30 November 2005

Nice One, Rookie

The Liberals have recruited Canada's first astronaut, Marc Garneau, to be a star candidate for them in Quebec for this election. That's fine and dandy. What's not so much is him today musing that the Liberals have taken enough of a beating from the sponsorship scandal and that it is "time to move on." Excuse me?!? This election campaign is the electorate's opportunity to pass their judgment on the Liberals for the wrongdoings in the Department of Public Works, under absolutely no circumstances is it time to move on. The politicians have had plenty of opportunity to vent their anger, frustration, etc. against the Liberals; the voters, the ones who have the ultimate means of holding this government accountable, have not. After the election is over, then and only then will it be "time to move on." For that ignorant statement alone, I hope that Garneau is defeated in his bid for office.

26 November 2005

It Begins . . .
This is excerpted from an email that a colleague sent me this morning, written by Stephen MacKinnon, the National Director of the Liberal Party:
For the Bloc, the election of a Stephen Harper government with them holding the balance of power is the ultimate “winning condition”. For they know that Stephen Harper’s neo-conservative agenda is the very antithesis of Quebeckers’ views. They, too, call all Liberals “corrupt” in the most McCarthyite way, to mask the fact that they have no policies that represent a positive vision of Quebec’s place in Canada.

Wow. That's spectacular. They referred to Harper's boys as "neo-conservatives." I can categorically tell you that this is as false a label as I've ever seen.If anything they are neo-liberals. "The idea that the market should be allowedto make major social and political decisions; the idea that the State shouldvoluntarily reduce its role in the economy, or that corporations should begiven total freedom, that trade unions should be curbed and citizens given muchless rather than more social protection." -- Susan George, "A Short History ofNeo-liberalism: Twenty Years of Elite Economics and Emerging Opportunities forStructural Change.
The fundamental characteristics of the neo-cons include anti-communism; skepticism about the efficacy of international institutions; a preoccupationwith the concept of the 'political' as producing unending conflict; anendorsement of 'natural right' as the foundation for domestic institutions;the belief that 'virtue,' as well as self-interest, matters in political life; a repugnance toward the relativism in modern liberal society; a marked skepticism about the potential for the physical and social sciences to fundamentally ameliorate the human condition; a pronounced anti-egalitarian stance; and a deep wariness about utopian political projects. -- Michael C. Desch, "What Would Strauss Do?"
Does anybody here believe that Harper runs around contemplating these kinds of issues? No, and here's why. He's too busy focusing on the practical issues of Canadian governance and reducing government intervention in the Canadian economy and the everyday lives of Canadians. Neoconservatism is something that has evolved into the exclusive domain of American foreign policy practictioners; to be sure, there are a few Canadians who indeed are neo-cons, but the politics of American Empire is not something that Stephen Harper has time to deal with. The times may change, but apparently the idea of misrepresenting Stephen Harper as the bogey-man have not.

24 November 2005

Tony Valeri: "It's easy to get in bed with separatists."

I guess this explains Lapierre.

23 November 2005

Martin's Dirty Dozen in BC

Given that we're going to be in an election campaign in a week's time, I think it might be a good idea for the Liberals to finally together some candidate selection meetings back in my home province. A cursory glance at the Liberal website shows that there are 12 confirmed candidates, only one of which is outside the Lower Mainland. There is one Okanagan candidate, Will Hansma is running again in Vernon. Unbelievable. I guess that Team BC has taken 2005 off, seeing as this government has only been in peril since the spring. I realize that the Interior isn't exactly Liberal territory in the first place, but at least make an effort!
The Hammer Comes Down

“That the House condemns the government for its arrogance in refusing to compromise with the opposition parties over the timing of the next general election and for its ‘culture of entitlement,' corruption, scandal, and gross abuse of public funds for political purposes and, consequently, the government no longer has the confidence of the House.”

That is the motion which will be introduced in Parliament tomorrow, to go to a vote of formal non-confidence in the government on Monday. This is exactly the wording that the Conservatives need to frame the initial stages of the election campaign. Whether they are able to sustain the momentum over the course of five or six weeks is entirely up to them, and they will be well-served to keep the "Gomery effect" heat on the government. I'm not sure how all of this will play out, or when the actual date of the election will be, probably either January 9th or 16th, depending on whether the parties opt for a week's break in late December for Christmas. Let the fun begin . . .

