Friday, October 30, 2009

3rd Quarter Fundraising

Pretty impressive fundraising for the Liberals in the third quarter. Rossi reports 2 million for the quarter, which is actually up for this period last year, despite that coming during an election campaign. The NDP had a successful quarter, with the benefit of a convention, raising just over 1 million. However, this number represents 57% of what was raised this quarter last year, while the Liberals raised 110%.

What makes the Liberal number all the more impressive to me, the party was forced to cancel a massive fundraiser in Vaughn for late September, due to the looming confidence vote. Estimates pegged that fundraiser at 1.6 million. Party organizers tend to space out their fundraisers for each quarter for optics, the loss of this donor vein was unanticipated. Had it occured as planned, this would have meant the Liberals were poised to mirror their very impressive 2nd quarter total, despite not having the benefit of a convention.

Having raised 2 million in a quarter, without this fundraiser, speaks to a growing institutional donor pool, which can be counted on for a steady flow of funds. By all accounts the Victory Fund push has been very successful, and the party was able to double membership over the summer, ahead of their ambitious schedule. This is the nuts and bolts stuff that goes largely unnoticed, but is paramount to building the party if it is to ultimately challenge the Conservative juggernaut.

I was a bit worried about this quarter, when I heard that the fundraiser had to be cancelled. Pleasantly surprised that Rocco and his team have done such a great job providing a consistent base support, that the party can count on. Good stuff.

Canadians Side With Liberals On Stimulus

The pdf for the Harris Decima poll on stimulus spending has been released, and the Liberals are clearly winning the PR war. Reading the commentary by Anderson yesterday, I'm going to challenge his conclusion, that while Canadians agree there is a bias, we are "resigned" to this practice and accept it as "business as usual". The numbers:
A majority of Canadians believe the Liberal claim that a lion’s share of the stimulus funding is being directed towards Conservative ridings. 56% of
respondents found this claim very (18%) or somewhat (38%) believable, while 34% did not find the claim believable. Strong majorities in Atlantic Canada, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan found this claim believable, while opinion was split in Alberta where 48% found it believable, and 47% did not. Interestingly, in Quebec opinion was split down the middle as well
with 42% finding the claim believable, and 42% saying it was not believable.

In terms of polling, that is a pretty one-sided support of the Liberal claim of bias. Even Conservative supporters are somewhat inclined to believe the Liberal position, 43% see a bias, while 50% do not. Also noteworthy, in battleground Ontario, the margin is even higher at 2 to 1, 61% see favoritism, only 30% do not. I would catergorize those numbers as problematic for the government, the Liberal message resonating.

Here's my quibble with Anderson's comments, based on this question:
The Liberals are saying that spending more in Conservative ridings is unfair and should be stopped. The Conservatives are saying that this is happening because their members are working harder to get new projects for their ridings and that just how things work. Which is closer to your view?

46% support the Liberal position, while 34% support the government argument. Because the percentages are slightly closer than the "fairness" question, Anderson concludes that Canadians aren't that concerned about PORK, this isn't a "political bombshell". I would argue, the fact, by a sizeable margin, Canadians side with the Liberal position is noteworthy, irrespective of the other findings. It's still quite a gap, only in Alberta do the majority side with the Conservatives. Half of Ontario votes support the Liberals, while 33% believe the Conservatives. In Quebec it's a 47%-29% gap. To be frank, how anyone concludes that Canadians are accepting of the practice, based on these numbers, ESCAPES me. The numbers seem pretty self evident, using the first question to lessen the impact of these findings is "half baked".

From the Liberal perspective, I would describe the above findings, particularly the regionals, as quite "pleasing". While the support numbers haven't moved, a seed of doubt has been planted, which may be exploited as time goes on.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Very Compelling

This sure sounds like a government with a compelling story to tell, in an effort to counter unfounded criticism:
The federal government has dumped three boxloads of information about its efforts to stimulate Canada's sputtering economy on Parliament's independent budget watchdog.

But rather than provide an easy-to-read spreadsheet listing infrastructure projects and how much money has been spent on each of them to date, the government has flooded the parliamentary budget officer with 4,476 separate pieces of paper on individual projects.

The tactic has opposition critics accusing the government of trying to bury Page in paper.

New Democrat MP Pat Martin says the goal appears to be to confound and confuse people about how much has really been spent.

So transparent, and accountable, they just ooze "fairness" on this one, don't they?

Beyond The Headlines

The other day, Canwest released a study of infrastructure spending that came with the "fairness" headline, no evidence that Conservative ridings were given favoritism. In reaction to that claim, I penned a post challenging the most basic of premise in that Canwest post. Besides David Akin (who I do respect, just disagree on this point) calling me a "dink", I thought my criticism valid, no satisfactory counter forthcoming.

Well, Gerard Kennedy is at it again, doing fantastic work (Donolo, get him off the backbench, it just looks silly at this stage). This time Gerard trains his gaze on the Knowledge Infrastructure Program, the stimulus analysed by Canwest, that showed NO bias. What did Gerard find?:

Conservative stimulus bias continues at post-secondary institutions

the Harper government has funneled a disproportionate amount of money to colleges and universities situated in Conservative-held ridings, Liberal Infrastructure Critic Gerard Kennedy said today.

“An honest analysis of the facts shows the same pattern already evident in other infrastructure stimulus funds. Colleges and universities in Conservative ridings were given an average of 33 per cent more funding on a per student basis than those institutions in Opposition-held ridings,” said Mr. Kennedy.

“This amounts to a funding gap of nearly $263 million – and it’s not fair to our young people trying to get an education, or the researchers working to build our economy through discovery.”

Mr. Kennedy’s findings are based on an analysis of the available data on the $2-billion national Knowledge Infrastructure Program (KIP).

He found that in the four most politically competitive provinces – that is, where Conservatives are most likely to gain or lose seats in Parliament – there is a very pronounced bias of funding.

Of note, just to take this out of the partisan realm, not one press release claim from the Liberals on this score have been refuted by an independent analysis, using similar parameters. In fact, the Liberal analysis has been supported time and again, the only exception the Canwest piece, which missed the most glaringly obvious of problems with such superficial conclusions.

I'm sure there is some stimulus program out there that truly refutes the favoritism thesis. It's just nobody has found that program yet(sorry Mr. Akin), including a PMO which I'm sure has tried. Given the wide array of programs, the lack of counter is almost more telling than the evidence to date.

Conservative Lead Consolidating?

Three polls out today, two national, plus a CROP Quebec poll, all with very similar and now common themes.

Both the Angus Reid and EKOS poll show consistent results, providing further evidence that the Conservative lead is solidifying, something beyond a temporary blip. AR gives the government a 14% lead, EKOS 12%, both with no movement poll to poll. Slight improvement for the NDP, although still below 2008 totals.

