Monday, February 28, 2011

The EKOS Outlier

On February 23rd Liberal pollster Frank Graves released a poll that the Tories had fallen dramatically to 32.4% support in the week following the public release of Odagate. This allowed Evan Soloman to muse about "the Oda effect". On Feb 21st, Nanos had the Tories at 39.7% and two days later EKOS reported a drop. Then on Feb 25th Abacus and Angus Reid had the Conservatives at 38% and 39% respectively. So was what Frank measured real or wrong? Did the party just lose 7% support for a few days and bounce immediately back, or was it an outlier that just happened to cull a non random sample?

The ironic thing is that the PMO sent out an internal memo warning caucus not to get too excited about an earlier EKOS poll because some pollsters report high numbers only to follow them with large declines that they and the media get excited about. This makes their poll a bigger story. The bigger the swing, the bigger the story. I am not accusing Graves of deliberately manipulating his own numbers, but rather indicating a likelihood that they have a flawed method of randomization. Randomization is a key necessity for opinion sampling and estimating the true parameter values.

British Columbia Needs Our Own Wildrose Party

As a voter in British Columbia, I am tired of voting for a party that I don't like simply because the alternative is the NDP. After the carbon tax I was disgusted and wanted to change my vote but was only offered 2 alternatives on my ballot, NDP and Green. The HST was just the nail in the coffin. This province has a significant amount of right wing voters who vote BC Liberal because they are afraid of the NDP, and with good reason. If you listened to talk radio after the 2009 election (sorry I stopped listening to Christy's show after her first week), many callers were calling it the "none of the above" election. They weren't voting for the Liberals, they were voting against the NDP.

I'm sorry, but I don't want to do that anymore. BC needs its own Wildrose, and really the only viable option is the BC Conservative Party. Unless someone is willing to resurrect Social Credit, we need to start supporting and promoting the BC Conservatives. If that means one term of the NDP, so be it, at this point I'm willing to accept short term pain for long term gain. I'm done with the BC Liberal Party. So all you people saying "don't vote BC Conservative because you will elect the NDP", I will quote the wise philosopher The Rock who said "know your role and shut your mouth." I voted Liberal and I got a carbon tax and the HST. I'm not voting for that party again.

Parliament's Back

Parliament resumes from a short recess last week, and I'm sure that you are all very excited. All us Jihadis supporting the Tories have to be jacked up. Harper Akbar! Granted, Parliament is resuming on NHL trade deadline day, so the CBC will be in tough competing for eyeballs with TSN and Sportsnet. What do the Liberals hit first, Odagate or In and Outgate? I'm not sure if Jetgate will make it onto their list in Question Period, since Iggy now supports enforcing no fly zones in areas of civil unrest and violence. You do know that Gaddafi has a significant air force and anti-aircraft weapons, right? Yes, he also has radar. Too bad we don't have any stealth technology on our jets. I am not working on Monday, but I suspect I will be watching the sports shows instead of the news.

There is a lot of talk about adding a stat holiday between New Year's and Christmas (Christy Clark campaigned for one in BC), so why not NHL trade deadline day? Should we make this a national holiday?

Cheering For Celebrity Trainwrecks

Today's poll question; which celebrity trainwreck do you most want to see succeed in life? Who, if any, are you cheering for? It could be Mel Gibson, Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, Amy Winehouse, Gary Busey, Mike Tyson, Whitney Houston, Tom Sizemore, Britney Spears, etc. This is not a moribund poll of who do you want to see crash and burn, but rather who do you want to see live a long and fruitful life in the public spotlight. There is a none of the above option, but there are also enough choices that there has to be someone you are secretly rooting for. Personally I still have not decided between Tom Sizemore and John Daly for the trainwreck I'd like to see succeed.

UPDATE: I voted for John Daly. "You don't know me, like I know me."

Sunday, February 27, 2011

How Retired Is Jay Hill?

