Friday, April 30, 2010

CBC Branching Out

I am going to give the folks over at the CBC a little bit of credit for finally steering away from Frank Graves polling services. I visited the CBC webpage and was shocked to see that they reported a political opinion poll from a company other than EKOS, a poll that has the Tories leading by 11 points. In the last 2 weeks, we have had Ipsos and Leger with the Tories at 37 and 36, while Graves and Gregg had them at 31% and 29%. That is a significant discrepancy. Either the electorate is very volatile, or somebody is wrong (I'll put my money on the two guys with regular guest spots on the CBC).

I am pleasantly surprised that the CBC reported this poll, and I hope this is the beginning of a new trend. One has to wonder if this represents a corporate policy shift, and if Kady O'Malley will follow suit. Will she continue with her weekly EKOS while continuing to ignore every other pollster? I won't hold my breath...

The Fall of the European Union

For all those North Americans seeking the Europeanization of the New World, be warned that the "mighty" European Union is not nearly as strong as some of you might once have predicted. The collapsing economies of Greece, Portugal, Italy, and Iceland pose an incredible risk to the otherwise strong economies who now share a common currency. The collapse of the weak may drag the strong into the abyss, whether they like it or not. If the strongest economy of them all, Germany is sufficiently frightened to ditch the Euro and go back to the Mark, then the collapse of the common currency is virtually inevitable. Then suddenly those in Britain who resisted the Euro will look wise indeed.

What we need to brace ourselves for in Canada is the possibility that this fear over the Euro might drag down international markets including Canada. Markets have been steadily rising for a year, and eventually prudence dictates that there will be another retraction, followed by another period of strong growth. We are fortunate that our banking system is incredibly stronger than our European counterparts, but a collapse abroad will have a measurable effect on Canada, regardless of the quality of our Government's economic stewardship.

Cheque-gate Has Returned

Cheque-gate was back in the news yesterday, thanks to the Ethics Commish making a statement that she believed giant cheques for infrastructure funding may have been unethical, but not illegal. That pretty much confirms what I said when Check-gate first became a story. It was a dumb idea, but it wasn't criminal. Kory Teneycke said the same thing on the Power Panel yesterday, as Rosemary Barton was trying to flame the ambers of an expired faux controversy.

They weren't even real cheques! No municipalities were bringing novelty cheques to their local credit union. The logos were on fake novelty cheques, not on the real cheques that were passed out. It was dumb, possibly unethical, but hardly illegal. Other than that, I have nothing to add to this beyond what I wrote in October.

Offshore Oil Drilling

I suppose what we are now seeing explains why a lot of people did not want offshore oil rigs off the coast of their communities. When they malfunction, they can spread a lot of crude over a large distance in a short period of time. I am going to assume that the American Government will tighten restrictions on offshore drilling, which will decrease their domestic supply. That bodes well for our tar sands, which don't present nearly as dangerous a hazard (I feel bad for the dead ducks, but millions of barrels of oil steaming towards the Louisiana coast is not a comparable incident). Sand is hard to spill, and if it does, rarely does it travel hundreds of miles.

I have been a proponent of offshore drilling in the past, mainly as part of my "all of the above" energy policy. I think we should pursue everything and let the markets evolve as they may. But as I'm watching this oil slick float to the American coast, I am less inclined to support offshore drilling as a part of our energy policy.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Who Will Be Cast Away From Soloman's Island?

Today the CBC announced that they were standing firmly behind partisan pollster Frank Graves rather than casting him loose to graze the open plains. I have also read opinions from a number of people who think Kory Teneycke's days are numbered, not because he is doing a poor job, but because he does it too good and seems to ruffle a lot of feathers. I'm just wondering who from Soloman's merry band will be the first to be released?

I probably should have included Rosemary Barton in my poll, but I almost feel pity on her. I'm not sure there is any other job in society that she's qualified to do, and I feel as though there is a high probability that she would spend a significant amount of time on EI, welfare, or both. It sucks that she gets paid in tax dollars, but even if she got the boot she'd likely still be getting paid in tax dollars in perpetuity. We may as well allow her to continue dressing up in cute outfits wandering around the halls of Parliament like a lost puppy dog looking for scraps of food. It's that or pogey.

I did run a similar poll a little over a week ago that asked a similar question, except that it looked to the whole Canadian media and who was most likely to breach ethical standards. My new poll question focuses on regular characters who appear on Soloman's Island, and who will be the first to go for whatever reason.

WHICH CANADIAN JOURNALIST DO YOU THINK IS THE MOST LIKELY TO BE FORCED TO RESIGN FOR REPORTING A FALSE OR SLANDEROUS NEWS STORY?

Bob Fife (33%)
Terry Milewski (32%)
Jane Taber (21%)
Jim Traverse (6%)
Julie Van Dussen (4%)

NHL Final 8

Heading into the second round of the NHL playoffs, I have given up supporting who I think will win and I want to focus on who I want to win. I think that it would be outstanding to have a Boston vs Pittsburgh eastern final, and a Detroit vs Vancouver western final. If I had to calculate the probability of those 4 teams all advancing out of the second round to be less than 10%, but that is what I will be cheering for. And yes, if the Canucks and Detroit should meet in the next round, I will continue to wear my Red Wings jersey around the city of Vancouver.

Realistically, Chicago and Pittsburgh are heavily favoured, where the other series are maybe 50-50. Originally I was cheering for a Boston Montreal series, but after seeing Scott Reid on the CBC wearing a Habs jersey, I want them to lose the rest of their playoff games. And sorry to anyone who drafted their pool teams based on my projections. I did not foresee 3 division champions all losing in the first round, though in that vain, I know I'm not alone.

This Week In Ekos

Does everyone know what time it is? It's Thursday, time for Kady O'Malley and Jane Taber to do their weekly columns analyzing EKOS polls. Jane decided to do a lengthy dissertation defending the embattled pollster whom she has used as the basis for dozens of articles in the past few months. Jane briefly discussed this week's poll (the last 7 days have seen a catastrophic decline in Green Party support), but spent most of her words trying to convince us that Frank is okay and that we should continue to read her articles that discuss Frank's polls.

Kady on the other hand, ignores the controversy around EKOS and does a lengthy micro analysis of this week's poll. Business as usual. I suppose a pollster being biased is not concerning if you share that bias, so it is best to stick your head in the sand instead of perhaps maybe just maybe start reading polling data from a company not named EKOS. Kady has put all her polling eggs into one basket, for months discussing only EKOS polls (which are now tainted). It kind of reminds of that scene in the Titanic where the Captain is at the wheel when the water comes crashing in.

I do find it curious that CBC would stand behind Graves and plow forward with polarizing partisan polling. There are lots of polling firms in Canada. You don't HAVE to use EKOS. You would think that once a bias is exposed our public broadcaster would find a new pollster, unless of course the good folks choosing their pollsters want one with a Liberal bias. Then it starts to make sense. Why else would you stand behind a polarizing figure whose job requires unbiased analysis?

"It's Rahim Here"

I am curious, what is the penalty for lobbying government as an unregistered lobbyist? What is the penalty for lying in committee testimony? I ask because the National Post has obtained several e-mails from Rahim Jaffer that clearly show he was lobbying despite denying he did. Many of these e-mail's were from his wife's parliamentary account, which he'd sign with "it's Rahim here".

If he violated the law, Rahim should be subject to some form of punitive action. I feel sorry for Helena Guergis, and wonder if she's had some sober second thoughts about her choice of husband. I don't trust this Gillani guy, but if Rahim had the bad sense to get into business with him, then he will reap what he sewed. It is great that all government Ministers are disclosing all their information regarding the last 16 months of Rahim's alleged lobbying career.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Canadiens Slay Goliath

I have to admit, the Montreal Canadiens defeating the mighty Washington Capitals did not appear in my crystal ball. The Caps dominated play for virtually the entire series, and never in modern hockey history has an 8th seed overcome a 3 games to 1 deficit against a first place team. 8 seeds only beat 1 seeds about 10% of the time, so for one to go down 3-1 and rally back is an astronomically improbable event. My friend had 6 Capitals in his playoff pool and he isn't taking this very well. The irony being that during overtime (before Montreal scored) in game one I sent him a text message; "Habs much better than I thought they were. Montreal in 6". I was kidding about them winning the series, but my friend ain't laughing.

I am of course very pleased to see my own favourite team, the Detroit Red Wings advance. For those of you wondering how I became a Red Wings fan living in Northern Ontario. As a young child, I loathed the Toronto Maple Leafs. It was the mid 80's, both the Wings and Leafs sucked, but they were in the same division and chief rivals. I also had a really cool uncle who was a Red Wings fan. I should have become a Boston Bruins fan, since my dad attended a Bruins training camp before the days of Don Cherry when they were winning Cups. My dad played on the same ice surface with Bobby Orr. I should have been a Bruins fan.

Peter Plucking Parliamentary Precedence From Abroad

Today on the CBC, Margo McDiamerdid informed us that one of the reasons Speaker Milliken's decision to find the Government in contempt took so long, was that he carefully researched parliamentary precedence from foreign countries such as New Zealand. Mr. Ignatieff also made several references to international democracies that both influenced this decision and would be influenced by this decision. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't each democracy in this world supposed to craft their own unique set of laws based on the unique characteristics of their individual country? Or should all democracies be molded from the same cookie cutter where laws in various countries should be automatically applicable in others?