The trend in Ontario, a 10% lead for the Conservatives has stayed consistent long enough to suggest a new paradigm in the province. One caution, these numbers were the same in reverse for a period of a couple months last spring. Still volatile, but the Conservative lead is holding.

In Quebec, all the pollsters show a worrying number for the Liberals, below Dion's totals. CROP also shows Ignatieff's personal stature on the wane, which comes as no surprise. The Liberals are mired in the low 20's, beside the Conservatives, who were once "dead" in the province. There is much speculation that part of Ignatieff's inner circle shuffle will include more francophones. An aggressive strategy in Quebec is of paramount importance, to undo the Coderre damage.

These polls are more of the same, but more of the same is the worrying part. If memory serves, the Conservatives weren't able to hold this kind of lead, for this long, last winter during the coalition crisis. Thoughts of a "blip" are diminishing, and it looks a long road back for the Liberals.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sounds About Right

Rearview Mirror?

To be perfectly honest, I'm a bit conflicted about the shakeup in the OLO. On the one hand, bringing in Donolo looks like a shrewd move, impressive, talented guy, with an extensive pedigree. The appointment seems to be generating a favorable response from most Liberals.

However, and this is no slight on Donolo, I'm a bit concerned with this "rear view mirror" mentality that tends to dominate Liberal thinking. There are rumors that Donolo will bring in old Martin and Chretien people, some experience to try and turn things around. I agree with expanding the "team", Ignatieff should draw from the biggest intellectual pool possible. My only worry, this "expertise" comes with a glory day mentality, this sense that Liberals can recapture past magic. It is noteworthy, that Donolo held his communication post with Chretien 18 years ago- ancient times in the modern political reality. If Donolo surrounds himself with other past "heroes", there may be a tendency to rely on outdated templates, approaches that lack new ways of thinking.

Maybe it's because I just recently joined the Liberal Party, and wasn't particularly enamored with it's past manifestations, but the past isn't the golden age in my mind. The fact of the matter, the rot that the Liberal Party is dealing with now, the "lost our soul" difficulties all began under the reign of these "sages". In many respects, with the party held power under ideal conditions, it became an empty vehicle, which is something that plagues it to this today. IF, Liberals are under the illusion that we can simply bring old warhorses back into the fold and victory will be at hand, then we will deserve our fate in the end.

There's a real pecking order within the Liberal Party, and my brief exposure sees lots of jockeying and backroom postures. Re-energizing this party with fresh ideas, and blood for that matter, is the true to key to an attractive presentation. While experience is essential, that can be a drag on progressive thinking, because it relies on recapturing, re-inventing, when dynamics have changed.

I wish Donolo well, and I don't question his suitability. What I would stress, the CHIEF liability for this party at the moment is a lack of identity. That must be the focus, "bringing back the band" is fine, but keep looking at the horizon, not the rearview mirror.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

G8 Summit Boondoggle

Imagine using government money for the Vancouver Olympics to build a botanical garden in Chilliwack. That would seem weird, wouldn't it? Imagine money allocated to clean up the Hamilton Harbour being used to repave roads in Barrie? That wouldn't seem "right" would it? Imagine using money to help host the G8 summit in Huntsville for granite signage in distant Parry Sound ???:

A $50-million fund to build infrastructure for next June's G-8 summit is being spent partly on projects that are far from the summit site and have tenuous links to the high-powered meeting, according to a Canadian Press analysis.

Industry Minister Tony Clement announced the low-profile fund last February, saying it was for G-8 infrastructure, including a new building in Huntsville, Ont.

Huntsville, where the G-8 meeting is being held, is in Clement's riding about 200 kilometres north of Toronto. A partial list of fund projects shows that many of the towns in Clement's riding are receiving money to build bandshells, plant gardens and put up signs and lights.

One news release announced $1.1 million to upgrade a street and replace trees in Parry Sound, about 80 kilometres away from the summit site.

Clement has also announced $194,000 for a large "welcome granite stone" and new lighting for a concert stage, also in Parry Sound.

Sometimes, visual aids are handy. Note the geographical locations:

I'm not sure what is more offensive, that this money was wasted on projects with NO co-relation to the G8 summit, or that Clement has become so ARROGANT and OUT OF CONTROL that he thinks he can pull it off without anybody noticing. Blows my mind.

Liberals File Complaint Over Partisan Advertising

The Liberals have filed a formal complaint to the Ethics Commissioner, regarding the gross misuse of YOUR money for partisan gain:
Liberal Public Works Critic Martha Hall Findlay is filing a complaint with the Ethics Commissioner for abuse of conflict of interest in the Harper government’s $60 million-and counting partisan advertising campaign.

“Since the Harper government came into office, it has been gradually exploiting the mechanisms of government for partisan gain,” said Ms. Hall Findlay. “We believe that the Harper government’s partisan advertising campaign breaches both the Conflict of Interest Act and the Conflict of Interest Code which applies to Members of Parliament – and we’re asking the Ethics Commissioner for a Review.

You can view the document HERE, which provides a very detailed and compelling case to show a consistent pattern of partisanship influence (even includes my little finding of social media links to Harper on the EAP website).

Of all the current issues swirling around this EAP, the one that deserves the most attention in the final analysis, is the idea that this government is using OUR money to benefit itself, not the Canadians it was intended to help. Anyone who does any research will see that this advertising is unprecedented in terms of scope, sheer mass and the blurring of the lines between government and party.

Worse, at a time of economic uncertainty and many challenging issues, the Conservatives seem to have put more energy into promoting themselves than tackling the problems. This whole issue speaks to misplaced priorities and flies in the face of any notion of "good government".

It's time for the MSM to do some detailed comparisons, because any research will show the unprecedented nature and will reveal that the Conservatives are without peer, when it comes to the singular obsession of self promotion at our expense. This isn't about some rogue crooks, this directive comes and was hatched in the PMO itself, this is Harper approved waste of taxpayer money to improve Conservative fortunes. Down to the use of color, language imprinting, a multi level propaganda machine that's sole purpose is to manipulate the electorate. Somebody needs to ask the basic question- what the hell is going on here anyways?

Monday, October 26, 2009

The 100 Million Dollar Sway?

Another poll today, which shows more of the new trendline. Everyone has digested the reasons for the changing political fortunes, namely backlash against the Liberals election desire, coupled with internal strife that has undermined Ignatieff. These factors are real, no question. However, there is another quiet storyline at play here that gets little attention, one that isn't as easily quantified but just as persuasive. I don't think there is any doubt that part of the Conservative's new "windfall" of support has a direct correlation to the advertising dollars being spent promoting the government.

