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Stèphane Dion

Regarding Stephane Dion

A Quebecois commentator on CBC just said the following:

“You don’t keep a symptom just so you can scratch yourself.”

I’m sure it translates better – but you get the drift….

I tink Canada just barely dodged a bullet.

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Are the Grits gaining momentum? Naw… really?

Some very interesting new polling numbers from Nanos Research. This firm is, in my admittedly VERY informed opinion, the most competent group out there from a methodological and question development perspective. They have been doing daily tracking since the writ was dropped.

There is a clear upswing in Grit fortunes – especially in QC, where the change is outside the margin of error.  This is curious because some quebecois friends of mine told me this would happen close to the end of the campaign. Most surprising is Dion’s increase on the leadership index – only 8 points in arrears.

Time (as in tomorrow) will tell whether this is indeed a true trend or sinply a statistical anamoly.

Steve over at Far and Wide has made some good points about this poll.

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French language debate

Apparently Harper won the debate last night.

Apparently Dion won the debate last night.

I watched most of it on RDC – can’t stand the translated version. Here’s my opinion:

No clear cut “winner”, though:

  • I think Stevie did himself more harm than good (yay!).
  • Dion held his own and maybe even gained some support through his performance (but man, he has bad posture).
  • If there was a winner, it was Duceppe. You could clearly see that he has been down this road before.
  • Layton made some good points and his French was the best of the Anglos.
  • And Lizzie May, despite being handicapped languages-wise (tho’ she was better than I had anticipated) got in a few good jabs here and there.

Tonite – Round 2. Watch for Stevo to go the attack as polls are showing that his support has stalled and has fallen backward in Quebec.

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The Politics of Fear – both Harper AND Dion are to blame

From Fair Vote Canada:

The Politics of Fear is Misleading and Polarizing.

Which of You Will Change the Sad Face of Canadian Politics?

Dear Mr. Harper and Mr. Dion:

On behalf of all Canadians who want to believe in democracy,
allow me to express my enormous frustration with this election
campaign.

The leaders of our two largest political parties are acting more
like fear mongers than true leaders.

Stephane Dion, you say Canadians must vote for the Liberal Party,
or Stephen Harper, with a phony majority government, will ruin
Canada as we know it.

Stephen Harper, you say Canadians must vote for the Conservative
Party, or Stephane Dion as head of a phony majority Liberal
government will ruin Canada as we know it.

Is Canada truly in such terrible danger, or are both of you
simply avoiding the core question that any Canadian would ask:

'Why should a leader and party without true majority voter
support be allowed to seize command of Parliament and
impose law and policy on all Canadians?'

Why is it that you defend and perpetuate a system of
election and government which lacks the legitimacy conferred
by majority voter support?

What do you say to the nearly eight million orphan voters
in this country - more than half the active electorate,
many of whom support your own parties - who on October
14 will again cast votes which elect nobody to the House of
Commons? To Conservative voters who will elect hardly any
representatives in urban centres and to Liberal voters who
will elect no one in the prairie provinces?

Which of you on October 1 and 2 will say to the cameras
that before the next election you will bring in proportional
representation, making all Canadian voters equal citizens
with equal votes and equal representation in the House of
Commons, thus ending the need for fear and hate campaigns
designed to gain that slight advantage in the popular vote
that will result in a phony, underserved majority of seats
in Parliament?

Canadians would be delighted to hear you pledge that your
government will make this the last unfair and undemocratic
federal election. Any leader who makes that pledge would be
deserving of the votes from millions of currently orphaned
voters on October 14.

Yours for a democratic Canada,

Barbara Odenwald, President
Fair Vote Canada

www.Fairvote.ca and www.orphanvoters.ca

Fair Vote Canada (FVC) is a national multi-partisan citizens'
campaignto promote voting system reform. FVC was founded
in 2001 and has a National Advisory Board of distinguished
Canadians from all points on the political spectrum.

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The second full week of the campaign!

This week is always critical in a short campaing. Theoretically, all of th ekinks should have been worked out and the parties can get into the meat of their platforms.

Here’s what I think we’ll see this week:

  • More ads and messages about Stevie’s leadership abilities – especially with regards to managing an uncertain economy. The U.S. banking system is going down the tubes and this will have repercussions north of the 49th.
  • The Grits will continue with attach ads on SH. But this is the week that they MUST put their leadership TEAM up front and take some of the attention away from Dion.
  • Look for Layton to continue to sound and act silly.
  • Some of the initial sheen granted to the Greens will wear off by the end of the week
  • Some of the Bloquiste support that has leaked to the ReformCons will ebb back to the Bloq as Duceppe gets his footing and has a good week.

I’ll be way for much of the week but will post another instalment of “What NOT to vote for Harper” by Friday night.

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Tasteless ReformCon attack ad

How tasteless is this? Doesn’t anyone vet these things?

Shows just how low Stevie’s boyz will sink.

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What can the Grits do to stop Harper

Over at The ramblings of a frustrated journalist, Devon wrote the following:

For Dion, I think it is too late to be a leader. The only hope you have is in some of your stronger members. That is one place I think the Liberals are ahead. The Conservatives are running on Harper’s reputation. The actual quality members of the Conservative party are few and far between. Emerson and a few others are leaving, so good luck all those who vote for the Conservative party, you’re not going to get what you’re expecting. There will be a lot of inexperienced people pretending like they know what they are doing when they don’t.

I completely agree with Devon. For Dion, it is too late to be a leader – they can only hope that he doesn’t screw up something too badly. The only hope they have is in some of your stronger members.  The Grit front bench is BY FAR stronger than Harper’s. You have Iggy, Rae, Martha, Dryden and Bennett against:

Uh, well, Stevie is the only one that really matters, eh?