After stepping down from federal politics, in part because of the draining commute from BC to Ottawa for two decades, I would like to ask if Jay Hill would consider running for the leadership of the BC Conservative Party? They are voting on a new leader at the end of May, and I am trying to recruit high profile quality candidates to run for the job. The Liberals need to be sent out to pasture, especially after selecting Christy Clark to be our unelected (without a seat in parliament) Premier. In a very close overall race, Christy won 32 of 34 NDP ridings, where all ridings were given equal weighting in their nomination process. This presents a fantastic opportunity for the BC Conservatives to run a full slate with a charismatic popular leader and actually have a reasonable probability of victory. The BC Conservatives should be celebrating Clark's victory.

I'm nominating James Moore for the next leader, but I don't know if he's interesting in leaving federal politics. He is a rising Tory star, and I'm pretty sure the youngest cabinet minister. That being said, I would also strongly endorse Jay Hill, who has retired from federal service. The bottom line is that BC desperately needs a Conservative Premier, and I want to maximize the probability of that happening. What if we pooled our money and bought Danielle Smith from Alberta?

To become a member or to donate to the BC Conservative Party, click here.

Libyan No Fly Zone

Ignatieff has been campaigning on scrapping Canada's plan to upgrade our outdated air force, and now he is demanding the enforcement of a no fly zone over the civil war erupting in Libya. Hypothetically speaking, if we sent our current fleet into Libyan airspace to assist in such a venture, what would be the danger to Canadian pilots? These are planes that fall out of the sky at airshows, let alone sending them into war zones. Does Gaddafi have radar and anti-aircraft weapons? In modern warfare, doesn't it make sense to have jets equipped with stealth technology to minimize the risk of harm to the valuable service members who fly them?

Iggy wants to enforce a no fly zone, but does not support equipping Canadians with the best ability to do. Classy.

Which BC Conservative Would Make The Best Premier?

Today's poll question; Which Conservative would make the best the best Premier of British Columbia? In the aftermath of Christy Clark being elected Premier by Liberal members and not the public, I would like to start the search for the next great Conservative Premier of my province. The BC Conservatives did not run a full slate in the last election (24 of 79 ridings), and as they struggle to grow they continue to lack a viable leadership candidate. I'm not sure if we could pry James Moore away from Ottawa, but he would make a fantastic candidate for Premier of BC.

I'm looking for names. Jay Hill would be another great choice, after he retired from his service in Ottawa. I reluctantly voted for the BC Liberals in 2009, but I'm out. Since I have a public voice, I may as well use it to promote a quality alternative to Christy Clark. I'd rather have Gordon Campbell back than live under the rule of Christy.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Federal Liberals Win Big In BC Premier Race

I must offer a disappointed congratulations to the federal Liberal Party for re-seizing control of the Premier's office in British Columbia. It has been long understood (since the death of Social Credit) that the BC Liberal Party has more federal Tory voters than federal Liberals. The party did not win an election from 1941 to 2001 until Vanderzalm collapsed the Socreds, after which the right of center shifted to the Liberals. Now with the controversial selection of Christy Clark (who doesn't even hold a seat in the legislature) to replace Gordon Campbell, those Liberals (and their pets) who were actually able to cast a vote have shifted the party to the left.

Before Christy and the fans of her radio show get too excited, look at our nation's past history of a new interim leader being appointed to replace unpopular leaders without a mandate from the public. This rarely works out well. Christy Clark is destined to be another Kim Campbell or Ujjal Dosangh (at least those two had seats in the legislature when selected as replacement leaders). I'm upset because I voted for the BC Liberals in the last election, but I did not vote for Christy Clark to become Premier. Nobody anywhere on any ballot voted for Christy in the last election, because she wasn't interested in being a plain and simple MLA. There is no way I am voting for this party in the next election, even if that leads to an NDP government.

Now it is time to endorse the fledgling BC Conservative Party. They need to get their act together and run a full slate of candidates in the next election. There are going to be a lot of right wing voters looking for a new home next time we go to the polls. I would encourage people to visit their website and either sign up to join the BC Conservatives or make a financial donation, or both. The party also needs a high profile and charismatic leader (NOT Vanderzaam), hopefully to be voted on as soon as possible. Somebody like a Jay Hill. James Moore would be my #1 choice, but he is a valuable member of the federal Tory caucus.

