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'?