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April, 2011:

Friday miscellany: with ZOMBIES AND KITTENS!

I’m sure to be posting more than a few things from now through E-Day, so, today, I am focussing on:




Whew. Thanks. I needed a bit of slap upside the head just there!

1) A windy day in O Dot yesterday. I swear I saw Dorothy AND Winnie the Pooh AND my recycling bins flying east over St. Laurent! Were these the political winds of change that I’ve been hearing so much about?

Speaking of my recycling bins, has anyone seen them? One is black and one is blue.  They could be anywhere east of Canterbury HS. Please contact me if you spot them.

2) Warren Kinsella posted this link to the world’s first zombie-proof house! And it’s about time!

Guess we know where the Harperites will scatter to if the polls hold to the 2nd and the socialist hordes take power!

3) Barack Obama caved to the lunatic fringe (aka, the GOP) and produced his “long form” birth certificate to prove that he is indeed, an American.

Two questions:

  • Does Canada have a “long form” birth certificate? And if we do, has Harper done away with it and replaced it with a voluntary birth certificate?
  • Will Harper follow suit and produce his birth certificate? That would put away all of those nasty rumours about being a robot and all. Just sayin’..

4)  Here’s what Iggy said to the CPC the other day:

5) Finally, on a completely non-political note, I wanted to wish the best of luck to the son of a friend and colleague of mine on an adventure he has been on since last year.

Shayne Orok has made into the final 5 of what can be best described as Korea’s version of American Idol. This achieved in spite of the fact that he doesn’t speak Korean AND that he has been away from his (very close) family for months now AND that there were about a gazillion entrants to start with!

This kid has a talent, man! I hope he remembers the nice bald man who said hi to him at the office Xmas party 6 years ago!

Given him a listen.




Latest polls – Hell hath become chilly

This morning’s results. The slide continues for the Grits. At this rate, they’ll be lucky to be the fourth party.
Can they turn it around? Will Chretien’s involvement make a difference this late in the game? Harper is ignoring the NDP rise – is this a good strategy, or could it backfire? What kind of beer should I buy for Monday night?

Canada Trendline [PDF]

Conservative 36.6% -1.2
NDP 30.4% +2.6
Liberal 21.9% -1.0
BQ 6.0% +0.2
Green 4.1% -0.6

(3 days ending April 27)

And from

Interesting how things have changed since the debates, eh?


Royal wedding crap – puh-leeze!

Hey! Any party willing to say that they will work toward Canada dropping this Middle Ages anachronism and become a republic?



I’m tuning out radio, TV and newpapers for 48 hours in a (likely vain) attempt to avoid this fluff.

That is all.


Devestation! Destruction!

And a Huriphoonado will be sure to come if the NDP – gasp – ever gains power or even a sniff of it!

Here’s Steve:

The alternative that the opposition offers, symbolized most dramatically by the NDP, are enormous increases in government expenses, the raising of taxes, the raising of prices which we know will have a devastating effect on consumers’ pockets and ultimately on our economy and the destruction of jobs.

Run away! Run away! Jack and his evil band of granola-munching socialists will find you and take away your kittens if you don’t do what they say!

Steve will save your kittens though!
Stephen LOVES kittens!
Sigh. C’mon, people! This is not Castro we’re talking about! It’s not even Chavez! Jack Layton and the NDP are a part of our democracy with some ideas and policies that might be a bit different from the two traditional governing parties. But they are NOT out to nationalize anything, for cripe’s sake! The world will not end if they ever became the government! Bay Street might not like it and the oil sand barons certainly wouldn’t but THOSE aren’t the guys in charge!
Clearly, Harper is panicking and the CPC is poised to unleash a whole new set of attack ads on the weekend aimed at Layton and his socialist hordes!
Gonna be a fun last few days!


Gonna be a dry summer if you live in South Ottawa

5 pm – This just came to me (I’m a bit dopier than usually today) : Didn’t the City know that this was coming down the pipe (so to speak)? If so, why are these residents hearing about this just now?

Just asking…


Ottawa council says no lawn & garden watering, pool filling, car washing, or splash pad use in Barrhaven, Manotick, Riverside South. And this may last until August. Wow.