In a very close overall victory, Christy Clark won 32 of 34 NDP ridings. That's interesting...

Charlie Sheen Is Crazy

It would appear that having the best rated sitcom on television can really feed an ego, because having listened to the latest Charlie Sheen radio rants, that guy is borderline delusional. Doesn't he have a publicist to tell him to stop these radio interviews, or does he even listen? Two and a half men has now been cancelled...err, postponed...indefinitely despite being #1. He seems mystified by his own "talent", despite the fact that he only succeeds playing characters that are exactly like him in real life. He can only be Charlie. He has no diversity as an actor, and it boggles the mind that this ego maniac is making $1.2 million dollars an episode when he should be in a prison cell. He makes me want to cheer for Lindsay Lohan.

Can I also say that as an amateur film critic, I think his performance in Platoon is drastically overrated. Watch the movie again. The guy can't act his way out of a wet paper bag. All he can do is crack jokes when he's playing a rich, drug addicted, playboy. That's it, so please, don't take Charlie's word for it about the scope of his ability...

Oh, and how many no-name radio hosts are begging to get Charlie for an interview. Nobody had ever heard of Alex Jones before the Sheen interview.

Bringing "In And Out" Zombie Back From The Dead

The Canadian justice system has already cleared the Conservatives of any wrong doing in the 2006 "in and out-gate" faux scandal, but that didn't stop Elections Canada from pursuing further charges or the opposition from screaming wolf yet again on a non-controversy. I fully expect the four Tories charged in this case to be exonerated, just as the party was the last time this was fought in the courts. The most curious thing about this whole saga is the timing, just as with Odagate. One happened in 2006, the other in 2009, and now magically these are major scandals in 2011 just as an election is possibly pending and the Tories hit a high water mark in the polls. How much time has Evan Soloman dedicated to these two issues in the last two weeks?

Also, what is the record for consecutive guest appearances on the Soloman Show by a politician? Because I'm pretty sure Paul Dewar has to have set a new record. Honestly, that guy has earned my mute button. When I see him come on TV, I hit mute or change the channel. He's like the love child of Stewart Smalley and Chicken Little, and has arguably the most ridiculous looking hair in the House of Commons. It looks like he has a Chia Pet growing on his skull, groomed with bacon grease.


BC Liberals Vote On New Premier

Today the BC Liberals will be voting on a new leader, and I would strongly encourage anyone who is voting to vote for anybody but Christy Clark. While I am a federal Tory, I voted for the Liberal Party provincially in the last election despite calling Gordon Campbell the Sheriff of Nottingham. It was the none of the above election victory. But I will not vote for a party with Clark as its leader, even if that increases the probability of an NDP victory. Please, Abbot or Falcon, and I don't really care which one. Unless the BC Conservatives run a candidate in my riding in the next election, I am voting Green over Clark. That hurts my fingertips to even type; voting Green. But if I find myself in an election booth and my 3 choices are the NDP, a Clark led Liberal Party, or the Greens; that is not a difficult choice. The Clark name does have a bad history in BC's Premier's office. Christy is also too close to the BC rail controversy.

I can never vote NDP, especially in BC. I wish my licence plate said "je me souviens" and had a picture of the Pacificat Ferries. Ironically enough, during the 2009 BC election campaign in the first months of my blog, I worked a short assignment as a security guard patrolling the docks where two of the old Fast Cats rested in peace before they were sold to some rich Middle Eastern yacht company for pennies on the dollar.


Movie Of The Year?

With the Oscars coming soon, which nominee do you think was the best movie of the year? That is today's poll question. I have yet to see a single movie on this list, though I fully intend to rent the Fighter when it is released on video. There have been so many bad movies in the last 5 years that I don't rent nearly as many films as I used to and I very rarely go to the movie theatre anymore. The clips I've seen of Christian Bale in the Fighter are phenomenal. It is difficult to pick an Oscar favourite if you haven't seen any of the movies. This year I will be endorsing the Fighter, because I enjoyed its trailer above all other trailers.

