Monday, June 28, 2010


Got to hand it to the Ontario government, for quickly capitalizing on all the free press and "showcasing", with a new tourism ad campaign:

Book now, while packages still available!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Toronto Debacle ON Harper

It's pretty pathetic to hear Harper use the "thugs" to justify the security expenditure. Equally sad, the PMO with its strategic outrage, as though ALL of this wasn't entirely expected. Truth of the matter, every piece of broken glass, every burnt out vehicle, every arrest, every financial impact to businesses, every single bit of ugly imagery rests with this government.

You didn't have to be a genius to KNOW that hosting an event, in the most INHOSPITABLE security location IMAGINABLE would bring these type of results. Everybody knew that violent protesters would mar proceedings, and the upheaval would overshadow whatever "benefits" argued. Everybody knows, because past examples are endless, as predictable as the sun rising in the east.

Last Friday, I had the pleasure of travelling through Alberta's Kananaskis Country. Why is that relevant? Because, that is where the last G8, hosted by Canada was held- a remote, isolated location, chosen preciously with "thugs" in mind. One road in and out, nestled in the mountains, pristine, "showcasing" Canada, but above all secure and easily dealt with from a security standpoint. That G8 was held in the aftermath of 9/11, and yet security costs came in around 1/5 of this mess, with far less damaging scenery.

This weekend was the culmination of irresponsible planning and complete amateurism. Close your eyes, and you'll never imagine a WORSE venue in this country to hold such an event. That the Harper government signed off and PROMOTED downtown Toronto represents the height of incompetence. Even if one is being kind, and considering the added G20 hosting, you are still left with a horrible decision to choose this particular site. Ask a thousand security experts, I'll bet this location ranks NUMBER ONE as least desirable.

Dmitri Soudas in a lather, Harper casting scorn on protesters, GIVE ME A BREAK. This is your doing Harper government, you don't get to deflect blame onto others, because YOU provided the OPTIMAL playground. There was ZERO showcasing, no upside, nada, nothing, only a tarnished legacy and displaced people and businesses. A farce, and half a clue predictable at that.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Taking Off

Heading off to the B.C. Interior for a few days. See you when I return :)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Detainee Deal A Dud

Sorry, I can't endorse this detainee deal, primarily because the government achieves its main goals. The Speaker's ruling did put pressure on the government, but it left many unanswered questions. Given the ruling, the Conservatives changed strategies, moving from complete obstruction to delay at all costs. Yes, it is a victory in this sense, the Speaker forced the government to move, but then the question becomes- just where to?

Here we sit, after effectively running out the clock on this session of Parliament, we finally get this flawed deal, that allows for further DELAY. The panel isn't picked, and I will wager further "debate" that will drag this process out as long as possible. Yesterday, Goodale championed the fact that the opposition gets to pick the panel, but that simply isn't true. In fact, all members of the panel must be agreed upon by both the government and the opposition, which almost guarantees more "ragging the puck". Throw in a few scheduling difficulties over the summer, you can pretty much bank on not much until the fall. Assuming, the parties can iron out this panel, we then move to a situation where the government member can obstruct every single piece of disclosure, EASILY swamping this panel to the point of absurdity. Don't think this will happen? I'll use every single government move to date as proof of the well established pattern. To think it changes, well...

Two major problems with this deal, both of which are glaring. These vague exceptions, dealing with "cabinet confidences" and "solicitor-client privilege" are deeply concerning, and lend some weight to the NDP's concerns. I'm more concerned with the former, because if there is some political attempt to cover up embarrassing facts, you can see how these might well fall into this column. A pretty ambiguous wording, that leaves plenty of room for interpretation. Again, let me go on record now saying the Conservatives will maximize these clauses, and obstruct at every turn. If these parameters are accepted, then the panel will have to respect the spirit of the agreement and side with the government. These are gigantic loopholes in my estimation, that potentially render this whole process a waste of time.