There is a curious dynamic at play within the polls. Even though the Liberals are reduced to Dion era numbers, there is no corresponding uptick for the NDP, their numbers equally dreadful. It seems that these two parties are both, in parallel, bleeding support to the Conservatives. Even the Bloc numbers are pretty much static, despite favorable developments. There is only one party that seems to be drawing support at the moment, and that's the government. This strange narrative is a bit of a polling anomaly, which means the most obvious of reasons might not capture the full picture.

It seems simple logic- surely a 100 million dollar, suspect, highly partisan presentation would have some effect. I recall previous partisan ad buys in the order of 1/20th given credit for "moving the numbers", so something of this magnitude isn't easily dismissed. I believe that this wall to wall feel good exercise is working in tandem with other factors to create a new political order.

The real kicker here, that gets virtually ignored- WE are paying for this manipulation, with money we DON'T HAVE. It's an obscene number, so unique in it's magnitude that no partisan can make the lame claim "everybody does it". This advertising is exponentially higher than any previous campaign, it has no peer, to suggest otherwise willful ignorance.

When people try to figure out what happened, just remember last spring when Ottawa was abuzz about the "biggest ad buy" in Canadian history- the Conservatives 5 million dollar Ignatieff smear campaign. That was a seismic political move, but in retrospect it's a drop in the bucket to this assault on Canadians. That has no effect, it doesn't benefit the government? There's a reason why all parties are mired in the mud, with the exception of one and it isn't because Harper can sing in monotone. Votes are being bought with my money, and I'll have to pay it back someday with interest. A great country.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

What A Crock

Bombarded by several independent media outlets showing a worrying trend? Tired of bad press that demonstrates a clear pattern of political favoritism? No worries, Canwest to the rescue, using the most dubious of measures to paint a pretty picture. Fact- if you've been paying attention the past couple weeks, you would have noticed a curious ABSCENCE of stories in Canwest publications, speaking to this stimulus distribution. The eyes don't lie, everybody knows the bias, the low key focus ENTIRELY predictable. But wait, it's all changed now, Canwest has done it's own homework, using a fund that I'm sure was conceived of independently (COUGH), and guess what?:
Infrastructure funding fair, analysis shows

Ridings represented by Liberal and NDP MPs are getting more than their fair share of a $2-billion federal infrastructure fund, suggests a new analysis by Canwest News Service.

Canwest's analysis of 310 infrastructure projects receiving funds from the Knowledge Infrastructure Program follows separate analyses by other news organizations of other infrastructure programs published last week that showed ridings held by Conservative MPs were receiving a disproportionately higher share.

This fund, is meant for college and universities. I will GUARANTEE you, that if Canwest bothered to cross reference the number of said high learning institutions in each riding, they would find that the opposition parties, by their support base nature, would have more of these institutions per riding, relative to Conservatives.

The "analysis" by Canwest finds Liberal ridings in Quebec are the big beneficiary, the Bloc ridings shortchanged so to speak. Well golly gee, take a look at where the Liberals hold ridings and you might just see a CLUSTER of higher learning institutions. Then, look at many of the rural Bloc ridings- hmmmm, I see a discrepancy.

Here's the kicker with the Canwest "study", which actually undercuts their conclusion:
With nearly 90% of the money allocated, colleges and universities in ridings held by Conservative MPs have received the most funding -- $666-million or 38%.

But Conservatives won 143 seats last fall, or 46% of all ridings. If the money from the Knowledge Infrastructure Program was being distributed equally across each riding post-secondary institutions in Conservative-held ridings should have received $803-million, or about 17% more.

So, in Conservative ridings where these institutions exist in some capacity, Canwest finds they received "the most funding". This fact actually supports all the other analysis, because I'll guarantee you that 38% of all college and universities don't fall within Conservative ridings. No, this sidenote admission is the really storyline here, buried amongst the fluff to show "fairness".

I challenge Canwest, David Akin, to review all their findings, using institution placement within these ridings. It will then be no surprise that NDP ridings do well, nor the Liberals, because, WELL, they have lots of seats in URBAN settings, settings that just so happen to be HUBS for colleges and universities, DISPORPORTIONATELY if you will. Could you start with a more SKEWED data set? The fact that Con ridings with these institutions are getting OODLES of cash supports previous findings, there is no "confusion".

A shocking day, Canwest finds the data to absolve the Conservative government, but doesn't bother to acknowledge the most common sense, inherently problematic "apples to apples" dynamic within that data. Please.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

PMO's Dmitri Soudas "Should Shut Up"

I must have missed Soudas' talking point today, but it caught the attention of CTV. The fact that Soudas was reduced to playing the card he did, is quite telling and insightful. Soudas actually accused The Globe and Mail, which endorsed the Harper Conservatives the past two elections, of getting their stimulus cash spending direction from the Leader of the Opposition.

Think about that for a second? Soudas couldn't refute the numbers, the PMO couldn't devise a feasible counter argument, so they were reduced to manufacturing a vast "liberal media" consipracy defence. Does this mean all the Ignatieff bashing and negative Liberal storylines being puked out by The Globe and Mail for the past weeks and months actually originated with the Liberals themselves? Liberals plotting their own demise, behind the "skirt" of their media organ? Hmmm, there's a plausible argument.

It's pathetic that Soudas went there, but from the Liberal perspective it's a great development. What it suggests is the PMO is becoming exacerbated, they're lashing out because they're losing the public relations battle. The arguments are starting to bite, and it's getting under their skin.

CTV Powerplay discussed this issue today. Obviously, The Globe and Mail laugh off the accusations. Craig Oliver went further, quite upset with Soudas for the mere suggestion. He advised Mr. Soudas that he "should shut up". I would advise Mr. Soudas to keep talking.

Numbers Don't Lie

Still waiting for any counter evidence to support the Conservative's increasingly WEAK defence on the stimulus, today we have another "detailed" analysis from the Globe and Mail, and another Liberal release:
Harper slush fund favours Conservative Northern Ontario ridings

OTTAWA - Stephen Harper’s pork-barrel politics extends to Northern Ontario, where he let Tony Clement give Conservative ridings twice as much infrastructure funding as opposition-held ridings, a Liberal analysis shows.

Under the first comprehensive look at all of the stimulus funds in announced in Northern Ontario, the Conservatives gave their two Northern Ontario ridings an average of $35 million, compared to $18 million on average for the other eight ridings in the region held by opposition parties.

“The Harper Conservatives think some unemployed Canadians are more worthy of job creation projects than others,” said Liberal Infrastructure Critic Gerard Kennedy. “Otherwise, why would they give more than double the average to projects in their own ridings, at the expense of children, infrastructure and jobs in opposition-held ridings?”

