Thursday, February 28, 2008

Liberals Are WAAAAAAAY Smarter!!!

I stand corrected. My post yesterday appears to be wrong....The Globe and Mail has other thoughts.


St├ęphane Dion plays it smart

Globe and Mail Editorial

February 28, 2008 at 6:42 AM EST


The critics are lining up to take aim at St├ęphane Dion's refusal to bring down the Conservative government over its budget. Pundits suggest the Liberal Leader is hypocritical for allowing a plan he called "one mile wide and one inch deep" to pass. Members of his caucus fret that he is sapping their party's credibility. There are whispers that he is weak, even cowardly. Mr. Dion has deserved much of the criticism he has received over his 15 months as leader. But not this time. Not only did he make the right decision, but he made it in a manner that suggests a word not usually associated with Mr. Dion -- leadership.

On what pretense could the Liberals have forced an election on this budget? It is true that Finance Minister Jim Flaherty was compelled by his own overreaching tax cuts last fall to deliver a thin document. But with the government forecasting a decline in revenues, there is little different the Liberals could have offered. As Mr. Dion has been eager to point out, what new spending Mr. Flaherty managed was directed largely toward Liberal priorities such as infrastructure and research and development.

The biggest difference of opinion between the two parties is over how to spend this year's surplus. Mr. Dion would have put more money toward infrastructure and less toward debt repayment. But that isn't an issue to run a campaign on. Besides, it would be too late to assign that money to anything other than the debt by the time the Liberals took office.

To some Liberals, deputy leader Michael Ignatieff reportedly among them, it doesn't matter that the budget is relatively inoffensive; they believe it's simply time for an election. But Canadians apparently beg to differ. There is no strong sense of dissatisfaction with this government, no pressing issue on which the parties are at an impasse and no burning desire for change. Polls suggest an election would produce a Parliament closely resembling the current one, with the Tories maintaining minority power.

A delayed election plays to the Liberals' advantage, and not just because an economic downturn could sour voters on the Tories. Novice opposition leaders usually have about three years from the leadership convention to their first election, and even then are often ill-prepared. Mr. Dion has had much less time, and it shows. The Liberals' policy, their organization and his own communication skills are not election-ready. It may be that no time will be enough, but each passing day can only help.

Mr. Dion's immediate reaction to the budget, in fact, suggests he is improving. In the past, he might have vacillated for days. By announcing his decision just minutes after Mr. Flaherty had finished speaking, he appeared decisive. And for a leader sometimes accused of stubbornness, reports that senior caucus members swayed him from his initial inclination to bring down the government are encouraging. Perhaps he is learning.

Most Canadians will only really start paying close attention to Mr. Dion once the writ is dropped. By choosing that time to his party's best advantage, the Liberal Leader is giving himself a fighting chance.

Thank God We're Not Having an Election

At least that's what Harper is saying.

Cause shit like this would just be something us Liberals wouldn't know what to do with. Right up there with the economy, the environment, Afghanistan, firing the nuclear chair, Mulroney, Bernier, etc, etc.

Unbelievable. Simply unbelievable. Still my head shakes.

UPDATE: Of course CTV doesn't have a story on this.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Deborah Coyne Steps Aside

That's too bad. I would love to see her in Ottawa.

Of course, Rob Oliphant is a solid Liberal. And, the party owes him for stepping aside for The Bob Rae.


Here's Deb's note:

Dear friends,

Since entering the race for the Liberal nomination in Don Valley West, I have visited hundreds of people in all areas of this great riding. Don Valley West reflects so much of what makes Canada great. Our growing diversity, our huge pool of human talent from all over the globe: surely these are our greatest strengths as a nation and they are best defended by a Liberal MP.

It is crucial that Don Valley West return a Liberal to Ottawa in the next federal election.

With this in mind, I have decided that my campaign has run its course. I have withdrawn my candidacy and have decided that Rob Oliphant is the right person to win the next election, serve the diverse communities of Don Valley West, and build on the work of John Godfrey as a distinguished Member of Parliament.

Thank you for you support,

Deborah Coyne

Liberals Turtle Again...And I Have No Clue

And, the What Do I Know Grit is beside himself. I have no idea what happened to the close to 5,000 Liberal members that attended something we called "a leadership convention" in Montreal, December 2006.

I have no idea what became of the Red Ribbon Task Force. I have no idea what became of the Council of Presidents. I have no idea what became of the Dion Leadership Team and why they have become insignificant peons to the leader and banished to the wilderness - as if to say "you're guilty of some crime". I have no idea why the leader has allowed himself to be dictated to by the same old, same old that we announced to the world we were done with back in Montreal.

I have no clue as to who is really running this party. I have no suggestion as to who is making suggestions to the leader. Most of all, I have no idea why the leader, his brain trust and his MPs have chosen not to have an election to eliminate the most ridiculous excuse for a government since the last term of the Mulroney days.