21 November 2005

The Wheels in Motion?

In about 20 minutes the NDP is going to be introducing its motion to call on Paul Martin to call for an election in January. While the "non-confidence Lite" motion has already been discredited by the government and many constitutional experts, it nonetheless represents some symbolic form of Martin's inability to retain the confidence of the House. It doesn't mean anything compared to what Harper will be doing next Tuesday when he introduces the formal motion of non-confidence, but I'm sure it's something.

There's talk going 'round the Poli Sci department about an election pool starting. When will the government fall? When will the election happen? Who will win, and will they have a majority? That sort of thing. So I'll keep all up-to-date on this as it develops.

17 November 2005

Mackay Loses Points, Pettigrew Gains Them

I've not exactly concealed the fact that I like Peter Mackay and I think that he would make a much better Tory leader than Harper. But when he says stuff like this I really have to question whether or not he's just as bad as some of the people in Ottawa that contribute to the democratic deficit.

On Thursday, Valeri was more categorical in denial of the prorogation rumour and suggested it's being floated by the opposition parties. "The only people talking about prorogation are the opposition parties," Valeri said."We have not discussed prorogation. We'd like to get supply. We'd like to continue to govern. We are not here to shut down the House. We are here to keep the House open and I have no interest in prorogation."
But MacKay said he does not believe Valeri's denial.
"I'm never more convinced of the truth of the matter then when I hear a Liberal adamantly deny it," MacKay said. "So when they're saying they're not going to prorogue I think they're seriously considering it."

I really don't know how Mackay can say something that is such blatant demagoguery and expect it not to harm his reputation on some level. I hope that he never asks me a question where my answer has to be "no," otherwise he'll be running around with obvious falsehoods and believing that they are true. He loses major points in my eyes for this purely partisan statement.

On the other hand, we have Pierre Pettigrew referring to sovereigntists as "losers," and that always scores points with me. In reference to Andre Bosclair's victory that saw him become first in line of the PQ, “It was the night of the election of the next loser, because of what the hardliners will do to him,” Mr. Pettigrew said. The truth hurts. The Quebec Liberals are salivating at having this guy carrying the separatist banner, I'm sure it cuts the powder of their agenda quite nicely. Levesque and Bouchard were far better politicians than Bosclair; in spite of whatever glue it was they were sniffing that led them to believe separatism was the way to go for Quebec, it doesn't compare to the stuff that Bosclair has ingested.

15 November 2005

I saw this today over at PoliticsWatch. In advance of the election they're doing previews of all the ridings in the country. My old hometown is by no means in jeopardy this time either. I thought that Vern Nielsen, the Liberal candidate from 2004, would be a shoo-in to repeat his attempt to win Kelowna, but apparently the riding association hasn't gotten their act together enough to get a nomination meeting. You would think that given an election can happen at any time (but likely won't until the new year), they would have sewn that up earlier this fall. Then again, I know the people that are in charge there.....

Kelowna Lake Country
Conservative MP Werner Schmidt is retiring, but Ronald Cannan is inheriting the Conservative stronghold. Schmidt won 48 per cent of the vote in 2004, 11,000 votes ahead of his Liberal challenger. A conservative party candidate has won the riding in 10 straight elections dating back to 1972. See you in Ottawa, Mr. Cannan.
Analysis: Conservative stronghold. You have to go back to Trudeaumania in 1968 to find the last time a Liberal won the riding.

14 November 2005

Why I'm Giving Up on Partisan Politics

I'm sitting here watching Duffy interview Goodale's parliamentary secretary, Monte Solberg, and some Dipper, when Duffy asks the Liberal guy what his prediction is for the forthcoming election. He predicted a fifth consecutive Liberal victory, and immediately, as if it were programmed into them, Solberg mutters "Liberal arrogance" and the the NDP woman blabbers "culture of entitlement." If someone asks a hockey player if the team going to win the big game, he's not going to say no, of course he's going to predict victory and hope for the best! It's not "arrogant" or indicative of a "culture of entitlement" to believe that your party is going to win the next election; he didn't predict a 200+ seat majority, he just said that the Liberals would win.
I loathe the extent to which our parliamentarians have it instilled in them to hit all the buzzwords and catchphrases of the day. Why can they not instead make something remotely resembling a constructive counterpoint? Why must it always be a race to the bottom?
This is the reason I don't really care to run for an elected position, I'd be much happier in a strategy room or at the higher levels of a government department. That way I could actually strive to make this country a better place without having to appease a mediocre leader who is more concerned with scoring cheap points than producing tangible results to keep Canada at the top of the heap.