The ban includes:

  • Watering your lawn and garden
  • Using a splash pad
  • Filling up or topping up your pool
  • Washing your car
  • And any other outdoor use of city-supplied water

There is an old water main on Woodroffe that needs replacing and the City wants to make sure that folks in these areas have an adequate supply of water while the work is being done.

Man, I’d be really pissed if I lived down there and just put money down on a new pool!



Advance poll turnout, a big thing or meh?

We Canucks were pretty darned busy over the weekend exercising our responsibility as citizens. Gardening was put aside, playoff talk suspended and the turkeys were left to cook as we flocked to advance polls in record numbers… 34% higher turnout than the last time, in fact!

Is this cause for joy or simply a factor of timing? After all, the polls were held – to the disdain of a few hard core religiousity peeps – over the Easter long weekend. Friday was a day off for many and Twitter was a bustling about line ups at several stations across the country.

But what if we accept that yes, the timing did contribute to the relatively high numbers, but this was also a sign of something else. Like, interest maybe?

Wow. If this is true and this newfound engagement carries forward to E Day, how might the results be impacted?

Here are a few observations:

Apathy is the government’s friend. Any government. If folks are more or less happy with the way things are, they are less likely to get off their butts and wander down to the polling booth. But if the citizenry is pretty pissed off, they might just PVR that latest episode of Oprah and vote.

Second, the un-freaking-believable uptick in Dipper fortunes tells me that many of the newfound converts to democracy may just be deciding to ditch the norm (and Steve, Gilles and Mikey too) and embrace someone else for a change.

And yes, the Dippers are for real, as the latest Nanos numbers show.

The saving grace for the Cons at the moment is that their support, though sub-40, is more efficient than the support for the other parties. And this just may deliver Stevo the majority that he lusts for.

Or not.

All in all, we may see something special on Monday night. A change in the ho-hum Canadian political landscape?

Or not.

BALLOT – 7:00 am

Canada Trendline [PDF]

Conservative 37.8% -1.4
NDP 27.8% +4.2
Liberal 22.9% -2.7
BQ 5.8% -0.7
Green 4.7% +1.1

(3 days ending April 26)


Prime Minister Jack

Well, it’s better than Prime Minister Steve. But so would be PM Eeyore.

In my oh-so-humble opinion.

Man. I’m a poli-sci freak having the time of his life! Is it ’88? ’93??


So, how bad might it be for the Grits?

If you are a Liberal and you’re watching the results roll in on the night of May 2, it might be very, very bad.

Or not.

Or just a little bad.

But if you are a non-partisan progressive, it may be good.

Or very, very good.

Or just OK.

Much of how this game of thrones plays out hinges on turnout – especially in Ontario, where the Liberal vote has more or less done a deep six, but the Dippers have yet to pick up the slack. Québec is also a wildcard. Are the former Bloc supporters really giving up on Duceppe? Québec voters have proven to be volatile in the past – and they may once more prove themselves so.

I’m not at all going to get into WHY this happened; that can wait until later. But the polls are consistently showing that there has been a steady shift to the Blue team and the Orange side. And if the Dipper support in Ontario, which is currently stagnant, takes an upswing like elsewhere in Canada, the Grits had better stock up on some good scotch on May 2 and for the next 4 years… cuz there be bad times comin’ .

It will be interesting to see the Nanos poll tomorrow morning.



Friday miscellany

Handy voting guide. Take whatever this group advises, and vote the opposite!


Congrats to a couple of City Councillors who see the value in social media. They are both active Tweeps PLUS they have very cool and easy to navigate websites. Way to go Beacon Hill / Cyrvillle Councillor Tim Tierney and Bay Ward Councillor Mark Taylor! Your colleagues could learn a thing or two!

Along the same lines, thanks to Mayor Watson (or one of his peeps) with whom I had a good back and forth on Twitter this week about the replacement of full minutes as records of proceedings at Council to “action minutes”. We didn’t agree in the end, but he’s the Mayor and I’m uh, not.


A shout out to my family in Parry Sound – how’s the weather???