I'm sure there are a lot of laws in a lot of democracies around the world that I would not want having ANY influence over our judicial or parliamentary dogma. Yet, according to Margo, foreign precedence influenced Peter's decision. It is fine in principle to say that parliament should have access to Government documents, but when those documents outline in detail our combat operations in a war that thousands of Canadian men and women are currently fighting in, you are playing a dangerous game with our soldier's lives.

Do you know what precedence matters to me Mr. Speaker? Not some aged ruling from New Zealand, it is that when the Government did release a number of documents to the opposition parties, those documents were forwarded immediately to the CBC. Within days, CBC.ca had posted all the documents on the WORLD Wide Web and "journalists" like Kady O'Malley were encouraging anyone anywhere in the world to read them in detail. Hopefully Ralph will include “don’t forward documents to Milewski” in the deal that is supposed to be negotiated.

That Mr. Speaker is precedence that matters, especially while we are at war. Our combat operations will conclude next year. Once our soldiers are no longer raiding bomb making factories, then perhaps we can discuss some of the details of how we conducted those operations.

Ralph Goodale: The "Good Faith" Negotiator

Today we have learned that Ralph Goodale has been selected by Ignatieff to "negotiate in good faith" the terms of this compromise that is supposed to be reached in the next two weeks between the Government and the opposition parties. Is it not just a little bit ironic that the man selected to "negotiate in good faith" is one of the most petulant attack dogs in Question Period? We should check the Hansard to see which Liberal MP has made the most references to "neo con social engineering", because it is safe to assume that Ralph's name is at or near the top of the list. Were Mark Holland and Ujjal Dosangh not available for this "good faith" diplomatic mission?

If the Liberal idea of "negotiating in good faith" is to send a negotiator who frequently accuses the Tories of subverting democracy while engaging in right wing social engineering, then let's send John Baird to negotiate on the Government's behalf. Sending in the Goodale is not a measure of "good faith". It is more like a poison pill.

PS: I am emphasizing "good faith" because Iggy said it about 40 times in his presser this morning.

Ignatieff's Hidden Agenda

I couldn’t help but notice in the news that the Liberal Party is once again trying to summon the ghosts of elections passed with fear mongering about Stephen Harper's alleged "hidden agenda". This is very ironic, because this past year I have been profoundly concerned with Iggy's own hidden agenda of creating a culture war to divide Canadians. Well, I suppose that Frank Graves has now exposed that hidden agenda which we have all long suspected, so that part at least now we all know.

In the unlikely event that Iggy is able to worm his way to power, what secret hidden agenda gems do you think we can expect to see? Perhaps I should even turn this into a poll question? What policy plank do you foresee in Iggy's future platform? Is it the monorail? A National Food Program? If Iggy is coming, what kind of Hell do expect to follow in his wake?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

When Parliaments Attack! (the Ukraine is weak)

I just saw the latest video footage from the Ukrainian Parliament where protestors pelted eggs at the Government for their latest agreement with Russia to expand Soviet military presence in the former republic. If you ask Ignatieff about it, he will certainly tell you how the Ukraine is better off as a Russian vassal state. I don't know very much about the new regime, but I can tell that they are not off to a good start. Personally, Rocky 4 had a profound impact on my childhood. I don't trust the former Soviet Union. Those puny Ukrainians would regard Iggy as a "Great Russian" and if you don't think so, just ask him.

Then Let's Make it a Confidence Motion

Today the Speaker ruled that Ujjal Dosangh gets to read detailed information about our combat operations, and that the Government has breached the confidence of Parliament. Now the house must vote to confirm the Speaker's decision. It sure sounds to me as though declaring the Government in contempt is a matter of confidence, and I think that the Government should make it a confidence motion.

Personally I disagree with the Speaker's decision, but it is still his decision to make. As I said from the time when Lee first filed the motion, if it is granted it should stand as a confidence motion. I suspect that the Government will do that. Swearing in MPs such that they can't discuss the combat operations publicly is all fine and dandy, I just really don't trust that they won't show up on CBC.ca with Kady O'Malley encouraging the whole wide world to read detailed information about how we wage war.

I am growing sick and tired of Canada's 40th Parliament. Bring on 41.

Montreal's Halak Channeling Hasek?

Montreal Canadiens goalie Jaroslav Halak put on one of the most unbelievable goaltending performances that I have seen in the NHL in a long time as the Habs pushed the mighty Washington Capitals to a 7th and deciding game. If Montreal is able to win the next game, they will be included in that rare pantheon of teams that barely made the playoffs and knocked off the 1st place team in the first round. My buddy has vowed to burn a Canadiens jersey in his driveway if the Habs win, because he has 6 Capitals in his playoff pool.

In other playoff news, is anyone in Vancouver still calling the Sedin twins the "sisters"? I haven't heard it in some time. My favoured franchise, the Detroit Red Wings will play a game 7 against Phoenix. Even if they lose, I draw solace from 4 Stanley Cup victories since the last time they missed the playoffs. Win or lose, you can't take that away from me! And for the record, I started cheering for the Wings when I was a small child, back when they sucked. I didn't jump on no stinking bandwagon!

NDP Flying Sky High

According to Allan Gregg, the NDP are now soaring to new heights in the polls, and at this shocking rate of growth Jack Layton might just be our next Prime Minister. Sure the rapid rate of incline suggests that the poll itself is an aberration, but at least at this midway point of our country's 40th Parliament it is an interesting moment of sober second thought to see the NDP rise rapidly in a very short period of time. The Tories do better as the NDP become stronger.

If it is true and NDP support is surging, that is bad news for the Liberal Party. It is especially concerning considering that Ignatieff has been narrowly focused on gaining support on the Liberal left flank. If Liberals are shifting to the NDP, then not only has Iggy failed to gain NDP supporters, but he's actually losing the most leftist of Liberals. I know that the purpose of Ujjal and Bob being so often passed the microphone is designed to shore up their left flank, but it isn't working.

I will be curious to see if Kady O'Malley discusses the latest Harris Decima poll, as it does have the Tories at a low number. I know that Kady's policy is to only talk about Ekos polls, so let's see if she strays from her blind support of the Liberal Graves digger.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Liberals Re-Open Abortion Debate?

I found it odd today to listen to Liberal MPs say that the abortion debate is suddenly open again because the Government has said that funding foreign abortions would not be Canadian policy. This is odd because the Liberals defeated their own motion to attempt to symbolically force the Government to fund foreign abortions. How is the debate re-opened when the Minister just announced what Parliament already confirmed? Canadians don't want to pay for abortions abroad. That was represented in the House of Commons, when the Liberals defeated their own legislation.

Soloman practically did his whole show on this today, and it is the headline story over at the CBC politics page. They must have forgotten that the Liberals motion was defeated by the Liberal Party.

Liberals Lobby Too

As more information about the business dealings of Rahim Jaffer is being released to the public, suddenly we are seeing the company of a former Liberal MP showing up on a project proposal. As fate would have it, Liberals lobby too. One such man is Joe Jordan, the former Liberal MP for Leeds-Grenville, who used Rahim Jaffer to attempt to access information on the Green Fund. Thus far it is foggy exactly what Mr. Jordan wanted from Rahim Jaffer, but we know that he gave briefing notes on his company to Mr. Jaffer for some purpose.

It appears that he wanted to know if his project qualified for funding, something that Jordan could have easily done himself. Mr. Jordan you see, is a registered lobbyist. Mr. Jaffer is not a registered lobbyist. Even if what Mr. Jaffer was doing qualified as lobbying, it is a profession that he apparently isn't very good at. He was never successful at obtaining a Government contract, and if he was running around telling people that he had access to the PMO that he didn't have, what does that have to do with the Government? He was never improperly awarded anything.

Iggy's Great Leap Forward

This morning when I woke up, I merrily marched to my computer to see the morning's news headlines. When I saw "Liberals outline national food policy", I was immediately reminded of the policies of Chairman Mao and that Great Leap Forward to revamp China's agricultural system left millions of people dead of starvation. Okay, so what Iggy proposed today isn't exactly a Great Leap Forward, but more of a Mediocre Stumble Sideways. He is not proposing the complete overhaul of Canadian agriculture, but rather he wants to spend $80 million dollars encouraging rural people to eat rural food.

Of all the friends and family that I have in rural Canada, I have observed that most of them eat primarily locally produced food already. What kind of sponsorship program is Iggy going to build around the promotion of rural food consumption? Buying flags and billboards to encourage national spirit? Look if he is really concerned about bettering the lives of farmers, encouraging local consumption will have only a marginal effect if any. The best thing to help rural farmers is to work to open up more export markets to large urban centers.

Oh and the best part, he's going to pay for this program (like all his billions in spending promises) with freezed corporate tax cuts.  Right, tax cuts that haven't happened yet.  He's offering to spend money that doesn't exist while also saying that he will dramatically reduce the deficit in 2 years.  You can't square that circle.

The Backfire of Ignatieff's Vanity

Liberal leader Mike Ignatieff thought that he could rise to power by starting a culture war pitting Canadians against Canadians for his own personal gain. Now with the latest revelations about CBC pollster Frank Graves suggesting the creation of a culture war as a means of Liberals ascending to power, and Iggy's bombs over fluently bilingual judges, funding foreign abortions, long gun registry, manipulating negative book reviews to create positive cover blurbs, et all; it paints a very frightening picture of the hidden agenda of the man campaigning to lead our country. His vanity is backfiring, as is his hidden agenda.