Speaking of time, if you believe my thesis, wherein the government wants to take this issue off the table prior to the next election (I see no realistic scenario where this Parliament survives another budget), you are left with a troubling clause. This agreement is only binding on this Parliament, meaning the government must resign said understanding after any election. Let's just fast forward for a second. We have an election, and the opposition demands a restart, more signatures. The government simply refuses, and what recourse does the opposition have? Threaten another election, re-introduce motions, start from scratch AGAIN? Plus, say we do get a few tidbit releases of documents, all the more reason for the government to argue it's a new mandate, time to move on from this discussion. ZERO political appetite for immediate conflict, the issue likely fades to black (no pun intended). What a terrific clause for the government, just drag this all out until an election, and you very well could be home free. This clause will look more relevant as time passes, and people digest the gamesmanship that unfolds. If the Liberals form the next government, it's already game over for Harper, so a hollow victory on that front.

I think you can drive a truck through these loophole clauses. I think there is ample room for never ending games that lead nowhere. I think this deal is flawed, because if I'm the government, I feel like I achieved the best possible outcome in light of the Speaker's demands. Time will tell I suppose, but when you consider how the Cons have manipulated it to date, hard to get terribly excited about this "historic" deal. Looks a dud from here.

11% Support G8/G20 Summit Costs

The latest poll demonstrates just how badly the government is suffering on the G8/G20 summit cost issue. In fact, it is a rarity to see such an overwhelming one sided opinion.

The poll finds nobody really sees much use for the Summit. Worse still:
Are the summit expenditures justifiable or not?

Justified 11%
Not Justified 78%
Don't Know 11%

If you peg baseline Conservative support at about three times the "justified" number, it demonstrates just how horribly the government is losing the pr war. This poll also explains why the Liberals have gone so far as to run ads (which I've actually heard quite a bit btw), because there is nowhere to hide for the government. These numbers translate to overwhelming rejection from their own kneejerk base, never mind swing voters and soft support.

A few months ago, I'm quite sure the PMO were giddy over the photo op orgasm that awaited them. However, just like the Olympics, Harper has managed to sabotage a friendly calendar. Rather than a high profile opportunity, it is now a case of get it over with for the government- every photo op now a reminder of waste and excess.

Monday, June 14, 2010

FixedNews North

I must say, this apologetic tone, wherein many people seem to argue that more "choice" is good for journalism in relation to "FoxNews North", is completely misplaced. While I understand, that these are dire days for journalists, I hardly think a ideologically bent medium, that stifles viewpoints, while endorsing others, represents anything to do with journalism. In fact, I would argue that this type of expression translates to the death of journalism as we know it.

There is nothing redeeming about being forced to subsidize propaganda. Since when do we have to accept "mandatory carriage" for something that entirely insults the senses, basically a wing of a political party. This proposal might just be the biggest political subsidy imaginable. I don't want to pre-judge, but look, Kory Teneycke is a political hack, and his cheerleaders like Ezra Levant suggest a radicalism that the CRTC doesn't have to promote.

An early sign, listening to Levant say Canada needs a network to show the "other side" of the climate change debate. Anybody who has seen the "debate" down south, realizes how powerful a misinformation debate can be in forming public opinion. It is not the job of mainstream networks to put forth pro and con, as though equally viable, when the later enjoys almost NO acceptance amongst the expert community. 98% of Canadian climatologists believe in global warming, and a responsible journalist weighs this inherent fact when deciding who is given voice. About the only defence of the deniers, scientists are now partisans, radicals, so we then turn to this nonsensical questioning of accepted practice, that we teach every child in this country. I'm sorry, but giving licence to wingnuts and marginal voices isn't "choice", it's the decay of simple reason. Show me a slew of Canadian climatologists supporting the denier, and we'll talk, until then, leave the stupid to themselves, don't promote them to the dial, particularly if my cable bill is supporting the insanity.