13 November 2005

Quick Sunday Update

Taking a short break from reading all about methodological approaches to studying IR (very dry reading at its finest) to make a couple quick comments. First, tonight Metallica will hit the stage for the first time in almost a full year, opening for the Rolling Stones. I'll be sure to talk about it after the show and once I get my hands on a recording.
Second, word from the Globe is that the Tories are now going to introduce a motion of non-confidence on Tuesday. If that is indeed the case, and given how this past week has gone it may not be, then at least we'll be done with all of this ridiculous posturing by all of the opposition parties. I don't want an election until the spring, I'll settle for one after the new year has begun, but I don't have the time right now to spend that much time on an election campaign. I've got grad school stuff to deal with here.

12 November 2005

Some Light-Hearted Fun

1. Do you still talk to the person you lost your virginity to? Haven't in months, since it was revealed that she's loopy.
2. What would you do with 1,000 plastic spoons? Eat 1000 Snack Pack puddings.
3.What kind of music did you listen to in elementary school? Wish I could say Metallica, but basically whatever my parents had going. Dire Straits!
4.What is the best thing about your current job? Giving back to the academic community and helping out the first-year kids find their way in Political Science.
5.Do you wish cell phone etiquette was a required class? There was a kid who didn't turn his cellphone off in class last week, he got the eyes of death x25.
6. Are you against same sex marriage? I'm for it.
7. Have you been on a date in the past week? Yeah I took Tasha out last night.
8. Where are you going on your next vacation? Montreal baby!
9. Quote a song lyric: "Searchin'.....Seek and Destroy!"
10. Are most of the friends in your life new or old? A little bit of both.
11. Do you own any furniture from Ikea? Nope, the closest one is in Montreal.
12. Do you like your parents? Yes, my parents rock.
13. Do you still live with them? I live 5000km away from them.
14. What state/country are you from? currently? BC, Canada; now in Halifax, NS.
15. Tell us about the last conversation you had? Had a jolly good hour-long chat with the aunt.
16. Where do you see yourself in one month? Finishing off my last term paper of the semester.
17. What is your favorite smell? Napalm in the morning.
19. Do you consider yourself bi-polar? Sorry, I only like chicks.
20. What is the time and the outside temperature at the moment? 5:22pm, about 7 degrees.
21. Have you ever done anything vindictive to your coworkers? Possibly.
22. Have you ever gone to therapy? No.
23. Have you ever Played Spin the Bottle? No.
24. Have you ever Toilet Papered someone's house? No.
25. Have you ever liked someone but never told them? Oh yes, haven't we all?
26. Have you ever gone camping? Yes
28. Have you ever been to a nude beach? No
29. Have you ever drank jack daniels? Yes...but I'm a beer man myself.
30. Have you ever had sex on the beach? No.
31. Have you ever had a stalker? No.
32. Have you ever been in love? Yes, I am right now.
33. Have you ever gone skinny dipping? Yes.
34. Have you ever laughed so hard you cried? Yes.
35. Have you ever gone to a party where you were the only sober one? Unfortunantely...yes
36. Have you ever been cheated on? I never did have conclusive proof, but I'm pretty sure yes.
38. Have you ever felt betrayed by your best friend? Blatantly, never did get to fix that situation.
39. Have you ever felt like you were just completely rhino raped? I don't even know what that means.
40. Have you ever lied to your parents? Oh yeah
41. Have you ever been out of the US? Yes, and I've been in it too.
42. Have you ever thrown up from working out? Nope, been real sore the day after a couple times though.
43. Have you ever gotten a haircut so bad that you wore a hat for a month straight? Nope
44. Have you ever eaten 3 meals from 3 different fast food places in 1 day? Yep, happens when you're on holidays!
45. Have you ever gotten so wasted you didnt know what was going on? Nope, always been able to remain in control of a situation.
45. Have you ever spied on someone you had a crush on? No...that's kinda creepy.
46. Have you ever slept with one of your coworkers? LOL Many times...but always the same one.
47. Have you ever seen your best friend naked? No but we did the whole "you go, we go" deal.