In my polling contest to guess the title of Ignatieff's next book, the Phantom Observer's suggestion of The Backfire of My Vanity is emerging as the clear winner. Personally I voted for True Patriot Culture War, but I think both are exceptional nominees. I also find it amusing that Iggy is out promoting the release of the soft cover version of True Patriot Love while also denying his now apparent hidden agenda to create a culture war in a vain attempt to make electoral gains.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Liblogs Slowly Going Crazy

I think our friends over at the Liblogs are either in the process of becoming psychologically unhinged, or they're already there. Yesterday one of them decided to drive home his support for bilingual judges by comparing Mark Steyn to Osama Bin Laden and Karla Homolka. You can really see the maturity bar being lowered to new depths in this representative sample of Liberal lunacy. In fact this particular scholarly discussion mentions neither judges nor bilingualism anywhere in the post.

This is a real post from the Liblogs. I am not making this up. This is how nutty those clowns have become.

Great News C-232 Opponents! Mark Steyn Is Fervently On Your Side!
Saturday, April 24, 2010

Y'all must be delighted to have the fervent support of Mark Steyn, eh? Now if you can only get Osama bin Laden, George W. Bush, Karla Homolka, Clifford Olson and Sarah Palin to come out with similarly supportive fervent columns, you'll be set. No, please, anything but that. As a supporter of C-232, I cannot tell you how much I fear the persuasive effects of columns by these five individuals. They can only buttress the enormous credibility your cause has been given by Steyn's advocacy. Please don't get any similar endorsements. They really are our worst nightmare. I repeat, have mercy, don't let Bush, Laden, Homolka, Olson & Palin join Steyn in giving your view unassailable credibility. I am so worried, I am going to repeat my pitiful desperate plea of mercy, just to show how defeatist I now feel: Please don't let Bush, Laden, Homolka, Olson & Palin join Steyn in giving your argument unassailable credibility.

**Please don't let Bush, Laden, Homolka, Olson and Palin join Steyn in giving your argument unassailable credibility** (which I am not kidding is repeated about 100 times)

Conservative Movies

Recently I had someone suggest to me that I run a poll for the best Conservative themed movie. My obvious question, what movies do we consider to be Conservative themed? I often hear people say that the most recent Batman movie was intended to symbolize the Bush administration in the war on terror. To distinguish Conservative films is a difficult venture because Liberalism is so embraced by Hollywood that any filmmaker making a "Conservative" film will be blacklisted by their peers. Many attempts at conveying a Conservative message in film have to be cleverly disguised.

Regardless, what movies do you think qualifies as Conservative, and which of those is the best? My own personal favourite would have to be Starship Troopers. Okay that was a joke, but you could probably count Will Smith's The Pursuit of Happiness as a pro entrepreneurial believe in yourself and make success happen type of movie, as opposed to being supported by the state. Clint Eastwood is probably the most successful film maker who is openly Conservative, so you can probably select any number of his projects.

What movies have you watched and thought that was a great Conservative movie?

Candidate Selection

Today's poll question is who should have the ultimate authority over candidate selection in any given riding, the individual riding association, or the party leader? Yesterday we learned that Helena Guergis' riding association is firmly behind her, prompting media speculation that this would lead to a showdown between the R.A and the Prime Minister (who allegedly does not want her to run again). I don't know that there is any credible evidence the PM wants to force her retirement, but that doesn't stop the speculation.

I am inclined to believe that candidate selection should be entirely the responsibility of the riding association, but I also understand the party leader having a veto. The NDP is repeatedly a classic example of riding association selections backfiring and damaging the national brand. The yokels might love that guy on YouTube talking about how much fun it is to drive a car while high on acid, but that isn't going to help the party nationally.

Of course I am not comparing Helena to any one of a number of clowns chosen by local dippers. I have much more faith in Tory riding associations than I do in the NDP. Dippers might like that guy caught on tape flashing children, but Tories have a higher standard. Though I will say sometimes even local Tories can blow one out their asses, like Garth Turner. They say shit happens, I say sometimes Garth Turner happens...

Who should make the call?

Iggy's Dilemma: What About Bob?

Liberal leader Mike Ignatieff has a problem. Bob Rae really wants his job, and the probability that Bob gets his job is increased as Iggy's personal fortunes falter. Iggy doesn't like showing up to work on Thursdays, Fridays, or really any day of the week. But when he skips work, Bobby gets to run the show in Question Period. They say when the Czar has gone away, the Bolsheviks come out to play. I just finished watching some scenes from the cult classic comedy What About Bob, and I saw some parallels. What is the symbolism of Bob Rae piloting the Liberal Ship for 3 hour tours? If you want to put Bobby in charge of the SS Minnow, there are precautions to take. To better understand Bob Rae running Question Period, watch this clip...

Then of course there is Bob Rae at committee meetings accusing our troops of war crimes...

Oh, and I can only imagine the meeting where Bob and Mike negotiated Bobby's capitulation of the Liberal leadership race. How might that meeting have looked?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Would The Maple Leafs Be In The Playoffs If...

I asked my friend today who is a Vancouver based fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs (he was born in Toronto); do you think the Maple Leafs would have made the playoffs this year had Burkie managed to sign the Sedin twins? In one of my favourite hockey offseason stories of all time, Brian Burke was on a plane to Sweden the night before the opening of free agency when the twins re-signed with Vancouver. Burke was still able to leave Sweden with Jonas Gustavsson, but he missed an opportunity to sign the Sedins by a matter of hours. Henrik led the NHL in scoring this season, and Daniel likely would have also been top 5 if not for a significant injury.

So how would the season have played differently had the Leafs been able to sign two of the league's best players in the offseason? They wouldn't have needed to trade 2 first round picks for Phil Kessel. Hell, they might even be in the playoffs right now. I love playoff hockey. But hey my favourite team has won 4 Stanley Cups since the last time they missed the playoffs. I've been spoiled.

I'm just trying to rub a little salt in the wound. That's what I do.

Are You Racist?

Happy Saturday everyone! This afternoon's poll question is; are you racist? Evidently Canadian polling firms do track this sort of subjective stereotyping, and can empirically prove that the Conservative party is a "haven" for racists, homophobes, and xenophobes. A "haven" is defined as "shelter from pursuit or danger", which suggests that not only are we racist but we protect other racists from persecution. And yes, allegedly Frank Graves can prove this claim empirically. I would like to see his data, and the exact wording of the question being asked. Who commissioned that poll? It would be an interesting circumstance if the CBC asked Graves to poll if Tories are racists.

I just got home from playing a round of golf with my friends, who all happen to be racial minorities. I appologize to Conservatives everywhere that I count people from other races among my best friends. I hope that I don't lose all my readers now that I have disclosed this information. I spend all my time ridiculing the colour of my buddy's Leafs jersey, not the colour of his skin. It is one thing to say that there are a small minority of racists among the right wing, it is entirely another to say the right is a "haven" and that I as a Conservative somehow condone if not propogate biggotry.

Thanks Frank!

"I know there are people in the world who do not love their fellow human beings, and I HATE people like that!"

-Tom Lehrer

April Polling: Vol I

Ladies and gentlemen before you go any further, you should know that I regard myself as an amateur Conservative pollster. I am not a member of the Conservative Party, I have never volunteered for the Party, I have never received a dime from the Party, have never given a dime to the Party; I just vote for the Party and author a blog attempting to convince others to vote as I do.

Here are the results from my polls for the first half of April.

WHICH TORY MP IS THE MOST DESERVING OF A SEAT IN CABINET?

Shelly Glover (42%)
Maxime Bernier (21%)
Pierre Poilievre (20%)
Cheryl Gallant (7%)
John Weston (4%)
Mike Lake (3%)


WHICH FRANCHISE IS MOST LIKELY TO BE ADOPTED AS "CANADA'S TEAM" IN THE 2010 NHL PLAYOFFS?

Vancouver Canucks (71%)
Ottawa Senators (17%)
Montreal Canadiens (12%)


DO YOU EXPECT A FEDERAL ELECTION IN 2010?

No (69%)
Yes (31%)


WHAT DO YOU THINK THE CBC SHOULD DO TO CUT COSTS AMID DECLINING REVENUE? (multiple answers allowed)

Syndicate Fox news programming (50%)
40% wage cut for 100% of employees (44%)
Fire employees (24%)
Cut programming (23%)
Cancel open bar at Christmas party (21%)
Sell assets (17%)


WHICH CBC SHOW IS THE GREATEST WASTE OF TAX PAYER'S MONEY?

Little Mosque on the Prarie (43%)
The Soloman Show (25%)
The Nature of Things (13%)
The Hour (6%)
This Hour has 22 Minutes (6%)
The National (3%)
Republic of Doyle (1%)


WOULD YOU IDENTIFY YOURSELF AS:

Protestant (45%)
Catholic (18%)
Agnostic/Athiest (17%)
Other (17%)


WITH WHAT WEAPON(S) SHOULD WE ARM PARLIAMENT HILL RCMP TO PROTECT OUR LEGISLATURE FROM HIPPIE ACTIVISTS? (multiple selections allowed)

Heckler and Koch MP5 submachine gun (58%)
Nerf N-Strike Raider Rapid Fire CS-35 Dart Blaster (15%)
Fire hose (12%)
Rubber bullets (11%)
Normal guns (11%)
Tear gas (8%)
Ninja throwing stars (7%)


DO YOU THINK CANADA SPENDS ENOUGH MONEY ON THE INCARCERATION OF CRIMINALS?