You can question the political bent of certain outlets, but they bear no relationship to the philosophical bent that this new network is entertaining. A touch of irony that Kory Teneycke leaves CBC to start this project. That fact alone speaks to a certain balance which this new medium will never entertain, should it manifest itself as advertised. Again, when Ezra Levant has a boner that could cut a diamond, let's do away with the "straight shooter" nonsense that recent hires attempt to soothe.

Funny, the argument of choice, to justify the creation of something that offers no such thing. At the very least, let the marketplace determine the value, but please, please, don't treat the manifestation of a far right ideologue as though "news". It's advocacy, plain and simple, the "news" is FIXED, so let its proponents support it. And, before someone chimes in with the most lame of all examples CBC, I defy anyone to watch an edition of Power and Politics, or At Issue and tell me a wide perspective doesn't find voice.

This debate isn't about journalism, more news networks, it's about bringing propaganda to the masses, in effect it's about a cultural war that a bunch of zealots want to wage. You can dress it up anyway you want, and I suspect a deliberate THRUST right now to appear somewhat moderate, but if the underlying intention is correct, its like parsley on the side.

I have spent about 10 minutes of my life watching FoxNews. I don't subscribe to it on my cable package, and that's my choice, others are free to do what they wish. I hardly think it's progress, that a advocacy group should get an artifical revenue stream to prop up their presentation, which insults every fibre in my body.

We`re at war, and that isn`t hyperbole.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Liberal MP Calls For "Election"

On a similar theme to my last post, Liberal MP Glen Pearson with a blistering denunciation of Parliament, calling for an "election" to fix the "sick, likely diseased" situation:
This Parliament is sick and there really is only one route to potential healing: an election. But naturally the Conservatives know that while Canadians bemoan our behaviour in Parliament, they don’t want to be bothered with going to the polls. Well, it’s perhaps time to get agitated. This is your Parliament and it’s busted. If the Harper government refuses any form of correction, even from the Speaker, then it stands to reason the institution can’t rise to your defence when you need it. After 10 months we never left the starting line. And we never will until either the government atones for its mistakes, or the good people of Canada say “enough.”

And, he might be right...

(h/t Rumminegge)

Making Parliament Work?

Whenever the question turns to Parliament functioning, the standard line from every Conservative- we have shown a capacity to work with all parties to get things done, look at the record. You hear this argument more and more, as Conservatives highlight examples to blunt any momentum towards the idea that THEY are an impediment to making Parliament work. The reason- should the public conclude that this government is unable to pass legislation, reach compromises with certain parties here and there, it represents a danger on the "change" front. If this government looks incapable, Parliament achieving SQUAT, it provides the other parties, particularly we Liberals, with a powerful counter. If you are dissatisfied with the status quo, then its reasonable to argue that the Conservatives have failed, we need to try an alternative. I don't doubt for a second Conservatives are weary of this potential sentiment, hence the consistent talking points whenever the subject of Parliamentary failure arises.

This news item provides the opposition with a very damning indictment:
Parliament stumbling to a close with virtually nothing accomplished

One of the most unproductive sittings in Canadian legislative history is sputtering to an end...

Parliamentary expert Ned Franks says he can't recall another legislative sitting that has accomplished so little.

“There might have been (but) I have no record of it,” says the political scientist...

Clearly, Canadian parliamentarians are lagging well behind the normal pace this year. But then, as Mr. Franks observes, “This Parliament isn't functioning like a normal Parliament.”

He blames a government that “views Parliament as the enemy” and opposition parties that “oppose indiscriminately” everything the government does.

One of the most unproductive, if not THE, sessions in Parliament's history. Add on to this fact, that part of the failure is due to the prorogation, many bills starting from scratch, and the government is vulnerable. Harper has used dysfunctional Parliament before to justify, and take partisan advantage, but at some point Canadians must wonder who really deserves the blame. To coin an overused phrase, what about "the buck stops here"? The opposition is obstructionist, no question, but even that posture is still tethered to the government's behavior, approach, failings. Rather than justification for another mandate, a majority even, what the above article highlights is that good government is now impossible with this crew. It's almost laughable to suggest you deserve more power, given the record.