As I sit here and listen to Peter MacKay, Bev Oda and the saddest excuse for a minister that resembles Maxime Bernier, hold a press conference about Afghanistan and tell us how great the progress is in that country, I can't help but continue to shake my head.

Whatever the game is up in the Liberal caucus room, the troops here on the ground are baffled and mystified. And, as the MSM states, this party, this leader and this country are in peril.

Isn't there something about a biennial convention this year??

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Dion's Double-Edged Budget Vote

Now that most of Stephane's leadership team have been banished to the wilderness, my thoughts are focused today on whether or not Mr. Dion sticks to his own instincts and pulls the plug on this rancid Conservative Government.

My guess is that his current advisers - or as CTV refers to them, the Rae Team - is imploring him not to. How a strong position for Liberals on Afghanistan, the economy, the environment and the poor has faded so quickly in 2 weeks is beyond me.

Extending the Afghan mission is one thing. Not having an exit strategy is quite another. Add that to Harper's finance team adding every little past Liberal non-perk into the budget today -like a billion to infrastructure-, and, voila, no election.

So the leaderless ground troops get to hurry up and wait yet again. And the leader gets to be called every derogatory synonym for "wimp" that there is for a further year-and-a-half.

The Dion I voted for at leadership was a man of conviction. True to his thoughts. If that man shows up this week and opposes the Harperites, I would be more than happy to go to battle by his side. That's the man I came to admire. That's the man I chose to end Mr. Harper's unruly rule. That's the next Prime Minister of Canada!!!

To Arms! TO ARMS!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Nanos Poll Says we're Even Steven

Today Nik Nanos released his latest poll. Here it is:


Federal Deadlock Continues / Key Ballot Drivers


Our latest tracking shows the Conservatives and the Liberals continue to be gripped in a deadlock. Support for the NDP has dropped 5 points nationally in the past 16 days while the Conservatives are up 3 points (within the Margin of Accuracy).

In order to understand what was driving the vote every committed voter was asked why they had a particular vote preference.

Conservatives were more likely to be driven by policies and job performance, the Liberals by a belief they were the best option and party policies/platform and the NDP by policies/platform and a belief they care for the average/working person.

Support for the Bloc was based on their standing up for Quebec/French and the belief they are the best choice. Green Party support was driven by their environmental credentials and policies/platform.




Methodology
Polling between February 16th and February 20th, 2008. (Random Telephone Survey of 1,001 Canadians, 18 years of age and older). The Nanos Research Survey of 1,001 Canadians is accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, plus or minus, 19 times out of 20. The subset of committed voters is accurate to within 3.3 percentage points, plus or minus, 19 times out of 20.


Question: For those parties you would consider voting for federally, could you please rank your top two current local preferences? (Committed Voters Only - First Choice)

The numbers in parenthesis denotes the change from the previous Nanos Research Survey completed on February 4th, 2008.

Canada (N=878, MoE ± 3.3%, 19 times out of 20)
Liberal Party 34% (+1)
Conservative Party 34% (+3)
NDP 14% (-5)
BQ 10% (NC)
Green Party 8% (NC)

Question: Why is ______ your first choice?
Liberal supporters:
1. The best choice (20.8%)
2. Good policies/Platform (19.4%)
3. Tradition/Always voted for them (19.0%)

Conservative supporters:
1. Good policies/Platform (27.0%)
2. Doing a good job (18.8%)
3. The best choice (13.1%)

NDP supporters:
1. Good policies/Platform (26.7%)
2. Care about the average/working person (20.0%)
3. The best choice (18.3%)

Bloc supporters:
1. Stand up for Quebec/French (37.6%)
2. The best choice (18.8%)
3. Am a separatist (15.3%)

Green supporters:
1. Best for the environment (52.9%)
2. Good policies/Platform (20.0%)
3. Deserve a chance (11.4%)

The detailed tables with the regional sub-tabs and methodology are posted on our website at: http://www.nanosresearch.com.

Feel free to forward this e-mail. Any use of the poll should identify the source as the latest "Nanos Poll."

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Troops will be in Afghanistan Forever

Notice how the Government's new Liberal-inspired motion on Afghanistan states that Canadian Troops will be out of Kandahar by July 2011?

My question is: When do the troops leave Afghanistan for good?

Roy Cullen Steps Down

Here's a brief bio.

Rumour is the party has already appointed a stellar female candidate.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Houston We Have an Obama

Listening to Mr. Obama tonight while he spoke in Houston, I couldn't help but think, where have I heard this before? Anyway, the man is on a roll and the mojo is hard to stop. Hillary's got a big hill to climb.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Obama and Clinton = No Winner

All the talk about the mojo being with Barack or swinging to Hillary. Mindless babble really. The fact is that this thing is going to the convention in Denver in August. Neither will have the 2025 to get over the hump before they get to Colorado.