No (59%)
Yes (41%)


DO YOU THINK FUNDING PRISONS CREATES MORE CRIMINALS?

No (97%)
Yes (3%)


DO YOU THINK CHILD PREDATORS CAN BE REHABILITATED?

No (91%)
Yes (9%)


HOW DO YOU EXPECT TIGER WOODS TO PERFORM THIS WEEK AT THE MASTERS?

I don't care (70%)
Satisfactory (17%)
Excellent (11%)
Train wreck (0%)


WHO DO YOU THINK SHOULD BE CANADA'S HEAD OF STATE?

Prime Minister of Canada (63%)
Queen of England (37%)


WHICH LIBERAL WOULD YOU PREFER CONTINUE TO MAKE FOOLISH PUBLIC STATEMENTS ON THEIR PARTY'S BEHALF?

Mike Ignatieff (31%)
Bob Rae (21%)
John McCallum (14%)
Ujjal Dosangh (12%)
Scott Reid (12%)
Ross Rebougliatti (6%)


HOW MANY SEATS DO YOU THINK SHOULD BE ADDED TO THE CANADIAN HOUSE OF COMMONS?

0 (39%)
30 (35%)
40 (17%)
20 (6%)
10 (2%)

WOULD YOU WRITE A LETTER TO A NEWSPAPER EDITOR TO DEFEND YOUR OWN BOSS AT WORK?

Yes (44%)
No (31%)
I don't have a boss (24%)


WHICH CANADIAN PROVINCIAL PREMIER IS THE MOST OUT OF CONTROL?

Dalton McGuinty (64%)
Jean Charest (14%)
Gordon Campbell (12%)
Ed Stelmach (8%)


WHAT WAS THE DUMBEST BRIGHT IDEA FROM LIBERAL THINKAPALOOZA?

Encourage skilled workers to emigrate (32%)
National Daycare (28%)
Abandon Israel (19%)
Outlaw salt (8%)
Colonize Afghanistan (8%)
Give up pursuing seat on UN Security Council (3%)


DO YOU THINK ALL DOCUMENTS REGARDING OUR MILITARY MISSION IN AFGHANISTAN SHOULD BE PUBLISHED ON CBC.CA?

No (98%)
Yes (2%)


DO YOU THINK CANADA SHOULD ENCOURAGE MORE OF OUR SKILLED LABOUR TO EMIGRATE TO A FOREIGN COUNTRY?

No (92%)
Yes (4%)
Don't care (4%)


ARE YOU PLEASED TO HAVE GEORGE STROMBOLOPOLIS INTERVIEW FOREIGN DIGNITARIES ON CANADA’S BEHALF?

No (80%)
Don't care (17%)
Yes (3%)

Friday, April 23, 2010

True Patriot Culture War

What a week to celebrate the one year anniversary of the release of Mike Ignatieff's last book True Patriot Love; that we should find out a bitter partisan tax dollar receiving pollster has encouraged the Liberal Party to engage in a culture war and pit Canadians against Canadians in divisive debates. A strategy that has clearly been followed by Team Ignatieff who have deliberately chosen polarizing issues to drive a wedge between families. Is that what you mean by true patriot love Mike?

If dividing the country is your idea of patriot love, I would like to hasten your return to Boston.

If you have yet to cast a vote in my poll to guess the title of Ignatieff's next book, you have a few days to make up your mind. Thus far the leaderboard reads:

The Backfire of My Vanity (28%)
Bob is that a knife in my back, or are you just happy to see me? (23%)
True Patriot Culture War (15%)
Dances With Dippers (13%)
Ian Davey: The Dead Horse I Rode In On (7%)
What About Bob? (5%)
Crying With Wolves (5%)

Xenophobia Polling

When was the last time a pollster called your home and asked if you are xenophobic or racist? Evidently these questions are being asked, as Frank says he can prove stereotypes with statistics (as if that excuses his statement as a CBC paid pollster). He is now making incendiary remarks about the entire demographic of Conservative voters, calling it a haven for racists and homophobes. Is he going to show us this empirical evidence, because I would be very curious to know the exact language of the question his polling firm asked.

EKOS Research must have their contract with the CBC terminated. A polling firm led by a Liberal party donor who seeks to pit Canadian against Canadian and slander a large demographic should not be under contract with our public broadcaster to measure public opinion. I strongly encourage you to send your complaints to the CBC.

Your Complaints To The CBC

With recent revelations that exclusive CBC pollster Frank Graves is a liberal donor who encouraged the Liberal Party to wage a "culture war" pitting Canadians against Canadians for potential Liberal electoral gain; I'm sure many of you out there are upset and would like to make a complaint to the CBC. A number of you are also likely offended that Scott Reid, who once encouraged the assassination of a sitting Prime Minister, has a weekly gig on our public broadcaster. As luck would have it, you have a number of different options to share your feelings:

Soloman Show (politics@cbc.ca): Mr. Graves frequently appears as a commentator on the Soloman Show to spin his polls. He has made several dozen appearances, where he will often attempt to guess what the electorate is thinking or feeling. Yesterday's dust up with Kory Teneycke has also raised new concerns about the validity of Graves analysis. This is also a great place to complain about Scott Reid's weekly gig on the program.  "Kill him, kill him dead" when speaking of the Prime Minister always looks great on a resume.

Managing Editor of the CBC Parliamentary Bureau (Paul.Hambleton@cbc.ca): The good folks at the Soloman Show aren't really keen on responding to complaints, so you might have to go directly to their boss to get your complaint read and dealt with. Again, a great place to send your complaints about the hiring of Scott Reid.

Ombudsman (ombudsman@cbc.ca): This is whose job it is to take general complaints about the CBC from the public.  Also a great place to complain about their deal with Scott Reid.

As it says on the CBC corporate website:

"The Ombudsman generally intervenes only when a correspondent deems a response from a representative of the Corporation unsatisfactory and so informs the Office of the Ombudsman who determines whether the journalistic process or the broadcast involved in the complaint did, in fact, violate the Corporation's journalistic policies and standards."

President and CEO (commho@ottawa.cbc.ca): If all else fails, this is the boss of everybody at the CBC.

Frank Graves polls have been used extensively by the CBC and their reporters (I know, Kady is a blogger, not a journalist), and that Team Ignatieff has been using Graves advice in trying to ignite division in Canada over abortion and the long gun registry. This may not have been paid advice, but nobody can doubt that the Liberals have been using the exact strategy that Graves recommended.

Kady O'Malley put up her defense of Frank Graves. It was one sentence long. Considering how much time she's spent in the last 4 months micro analyzing his polls, she can't be too pleased that the integrity of his polling has fallen into dispute. How can Graves honestly boast about the accuracy of his polls when he has the Green Party at 12.6%? If Vegas casinos took bets on Canadian election results, if you walked in to one and bet the Greens to get 12.6% of the popular vote in the next election, you'd get at least 100 to 1 odds, if not 200 to 1.

I have been on Graves case for a few months now. For some background into EKOS polling, see also:

Ignatieff Poll Dancing: Almost a year ago, Graves had Iggy up at 37% in majority territory. In one year, the Liberals have fallen 10%. Where's that headline Kady?

Jan 8, 2010: Polling by Number

Jan 28, 2010: It's EKOS Being Green

Feb 11, 2010: When Pollsters Attack

Feb 12, 2010: EKOS Gone Awry

Avatar

This evening I decided that I would rent the movie Avatar and give it a whirl. That was just about the worst screenplay that I have seen in a modern box office success. The dialogue was painfully atrocious, and the plot had no depth. I understand now why South Park parodied Avatar under the title Dances with Smurfs. I did not watch it in 3D but the visual effects were still remarkable. It is a movie worth seeing if for no other reason than it has magnificent scenery, if you are willing to suffer through a sandpaper plot to do so. The Smurfs look ridiculous when they are crying, and yes there is lots of crying.

I am curious where this movie will rank in the annals of history and in the minds of the next generation. Are we going to have an epidemic of youth growing rat tail mullets to start plugging into light sockets and various household appliances? Parents around the world are going to have to start hiding their blenders.

By the two hour mark, I was cheering for the bad guys...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ignatieff's Next Book

The literary legend of Mike Ignatieff continues to grow. This week marks the one year anniversary of the release of his last book, True Patriot Love, which he started writing upon returning to Canada after living his entire adult life abroad. I would be curious to know how many copies of True Patriot Love have been sold in the past year, and where this ranks on the list of Canadian books sales. Hopefully that information is easier to find than the ratings for the Soloman Show.

He has also developed the reputation for carrying around these designer notepads imported from Italy, and he's always writing. I would love to know when he plans for his next book release and what he will be writing about. I don't know about you, but I have a few suggestions for titles that he is welcome to use when he does get around to his next publishing venture. I want something that really describes the last year of Iggy’s life. What has he been writing down in his designer Italian notepads?

Possible Titles
Crying Wolf
The Dead Horse I Rode In On
The Ukraine is Weak
The Bolshevik Album
Waging Culture War
Bob is that a knife in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

Hurry Hard: Canadian Wheelchair Curling Champ Arrested For Fake Viagra

The curling news is reporting that Canada's men’s gold medal wheelchair curling skip is facing criminal charges for allegedly trafficking black market Viagra. It is unclear yet whether or not our Paralympic champion was distributing the Chinese knock offs; and who these replicas were being sold to. I would be inclined to empathize with him if he was simply distributing the happy pills in the wheelchair curling community, where our athletes live life by the motto bigger, faster, harder. In Canada, our elite wheelchair athletes have a vitality and virility of life. That's why we bring home the gold. 