If the Liberals are wise, they should extrapolate the "waste" angle onto this question of taxpayers getting their money out of their representatives. All the wasted money to prorogue, now a session that produced nothing, provides an opportunity to argue for a different government, one that actually accomplishes, works together, brings a spirit we expect. Harper is the problem, and now he can no longer point to supposed bi-partisan success, there is something quite simple about a sound bite that says "least productive Parliament in history". You can quibble, but it never reflects well on the government of the day.

Canada, we have a problem. It's our job to ensure the source answers. I see a government on the defensive all day long, if played properly.

He's Just In It For Himself

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Quebec Is Killing Liberal Fortunes

The latest EKOS highlights the underlying reason why the Liberals are in "disarray". On the national front, the Conservatives lead is down to 4.6%, and nobody can brag about 31.7% support for a sitting government. However, this storyline will continue to be muted, and the Liberals will remain the focus, until on simple thing changes- the Liberals get some traction in Quebec.

You might be surprised to know that despite the lowly 26.8% national total, the Liberals actually lead in Canada's most populus province. EKOS gives the Liberals are very respectable 36.1%, 4 points ahead of the Conservatives. If nothing else, these findings prove once again that Ontario is beyond volatile, the latest story can change fortunes dramatically. Of note, the Liberals also lead in Atlantic Canada.

Turning our gaze to Quebec, we see another pathetic 18.9% score for the Liberals, a number which is now commonplace. I would submit, that most of this merger, Liberals in freefall conversation, would be muted if the party was simply doing better in Quebec. The Liberals were in the 30's for more than a few months, then drifted back to the high 20's and its been downward since. Even if the party had MODEST numbers in Quebec, you can add a couple points nationally, and SUDDENLY you've got a close horserace and most of these "storylines" run basically as background noise.

If the people around Ignatieff really want to strengthen his hand, then everyone should be focused on getting some bloody traction in Quebec. These numbers are dragging down our national numbers, they are the underlying reason why all these questions swirl around the party. I'm not suggesting a couple points translates to a juggernaut, but given how little movements are routinely amplified, nobody who watches this game can dismiss the impact.

The Liberals have plenty of problems, but in terms of appearances, figuring out a way to boost our prospects in Quebec is job one, and in so doing, we might just find other issues lose their supposed urgency.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

What About "Real" Lighthouses?

Yesterday, Michelle Simson highlighted $186 000 for the fake lighthouse at the G20 summit. If you want the quintessential example of misplaced priorities, it's entirely laughable to read that Ottawa is planning to divest itself of REAL lighthouses, in the name of fiscal prudence:

Nearly 1,000 lighthouses, including iconic ones at Peggy's Cove, N.S., and Cape Spear near St. John's, N.L., have been declared surplus property by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

That designation means that they could be replaced with simpler structures, the department's website says.

"The Canadian Coast Guard undertook a detailed assessment of all the lighthouses it operates. The structures identified to be surplus under the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act were those where Canadian Coast Guard officials have determined that they could be replaced with simpler structures whose operation and maintenance would be more cost-effective."

I would argue that the lighthouse at Peggy's Cove speaks to all the supposed rationalizations of the government in relation the G8/20 spendfest. It's a tourist attraction of the highest order, maybe the most recognizable symbol of the east coast. The lighthouse "showcases" Canada, it's a natural treasure. We have the government preaching "cost-effective", but they seem to find money for FAKE lighthouses.

Save the real lighthouses, because apparently money isn't an issue.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Conservatives Losing Their Bogeyman?

I think you need to be cautious with these type of polls, because the line of question is somewhat leading, but there is something instructive about how Canadians see "co-operation" between the opposition parties:
Nationally, 14% thought forming a Parliamentary coalition after the next election in an attempt to form a government was the best route to take.

A merger between the two parties in advance of the next election has the support of 13%.