“Once again we see this government treating taxpayer money like their own personal slush fund to try and buy the votes, while ignoring the needs of those who dared to vote for someone other than a Conservative.”

As reported by Tom Clark on CTV, the Conservatives aren't refuting the numbers or "statistics", because, well, they're FACTUAL.

About the only defence I've seen today, that Conservative MP's across Ontario apparently went to George Smitherman for stimulus dollars. The federal Conservative MP's didn't solicit funds from their own government, but instead relied on clearance from a Liberal provincial minister. Interesting that defence, if not entirely believable or part of the REAL WORLD. When you have nothing, you cling I suppose...

Two Polls

Both the NANOS poll out today, and the weekly EKOS poll show similar results. EKOS puts the Conservatives 11% ahead, NANOS 10%:
Cons 38.3% EKOS, 39.8% NANOS
Libs 27.1%, 30%
NDP 14.5%, 16.6%
Greens 11%, 4.6%

NANOS hasn't polled for 7 weeks, so the poll to poll trend isn't as instructive as the more regular EKOS poll. The fact the two show similar results though, speaks to any relevance in the EKOS finding. Although EKOS still shows a strong Conservative lead, which shouldn't be understated, the gap is down a full 4% in one week, and the Conservative drop is outside the margin of error. Of note, last week I made reference to a huge one day sample from EKOS, on the last day of their sampling, that showed similar numbers, the first hint of a narrowing. This occurs as the government is being hammered, so some pullback is expected. It will be interesting to see subsequent polling, because these things tend to manifest themselves slowly, rather than instant changed fortunes.

In all honestly, I expect to see a GRADUAL narrowing, merely as a function of a return to more normal polling, as the maelstrom around the Liberals fades. If that lowering of the temperature is accompanied by Conservative missteps, then the prior weeks may be another temporary blip, akin to last January. Time will tell.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Beyond The "Rhetoric"

What to make of it all? I thought it might be TELLING to compile a list of independent examinations, regarding the stimulus spending and "fairness". It is true, that statistics can be misleading, which is why many times we do see seemingly contradictory empirical information that can be confusing. In many instances debates are reduced to dueling claims and the truth tends to get lost in the numbers. Anyways, in an effort to move past partisan rhetoric, here are samples of all available media analysis, using government provided data sets.


Oct 13 Chronicle Herald
The analysis by The Chronicle Herald supports the conclusions reached by a federal Liberal party report, which found that Conservative ridings across the country have been getting more federal economic stimulus funding than opposition-held ridings have.

In Nova Scotia, though, the projects announced so far do not appear to be fairly distributed.

Oct 20 Ottawa Citizen:
Tory ridings receive bigger slice of big-money stimulus cash: Research

Conservative ridings across Canada received more than their fair share of big-money stimulus projects paid for by taxpayers, an investigation into the Harper government's Economic Action Plan shows.

The numbers — drawn from Ottawa's own website — bolster opposition allegations of pork barrelling in the multi-billion-dollar stimulus package, a charge the Tories deny.

An Ottawa Citizen-Halifax Chronicle-Herald investigation shows 57 per cent of the projects, with more than $1 million in federal funding nationwide, went to Conservative ridings.

Oct 20 Chronicle Herald:
Vote Tory, get an ice rink
Our analysis shows more blue ridings got rec funding

Funds from a federal stimulus program for hockey rinks and other recreation projects in communities across Canada appear to have been awarded disproportionately to Conservative ridings, an investigation shows.

Tory ridings have landed 66 per cent of all projects announced so far under the Harper government’s Recreation Infrastructure Canada program, also known as RinC.

Oct 21 Globe and Mail:
Recreational stimulus favours Tory ridings

A high-profile Harper government stimulus program created to build hockey rinks and other recreation projects has funnelled about 33 per cent per cent more money to Conservative seats than to opposition ridings in the battleground province of Ontario.

An analysis by The Globe and Mail shows Tory ridings received an average of $2.1-million, compared to $1.5-million on average for opposition ridings.

More evidence coming in tomorrow's Globe and Mail, according to CTV.



I know the Liberals and Kennedy are making up all this stuff for partisan gain, but it is strange that the Conservative counters can't find ONE SINGLE INDEPENDENT REFERENCE POINT TO VALIDATE their claims. Can't they give L. Ian MacDonald or The National Post a calculator and some cooked numbers to get some "balance" out there? Dmitri, my man??

In all seriousness, if the government had any credibility, you would expect to see some conflicting data produced. In fact, the law of averages almost suggests some limited backing. But NO, whatever rock is turned over, finds the same worrying favoritism.

Forget checks, this is the real issue that will blow up in their faces. The reason, it's TRUE.

Monday, October 19, 2009

John Baird: The Weakest Of Tea

There he was in Question Period, waving supposedly incriminating old photos of Liberals with big cheques, trying to demonstrate that Conservative practices of today were old hat, nothing uncommon. John Baird was so bold, he even offered to "table" the photos after Question Period:
John Baird: Mr. SPEAKER, BUT I HAVE IN MY Hand a picture of the member for malpeque with a cheque " -- "a cheque for kensington" his smiling face, and the grand recipient. I have it right here, Mr. SPEAKER. I'd be pleased to table it right after question period.

John Baird: We have the member for malpeque, his picture signing a cheque. We have the member for richmond hill. He's actually signed the CHEQUE, Mr. SPEAKER. The liberal member for richmond hill and we also have the liberal member for scarborough-agincourt, Mr. SPEAKER. If any more of them want to stand up, I've got plenty more.

It was pretty hard to see the photos, what with Baird waving them and the smoke coming out of his forever flaring nostrils. However, we find out later that the Conservative war room has really come up dry, because said photos actually demonstrate that Conservative practice is unprecedented, NO party logos, NO MP names in big lettering, just the standard big cheque. So, in some misguided attempt to hurl mud at the Liberals, Baird actually highlighted the Conservatives singular behavior.

The fact Baird was reduced to elevating NOTHINGNESS is telling. The fact the Conservatives have scoured years of previous government photos and come up with this weak effort is just sad. The fact the Conservatives didn't realize that offering such a weak presentation only served to further magnify their slippery slope, well that's just amusing. Way to go Mr. Baird, you just proved by OMISSION that your hyper-partisanship is without peer!

In fairness, maybe the PMO has been distracted the last couple days, clearing government websites of unflattering linkage and whatnot, so this might not be their best work ;)

Full Circle

It really is quite remarkable when you think about. In recent days, the main defence coming from Conservative apologists, uses direct references to the former Liberal government to rationalize current Conservative behavior. The "Liberals did it too" argument to deflect criticism is particularly noteworthy coming from this crowd, because it betrays the most basic core tenets of this government, it defies what they were supposedly elected on.