11 November 2005

Lest We Forget

First and foremost, a Happy Remembrance Day to everybody here in Canada and around the world. Today is a very important date for all of humanity, and we must never forget the enormous amounts of sacrifice involved in guaranteeing our freedoms in two major world wars.

Reclaiming the Rhetorical High Ground

The past few months have not been kind to the Bush administration. The post-"major combat" phase of Iraq continues to plague the military and its civilian leadership. The CIA leak investigation has removed a key neoconservative architect of the war, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, from the White House. Ongoing investigations and new allegations into interrogation tactics are damaging America's claim to the moral high ground in the war on terror. The President has appeared lost and meandering in his efforts to re-define the paramteres of Iraq and Islamist terrorism, prompting early second-term charges of a "lame duck" administration. Bush has lost the support of realists over the handling of Iraq, he has alienated his conservative base with the Harriet Myers Supreme Court nominations, and he has exposed a rift in his neo-con support group. In order to shed his troubles and reclaim the rhetorical high ground at home and abroad, Bush must undertake a strong charm offensive.
To win back public support, Bush should take the following steps: first, re-articulate the strategy for securing democracy, security, and stability in Iraq that the administration had developed last year. Too often it has appeared that there is no coherent strategy to defeat Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's terrorist network. The policy outline need not constituted a timetable-based "exit strategy," but it should articulate a timeline for achieving certain political objectives in Iraq's transition: elections, attaining higher levels of Iraqi security forces training, and sealing the country's porous borders to cut off the supply of materials and terrorist recruits who are undermining the new regime in Baghdad. These items are critical to success in Iraq, and putting forward deadlines for these objectives will not hinder in any manner the American mission. Accompanying this must be a profound rhetorical campaign espousing successes for both the fledgling Iraqi government and the Bush administration. If the only news emanating from that country involves Zarqawi's successful terrorist missions, public perception in America of Iraq's progress will remain pessimistic.
Second, the Bush administration should pull an about-face and publicly embrace the McCain amendment to restrict American interrogators' ability to exert physical pressures and abusive tactics against captured terrorists. The United States has seen its image tarnished and legitimacy reduced by the scandals at Abu Ghraib and other allegations of prisoner abuse and torture. The idealist features of America's war against terrorism--liberty, justice, and human dignity--lose credibility when America engages in similar repugnant tactics as al Qaeda or Saddam Hussein's Ba'athist thugs. Liberal democracies in an age of terror must not succumb to temptations to resort to "lesser evil" tactics to secure the national interest. The United Statees needs to reclaim its Hamiltonian tradition of being a shining example of democracy, the rule of law, and human dignity. Captured terrorists possess valuable information that can be used to prevent further atrocities, and certainly interrogators must have means to extract that information, but it cannot be acquired via torture and other means that flagrantly violate the Geneva Convention if America is to retain the moral high ground in this war.
Lastly, the Bush administration must focus its attention on achieving diplomatic solutions to the crises with Iran and North Korea. Tehran must be brought into compliance with its obligations under the IAEA as well as be held accountable for President Ahmadinejad's comments about wiping Israel off the map. Assurances of peaceful intentions and maneuvers to effect "transformative change" in the posture of the Iranian regime must be pursued. North Korea's recent diplomatic performance must be viewed with skepticism; the Bush administration will not repeat Clinton's judgment errors of 1994, but it must endeavour to not make a new series of mistakes in dealing with Pyongyang. Aid and security guarantees ought to be linked to the DPRK's compliance with any new agreement on its nuclear development. The proper balance of carrots and sticks can be utilized to end this standoff and strengthen America's global security, as well as demonstrate to a Washington-wary "international community" that the United States does not possess the militaristic tendencies that many of its greatest critics routinely charge.
President Bush's legacy hinges on success in Iraq, but more importantly the image of the United States is also hanging in the balance. The administration can reclaim the initiative in the war on terror, achieve victory in its central front in Iraq, and defuse tensions in other global hot-spots, but it must be the instigator of these changes. The President famously said that America would not wait for threats to fully form before taking action; the time for action is now.

08 November 2005

I've Got It!!!

I have figured out the mess involving the potential Christmas election. Short and simple, all that talk is nothing more than demagoguing by all the parties. There is a way to avoid it, and I will now provide the answer to the big question: when will the election be?

