [Conservative chapter] is having a week from hell. First he's had his three-year-old words thrown back in his um, er face in an alleged bribery incident (as opposed to entrapment) from a biography on the late Chuck Cadman. The family of the dead man -- a well-respected one, at that -- provide the same story of the alleged bribe. Looking like a Fred Astaire imposter, our Prime Minister puts on his dancing shoes and does a funky two-step in hopes of dodging the hard questions.
But the story grows. So what's Harper's next defence? Some ol' quotes from Mike 'Are You Going To Eat That?' Duffy, which is repeated ad nauseum by the west coast's version of John Baird (strangely enough, Chuck Cadman's quotes on CKNW are not reprised as much). Blogging Tories do their best to swiftboat anyone that isn't a Harper CON, including the widow, who just happens to be the party's candidate in Surrey North.
Okay, you knew all that.
But just remember, this is the same 'so-called leader' who denied paying off a candidate and then was revealed to have promised said payment, leading to an out-of-court settlement.
So, besides trying to silence the opposition with a lawsuit (apparently he really wanted Calvert to sue him!) he is accused of sending an underling to create some mischief southside with the Democrat presidential race. Barack Obama, feel Stephen's wrath!
Now less people are talking about Chuckgate and now are onto NAFTA-gate.
It's sort of like Harper and his Apple-dum-Ass Gang's claim of 'Peace In Our Times of Intergovernmental affairs' -- vaudeville lives!
It's becoming clearer and clearer that Stephen Harper is less a fan of Stalin than of Nero. If only he could fiddle...