An agreement on cooperation that would see them exist as separate parties, but where they would not run candidates against each other in ridings where one of them was contending to win garners the most support among the cooperation options, with 28% believing this is the option the two parties should take.

Three in ten Canadians (30%) prefer that the two parties not cooperate at all.

55% of Canadians support some level of co-operation, while only 30% reject. The numbers are even more attractive for the opposition electorally, when you breakdown the regions were it would matter most. Even amongst the Conservative base, only 50% oppose, while 39% support co-operation.

I don't see the above as necessarily a ringing endorsement of a coalition, in reality the much more mild proposal I made of a riding non-aggression pact is the clear preference. However, it's the wider openness that is noteworthy, and these type of polls suggest that the Conservative bogeyman is losing steam.

Yesterday, I argued that Liberals need to turn the coalition question around, into a verdict on Harper's leadership. This poll supports that view that Canadians CRAVE co-operation, they want politicians to work together, they desire something different from the status quo. This sentiment is quite dangerous for the Conservatives, and I have a feeling they may well regret any unilateral decision to make arrangements a centerpiece issue in a campaign.

The 2008 debate represented an entirely new and strange proposition. Since that debate, we've seen more and more evidence that the notion of co-operation isn't taboo, in fact it's seen as somewhat necessary. Not a full blown coalition, but the idea of a "unifer" has a built-in audience just waiting. This poll provides further confirmation to me that the unifer narrative may just be our best hope to finally rid Canada of the Harper stench.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Banner Day

Quite a laundry list on NNW. I wonder how the EKOS daily tracking poll is going tonight?:

My money is on poorly. I heard a "tsk, tsk" at Tim Horton's.

You're The Problem Mr. Harper

I agree with much of what Jeff says on where the Liberals can go on this coalition question. On a slightly complimentary track, I would argue that this coalition debate is now morphing into a possible advantage for the Liberals, if played properly.

The Conservatives have an advantage on the economy. Notwithstanding recent events, the simple fact of a relatively strong economy internationally, evidence of a rebound, are inherent strengths for the government. If we plan to take the government head on, with the economy as central backdrop, we have a chance, but the odds are long and that's just fact. What the Liberals really require is another issue to take hold during a campaign, fight on terrain that is more risky for the government. Conventional wisdom, using the 2008 coalition debacle as backdrop, assumes that the government would love the opportunity to revisit all those attack lines during a campaign. I agree with that assumption less and less, in fact I think if we get aggressive, we can turn this issue around and in so doing, hit the Conservatives soft underbelly.

If you review the Conservatives chief liabilities, it always revolves around this idea of a mean spirited, divisive, partisan entity, that generally doesn't play well with others. This narrative is the LAST thing the Conservatives would choose as a dominant election theme. However, if the Liberals use this coalition question, arrangements, whatever, and turn it into a discussion that Harper is the problem, Harper is an OBSTACLE to the good government all Canadians crave. I don't claim to understand the entire mood of the country, but I'm as certain as can be, that if a politician can paint himself as a "unifer", that will bring us out of this petty partisan deadlock, he/she will find resonation, in a powerful way. I'll take it a step further, this discussion could be the spark that breaks the electorate malaise.

People hate the way Ottawa operates. Nobody pays attention, and the apathy grows every year. Given voter hostility to politics in general, pretty rich that Harper actually tries to argue he deserves a big mandate, when almost near universal opinion agrees he has resided over the most dysfunctional Parliament in our history. How many times have you heard a seasoned Ottawa observer say they've never seen it so bad, we've reached new lows in terms of discourse, respect, etc. The Conservatives can resist all they want, but a certain fundamental truth, "the buck stops there". The Conservatives set the tone, their the government, this clusterfuck is essentially their baby. It is the job of the Liberals to make this self-evident truth STICK like a panhandle tar ball. You don't reward Harper, you turf him!