Regretfully he admitted to authorities that his son distributed the pills at Vancouver nightclubs, so rightfully charges are warranted.  Father gets picked up by the cops in the United States, and sells out his son?  I am assuming this will lead to a plea bargain, because what prosecutor wants to take a man in a wheelchair to court because he had a dream of bringing cheap Viagra to the world.  Do you think men in wheelchairs should be afforded the constitutional right to access cheap Viagra?

The good news is that Jim Armstrong now has a title for his autobiography, "Hurry Hard! Life in the fast lane of wheelchair curling".

Guergis-gate: From Moribund Trend to "Flash in the Pan" in 7 Days

One week ago Frank Graves and Jane Taber were delighting in what the EKOS boss described as "the resignation and controversy around Helena Guergis and her husband seems to have jumpstarted a moribund electorate in a way that ideas and debate could not". To one week later being "just a flash in the pan", much to the disappointment of GI Jane. Frank is still optimistic, saying "my guess is that this latest episode is locking in voter disillusionment" which seems an odd analysis from an alleged mathematician. His "guesses" are often wrong, so take that prophecy with a grain of salt.

In fact there was a very interesting story that broke today about some disturbing advice that Mr. Graves has been sharing while having his polls funded by the CBC. Norman Spector has a great article in the Globe and Mail. Though as I'm thinking about it, given Frank's predisposition to being mistaken, it is awesome he's handing out advice to the Liberal Party. Forget I said anything! Go about your business...nothing to see here...

Do you think the Liberals and friends are becoming frustrated that despite all their frequent sensationalized faux controversies that they have desperately tried to stick to Stephen Harper, they can't get any traction? The Prime Minister reminds me of a feline in a certain song from my childhood.  The tactical downside of crying wolf at the nearest sign of controversy over and over again, is that each successive screaming elicits a less interested response from the town's folk; such that a wolf actually shows up, and nobody listens at all.

A Fatwa Against South Park

It would appear that the creators of the hit comedy show South Park have encountered some threats of violence in response to their 200th episode. They did not show an image of the Prophet Muhammad, but rather presented him in disguise in a bear suit. I strongly suspect that they expected a backlash, but that they wanted to make a strong statement. Muslims can't claim that their religion has been unfairly targeted, as these are the same people who showed Buddha snorting blow, and put Jesus Christ in a wrestling match against Santa Claus. This is what they do, even if it pisses people off.  As luck would have it, this controversial episode is still viewable for free on the Comedy Central website.

I am on the record as one of South Park's biggest fans. While I'm at it, I should also drop a plug for Team America: World Police. I love that movie. Their portrayal of Matt Damon is worth the price of admission alone.

Their description of the war on terrorism at the end tells the story the way it is:

**dirty language warning**

"Pussies might think that they can deal with assholes their way; but the only thing that can fuck an asshole, is a dick, with some balls."

"But sometimes pussies get so full of shit that they become assholes themselves"

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Jaffer Hung Out To Dry?

I couldn't help but notice that after Rahim Jaffer's testimony today, many in our national press gallery were expressing shock and awe that the Tory MP asked some difficult questions. Kady O'Malley could barely contain her glee as she suggested that Jaffer had been abandoned and betrayed by the Conservative Party. Did they seriously expect the Tory MP to go sit beside Rahim on the witness stand and defend him against vicious attacks from Pat Martin? The defendant may have violated lobbying laws, whether he intended to or not, and thus it would be stupid for the Tories to defend his actions before any investigation has been completed.

You had Pat Martin saying yesterday that he didn't want this to be a circus, then he shows up the next day and turns it into a circus! It was insane! Yet that was scarcely mentioned in the CBC analysis of the testimony; instead we get musings of Tories mauling their own. If Mr. Jaffer broke the law in this case, he should face appropriate punishment. It would be stupid for the Government to "back him up" at this stage in the process. I'm sure had the Tory defended Jaffer, he'd have been sharply criticized for defending him; and asking some difficult questions constitutes being hung out to dry. Rosie wants to have her cake and eat it too.

Pat Martin Gone Wild

I was able to watch some of the committee testimony of Rahim Jaffer today, and I have to say that Pat Martin not only embarrassed the NDP, but he shamed the entire parliamentary process. If you are afforded the privilege of questioning a witness it is okay to ask difficult questions, but it is not okay to make slanderous criminal allegations that he'd be sued for if he repeated the words outside the doors of that room. Alleging that the witness accepted cocaine in exchange for lobbying services and then continuing to repeat similar allegations over and over again is actionable anywhere else.

He embarrassed the whole process today. This kind of reckless partisanship, creating a circus on national television, is not going to encourage witnesses to volunteer testimony in the future. If it is going to free from libel, it should be free of cameras and media. It is not fair to have this kind of circus hoisted upon witnesses, and frankly today I was embarrassed that this kind of thing happens in my legislature.

Liberals Running Against the Whip

I will be fascinated to see if Mr. Ignatieff will be able to successfully whip his caucus on the gun registry vote, in his first attempt at forced party unity since the botched foreign abortion funding vote. I find it interesting that ever since Dan McTeague defied Iggy's whip, he seems to be getting selected by Liberal handlers for more and more face time on television. He is making regular appearances in Question Period and on the political talk show circuit. Is this how Ignatieff handles party discipline? When MPs are defiant, best to raise their profile and delegate more responsibility. That sends the message to caucus that defying the party will lead to more Question Period questions and more guest spots on the Soloman Show.

The long gun registry is well intentioned in principle; the problem is that it doesn't work. Illegal hand guns are responsible for the majority of gun crimes in Canada. It costs a lot of money to administer this program, and does nothing to control the real problem. Professor Zsohar may think this a sexy issue to get behind, but for what it costs and what it does for us, the long gun registry is a net loser. I think that people should have to undergo a criminal background check before legally purchasing a gun, but a permanent registry is not the answer.

Take it easy Jack

I wish Jack Layton all the best in his battle against prostate cancer. Watching him Tuesday in Question Period, I have to say that I am concerned about his health and think he should calm down and try to take it easy. It is admirable that he insists on going to work while undergoing cancer treatment, but Jack was yelling and screaming, slamming papers down onto his desk, while his face turned a darker shade of red. I'm not an expert on cancer, but I strongly suspect that temper tantrums are not improving his probability of recovery.

Like I said at the onset, I wish him the best of health. I am just concerned that his theatrics and over-acting in the House of Commons may have a negative effect on his ability to recover from his illness. Jack, you need to relax, because I am watching your yelling and screaming in Parliament and I have trouble believing that this is what your doctor ordered.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Wednesday Jaffer Testimony

It would appear that the big story Wednesday on Parliament Hill will be the testimony of Rahim Jaffer, who thus far has said very little about the whole controversy whirling around him. Granted, he likely hasn't been talking due to advice from legal counsel, which is a very prudent course of action during a RCMP investigation. I suspect that the CBC will have its entire team covering the testimony, with different spins from each journalist. Kady O'Malley doesn't count as a real journalist. She is just a glorified blogger who spends 80% of her time covering committee meetings that 95% of the country doesn't care about. Only at a tax payer subsidized network would devote so much attention to "breaking news" that people don't care to read.

Hopefully Rahim doesn't crash through the rotting floor boards, with the Auditor General saying today that Parliament requires billions of dollars in retrofits, or else it will begin to fall apart. I can't dispute that claim because I haven't been inside Parliament since my grade 8 class trip. I suppose it makes sense, as the building is old. Did we cancel that home reno tax credit? I sure hope not! If this needs to be done, then it needs to be done, but I wouldn't mind a 2nd opinion.

I can't speculate what Mr. Guergis might say tomorrow, because I honestly have no idea. I will be very interested to listen to what he has to say.

The Dope Show Hits Parliament Hill

On international pot smokers day why not ask the question; do you think marijuana should be legalized? Today a large crowd of protestors marched on Parliament Hill demanding exactly that. Recent polling suggests that the majority of Canadians support the decriminalization, if not the legalization of the substance; including support from 61% of adults in British Columbia. I am going to have to side with the majority of my Provincial bretheren on this one. Alcohol does far more damage to the human body and in my opinion far more damage to society.

I believe we should legalize it, tax the shit out of it, and take billions of dollars out of the pocket of organized crime. We could even take 100% of the tax revenues and put them into law enforcement and the fight against heroin, cocaine, and meth. I do recall seeing demographic studies that show the baby boomers the most supportive of legalization, a large voting block that is about to retire. They're going to be looking for something to do with all that free time...

The Speaker's Choice

Speaker of the House Peter Milliken is expected to finally rule this week on Derek Lee's contempt of Parliament motion. He will either rule that the Government is in contempt, setting up a showdown on a possible confidence vote; or he will acknowledge that we shouldn't give detailed information of our current combat operations to Ujjal Dosangh. Guaranteed all the parties in our House of Commons have already decided how they are going to spin this decision, be it yes or no. I know that I already have some jokes in mind regardless of which way the ruling breaks.

Should he defeat Lee's motion, I will be in the Speaker's corner! Ha ha. I couldn’t contain myself any longer. The wait has been unbearable.