Re: the Dippers’ rising fortunes in this election… supporters shouldn’t go tossing their granola into the air in celebration quite yet. My hunch is that is very soft support and most of it will drift back to the Grits on E-Day. But then again….


I took some heat on Facebook and in the comments section when I posted the item about the Harper agenda being very clear about some so-con issues. And one of them was abortion. One commenter noted that the so-con initiatives would be done incrementally… even the Harperites won’t do something like re-criminalise abortion overnight.

Here is an example of how these changes will be introduced slowly, but surely:

Brad Trost, who is running for re-election in the semi-suburban, semi-rural riding of Saskatoon-Humboldt, made the remarks during a speech to an evening banquet at a Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association convention last Saturday.

After thanking those who signed petitions to defund the International Planned Parenthood Federation, a group that provides assistance with birth control and maternal health, he told the audience how his office had spearheaded the campaign and how other MPs had helped him.

“Let me tell you, and I cannot tell you specifically how we used it but those petitions were very, very useful and they were part of what we used to defund Planned Parenthood, because it has been an absolute disgrace that this organization and several others like it have been receiving one penny of Canadian taxpayers’ dollars,” he said in a recording of the speech released to the media by the Liberal Party.

The CPC is, of course, denying all of this.

Planned Parenthood is a solid organization that does good work. Dogma should not get in the way of their funding.


OK. I watched Rogers channel 66 the other day when I was feeling under the weather and took a day off. This is, of course, the much-maligned Sun News network.

Yeah, yeah, there was the predictable blathering about the Republican race in the States and whether or not Donald Trump (gag) has a shot at the nomination… BUT, there was also some good solid commentary! Yes, this is me writing this. The topic of the G 20 police brutality came up and I say back expecting to hear a full defense of their actions but no! They agreed wholeheartedly that the cops were WAY over the line and that it was a black eye on Canada’s image.

I was not expecting that!

Besides, progressives should not be afraid of a news outlet that presents points of view that run counter to theirs. We survived the National Post, right?


Finally – likely won’t get a chance to post anything new for a few days… gonna be spending some much-needed time with the family and away from work and the blogosphere… Happy Easter to those who celebrate and a happy not-quite-spring-but-at-least-it’s-a-long-weekend to others!


The value of all-candidate meetings

There has been some talk in the mainstream media and the Twittersphere and Blogosphere (and a whole mess of other spheres I am sure) lately about how some candidates – notably those representing the Harper Party of Harper© – are saying thanks but no thanks – or just not bothering to show up – at local all-candidate meetings.

The excuse put out there most often is that they think that connecting with voters by canvassing is more useful than attending a debate.

Poppycock. And it’s not fair to the voters.

First, voters want to be able to compare and contrast the candidates – in person and in the presence of the other choices. They want to pose questions to all of them and observe and compare the answers, the body language, the character of the candidate in the presence of the others in the race. So by blowing off the meetings, the candiates are doing the voters and their communities a great disservice. Pure and simple.

Second, canvassing door to door is essential, of course. But, as a former candidate and holder of public office myself, I find it impossible to buy into the excuse that it is better to canvass than to attend a group at an all-candidates meeting. Having a group in a room is a very efficient use of “face-time” in that you are making direct contact with as many voters in a short time span as you would in about 6 hours of door stops (making certain assumptions, of course). And these folks are VOTERS! They will VOTE! So the time is not wasted. If there had been more opportunities to address groups of voters during last fall’s municipal election, I – and the other candidates – would have surely availed ourselves of the opportunities.

So, my take is that the decisions are almost certainly not coming from the campaign offices themselves but from further up the food chain. You see, all-candidate meetings can be risky propositions. Candidates can slip up and say something damaging to the campaign as a whole. The press cover these events and disasters can, and have happened. This is especially pertinent to new and unseasoned candidates… more of a chance of an “oops”.

It is even MORE important to the front-runner in a campaign… manage the risk to the greatest extent possible. And the CPC is all about risk management – they have shown that time and time again.

Bottom line – the main decision-makers are calling the shots here… and from a campaign strategy point of view, they are probably right to tell some of their local candidates to stay away.

But that doesn’t make it A-OK because they are denying voters an opportunity to gather more information to help them make informed choices about who they will support on E-Day.