The best option for all of the parties is for the opposition to gang up and defeat the Liberal government's supplementary on December 8th. In so doing, they will allow the opportunity for a Christmas recess and an election campaign to begin in January. Go back in history to Joe Clark's minority situation; his government was defeated on 13 December 1979, and the federal election did not take place until 18 February 1980. Counting back five weeks, the election campaign would not have started until 14 January 1980. The government generally recesses for Christmas in mid-December so the assumption that Canada would be running without a government over the holidays is of little consequence; if an emergency such as a repeat of last year's tsunami were to occur, exceptional circumstances would prevail that would permit the House to convene and deliberate an appropriate response.
By defeating the December supplemental, all of the opposition parties would be able to avoid being labelled as the ones to "pull the trigger" against the government that necessitated an early election. A campaign that begins in January would have the benefit of the second Gomery Report coming down at the start of February, giving all the parties a mid-campaign boost to their platforms and allowing them to capture the essence of his recommendations and incorporate that into their existing campaign speeches. For the Liberals, they avoid being defeated on the corruption issue, and can point to political opportunism and cowardice on the part of the opposition parties for not living up to their own platitudes. The opposition will lose that component in their campaigns, but they still have their early election and can instead use both Gomery Reports for their benefit while the first one remains on the public's mind. Saving face and sparing the voters a Christmas election should trump that small concern for the opposition parties, while giving the Liberals a small amount of wriggle room and a means to frame the election on their terms. There are positives for all parties involved here, and the relative gains vis-a-vis other confidence issues and election timing are greater for a supplementary non-confidence vote than holding a vote on any of the opposition days.

All of this Christmas election talk has got me thinking about something, and I'm going to rely on my group of readers to provide an answer for me. Let us assume that none of the opposition parties use their Opposition Days to put forward a motion of non-confidence, and instead the big day falls on December 8th when the government introduces its supplementals to keep the engine of government moving. If the opposition parties band together to defeat that, that constitutes a vote of non-confidence and thus the government falls. Does that automatically mean that an election campaign has to begin on the 9th? Can not the Prime Minister or the Governor-General exercise their prerogative power and forestall the call of the campaign until after Christmas, such as the 26th, giving a five-week campaign leading to a vote on January 30th? Surely there is some discretionary power there yes?

07 November 2005

Pulling the Plug?

Layton opens door for early election (November 7, 2005)
After rejecting a Liberal offer on health care, NDP Leader Jack Layton said his party has "no basis" to prop up the government in a confidence vote. Layton made his comments during a speech to the Canadian Club in Toronto on Monday afternoon. Layton said the NDP "cannot express confidence" in the Liberals and the time to judge the Liberals should come sooner than in the spring.


Well I can honestly say that I did not see this coming. I am very surprised that Jack Layton will not continue supporting the government until we can get the second Gomery Report in February. He's in a great position right now, and to give that up now may be premature. He's obviously read the tea leaves and feels as though it's in his best interest to get away from Martin now rather than later. Whether or not he's justified in that belief remains to be seen.
Obviously this is huge news, as we can be preparing for an election within days.
Hockey Weekend in February Just Got Better!!!

As you all know, Tash & I are going to Montreal in February to see the Habs play a couple of games. Well today I picked up a couple tickets to see a future Habs megastar play against the Halifax Mooseheads. Guillaume Latendresse, the Canadiens' second pick in this year's draft and the darling of training camp, is coming to town and we're gonna be there! The game will be on the Thursday, right before we leave to the big city. Three awesome games in 4 days! Woooooo!

05 November 2005


It's not every day that I have my existence acknowledged by someone for whom I've got a great amount of respect. Warren Kinsella is one of them, and this exchange took place on his Comments page. It ain't much, but I'll still take it. I've been a fan of Kinsella since Kicking Ass in Canadian Politics and the antics of the 2000 election, so this is a neat little moment in my morning.

Warren,I just read your speech regarding the Big Tobacco lobby and how it should and must be snuffed out. I could not agree more. Bravo to you for standing up (waaaaaay up!), sharing your intimately personal story, and for getting involved in the effort to defeat Big Tobacco. Keep on kicking ass!
Posted By Richard / Posted At 11/4/05 9:33 AM
Thanks man. I plan to.
Posted By Warren K / Posted At 11/4/05 9:35 AM