I am curious to know how you expect him to rule. I believe that he will turf the motion, but I suppose anything is possible. Technically Milliken is a Liberal MP. Last month I asked the poll question:

DO YOU THINK PARLIAMENT FINDING THE GOVERNMENT IN CONTEMPT REPRESENTS A MOTION OF NON CONFIDENCE?

Yes (79%)
No (21%)


PS: Can anyone confirm if Marlene Jennings was wearing the giant sun glasses in Parliament for a medical condition? Otherwise I have a few jokes I'd like to make in my next blog post...

Did The NDP Just Grow Up?

I noticed today that the NDP withdrew their ethics complaint against Helena Guergis, I'm just trying to figure out their motive. Did they finally mature into adults? I saw suggestions that the NDP did so because they believe there are more important issues to focus our attention on, but I also saw the suggestion that they did not want an ethics investigation to interfere with a criminal prosecution

Where this contradiction becomes interesting is that both statements came from the mouth of NDP MP Pat Martin who said:

"Enough is enough, there are more compelling issues facing the nation."

AND

"I realize there is a bigger downside than there is a plus side to it, because as interesting as it may be for us to hear what Mr. Jaffer has to say, at this point in time it could compromise a serious investigation into very serious criminal charges."

So what are they trying to say? What is the political play? Obviously Iggy would prefer the NDP to pursue this matter, because if he has to unleash Mark Holland on Canada, some of that mud slinging will stick to Iggy's face. The NDP didn't drop this to do Iggy a favour. Or did they only do a mea culpa because the ethics commissioner denied their charge? When Pat Martin said there was a very serious criminal matter involving a cabinet minister, and that there are more important national issues, he is likely just doing damage control for the failure of Libby Davies.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Major General Lewis MacKenzie Takes Down Attaran

This evening for the first time in my life I watched CTV's Power Play. I heard that Taber was hosting a debate between Attaran and retired Major General Lewis MacKenzie on the subject of Afghan Detainee-gate. It was outstanding! If I could recommend people watch only one clip on this issue, it has to be MacKenzie vs Attaran with Taber stuck in the cross fire. This is a must watch. Attaran completely falls apart. To watch him collapse in the middle of a debate on the issue that he claims to be an expert in, you have to question the wisdom of hiring him as legal representation.

My favourite exchange?

Attaran: "would you let me finish?"

MacKenzie: "as long as you don't take too long!"

To view the clip, click on this link, and search out the Attaran/MacKenzie exchange.

Tony Clement Maintains Airport Composure

It would seem more often than not these days that Tory Ministers behavior in airports is front page news. Sometimes the ensuing story is not about a Minister behaving badly, but rather like today maintaining their composure while being victimized by malicious privileged celebrities exploiting their power over others for personal gain. Take Tony Clement, who while innocently waiting in line to board his plane after the Juno Awards last night suddenly became a victim. Pop star Justin Beiber bribed airport officials with autographed pictures, which where then leveraged to cut to the front of the line. The whole time Tony maintained his composure, dispelling the stereotype of Tory Ministers behaving badly in airports.

What's ironic about this situation is that during "letters to the editor-gate" I began to ponder aloud if there was a pattern to Helena's misfortunes. I then wrote "There's a reason that there is never any controversy swirling around Tony Clement, because he is a highly competent minister". And then this weekend we see that under extraordinary circumstances, Tony maintained his composure and did cabinet proud. Listen, a lot of us could speculate what we think we'd do if Justin Beiber cut in line in front of us, but you just can't know until you walk a mile in those shoes.

Maxime Bernier Coup D'√Čtat?

Why is it that within moments of Jean Charest's sudden catastrophic collapse in his poll numbers, pundits were speculating that Maxime Bernier was preparing to overthrow him? Some Conservative bloggers pleaded with the Prime Minister to give him a cabinet post before we lose him to Quebec provincial politics. Doesn't Charest have 3 years left on his majority term? Dalton McGuinty set the precedence that if your support is to dip into single digits, best do it in year one, spend the next 3 years pretending that you did nothing wrong and soon you are cruising to re-election. I think proclaiming Maxime to be the successor to Charest may be a tad premature.

I am a fan of Maxime Bernier. I am on the record saying that I believe he should be in cabinet, and there is much about the man I respect. After that whole drama with his ex-girlfriend, he went back to his constituents and asked them for another term and he defeated his nearest competitor 31,883 to 7,143. After all the sensationalized hoopla, the people who know him the best, the people he represents, sent him back to parliament with 62% of the vote. I think he would make an excellent Quebec Lieutenant and I would like to see him challenge the policies of Jean Charest. I would just prefer if he did so from federal cabinet.

Most Unscrupulous Canadian Journalist?

In these past couple of weeks many of us have watched our parliamentary press gallery get sucked into a vortex of wild speculation and potentially libelous allegations. You may recall the curious case of Dan Rather, a once respected American Anchorman who became so consumed with his opposition to the President that he reported a false and ultimately embarrassing story that forced him to resign. If that were to happen in Canada, who do you think the most likely candidate would be?

Who is the most likely to take Guergis-gate or detainee-gate one misstep too far and either be forced to resign or charged for libel? Just about everyone on the CBC is following both cases 24/7. Many people are complaining about this Fife guy that I have never watched. Terry Milewski has emerged as the most pointed partisan in the Parliamentary press gallery (he has a tax funded salary). Kady O'Malley and Rosemary Barton (tax funded salaries) will get on Newsworld and joke about how they won't say anything nice about the government. Who is the most likely to push the envelope into personal liability?

This will eventually be a poll question, but I would like to collect a little bit of feedback in the nomination process before I do.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Don't Mess With the Zsohar!

Evidently it is now permissible to refer to politicians by their spouse’s name, even if that Member of Parliament retained her maiden name after the marriage. Take Liberal leader Mike Zsohar, who recently in Question Period referred to Helena Guergis as "Mrs Jaffer". Here I was under the mistaken impression that members of Parliament were not supposed to name other members by name in Question Period, and that doing so warranted getting your microphone cut off in the middle of your "question". That is of course if you count how did Mr and Mrs Jaffer get their tentacles around the throat of government a real question.

I recall seeing footage recently of a female Liberal MP who repeatedly insisted on using the Prime Minister's name in Question Period, and the speaker kept cutting out her mic. Shouldn't Iggy's mic have been cut as soon as he said Mrs Jaffer, followed by a stern warning from the Speaker? Or can the Tories call Iggy by name so long as they say Mr. Zsohar?

Speaking of the Speaker, how long is it supposed to take him to read Derek Lee’s Contempt of Parliament motion? This is getting a bit ridiculous.

Did Magnum PI stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night?

Today on the CBC I saw an exclusive interview with the private investigator at the heart of Guergis-gate, taped in the Bahamas. For a man with a $13 million dollar bankruptcy claim, I don't know that tropical vacations are entirely appropriate. It must be a wonderful life. What we learned in this interview is that Magnum took Gillani way too seriously; including allegations that Gillani now disputes he ever said. These were allegations that Magnum desperately tried to push into the public sphere, even suggesting it was for the good of the Conservative Party that he went to Donolo with allegations of a Tory cabinet snorting blow.

Magnum has a membership card in the Conservative Party, which he was sure to flash for the camera. I am assuming it will not take long for the RCMP to verify that there is no evidence of any wrong doing in this case, at which time the PM will likely ask Helena if she would like to return to caucus. I doubt she will be admitted back to cabinet, but she should definitely be a member of the Conservative Party. I'd rather have Helena in my party than Magnum PI.

At 4 p.m. ET that Friday, April 9, Snowdy said he returned a phone call from the ethics commissioner's office. In a brief conversation, the employee quoted from a letter from the prime minister's chief of staff saying Snowdy was making allegations against a member of the house.

"I said to him I had made no allegations against the member. He asked if I had spoken with the prime minister's chief of staff. I said no. Did I make any allegations against the member? I said no.

"And he then stated to me, 'Well, it doesn't seem to me that we have a complaint here. Thank you very much.' Hung up the phone," said Snowdy.

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/04/18/derrick-snowdy-interview.html#ixzz0lUfmZEug

Are Conservative women unfairly attacked because of gender?

With all the hoopla escalating in the Parliamentary press gallery the past couple of weeks concerning Helena Guergis, I have seen a number of respondents point out that there is a systematic history of left leaning pundits and politicians engaging in deliberate character assassination against Conservative women. Whether it be Rona Ambrose, Lisa Raitt, or now Helena Guergis, is there a pattern here? What are the most outrageous examples of this type of attack? Rosemary Barton's "brilliant" theory on Friday while talking with Don Newman was that female Conservative MPs keep popping up in controversies because "they have a thin talent pool to choose from."  Rosie and I disagree.

I should defer my defense of Conservative women to "Climbing Out of the Dark", a female Blogging Tory who wrote two very insightful posts on this subject this week:

Lefty MPs Attack Female Conservative MPs

A Long Tradition of Bullying

As an aside, I do not believe that Sarah Palin is electable as President, and it has nothing to do with gender and everything to do with experience. But I absolutely think the treatment she received from goofs like Bill Maher and 3/4 of the Huffington Post during the last election was insane and unwarranted.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

What would you ask in my next poll question?

It is common practice at the CBC to have their viewers send in suggestions for poll questions (many of which are sent to EKOS). I think that sounds like a good idea (minus the EKOS part). As the self proclaimed unofficial pollster for the Blogging Tories I ask you; what would you like me to ask as my next poll question? I generally keep 4 polls active at once, and of my active polls 2 expire Sunday and 2 expire Monday.