In a quantitative sense, the level of taxpayer funded self promotion is unprecedented, spending 3x what the dirty Liberals once did. When confronted with this sobering reality, Conservatives are reduced to tired arguments, but beyond that they actually use the past Liberals to defend themselves. When you consider that the entire Conservative argument was once predicated on being the anti-Liberals, this particular "counter" is so entirely amusing. I'm not sure if the faithful lack the sophistication to see the folly, or their desperation trumps basic common sense, but relying on the Liberals for cover is just to RICH.

The Conservatives have lost the supposed moral high ground, which in truth was always a function of the luxury of the theoretical. Once forced into the practical realm, all the former righteousness has evaporated, and supporters are left with the objective truth that they have become their enemy, in many respects worse. More secretive, less transparent, bending rules, wasting taxpayer money on partisan considerations, misusing the government apparatus, basically betraying everything they supposedly stood for. That's not my opinion, the examples are endless, the MOUNDS of evidence everywhere.

There is one simple fact. Conservatives using the former Liberal government to neuter criticism is a testament to their own failure, it's a recognition that the "dream" is dead and they've become what they supposedly despised. Deal with it.

Friday, October 16, 2009


If you want a singular example, that reveals what a FARCE the Canadian Economic Action Plan website really is, I encourage you to use the YouTube link on the frontpage. One would think, that this application would direct you to some example of the government stimulus being used effectively, something informative, how to use the renovation credit, even one of those highly partisan ads that are carpetbombing the airwaves, whatever- something related to the nature of the website. But NO, what is the first available video that Canadians will find? Well, you will find this over the top nonsense:

That's right, a government website devoted to the Canadian Economic Action Plan linking to a video of Stephen Harper tickling the ivories. That is just so wrong and obnoxious, on a myriad of levels.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Harris Decima

Another poll, with a smaller gap than other recent findings. Harris Decima two week sample shows little change from their last release a month ago:
The Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey put the Tories at 35 per cent nationally, compared with 28 per cent for the Liberals.

The NDP was at 15 per cent, while the Greens and Bloc Quebecois were tied at 10 per cent.

No pdf release- god forbid Canadian Press let readers see the entire poll, much better to tease with partial releases that don't even bother to give certain parties the benefit of an actual number (NDP in Ontario, who knows?) That annoyance aside, the last HD release a month ago had it 34% Con, 30% Lib, 15% NDP, Green 10%. Not a terrific change really, although the trend is similar to other outfits. HD is notorious for showing small changes, their methodology tends to counter large movement poll to poll. I'd be curious to see if there was much difference between the two weeks polled.

In Ontario, HD has a much closer race, with the Conservatives up a mere 4%- 40% to 36%. Some quick deduction provides another poor result for the NDP, but we don't have the exact figure.

In Quebec, HD doesn't seem to show any Conservative "revival". The Conservatives sit at 15%, which is actually lower than the 16% score a month ago. Outlier? It's possible, although HD does show a reduced Liberal percentage, now at 24%(30% last month), Bloc up to 41%.

Anderson says the Liberal trend is clear, whereas the Conservative score is more "volatile".

A better result for the Liberals in this poll, or maybe more correctly "less bad".


The latest EKOS poll gives the Conservatives a commanding 15% lead, very much in majority terrority. EKOS breaks it down, day to day, which shows no polling during the holiday weekend, followed by a sizeable sample for Tuesday. This sample alone is the equivalent of most full polls from other outfits, which makes the narrower numbers noteworthy.

Cons 40.7%
Libs 25.5%
NDP 14.3%
Greens 10.5%

The Conservatives gain another percent this week, Liberal number unmoved, NDP down. The poll obviously takes all the days into totality, but because of the holiday gap, EKOS did a huge sample this past Tuesday (881 people, MOE 3.3%). Because of the size, the results are worth a look:
Cons 37.3%
Libs 26.5%
NDP 13.6%
Greens 12.3%

Less than a 11% lead on this last day. I'm curious if this is the first indication of some return to more normal margins, because we've seen this dynamic before when the Conservatives pull way ahead. With the Liberals problems settling down, in terms of exposure, MAYBE the worst has past. A strong number for the Greens, who actually outpolled the NDP on Oct 9.

In terms of the regionals, another strong number for the Conservatives in Quebec, tied with the Liberals at a rounded off 23%, Bloc at 36%, Greens 10%, NDP 8%. Despite the Liberal retreat, the Bloc hasn't really gained support, those voters seem to be returning to the Conservatives.

In Ontario, another impressive number for the Conservatives at 44%, the Liberals at 31% and the NDP at 14%. What is particularly relevant here, and we see it elsewhere, despite the Liberal collapse, the NDP haven't gained anything, even down in some cases. This dynamic is a bit troubling, because it suggests that the NDP isn't part of the consideration, it's all about the jockeying back and forth between the two principles. These Ontario numbers are quite soft and volatile, but a lagging NDP has been a constant. In other regions, we see little evidence of the NDP gaining at the Liberals expense.

Eric provides a seat breakdown, based on these numbers, which shows a Con majority. Interestingly, the Liberal seat total remains in tact, whatever losses are countered by seat pickups over the NDP:
Cons 160
Libs 76
Bloc 50
NDP 22

Moving forward, let's see if these numbers hold, because my bias aside, I see a reasonable scenario where the percentages narrow somewhat. If the Conservatives can sustain this level of support, it will mean an entirely new circumstance, a real shift, rather than temporary blips. It remains to be seen if these type of gaps have "staying power", that's really the thing to watch for a month or two out.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Courage Isn't A Liability

The proposal below betrays two supposed core tenets for any party in opposition hoping to oust the government. One, you never put forth a controversial policy which makes YOU the focus- the two most recent examples, John Tory and Stephane Dion. The second, never be so provocative, that you galvanize opposition, particularly if the issue can be emotional and irrational. These solid, but sometimes misleading cautions aside, the following consideration offers both a moral imperative, as well as potential political "upside", albeit it risky. For a party desperate to redefine itself, I think we should give the issue of euthanasia a serious look.

What is lacking on this file isn't public mood, but political courage, primarily because you unearth a hornet's nest. Any polling I've seen shows majority support for euthanasia as an available option. There is also a great degree of "institutional" support, from those that deal with the complexities in their profession. In fact, the political realm is a lagging indicator, when one considers where the public is on this issue. I proposed supporting euthanasia a couple of months ago, and I believe it merits further consideration, in light of recent events:
Amending the Criminal Code to make euthanasia legal in Canada would likely gain the support of three-quarters of Quebec's medical specialists, says a new survey that is the latest chapter in a growing debate on physician-assisted suicide.