How was Marky Mark not nominated for best actor? That being said, the biggest controversy might be why was the Expendables not nominated for a single award? Not one! This is a crime against humanity.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Invest In Canada

For those of you out there looking to invest some money for retirement, I am going to recommend buying Canadian. With our agricultural capacity and fuel production, the recent rise in food and oil prices will produce a boom for Canadian businesses (at least in those two sectors and those who service them). The probability of a sudden dramatic increase in world oil prices is steadily rising as revolution spreads across the Middle East. If I had disposable income to invest, I'd be buying equity in Canadian companies in the oil and food sectors. Global food prices are already very high, and more expensive oil will only drive up costs.

I'm sure Peter Mansbridge would be outraged that I am encouraging investment in Canada. The TSX has gained 4000 points since Stephen Harper earned Mansbridge's shocked outrage expression at the PM's recommendation to buy Canadian. My quasi-professional opinion is that economic conditions which can destabilize weaker economies globally will actually benefit Canada. Yes, it will suck at the gas pumps and grocery stores for consumers, but it will substantially increase our country's economic activity, revenues, and employment.

I want to vote for a party in BC that vows to scrap our carbon tax. Many people I know would also do the same. Gas prices are high enough and are only going to get higher. That sucks for me, but it makes more oil sands projects profitable in Alberta, which will make it easier to balance the federal budget. Add jobs and profit, and tax revenues go up. We should further reduce sales taxes to offset the costs to consumers. I'd like to eliminate the GST altogether. Didn't the Liberals stand for that once? Now they won't rule out a GST hike at a time when consumers are going to be punished for consuming.

Elections Canada Ignoring Our Courts

Isn't this convenient, "in and out-gate" is suddenly back in the news as Elections Canada has decided to charge 4 senior Tories despite the fact that this went to court and Elections Canada lost. Thumbing their noses at the court ruling, this supposedly unbiased institution won't let it go. Expect the CBC to go bonkers on this simultaneously, as Odagate simmers and the left needs a fresh dose of political catnip. I don't get how they can lose the court case and press charges anyway. Should someone be charged with a crime if the court clears them of any wrongdoing?

I still remember when they raided the Conservative election headquarters and they had the CBC reporters meet them at the scene of the raid. It was awfully considerate of them to notify the CBC ahead of time. I fully expect the Tories to win this court challenge just as they won the last one. Ultimately the average Canadian doesn't care if local candidates buy national advertising. What helps the national brand helps the local candidate. This is a non story, but it will give Soloman to rant about.

I thought we were done with in and out-gate when the Tories won the initial court challenge. Evidently Elections Canada wants to go forward regardless of what the courts decide. How much money do you think EC has spent on in and out-gate? That would be an interesting Access to Information request...

Graves Being Graves

When Liberal pollster Frank Graves reported that the Tories were nearing majority territory, the party responded very unusually to otherwise good news saying that some pollsters will publish very high numbers for the Tories only to make a deal when they return to normal. Sure enough, a week later Frank Graves was doing exactly that. Nanos and Ipsos confirmed last week that the Tories had reached a high water mark, but EKOS is the first to report a sudden drop and make a big deal about it through their friends in the media. Graves is always delighted when he reports a decline in Tory support; "it appears that the slumbering electorate have come unhinged. Major oscillations suggest people are paying attention."

And why does EKOS have the Green Party at almost 12% while Nanos consistently has them in the 5% range? I'm curious, because if these are supposed to be truly random samples, they should average out to roughly the same. But EKOS repeatedly overrates the Green Party. What is it about their method that produces this irregularity? Is it a dependence on internet polling? It suggests that their method is not truly random and thus not statistically valid.

It should also be noted that on the Globe's politics page, they have a piece titled "Tory lead shrinks in face of Bev Oda furor" and another "Bev Oda affair fails to catch fire with voters". Shouldn't those be mutually exclusive? Harris Decima found that half the country "had heard nothing about the document-altering scandal", and yet we are supposed to believe that this "furor" is dragging down the Tories? This was headline news for a week and half the country knows nothing about it? My own site traffic has increased 30% in the last week, so there is something afoot. In a recent poll, 80% of my visitors voted that Bev Oda should NOT resign.