Does anyone have any requests?

Does the Government Have a Credibility Issue?

According to Evan Soloman's audience, the answer is an overwhelming 90% yes. Does that mean that 90% of Canadians agree? I'd like to find out by asking the same poll question. I know that thus far virtually my entire audience is more likely to believe a Canadian General than an Afghan translator, who offer conflicting accounts of the same event. Rosie Barton attempted to connect Guergis-gate with detainee-gate, presenting the hypothesis that they were related issues while running the caption "Credibility Gap?" at the bottom of the screen. Don Newman was invited to attempt this asinine connecting of dots with Rosie.

Basically they presented the hypothesis that yes there was a credibility gap, and then they sent Evan's audience to the website to confirm their theory. So I put the question to you.

"I never saw a prisoner in a cell"

The immortal words of former Canadian diplomat Richard Colvin, one of the darlings of Dosangh. The latest allegations eliciting excitement from the Liberal caucus are being made by a former translator who claims Canadian forces gunned down an innocent teenager INSIDE a bomb making compound. Of the 10 combatants captured at the scene, 9 were covered in explosive residue. I'm not sure if innocent civilians typically hang out in bomb factories, but in this case it is alleged he was. Like Colvin, most of this man's testimony is hearsay.

There exists a lot of military documentation on this incident, but there is a good reason that we can't just hand them over unredacted to Milewski and O'Malley to be distributed throughout cyberspace. They discuss in detail how it is Canadian forces raid bomb factories. The biggest threat our soldiers face are bombs, typically made in bomb making factories. If you disclose in full detail of our operational tactics online, that increases the ability of the people blowing up our soldiers to evade capture. Ergo, you put our soldiers at risk if you just give Milewski the unredacted documents. 

This should be clear for all to see,
except the daydream believers at the CBC!

Which reminds me, have you noticed how Milewski and O'Malley attend these committee meetings and try to get a seat in plain view of the camera.  As journlists reporting on this, there is no need for them to be in the shot, other than they both likely like being on TV.  Though it's not like there is tough competition for seating.  The majority of serious journalists stopped covering this months ago because the Canadian public doesn't care.  If people cared, the press gallery would be full at the hearings.  Supply and demand.

When a Volcano Attacks

I haven't discussed this yet, but what is happening in Europe right now with the grounding of air travel due to an Icelandic volcano eruption is fascinating. Volcanic ash melts at the temperature in a jet engine which sucks in air, where volcanic ash was one of ancient Rome's secret ingredients for concrete. Hence why planes are grounded, backlogged, and chaos has ensued. Given how many volcanoes there are globally, this kind of effect is somewhat concerning.

I thought that Charles Adler had a really funny take on this on his Friday show, asking when Suzuki and Gore will bring their hammer of Thor down on Iceland for not controlling their volcanoes. The concern is legit, because a volcano can put more pollution in the atmosphere in 7 days than the oil sands will in 70 years. If we are concerned about global warming, we need to seriously discuss economic sanctions on countries that don't cap their volcanoes. Why are volcano eruptions not covered under the Kyoto Accords? Iceland has wasted a century's worth "volcanic ash credits" in a few days.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Curious Case of Attaran and the Translator

I know that a lot of you stopped following detainee-gate months ago, but if the left is going to keep talking about it, then I am going to keep writing about it. This week the CBC was a buzz with testimony from a former Afghan interpreter who alleges that our soldiers were executing innocent teenagers and deliberately flagging people to be tortured by Afghan officials for the purpose of extracting specific information. This translator has a lawyer who you might already know, a guy that Iggy did some favours for back in Academia, who goes by the name Attaran.

You may remember that about 6 weeks ago, Mr Attaran went on the CBC claiming that he had obtained documents through an access to information request (which allegedly we don't grant anymore, but he got his), that he claimed proved that Canadian soldiers flagged prisoners to be tortured. He then said that he could not show us the documents, and that we had to trust him. Very quickly after his allegations were made public, information started hitting the internets about this guy's history with the Liberal leader who had done favours for him previously.

Almost as soon as he shows up, he disappears from the media circuit, only to show up 6 weeks later sitting beside a translator who is alleging that our soldiers committed war crimes. I don't know what happened in the last six weeks, when exactly the translator retained Attaran as counsel, and at this point all I know for sure is that I don't trust either the client or the attorney. I know that I am more likely to believe General Walt Natynczyk who openly disputes the allegations, as the incidents in question are well documented; documents which also contain detailed information of our operational strategy when raiding bomb making factories.

Let's not forget also that the Geneva Convention refers to uniform soldiers, not militia who blend in to the civilian populations and use the innocent people as human shields. That makes it incredibly more complicated for our soldiers to distinguish between combatants and civilians. Have innocent people been killed over the course of this engagement? I'm sure of it, but that sad outcome is more likely to occur specifically because of the guerrilla tactics used by the enemy we are fighting.

I also tend to agree with the Minister of Defense who Thursday in Question Period reminded us all that none of these allegations have ever been confirmed by eye witness testimony. Everything is based on hearsay in a war zone where we are fighting an enemy who blends into the civilian population and engages in a direct campaign of misinformation and propaganda against the force they are fighting. This is standard practice in guerrilla warfare, and when you have a conventional army like Canada does, fighting against this type of enemy is extremely complicated.

Charles Adler is #1

I have completed my survey of the most watched and listened to political television and radio shows. Finishing in first place is Adler Online with the "boss of talk" Charles Adler, followed by Mr. Rex Murphy who does both a weekly spot on the National and hosts his own weekend radio show (I generally tune in to both). Then Roy Green, Michael Coren, and Dave Rutherford finished in a near tie, with each separated by a single vote. I listen to the Roy Green show when I can, but I have never tuned in to Coren or Rutherford. Of course bringing up the rear is none other than the esteemed Evan Soloman. I e-mailed the show to ask them what their ratings are, but I did not get a response. Maybe you'll have better luck (politics@cbc.ca)?

The poll allowed for multiple answers, meaning that respondents could vote for each program that they tune in to. Below are my rankings for political shows in Canada. I'll admit that I thought more people watched CTV's Question Period, even though I don't watch it myself. I also thought Tom Clarke would beat the At Issue Panel, which some have suggested should spin off into its own show.

Which Canadian political radio or television shows do you tune in for?

1) Charles Adler Show (58%)
2) Rex Murphy (48%)
3) Roy Green Show (34%)
4) Michael Coren Show (34%)
5) Dave Rutherford Show (34%)
6) CBC: At Issue Panel (18%)
7) Tom Clarke's Power Play (18%)
8) CTV's Question Period (15%)
9) Rick Mercer Report (9%)
10) Evan Soloman Show (8%)

Ignatieff's tentacles wrapped around the neck of the Liberal Party

It is difficult to distinguish exactly who has their tentacles wrapped around the collective neck of the Liberal Party these days, Iggy or his NDP Premiers, but what's clear is that they are slowly dragging the party into the abyss. If you think this hyperbole is over the top, it's okay I am just a blogger, not a Parliamentarian. Nobody in the House of Commons would ever be so crass as to use that type of language on the hansard. On second thought, maybe they would...

I think Wilson said it best over on the message board at Blue Like You:

wilson says:
April 16, 2010 at 9:47 am

Susan Riley, a Liberal reminds that Canadians are not stupid:

”..Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, wasting what is left of his fine mind, spent much of this week in ardent pursuit of Helena Guergis and Rahim Jaffer — trying desperately and unconvincingly to shift blame for their misdeeds to Harper…"

Why, Ignatieff wanted to know, did the prime minister do nothing for months “while Mr. and Mrs. Jaffer attached their tentacles to the neck of government and slowly dragged it down?”

For those who track such things, this metaphorical overkill may mark a new low for the Liberal leader and a moment when the mood in the Commons shifted from sport to cruelty…

As for Ignatieff, he lamented the damage done the “political class” by tawdry scandals this week before he proceeded to jump gleefully into the cesspool himself…”

www.ottawacitizen.com/news/ugliness+scandal+phoria/2912825/story.html

Magnum PI is NOT $13 Million in Debt

The big headline right now over at the CBC news website is "Private eye in Guergis case $13M in debt", which is not factually correct. He filed a bankruptcy claim while there is a civil suit against him from a former partner that demands compensation for ownership for a business that went out of business. I thought 50% of zero was zero, but I could be mistaken. The bankruptcy people told him that he had to report the full amount of the suit against him in his bankruptcy claim, but there is a 50-50 chance that he wins the civil case.

I'm not defending the guy, I don't know if he's credible, and I certainly don't know if I trust him; but 95% of the $13 million is the maximum possible payout on a lawsuit that hasn't happened yet, where someone is demanding payment for equity in a company that went out of business. The CBC might be a little too hasty throwing Magnum under the bus for "being $13 million in debt". Why the left would shift from attacking Guergis to attacking Magnum makes sense, because discrediting Magnum allows them to call into question the Prime Minister ever taking them seriously. Make no mistake, the opposition will absolutely attack the credibility of the Prime Minister for calling an investigation based on information from a PI $13 million in debt.

But also, you can't very well say that Magnum was trying to help the Conservatives (he allegedly identifies himself as a loyal Tory), because he went to Donolo first. Trust me, if you have potentially explosive information and you want to help the Tories, your first call isn't to Donolo. Is he credible? At this point I can't make that determination, but the Tory loyalty pitch doesn't fly if he had allegations of a Cabinet Minister snorting blow and his first call was to Iggy's office. He only called a Tory attorney when the Liberals ignored him. And yet he made very serious allegations, which absolutely warrants a police investigation.