The Quebec Federation of Medical Specialists, which represents more than 8,700 physicians in the province, said yesterday that "75% of medical specialists would certainly or probably be favourable to euthanasia within a clearly defined legislative limit."

Dr. Gaetan Barrette, president of the federation, told a Montreal news conference the controversy over euthanasia has similarities to the abortion debate that took place in Canada decades ago, when doctors followed the lead of the public.

"Society was ahead," he said. "Doctors came after, and then governments legislated much later after [the] Superior Court had to rule [on the issue]," he said.

However, polls in Canada have consistently shown strong support among the general population for euthanasia. This summer, Angus Reid found 77% of Quebecers believe euthanasia should be allowed. In 2004, Environics Research Group found 68% of all Canadians approved of euthanasia and in a poll last year it found 44% would choose euthanasia and 44% would opt for palliative care.

I support euthanasia, in a limited sense, based on my own moral compass. However, I think there is also an argument to be made, relating to the political "upside". At first blush, the idea is rife with risk, taboo for a overly timid Liberal Party appartus. This initial scoff fails to drill down in my estimation, because while you bring the FOCUS, the ground is fertile. What we have is a classic discussion of individual rights, classic "liberal" terrority, even analogous to a Trudeau-like "the state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation". This type of stance doesn't legislate assisted suicide, because individuals are free to chose their own path. What it does, is eliminate subjective morality, it recognizes a decidedly grey ethical question.

Canadians aren't naive to these questions, our realities mean each of us have been touched by terminal illness, those that haven't will. This basic fact explains why the public may well be ahead of the politicians in their viewpoint. While any consideration would surely unleash a fury of resistance from predictable sources, this "galvanization" also attracts the counter. If you look at the Liberal roadmap, you find acceptance of the concept where we need support. A smart, incremental reform proposal isn't radical, it's actually mainstream and that's the bottomline. Couple that reality with a need to redefine the brand, and modernizing our views on euthanasia, becomes an attractor. This is the type of issue that demands a degree of courage, but it's not lunacy because the profession and the public are ready for the discussion.

Something to chew on...


Why look, an opinion piece in the National Post no less.

Mutually Exclusive?

Ignatieff's "green" speech is garnering limited attention, which is somewhat curious in and of itself given the cries for SUBSTANCE from the tabloid press (on a sidenote, during a panel on this topic, Tonda MacCharles said her own profession tended to prefer "shiny" things, division, rather than anything of true depth- I appreciate the honesty). Personally, I thought it a wonderful thrust, taken in totality Ignatieff is on to something quite attractive. People can quibble here and there, but the broad strokes from Ignatieff's speech provide an outline for a focused strategy.

I must say, one of the more frustrating distinctions is this argument that environmental concern runs counter to economic prosperity. Today, I read one piece which said Ignatieff was following Dion's path, and this was a mistake because the environment isn't the big issue, it's the economy. Do we really lack the sophistication to connect the dots here? The overlap isn't even theoretical anymore, it's everywhere within our economy. As Ignatieff pointed out, countries that have seized the initiative and become world leaders environmentally are creating massive employment and opportunity:
Global investment in clean energy technologies was a hundred and fifty billion last year.

Germany has created more than two-hundred-and-fifty thousand clean energy jobs. They’ve cornered sixteen percent of the global market.

Train your gaze to a place like Ontario, where it's manufacturing base is disappearing, can one not see the potential in Canada becoming a "leader" in a growing "industry". Canada has fallen behind, any initiative which both promotes new schemes, while simultaneously boosting critical PRODUCTIVITY through efficiency is attractive. You can make the economy argument along side the environmental one, and it doesn't take much imagination. The two concerns are not mutually exclusive, nor in conflict, they are actually reliant at this stage. To say Ignatieff has the wrong focus, well it's the critics eyes that are blurry, this is exactly what the Canadian economy desperately needs.

I'm quite encouraged, that within the current demand for policy, Ignatieff chooses to take this route, to make the environment a central Liberal theme once again. Without the burden of the "tax" word, I see no reason why we can't articulate the marriage between the economy and the environment, why going green can mean green, not a sacrifice but a must to keep pace with the world. A good start....

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

On "Fair Examinations"

As the blowhard Baird accuses the Liberals and Gerard Kennedy of playing with the numbers, to produce a desired stimulus bias outcome, it is interesting to see a "fair examination" today that takes this debate beyond the partisan realm. To often- and the government relies HEAVILY on this dynamic- the truth gets lost in the point/counter-point world. Rarely, does the media bother to do any investigation, issues are lost in the noise, nobody notices. The Chronicle Herald actually did some independent homework, and low and behold, the Liberal argument finds firm support:
Nova Scotians in Conservative ridings should be feeling a little action in their economic plan by now, because an analysis of federal stimulus spending in the province shows blue ridings are awash in pork.

In fact, more money — $162 million — is being spent in those three Tory ridings than in Nova Scotia’s other eight ridings put together.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay’s riding of Central Nova is the big winner, with $87.7 million in stimulus money, 13 times as much as the $6.6 million being spent in Dartmouth, held by a Liberal. In fact, Mr. MacKay’s riding received more money than all five Liberal ridings in the province combined.

Kennedy doing good work:
The analysis by The Chronicle Herald supports the conclusions reached by a federal Liberal party report, which found that Conservative ridings across the country have been getting more federal economic stimulus funding than opposition-held ridings have.

Between the obnoxious government advertising and the massive PORK, this stimulus initiative has turned into a farce that borders on complete scandal.

Below, Conservative MP's meet to discuss stimulus spending expenditures:

Monday, October 12, 2009

Admitting You Have A Problem...

It's a challenge everyone faces, particularly when you're so invested- the ability to recognize and accept your own failure and adjust accordingly, without the drag of stubbornness disallowing the necessity. When you are responsible for cobbling together a strategy, it's tough to acknowledge the "folly", because you essentially undermine your own credibility, you say you were wrong and rebuff yourself. Human nature tends to work against objective reason in this regard, so it's not a isolated criticism. With the above in mind, I hope this "mood" reported is inaccurate:
A top Liberal told The Hill Times that he's concerned that despite the fall in the polls, Mr. Ignatieff's top aides seem to be in denial and don't think any adjustments in the leader's inner circle, or strategy, need to be made.

"The office is relatively certain that there's no problem there. They're doing what really needs to be done, and the people who think otherwise are living in a state of ignorance. They just don't understand.... Give it a few days and we'll be back on track," said the Liberal.

Sound advice:
Pollster Frank Graves said the Liberals must put out their policies and explain to Canadians why they should vote for them.