Harper Akbar!!!

Bob Rae, what a class act. While Liberals scream bloody murder over "Ignatieff is back in Canada" commercials, decrying the incivility of it all; now sure enough here comes Rae to claim that Stephen Harper is trying to subvert our democracy by appointing a bunch of "25 year old Jihadists" to government jobs. Julian Fantino compared the Liberal media strategy with Joseph Goebbels, and the Libs were furious. It's not as though he compared the "young Liberals" to the Hitler youth, but still the sanctimonious "how dare you" was echoed in the media.

Now we have Bob Rae comparing government workers to nutjobs who strap explosives to children with the aim of blowing up buses and discos. That's classy Bobby. What about Blogging Tories, are we Jihadis too? While I do not consider myself to part of a holy war, I do think Stephen Harper is great. Harper Akbar! Harper Akbar! Harper Akbar!

There, are you happy now?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tories Borrowing NDP Ideas?

After watching a great interview with Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq on Power Play about the latest Tory health initiative to provide more doctors to rural Canadians, I couldn't help but notice the NDP claiming credit. Evidently this was one of Jack Layton's budget demands when he met with Stephen Harper last week, except that Jack demanded substantially more than the $40 million dollars pledged. Leona said that this initiative had been planned prior to the Layton-Harper meet and greet, though I'm sure that won't stop the media talking heads from speculating that the Tories are stealing NDP ideas.

Shouldn't the NDP be happy that something they support will be in the budget? I don't understand why they are saber rattling on this issue, but then again, a lot of what the NDP complains about doesn't make much sense...

Majority Of Canadians Agree With Increased Prison Spending/Capacity?

When the Liberal Party decided to attack the Tory plan to spend more money to expand our prison capacity, did they take the time to do any polling on the matter? If they did, it would appear that they only polled their own caucus, rather than a random sample of Canadians. A new poll finds that 57% of Canadians find this initiative to be worthwhile. This article was one of the most popular at the National Post on Wednesday, but I can't find any mention of the poll at the Globe and Mail's politics page. I suppose it doesn't fit Jane Taber's agenda, and the paper brags that clown sets their agenda. When we find out that the majority of the country support a Tory initiative that the Libs are attacking, shouldn't that be news Jane? They have links to 3 different Bev Oda articles, but at least they have fallen to the bottom of the page. (disclaimer: this will be posted at 1pm, but was written at 2am after getting home from work, just incase the Globe Posts a story on this subject while I am sleeping.)

We are seeing part of why the Tories have been doing so well in the polls. The Liberals are out of touch with Canadian priorities, which makes sense considering Iggy is still busy learning how to be a Canadian. He has to make up for 30 lost years, and is struggling.

PS: I should apologize to real clowns for comparing  them to Taber. What they do is much more dignified, and they wear much less make-up on TV...

Evacuating Canadians Abroad

If you happen to be a Canadian living anywhere in the world, evidently you should expect to be immediately air lifted out of Dodge if any kind of violence breaks out. A warning to any Canadian currently residing in any Middle Eastern country with a non-democratic dictatorship, you should consider returning to Canada right now. We are an economic superstar and if you don't want to be caught in a revolution, the Middle East is not the place for you at this turning point in history. Be it Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc, by choosing to live there you are putting yourself at risk.

While I am not without sympathy for Canadians caught in the fledgling civil war in Libya, maybe you should have considered coming home when revolution broke out on both sides of you in Tunisia and Egypt? Plus, we always knew Gaddafi was nuts, so this risk should have been considered as a possibility to anyone living in the region. The Tories seem to be taking flak now that they have not evacuated Canadians from Libya fast enough, but aside from sending a plane to the Tripoli airport, what exactly does the opposition expect our government to do? Should we send in our military or DART to search for and evacuate every last person holding a Canadian passport in a war zone? Does Paul Dewar want us to invade Libya?