Neither will cede to the other. Both are still going to spend money 'til they equal the equivalent of the GDP of most small nations. Their workers will be totally exhausted beyond exhaustion. Then, just when you think they've won, the winning candidate will have exactly 90 days to win a general election against a guy that will have been campaigning from March to November.

The Republicans will be forming policy, making policy, changing policy and raising money like there's no tomorrow....because for them, there is no tomorrow. Compare that to a candidate that will have to come up with a full-blown campaign stategy, a vice-presidential nominee and new-found ways to raise even more money. All that in a compact time frame. Sounds like the Dems will be broke for a couple years to come.

And, the question of the day is: How does one campaign for the working poor, the homeless, the needy losing their homes and a new economic outlook for the country when they just blew $150 million dollars each trying to win a nomination?

My goodness. John Edwards has to be just shaking his head right about now.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Robbie Robertson and The Band...Proud of Our Canadian Band




Tonight Robbie Roberston and The Band were honoured at the Grammys with a lifetime music achievement award. Some of us believe that was a long overdue kudo.

Here's a little bio on the Robbie.

One of the premier songwriters of the rock era, Robbie Robertson was born July 5, 1943 in Toronto, Ontario. The son of a Jewish father and Mohawk mother, Jaime Robbie Robertson's first brush with live music came at the Six Nations Reservation, his mother's girlhood home; at the age of five, he also gained exposure to the country music of rural America. Not long after, he began taking guitar lessons from a cousin, and gradually began composing his first songs. As time wore on, his musical interests evolved from country to big band to rock, and he eventually dropped out of school to pursue a career as a performer. In 1958, he hooked up with rockabilly star Ronnie Hawkins' backing band the Hawks, joining fellow sidemen Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel.

After remaining with Hawkins through 1963, the Hawks began working on their own; they soon came to the attention of Bob Dylan, and became the support unit on the singer's now-legendary 1965-1966 world tour. Continuing their affiliation with Dylan, the group, renamed simply the Band, went on to become one of rock's seminal acts; propelled by Robertson's acute, evocative examinations of American mythology and lore, they made a series of seminal LPs, including 1968's Music From Big Pink and the following year's self-titled masterpiece. The Band dissolved on Thanksgiving Day, 1976 following an all-star concert filmed by director Martin Scorsese and later released as The Last Waltz. The project marked the beginning of Robertson's long affiliation with Scorsese, as well as an interest in dramatic acting; in 1980, Robertson produced and starred in Carny, co-starring Jodie Foster and Gary Busey.

Also in 1980, he composed the score to Scorsese's brilliant Raging Bull, and continued to confine his musical activity to the film medium for the next several years, later working with Scorsese on the acerbic 1983 satire King of Comedy and 1986's The Color Of Money, the sequel to The Hustler. Finally, in 1987 Robertson released his self-titled solo debut, which included guest appearances from onetime Band mates Danko and Hudson as well as U2, Peter Gabriel, Daniel Lanois and Gil Evans. Storyville a conceptual piece steeped in the sounds and imagery of a famed area of New Orleans, followed in 1990. In 1994, Robertson returned to his roots, teaming with the Native American group the Red Road Ensemble for Music for The Native Americans, a collection of songs composed for a television documentary series. Contact From the Underworld of Redboy followed in 1998.



Many thanks to Jason Ankeny, All-Music Guide

Why Europe is not Coming to Help in Afghanistan

The Sun's Eric Margolis gives us some great incite into the European version of the war in Afghanistan.

7 Months ago I wrote a blogpost on some of the reasons we can't win in Afghanistan. That particular post was preceeded by many others I've written.

Today The Sun publishes an article outlining why Europeans won't be running to our aid any time soon in Afghanistan.

If I were Stephane Dion, I would certainly be willing to fight an election on Afghanistan. I might even utilize some of Eric's research to help inform the Canadian public a little better about what the realities of "winning" a war in Afghanistan truly are.

I've said it before - if we want to win anything in Afghanistan, we're about 100,000 troops shy. Not 1,000 but 100,000. Got that Peter MacKay? 100K.

Viet Nam did exactly that to get rid of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. Go all in and get out fast. Mind you, as Margolis points out, there's 40 million Pushtan to beat in Afghanistan, so our brut force would have to be even larger than the committment VN made in Cambodia.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Mike Harris Redux or: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love Deficit Financing

re·dux* (r-dks)
adj.
Brought back; returned. Used postpositively.
[Latin : re-, re- + dux, leader; see duke.]
See here for definition

Don't say that you weren't told.

Don't say that you weren't warned.