Stephen Harper handled this situation entirely as he should have, and I expect Helena to be invited back into caucus if and when she is cleared of any wrongdoing.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Plan B: Blame Harper

After some of the stories that broke today about the shady nature of the gentleman at the heart of the Guergis-Jaffer allegations, you could see a shift beginning in the Liberal strategy later in the day. They abandoned Guergis-gate in Question Period (at least in the CBC televised portion), instead passing the baton again to the Bolsheviks to cry wolf over the detainee matter (which Peter MacKay handled beautifully). Then in the late afternoon, the narrative on Guergis shifted to did the PM overreact by expelling her from caucus. I never agreed that she should be removed from caucus, and I think if she's cleared she should be immediately reinstated.

Of course the Liberal defense for their own baseless accusations was that they think the PM should have disclosed all information about the allegations when he contact the RCMP to investigate their validity. Well the allegations are of partying with prostitutes and snorting cocaine, which if they are false are incredibly slanderous. That stigma will likely be with her for the rest of her life, even if the allegations are proven false. The PM did exactly the right thing in contacting the police to investigate the claims; though Manbridge thinks the Prime Minister should have conducted his own personal investigation, perhaps in lieu of attending the international nuclear summit.

If the RCMP determines that she did nothing wrong, then the public should not have known any of these details, meaning that it would have been appropriate not to disclose them until their validity was verified. Manbridge and I disagree on who should have conducted the investigation. Does anyone not think that if the PMO had conducted a private investigation and then dismissed the allegations that Peter and friends would be furious?

Now after weeks of demanding Helena's resignation (which the opposition demanded long before the most recent allegations), Liberals are now attacking Harper for acting too swiftly to remove her from the employment that they had spent months demanding be terminated! It is absolutely crazy! The Liberals are blaming anyone but themselves for their own childish behavior. I think someone sang a song once upon a time that would elicit a standing ovation at the next Liberal caucus meeting...

"whatever you do, don't put the blame on you"

Parliament Hill Behaving Badly

I do not believe that Helena Guergis is a drug dealer, and I do not believe that our soldiers shoot innocent teenagers in the back of the head execution style. If you have been watching media coverage of this week's events in the House of Commons, you may be inclined to believe one or both of the previous allegations to be plausible. If you want committee testimony and question period to be immune from libel or slander charges, then the events should not be broadcast on television. Even if the allegations are proven false, these types of statements can inflict irreparable damage to a public servant's career.

Do I think Liberal MPs should be allowed to accuse an elected Member of Parliament of narcotics distribution without any substantive evidence? Absolutely not, but if you think it is important to allow certain people the freedom to say things that regular citizens are not allowed to say, then you have to make those hearings and sessions private. What we have witnessed in the past week alone is potentially libelous claims spreading from Parliament into the mainstream media. The pundits can then discuss the accusations because they are reporting on the work of Parliament.

I can't just speculate that Helena Guergis operates an international crime syndicate, and then say it is okay for me to make that allegation in a public forum because the Prime Minister hasn't told us otherwise. The opposition knows that the PM is not permitted to disclose details of the police investigation, and yet they use his lack of disclosure to justify their own slander! It is beyond childish, in my opinion it is downright criminal. Is this what our official opposition has become? And what happens if the RCMP determines that Helena did nothing wrong?

I am expecting there will be a backlash for all the nasty things that have been said on television, if we find out that she did nothing wrong; and that her meltdown at the airport was in part attributable to the duress of recently having her second miscarriage in a year. Let's allow the RCMP to investigate the matter and make a determination.

Tories and Liberals Tied?

Has anyone else noticed that many in the media have developed the curious habit of declaring opinion polls within 5% to be tied? When the "Guergisized" Tories are ahead by 3%, the polls are tied; but I guarantee you if the Liberals squeak out even a 0.1% advantage, Jane Taber will write that the LPC have surged into the lead. If a party has been ahead for 10 consecutive polls, even if only by 2%, then it isn't tied. Last night the Phoenix Jets narrowly defeated my Detroit Red Wings, but you know what, let's call it a tie.

An opinion poll attempts to estimate the real proportions of voter intention. Each estimate has a margin of error, which we also call a "confidence interval". These are assumed to have a normal distribution (a bell curve). If you have the Tories estimated at 32% with a 3% margin of error, the probability of the real parameter value being 29% is substantially smaller than it being 31%. A "statistical tie" as you call it should only occur if the probability of it being tied is greater than or equal to the probability that leader is ahead. When you see a 32% to 29% lead, the probability that true popular support is tied is at most 20%, with an 80%+ chance that one party in fact leads the other. Remember GI Jane, confidence intervals are shaped like bell curves, and just because the outer boundaries overlap, that does not imply a tie. Granted I would not be shocked if EKOS had higher than normal error rates due to their history of online polling.

EKOS kingpin Frank Graves is now suggesting based on one poll that there is momentum on Guergis-gate and Detainee-gate. “The resignation and controversy around Helena Guergis and her husband seems to have jumpstarted a moribund electorate in a way that ideas and debate could not.” That is an interesting opinion Mr. Graves, especially considering Ipsos had the Tories up by 10% on Sunday. One poll does not a "moribund" trend make; and if Helena is cleared of any wrong doing, there will be hell to pay with all the false accusations that have been made by the Liberals. And when I see the Green Party over 11%, I know your poll is tainted.

And you know what else; I hardly think a controversy qualifies as "moribund" and a threat to our democracy if Rosemary Barton can't wipe the smile off her face while she's reporting it. If it were as bad as all that, you'd think the Parliamentary journalists would be taking it seriously instead of gleefully indulging in a punditry orgy...

Oh, and Peter MacKay was outstanding in Question Period today!  I would like to request that Ujjal Dosangh be tested for rabies.  Call it a hunch.

The i-Tax

Did anyone else notice Wednesday that the opposition parties voted in unison to add a massive tax to the purchase of iPods and Mp3 players? Yes, the Liberals, the NDP, and the Bloc are forming a coalition of taxation and they haven't even formed government yet! I'm sure many Canadians will be concerned to see the Liberals collaborating with the NDP on tax policy, and that many moderates may want to re-think their voter preference. Fortunately for all of us, the passed motion is non-binding. We won't be forced to pay this tax; I'm sure the first of many to be produced by Liberal-NDP-Bloc collaboration.

In more Liberal taxation news Wednesday, Iggy said that he wants to start charging Canadians levies for health care services; at least until Donolo told him it was bad policy and Iggy changed his mind. Big ideas cost big money. They need to pay for their policies somehow. Health care levies and i-Taxes are just the beginning...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Do We Need Drug Testing in Parliament?

With CTV releasing the details tonight of the allegations at the source of the Guergis RCMP investigation, I feel as though I should ask the question; do we need mandatory drug testing in Parliament. "Magnum PI" as Layton so affectionately called him claimed to have knowledge of Helena and her husband partying with cocaine and high priced prostitutes (for which he claims photographic exists). Magnum contacted a Tory attorney, who contacted the Prime Minister. This allegation is very specific and is in regard to incidents alleged to have taken place. The Prime Minister would not have had any knowledge of this particular party, and he reported it to the authorities when it first crossed his desk.

If the allegations turn out not to be true, then somebody is guilty of libel. It is unfortunate that all this information is now public, before law enforcement officials were able to substantiate the claim. But, the opposition demanded all the details be made public, even if they aren't true. To justify their demand for immediate information, the opposition have been making wild and baseless accusations and then saying that their allegations are the Prime Minister's fault for not telling us the details of what may turn out to be a false libelous claim against the former Minister. If the allegations are found not to be credible by the RCMP, I'm sure Helena will be re-admitted to the Tory caucus.

I don't know about you, but I don't want members of Parliament snorting blow. Should we introduce drug testing for our elected officials? I'm sure there are at least a few opposition MPs who like to "party".

Rosemary's Confusion and Layton P.I

Rosemary Barton at the CBC announced several times today that she is confused about the latest statement from Helena Guergis. I understand if she is easily confused, but it was amusing to see on TV. She spent most of her day running around Parliament Hill trying to get to the bottom of something that ultimately had no bearing on the matter. Both Barton and O'Malley can barely contain their glee when discussing this story. If it is as serious as you are suggesting it is, you probably shouldn't be joyful when you discuss it on our national public broadcaster.

She did crack up laughing about Jack Layton's "Magnum PI" drop in Question Period today. Though it was tough to tell who was laughing more, Rosie after he said it, or Jack while he was saying it. You can see that Lucky Jack was quite pleased with himself when he said it, but he had to pause for applause before finally getting a delayed reaction. Very professional Jack. Magnum PI drops in Question Period. Do any foreign dignitaries actually watch our QP? I'd be embarrassed if they did.

Soloman seems to have made at least a dozen references to “explosive testimony” on the detainee matter. Nearly every day that anyone speaks in committee, Evan and his people repeatedly use the word explosive to describe the testimony. I’m not sure if Team Solo is aware of the phenomenon of diminishing marginal returns. I do wonder why Evan insists on using this particular adjective as much as he does, but I’m not about to start a double entendre conspiracy theory...

The longer they put Scott Reid on the air, the more arrogant he becomes. If you watched him today, he was completely full of himself.