"They obviously have to rethink what they're doing and there's no quick rebound available for them. They're not going to bounce back, they're going to have to crawl back, and that will be by trying to tell Canadians what is it that they specifically have in mind for the country and for individual families," he said.

In many respects, I believe we are starting from scratch now, no quick fixes available, strategy a "months long" consideration, rather than any realistic hope that we are in the midst of a soon to be self-correcting "blip". A good first step, a "rethink" as it relates to parliamentary posture, because our blanket rejection of the government is clearly a loser (something which I didn't expect, at least not the degree). This "tweaking" essentially means there is no election on the horizon, between our stance and that of others, the most likely scenario is the government lasts until at least the next budget. This probability allows the Liberals to completely reaccess their thrust, because the short minded election readiness posture has led to narrow consideration.

Things aren't going to turn around soon, as Graves says we must "crawl back". That translates to some sobering realities- to my mind it means the OLO and advisors need to essentially turn on their own ideas. There is no comfort available, there is no stay the course mentaility that offers a reasonable turnaround. The political landscape has changed, it is imperative that we now "attract" voters, rather than relying on the former deluge of bad news to "repel" in our direction. The Chretien scenario is entirely inapplicable, a "kick the bums out" mentality never exists, at least not to the degree needed to bring a red wave to the land. Liberals are wrong to look to the past for lessons, for a calming context, because the dynamics today are so entirely unique that history is just that, OUTDATED.

There has been an elephant in the room for months, that was mostly ignored, but forever present- the CHIEF liability of the Liberal Party of Canada is that it no longer resonates with ordinary Canadians, they see little in terms of identity, they see an empty vessel, more "natural governing" than compelling direction. IMHO, we've never addressed this main problem, we even made the herculian mistake of delaying this "thinking" conference, in the name of expediency. Part of this understandable, the constant threat of impending election tends to disallow slower ferments, favors the quick fixes and traditional "readiness" angles. Liberals now need to resist the immediate and develop a coherent plan to re-connect with voters.

To be frank, a two-stage rebound is the most prudent path. By that- and this was true even when fortunes appeared more promisiing- we need an approach that recognizes more than one election may be needed before the Liberals return to favor. You look at the seat distribution, you look at the regional dynamics, a betting man never gave odds on immediate victory (I believe I offered a 60/40 proposition, in favor of the government, even when polls put us ahead, the math was there). Not a defeatist stance, because it can be done, but if you take a long view, an incremental path, this will lead to more substantive reform. You can't rework a brand overnight, you are confronted with your past and all the negative perceptions this entails.

We now a semi-reprieve on the horizon, which allows us to gut our current mindset. There is a "problem", admitting it is half the battle.

Friday, October 09, 2009


Nothing against Obama, but giving him the Nobel Peace Prize, based on lofty rhetoric and ZERO accomplishment, makes a mockery of the award:
America's new president Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize this morning for his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples."

Mr. Obama is the fourth U.S. president to win the peace price but the first to win for - in the words of the Norwegian selection committee - providing "hope for a better future" rather than any particular accomplishment.

I've been quite impressed with Obama since he took office. In particular, the international tone he's set has gone a long way to reversing the anti-Americanism that Bush left as his legacy. However, as the comminique reveals, this award is based on "hope", which is a pretty flimsy rationale. I would argue that deeds are deserving, while possibilities are just that.

For the life of me, I can't think of one area where Obama has distinguished himself, where he's made a difference, to validate his selection. There are plenty of working pieces in play, around the world, but none of Obama's initiatives have borne fruit, so it's far to premature to bestow such an honor.

This award looks to be more a popularity contest, than what I thought it stood for, historically speaking. I agree with past winner Walesa:
“Who? What? So fast?” Mr. Walesa, who eventually become Poland's president, said when told the news.

“There’s hasn’t been any contribution to peace yet. He’s proposing things, he’s initiating things, but he is yet to deliver,” Mr. Walesa said

An award based on hype, which is unfortunate. Again, not a criticism of Obama, just the rationale.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

I Get By With A Little Help From My Taxpayer Friends

Let's try something novel for a moment, let's FOCUS on an issue. One aspect of the recent polling that's been overlooked, the impact of this "biblical proportions" government ad buy that's saturated every media outlet the past few weeks. I've never seen anything like it, in terms of scope and naked partisan advantage. I would submit, other obvious failings not withstanding, that this massive ad buy on our dime has contributed to rising Conservative fortunes. With that in mind, comes a not surprising revelation, that non-partisan government officials were worried about the government's ad campaign:
Bureaucrats objected to gov't ad campaign: sources

A partisan government advertising campaign paid for by taxpayers raised alarms from the outset among senior public servants who serve Prime Minister Stephen Harper, The Canadian Press has learned.

The Privy Council Office, the non-partisan bureaucratic arm of the Prime Minister's Office, has never been comfortable administering the website for the Economic Action Plan -- and informed Harper of its misgivings at the time of last January's federal budget.

Those misgivings were heard, but overruled.

While the story is being denied by both PCO and PMO, the extraordinary claim originates from several sources within the famously discreet Privy Council Office.

The fact the story is being aired at all -- even under the cloak of anonymity -- suggests just how far the Conservatives are stretching the traditional boundaries of partisan behaviour in Canada's professional bureaucracy.

It reminds me of former Conservative candidates expressing reservations about the war room trying to circumvent clear Elections Canada rules. But, that's "old" news I suppose, nevermind a pattern of manipulation and voluntary disregard for honest engagement.

Today's "revelations" come on the heels of the Liberals launching a formal complaint:
The Liberals have launched a formal complaint with the Treasury Board alleging the Conservative government is "running roughshod" over rules against partisan advertising.

A sweeping national ad campaign to promote last January's federal budget measures has been blanketing the country at a cost of tens of millions of dollars.
Martha Hall-Findlay, the Liberal public works critic, says the Economic Action Plan ads are "unprecedented" and break at least four different government statutes, including the Financial Administration Act and the Canada Elections Act.

"The Conservatives are buying voters with their own money," Hall-Findlay said in a news release on Thursday.

"Not only is that unethical, we believe it's against the law."

The initial cost of the budgetary promotion - which includes a heavy rotation of prime-time television ads - was set at $34 million, but the Liberals researchers claim they've identified at least $56 million spent on the economic campaign from January to June of this year.
Vic Toews, the Treasury Board president, has refused to address repeated Liberal questions in the Commons about the total current cost of the ad campaign.

Figures for total government advertising for 2008-09 have not yet been released.

A staggering figure, but what's more concerning, the Liberals numbers don't include the spending we've seen in recent weeks and months. If my eyes don't lie, the recent blitz is unparalled, which should dwarf already obnoxious figures.