Though, I don’t think this tactic has yet to be considered by the Grit team as they are now pushing back at the CPC Dad-ads with a show on the Liberal website showing Stèphane to be the fun-lovin’ nature enjoyin’ down-home guy that he is.  Rather than try and take charge of the agenda, they are following Harper’s script.

Man, the back room folks in Harper’s shop must be salivating!

But, hey! Campaigns DO matter… but the Grits had better get their act together – and fast!

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Why Steven Harper is breaking his own law

Sigh.

Here we go again. It looks almost certain that Stevie and his neocons are going to break the fixed date legislation that they themselves introduced only a short while ago.

Harper is claiming that Parliament has become dysfunctional and that he needs to be sure that the Government can put their agenda into place before proceeding.

I have 2 issues with this:

  1. Parliament is not dysfunctional. Yes, Committee hearings have become a circus because ReformCons have been ignoring summons to appear and they have been using their handy-dandy PMO (Karl Rove-ish) contrived manual on how to make Committee meetings dysfunctional. But these are the PMO’s antics – not those of the other parties.
  2. Not going to the House to test a claim of confidence but rather using the opposition leaders’ willingness to meet with his holiness is pretty damned cheeky; if not illegal. Unfortunately, the days of GG Byng are long gone and it is doubtful that our current GG will do anything but dissolve Parliament and trigger an election as the Harperites want.

So why is Mr. Harper so desperate for an election now and not willing to wait until his goivernment has been brought down legitimately on a matter of confidence?

The reasons are simple:

  • Liberal candidates are winning in all four of the by-elections currently underway – the Conservatives didn’t anticipate this shift, and they cannot afford the perception that they are losing traction.
  • Harper’s concern is only enhanced by the continuing Elections Canada investigation into the Conservatives alleged “in & out” scheme.
  • the House of Commons continues to investigate Brian Mulroney’s dealings with KarlHeinz Schrieber.
  • A late fall ot early winter election would ride on the coattails of a likely (yes, likely) Obama win to the south and this would benefits the Grits.
  • The economy will continue to feel the effects of the recession in the States.
  • The visions of more poor boys making the trip home from Afghanistan in caskets are not pleasant.
  • The somewhat distant possibility that M. Dion will begin to appeal to Canadians.
  • Conservative polling numbers remain stagnant in Ontario and Québec.

So Stevie is rolling the dice and calling Stèphane names as a prelude to one full-blown hissy fit that he’ll launch as soon as the writ is dropped. Like a bully in the schoolyard, he has beaten up all of the other kids and now is taking his marbles and going home.

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Stevie Harper is up to his old childish games – again

So Stevie is daring Stèphane to force an election, eh? Just like a schoolboy in the playground, little Stevie is engaging in cheap taunts and dares. This so-called government should be ashamed of themselves!

I can only HOPE that the Grits DO fall for the taunts and call the Reform Conservative party’s bluff. There is no way that the Liberals can win an election with their current leader. But with the economic news showing that the economic output is starting to tank, now might be the time that Stevie and his little friends can be held to another minority. Then, the Liberals can hold a leadership review and install someone who can actually win a future majority. Martha Hall-Findlay, Bob Rae or Gerard Kennedy come to mind.

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Harperites shooting themselves in the feet

I am often dumbstruck by some of the decisions that the Harper government takes regarding the messages that they send out to the country. They are often dogmatic, but sometimes cut across their dogma. They are sometimes conciliatory – but often confrontational. They sometimes have a clear purpose, but are more often than not quite random.

And this can sometimes be the result of the mixed messaging. Turns out that, despite the Grits having little direction on the leadership front, the Harperites are back down to 2006 support levels.

I mean, how hard could it be to devise a consistent set of messages focusing on leadership – not the attack ads that we have seen, but some coherent and consistent signals that contrast Harper with Dion. Now, as anyone who has ever read my meanderings knows full well that I am not a fan of Stevie, his party or his politics. BUT, he does have a firm grasp on his party and its direction… sure, there is somewhat of a dictatorship right now in the party of John A., but whatever… he does lead.

And Dion? Where the hell is he? Rae and Hall-Findley get seats and they get more favourable press than the leader has cumulatively over the past year! We have no idea who this guy is and what he is all about. And he isn’t exactly educating us in this regard!

But noooooooo… the Reform Alliance folks are let off their spike-studded chains for a moment and what happens? Well, Jim “I hate Dalton” Flaherty starts dissing the province that he is partly responsible for representing by saying that Ontario is the last place in Canada that investors should look at?

Huh? Shouldn’t he be, like, supporting the province?

Of course, Jimmy is ever so generous with his wise advice for his counterparts at his old stompin‘ grounds, Queens Park. On the eve of the Ontario budget, Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty again demanded that Premier Dalton McGuinty cut corporate taxes to help stimulate the provincial economy.

Unprecedented interference? Yes.
Unnecessary? Yes.
Dogmatic? Yes.
Settling an old childish feud? Yup again.

Then, (get this) he announces plans for a rail link between Peterborough and Toronto – one that was closed down years ago due to lack of ridership. Why invest in this? Seems that the train service would run through his Tory riding – and also that of his wife, Christine Elliott, who is a Tory member of the Ontario legislature.

Still more – turns out that Jimbo has found some money for a facility for folks with disabilities… nice gesture Jim. But, the facility’s board of directors includes Flaherty’s wife, Ontario MPP Christine Elliott and his executive assistant, Nancy Shaw – and, of course, it is to be built in Flaherty’s riding of Whitby-Oshawa.

Steve. You and I might not agree on much past good morning. But take that leash out of the drawer, call Jim into your office for a chat, distract him with a treat and snap it back on to his collar.

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