You're the problem Mr. Harper, and we're willing to move past this current embarrassment, work with other parties, with the common good in mind. I picture a debate, wherein Ignatieff delivers the piercing line, in confident fashion, "we'll even work with the Conservatives, after your gone".

Rather than fear the "arrangements" discussion, let's embrace it, because when looking at options, it might just turn out to be a preferred narrative.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Ignatieff Hits Right Tone

Nice to see Ignatieff finally weigh on the coalition speculation, and it's hard to quibble with his logic. There are tons of scenarios available, which make for great fodder for everyone, including myself, but I think Ignatieff brings some clarity here.

Ignatieff completely dismisses any pre-election agreements. I go back and forth on this concept, but I do applaud the unequivocal nature of Ignatieff's comments, because it brings certain conviction. This issue doesn't go away during a campaign, which means you need standard lines. This is the best counter, which could serve Ignatieff well during the debate:
“I can make all kinds of electoral arrangements work and people should have confidence that I can. I'm a unifier, I'm not a divider.”

The Conservatives will make a coalition an issue during the campaign. The above is an effective way to turn the whole discussion into a verdict on Harper's ability to govern. If Ignatieff can pivot, frame Harper as a divider, the current dysfunctional status of Parliament solely his responsibility, then he can take the mantle as the only man that can bring a new collaborative tone to Ottawa. People want politicians to work together, they want an end to posturing and bickering, they don't endorse the current circumstance. In this way, Ignatieff can position himself as the change candidate, but it will only be effective if it's articulated with repetitive intensity and laser-like focus. You're not making this case, if you devote a day here, day there, you have to tattoo the electorate with this idea that Harper is the divider, Ignatieff isn't the career politician, he can bring people together for the greater good. If you ask me, that argument is a powerful catalyst to attack apathy.

If you favor a coalition, Ignatieff leaves room for future arrangements. These statements aren't a complete rebuke, merely a horse and cart presentation. This stance, does however, ensure further debate during the campaign, because voters will be entertaining future Parliamentary makeups. If you want to use the last days of the British campaign, you will see how polling can dictate complete pre-occupation with what it will all mean, after votes are cast. What Ignatieff is saying, he will fight for every last Liberal vote, under our platform, and then if we have some sort of unclear result, Canadians can look to him as the "unifer".

Harper has presided over the most contentious Parliament in our history. The Conservatives will try and argue a majority is the only way to achieve "good government". The Liberals must ask Canadians if the Conservatives deserve a bigger mandate, given their behavior the past years in government. There is a certain absurdity with asking for more power, because you can't work with others. The Liberals place Harper as the problem, not the solution, and I see a whole new vein opening up during a campaign. If Ignatieff can position himself as the guy that can bring diverging interests together, it could speak to the country's mood.

Ignatieff's position don't completely reflect my opinion, but I do see how this stance can be advantageous moving forward. One way or another, the Liberals have to turn this coalition question around, and if we plant our flag on the "divider vs unifer" terrain, it's an exciting option.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Afghan Detainee Document Sham

At the time of the agreement, which everyone triumped, I remained cautious, because in essence even though certain constitutional tenets were upheld, the government had also achieved their goal- delay, delay, delay. THREE weeks ago:
BUT, in reality, there is still much to be determined, and given past government stalling tactics, nobody should see today's agreement as a conclusion- in fact, this is just the beginning of a long, contentious process.

Since the momentus "agreement" absolutely nothing has moved forward, and we have seen a new government tactic employed;
Joan Bryden

Ottawa — The Canadian Press
Published on Thursday, Jun. 03, 2010 7:57PM EDT

Last updated on Thursday, Jun. 03, 2010 8:01PM EDT

.The spectre of a possible election-triggering showdown over Afghan detainee documents is looming over Parliament once again.

Two of the three opposition parties are threatening to bring a contempt of Parliament motion against the Conservative government if it doesn't finalize an agreement on disclosure of the sensitive material by next week.