Given that this government rode in on its white horse, determined to bring good government, accountable and responsible government, their practices are all the more offensive. This government has already DOUBLED their advertising expenditure in the last two years, relative to what the "dirty" Liberals did. This current year will most certainly represent a new high, and it comes with increased emphasis on partisan gain. Again, not to underscore self inflicted wounds, but with an ad buy of this size, isn't it logically to assume the Conservatives are benefitting? I'm glad I could help.


All the usual caveats aside, the polling numbers are beyond BAD for the Liberals. The latest EKOS poll brings the extraordinary, Liberals now behind the Conservatives in Quebec. Nationally, a massive 14% gap:
Cons 39.7%
Libs 25.7%
NDP 15.2%
Greens 9.7%

Further erosion:
Conservative support was up 3.7 percentage points from a poll released last week, while Liberal support was off by four points. The NDP's support was up by 1.3 points, the Green Party was off by 0.8 points and the Bloc slipped by 0.1.

What is particularly noteworthy for the Liberals, the Coderre mess has clearly hurt the party in Quebec. Whether it is a temporary blip remains to be seen, but I can't remember the last time the Liberals polled this badly, behind the Conservatives:
Bloc 38.7%
Cons 22.2%
Libs 21%
NDP 9.7%
NDP 8.4%

Let's wait a few weeks to see if this is a real trend, but no matter, it's alarming to say the least.

Ontario shows a large Conservative lead:
Cons 43.8%
Libs 32.5%
NDP 13.9%
Greens 9.7%

Bad numbers for both the Liberals and NDP. I will say this about Ontario, a belief I've articulated for sometime- it's volatile, support is soft. It wasn't to long ago that the numbers were the same in reverse, a dynamic that held for a couple of months. What this shift tells us, there is a large pool of voters that are easily swayed, no party commands "solid" support. It's for this reason that the Liberals can regain their footing with the right strategy. However, that potential doesn't distract from the present reality, these numbers mean a Conservative majority, amazing when one considers Ontario as economic ground zero.

The Liberals have clearly faded in British Columbia, they run a close second in Atlantic Canada, in fact they lead nowhere in the country.

Ignatieff's approval/disapproval numbers are Dion-like, while Harper is actually getting more traction. What once was an asset, Ignatieff is now a drag on the Liberal brand. Safe to say, the ad campaign wasn't effective, or maybe more correctly, completely overshadowed by events in Ottawa and elsewhere.

A snapshot in time, but it's an ugly landscape to be sure.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Finally, An "Adult" Enters The Room

If there's one positive to sinking fortunes, it tends to wake people from their slumber and realize that the status quo is a path to failure. As I've argued before, the Liberals "play it safe" strategy was dubious at best, primarily because it relied on the government self imploding, rather than offering an attractive alternative. Even when the Liberals were higher in the polls, much of the movement was more a move away from the Conservatives, rather than a powerful DRAW towards the Liberals- this explains why things have changed radically in recent weeks.

If you're going to defeat this government, you MUST get ahead of the curve on the economic file, you must be BOLD. Liberals are fearful, the recent Dion example seared in their minds, but this state has lead to a paralysis, which leads the party to nowhere. The primiary obstacle the Liberals face, people can't identify with their brand, we're wishy washy, we lack FORM. With that in mind, I have nothing but applause for this new thrust:
Michael Ignatieff is preparing to embark on apolitically risky "adult conversation" with Canadians about the painful measures necessary to eliminate the country's ballooning deficit including the possibility of tax hikes.

Senior party insiders told The Canadian Press that the Liberalleader is about to launch a blunt discussion of the realistic options available for staunching the flow of red ink. That includes tax increases, major spending cuts, remaining mired in deficit for years longer than anticipated, or some combination of the three.

Risk vs reward. I would much rather have some blunt talk, than simply ignoring the "elephant in the room". Any conversation must also include a CHALLENGE to the media conduit- you bitch about a lack of substance, then have the courtesy to intelligently discuss a credible and realistic assessment. Ignatieff will find allies within the economic community, the EXPERTS who know full well the current numbers don't add up and structural deficit is a reality. Ignatieff has wiggle room on the timing, because the future is still unclear- this means tax hikes aren't necessarily a certainty, but an option, say in 2 or 3 years if certain benchmarks aren't met or forecasts fall further.

If Liberals want to seize the economic file, then we must present ourselves as the one's ready to deal with this daunting circumstance. This circumstance precludes "take a pass" scenarios, that try to fluff over future realities for present gain. If the Liberals tuck in behind the Conservative shadow on the deficit, then we have no need for a serious debate, but this posture almost guarantees electoral defeat. ONLY, if the Liberals drive the debate do we stand a chance. Why would you volunatarily cede a central election issue with your own timidity? If one does "play it safe", how then do you plan to defeat this government, on what other file? The deficit and future economic prosperity is THE issue, any strategy which merely mirrors the government plays into their hands. There is no need to replace a government when the opposition is offering more of the same, when they have no credibility because they take a pass on BIG problems on the horizon.

I applaud Ignatieff, no matter the circumstance that's led to this epiphany. Let's have an adult conversation, and if we go down because we spoke the truth, then Canadians have themselves to blame, but we were honest participants in this discussion.


Oh nevermind, nothing to see here.

Maybe they'll self destruct, or maybe it isn't the spring anymore :)

Is Deceit Newsworthy?

Why is it left to the Liberal Party to uncover a blatant "cover up" by the PMO and the Prime Minister himself? I realize that tickling the ivories and ambitious Quebec lieutenants with their own agendas are BIG news in the grand scheme, but methinks a clear presentation that points to purposeful deceit, that goes to the top of the government, might deserve more attention:
A comprehensive examination of government documents in the Suaad Mohamud case shows that Prime Minister Harper knew about the case as early as July 1.

“Mr. Harper and Ministers Cannon and Van Loan were aware of this case and by all accounts asked no questions to get to the bottom of it, said Liberal Foreign Affairs Critic Bob Rae.

I recall quite vividly, the Prime Minister in a August press conference, telling Canadians he just learned of Mohamud's plight. People might also recall, this public admission only came when the issue started to generate "heat" for the government. Everyone knew that the PM's assertion was dubious at best, but now we know for a fact that his office was planning "media lines" at the beginning of July.

There is the issue of how the government handled this case, but beyond that is deliberate attempt to mislead and fabricate. Is it not incumbent on the media to press the government for clarification of who knew what when? How does Harper reconcile his public comments with the now "public" record? Is it not scandalous to have a PM asserting no knowledge, when the facts point to FULL knowledge, to the point of managing the "message"? Is the Mohamud affair yesterday's news, which means the government gets a pass for this shell game? Is the plight of the brown person no longer sexy enough to warrant further attention?