Don't say that you thought it would be different this time.

WE HAVE SEEN THIS BEFORE and it wasn't pretty.

First we had Stephen Harper's "New Canadian Government" of honesty and transparency running parallel to a whole new level of secrecy, paranoia and doublespeak.


Then we had John Baird, the champion of the environment, trying to snow job us with the "made in Canada solution" that only the tar sand Czars could love.



Now we have Jim (Mike Harris) Flaherty, Canada's Minister of Deficit, preparing to do to Canada what he and Mike Harris did to Ontario.


Since taking power, Harper's Conservatives have (without delay or hesitation) taken Canada from a strong budgetary surplus to the brink of deficit financing. The federal surplus figures for this year show a scary downward spiralling trend, including a huge deficit in October and virtually no surplus in November. Will this pattern continue when the December figure is released on February 18?



Canada ’s monthly surplus (deficit) this year:

April 2007 2,700,000,000

June 2,800,000,000

July 1,400,000,000

August 900,000,000

September 700,000,000

October (2,700,000,000)

November 100,000,000



The negative effects of this type of management were obvious in Ontario. One need only look at the problems Ontario had with power generation, environmental standards, water quality, health care, and education. Even if one can turn their head from the direct and inevitable results of the Harper/Flaherty/Harris school of financial mismanagement, how can anyone stomach the peddling of more bogus misinformation, more slogans instead of substance and more outright B.S.? Ontario rejected it. The U.S. rejected it in their midterms in 2006. When will Canadians wake up?

Maybe the new Liberal election slogan should be, "WAKE UP FOR CANADA!!!"

For those interested in facing reality, below are some articles on Canada's deficit, Ontario's deficit and Flaherty:

http://www.fin.gc.ca/serialse/2007/fiscmon-e.html

http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20080114/deficit_call_080114/20080114?hub=Canada

http://www.policyalternatives.ca/documents/National_Office_Pubs/2008/How_Resilient_is_the_Federal_Budget.pdf

http://www.exacom.net/firstlibrary/Articles/Ontario%20Issues/Economy/Ontario%20deficit.htm

http://www.canada.com/topics/news/story.html?id=771c32a9-71ab-4ddd-96b9-b857d5719152&k=3801

http://community-focus.com/opinion/opi_article.asp?Section=Letters&Author=&KeyWords=&StartDate=&EndDate=&ARID=93

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Terminator's Wife Was Wrong Too!


That's my thought about California. The "Kennedys" - Save for Bobby Jr. and sister Kathleen - couldn't push Obama ahead in Mass. and Cal. Cal isn't even close to being counted yet, but I'll hazard a guess Hillary wins the state.

So Much for Ted Kennedy's Endorsement

As I said, it takes more than 3 Kennedys to support a candidate for leadership. Hillary is going to win Uncle Ted's State of Massachusetts and stick it in his ear. Looks like Bobby Jr. can collect his bet with Uncle Ted.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Christine Broderick October 16, 1967 - February 3, 2008

Only the good die young. Christine was a true friend.

This morning my friend expired as a result of a car accident last August that had rendered her into a comatose state. I have missed her since that very day. Suffice to say she is in a better place.

Christine had joined the Liberal Party and became a member of the Niagara Falls Riding Executive in 2005. She was elected by her peers as a delegate 3 times to represent our riding, including leadership in 2006.

My friend leaves behind her 2 beautiful children, Tiffany and Brandon (Joey), her parents, Charlie and Sherri, her brother Brett and his two children, her brother Derek and his wife Brenda and their 3 children and several uncles, aunts and cousins.

Also left behind are many, many incredible friends that have been fortunate enough to have shared in the memories she has left with all of us. Oh the stories we can share.

We will continue to have a void in our hearts for some time to come.

I shall miss you my friend.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Grit's OYL Endorsements

I normally don't get involved in endorsing candidates for OYL positions. Usually because each and every person putting their names forward is the future of our party. I have also never been a fan of this slate vs. that slate....although, we've all been involved in that sort of thing at one time or another.

I am NOT endorsing a slate, but rather some individuals that I have come into contact with that I think make a difference in this party of ours.

Leo Lehman - South Central Regional Director

Justin Tetreault - Candidate, Executive Vice President

Elyse Banham - Candidate, Vice President Federal Affairs

Joanna Murrell - Candidate, Vice President Provincial Affairs

Danielle Takacs - Candidate, Treasurer

Zac Spicer - Candidate, Communications Director


I wish all of the candidates the best in their endeavours at the OYL AGM, and, I commend all the candidates for the courage to put their names forward. Good luck to all of you.

Jim

Friday, February 1, 2008

Dion Beats Harper Up

Just a little light-hearted comedy. We will see the budget! We will see the budget!!

Hilarious video clip.