The government and opposition parties struck an agreement in principle several weeks ago and set May 31 as a deadline for putting the details down in writing.

That deadline has now passed without a written agreement and opposition parties are growing frustrated with the Tories' apparent lack of urgency.

Ministers on the government's negotiating team claimed they were too busy to meet Wednesday or Thursday and no meetings are scheduled for Friday.

Bloc Quebecois House Leader Pierre Paquette says the time has come for opposition parties to set a deadline and proceed with a contempt of Parliament motion if the government fails to meet it.

NDP justice critic Joe Comartin agrees, however Liberal House Leader Ralph Goodale is urging all sides to take a deep breath and concentrate on finalizing the deal.

The document question has moved to the public back burner, and the Conservatives understand this well. With the summer break coming fast, it would seem they are no longer content with sand bagging the release process, but are now brazen enough to try and go home with no deal in place, leaving it for the fall. Nevermind, that even a completion of the deal means a couple of years until we have the full truth, the Conservatives don't even want any drips and leaks in the intermediary, hence the obstruction.

The way the Conservatives are again kicking dirt in opposition faces should leave no doubt that no spirit of co-operation exists, and any process will be riddled with further gamesmanship, with ONE motivation in mind- delay, roadblack, delay, roadblock, delay.

I find Goodale very disappointing here:
Mr. Goodale said he shares frustration over the lack of formal meetings but he said significant progress has been made “by keeping the lines of communication open” — apparently referring to informal discussions that have been taking place.

For a guy who's been around ten blocks, Goodale can't really believe that there is an OUNCE of genuine co-operation here. There aren't lines of co-operation, there is a Speaker's demand, and a government bent on skirting as much as possible. The Liberals should join with their inevitable coalition partner the NDP (just quietly imprinting for future payoff) and the Bloc, threatening a contempt motion, even if it's already a flawed process we defend here. At the very least, get the deal done now, so we all can get on with really learning, in very stark terms, that we won't know JACK SQUAT until after the next election, if that. Move this sham forward....

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Blame It On The Heat

Did it every dawn on people being played like a violin, that the only reason Baird and company stormed into Committee, is because they know it will be reported as a wash, no accountability, NO consequence? Pretty pathetic that all we get is, "well, you know, Parliament has been sitting to long, so, this is to be expected". Oh BULLSHIT.

Being fair doesn't include lumping everybody together in the same pile, nor does it include giving voice to the absurd, as though part of a balanced presentation. John Baird wasn't invited to the Committee today, he and his posse stormed in, with one intention- to create CHAOS and distract the Committee. Any person with a grade two intellect knows the motivation, so to then put the whole fiasco into a collective light, completely, and unfairly exonerates the culprit.

So, let's get this straight, the opposition is just supposed to sit back and accept the Conservative theatrics? If they challenge said nonsense, then that response sullies them as well? Any Canadians who still bother to pay attention, just throw up their arms and scoff at the dysfunctional MP's and their silliness. In reality, the supposed pursuit of intellectually honesty demands that people call out the Conservatives on this stunt, and call them out HARD. And, if you want to make it personal, the entire act is hatched within the knowledge that people are incapable of deciphering and their misdirected necessity to appear "fair" will render it all a draw. Cut to the chase, the brazenness equates to laughing at the supposed account holders, because they are so sure it won't matter.

What an embarrassing display. And, what a shame that all parties will be painted with the "those kids" broadstroke, when really it all boils down to a bully Minister, on orders from the PMO, making a mockery of institutions which are supposed to matter. I guess the great irony, the more the Conservatives are allowed to pull off this crap, the more people it will turn off in general, which means less people will bother to read or view in the future, further eroding an already disappearing audience. On second thought, maybe that's justice.

Quebec Key To Coalition

As the coalition debate rages, in my mind, the whole premise feasibility rests with Quebec. If you look at the various scenarios, using the facts at hand, even if the Conservatives lose an election, it is unlikely that you will have a majority of Liberal and NDP MP's.

Can you still form a coalition? Sure you can, but you still need other party support and that renders the union unstable by its nature. A much, much more desirable arrangement involves an outright majority, and the only likely scenario is a decided setback for the Bloc. Canadians will never accept an arrangement with separatists, dream as you might, it's a fundamental NON STARTER in English Canada. It is also true, that the coalition concept will be an election issue, and to think the Liberals and NDP can simply say "let's leave this discussion for after the election" requires a certain naivety. If this coalition debate is on the table, a centerpiece of the election, it is shrewd to look for ways to make it an advantage, rather than constantly defending. It is here that the Bloc and the battle for Quebec could come into play.

Quebecers are relatively amenable to the coalition concept. This openness can be exploited by the Liberals and NDP on a couple fronts. The most glaring, both parties directly target the Bloc as an obstacle to getting rid of Harper. Given that the Conservatives are least popular in Quebec, the "change" sentiment most obvious, a two pronged attack might find an audience. This strategy could be solidified by the Liberals and NDP agreeing to a non-aggression pact in Quebec. The Bloc benefits from a divided "opposition" so to speak, which result in disporportionate representation, a united alternative could well prove effective. If the Liberals and NDP made an arrangement in the province, a side effect would be to further neutralize the Conservatives in Quebec, which could compound the benefit to the "federalist" opposition. A serious discussion about a coalition isn't a negative in Quebec, in fact it could well shakeup the status quo.

As long as the Bloc wins 50 odd seats, any NDP/Liberal coalition probably won't command a majority. Understanding this real obstacle, as well as the probable Conservative attack lines, means embracing the Bloc "problem" and turning the argument around, leveraging the Bloc to advantage. Rather than fear the coalition discussion, and try to skirt around it with increasing lame talking points, the forward thinking strategy looks for ways to embrace it, and in so doing possibly increase representation.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

He Has A Point

Chris Rock on partisanship, as only he can deliver it, foul and funny:

Greeted As Liberators

I use the above loose analogy, only to highlight what amounts to a massive miscalculation on the Israelis part. There is a certain base level sensibility, wherein if one storms a philosophically, diametrically opposed entity, the chances for conflict are extremely high, in fact likely. The real issue isn't that Israeli soldiers opened fire, as flippant as that sounds, but more rightly, that Israeli soldiers were put in this situation in the first place. After viewing all the unedited video, it's pretty obvious that complete bedlam brought about deadly force, immediate blame hard to decipher. There is a justifable self defence aspect, which is beyond obvious, given the mayhem. However, that result is almost an afterthought, because surely some consideration should have been given for just this outcome.

I was actually following the flotilla progress the last few days. In fairness, the Israelis did offer to take the humanitarian aid and deliver it to Gaza, as they've done in the past with other deliveries. This compromise was rejected, because part of the motivation for this flotilla was to break the blockade, not just deliver aid. There was a certain provocative aspect to this flotilla, of that there is no question. It is also true, that Israel has genuine concerns about scraping the blockade for fear of arms shipments, weapons which would ultimately threaten Israel.

While there exists justifable rationale, where the Israelis failed was in their own rigidity. The blockade of Gaza is untenable, given the labryinth of tunnels which exist, the massive underground economy, stopping ships from entering was always a flawed bandaid that could never accomplish Israel's goals. Despite the problems with Hamas at the helm in Gaza, the blockade changed the focus to another example of Israeli repression, ordinary Palestinians suffer once again. The Israelis have to realize that whatever moral right they have to protect themselves is effectively lost, once they stifle the livelihood of people, who have no stake in Hamas, and what they represent.

In some respects, yesterday was inevitable- Israel holding firm, the blockade remains vs a determined activist group that was bent on challenge. When you step back, a peaceful resolution was highly unlikely. It is here that the Israelis made grave errors, you can't drop from the sky onto your adversary, in the dead of the night, and expect to be "greeted as liberators". It simply doesn't work that way, the crime is really a failure in basic logic.