We can't just send a civilian team into an area where mercenaries are allegedly driving around killing people at random. A plane at the Tripoli airport is about as good as you can possibly expect. Any unit we would send into this scenario would have to be armed, ergo it would have to be a military unit of some sort. How do you think a filthy rich madman like Moomar would respond to us airdropping a team of paratroopers into his civil war? I'm guessing they would not be well received. I hope that Canadians make it out, but don't expect more than the Canadian government can possibly logistically provide.

Ignatieff Losing To "None Of The Above"

In the latest round of Nanos polling that asked who would be the best Prime Minister, not only did Iggy place behind Stephen Harper and Jack Layton, he also lost to "none of the above"! I strongly recommend listening to the Charles Adler Show from Feb 22, part 1 (visit the website and scroll down the audio links on the right hand side to Feb 22 pt 1). Adler asked Nanos is he had ever seen someone polling behind "none of the above" actually win an election, and the answer was a strong no. If anyone falls to 13.6% on the best prime minister poll behind none of the above, that candidate's probability of winning an elections is virtually zero.

Mike "None of the above" Ignatieff. I like the sound of that.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Canada An "Economic Superstar"

As the opposition spins its wheels to keep Odagate near the top of the news cycle ahead of a potential spring election, the greater headline is that Canada has been rated as an economic superstar. 2/3 of Canadians feel good about our economy during troubling economic times. Scott Brison would say that the Liberal party deserves credit for Canada's success, even though they have been out of power with very little influence for the last 5 years.

Have you noticed that the opposition has shifted their attacks away from fiscal responsibility to "government secrecy" instead? I'm sure it is just a coincidence that John Ibbitson ranted in the Globe that the government was most vulnerable on "secrecy" mere days before the explosion of Odagate. The Libs knew about this story before it became the dominant story just over one week ago.

Underpaid Lawyers?

Today's poll question; do you think lawyers are underpaid? On my list of news stories that I never thought I'd see, underpaid lawyers striking for more money. It certainly seems like an oxymoron, but prosecutors in Quebec have taken to the streets demanding better pay and working conditions. I suppose this makes sense, given that the world already has way too many lawyers; supply and demand dictates that if you have too much supply, market values decline. You could go out into the streets and ask people if the world has too many lawyers, and you would very likely get an overwhelming yes.

My position on these striking lawyers is the same as my opinion on all civil service employees. Pay them the wage that is prevailing in the free market for the service they provide. If private sector gets paid more, then these lawyers are free to take new jobs in the private sector, forcing the government to increase the wage to the market rate. If the market wage is declining because of over-supply, then fire all these lawyers and hire new ones at a cheaper price.

I do support paying Crown prosecutors more than garbage collectors, and that we would want to pay a small premium to attract quality lawyers. We don't want all of the best and brightest to be defending criminals and suing people. We should pay for more than the "average lawyer", but less than the ambulance chasers.

Ignatieff And The Bulldozer, His Dukakis Moment?

On the list of all-time bad ideas, putting Mike Ignatieff at the controls of heavy machinery. If the guy is so excited for photo-ops where he is doing other people's jobs, why not try driving a tank? It sure worked wonders for Mike Dukakis. Iggy likes putting on the working man's uniform and trying to do their job for the cameras. In politics, this strategy doesn't always work. Already this year we saw Iggy make an ass of himself in his "Howard Dean moment", and now most recently his "Mike Dukakis moment". Really, has Iggy ever put in a hard day of work in his life?

Keep it up man. I am 100% in favour of as many Ignatieff photo-ops and tour stops as possible. He's doing more damage to the Liberal Party than Stephane Dion! I never would have thought that possible.






Jane Taber "Scrambles To Keep Bev Oda On The Radar"

This is insane. As parliament is in recess this week, Jane Taber at the Globe and Mail is doing her very best to try and keep Odagate on the Globe's main politics page. Instead of breaking new information, her story is about how this is a story and that the opposition wants it to continue to make headlines. But hey, at least they found a picture of Oda where she was not wearing the protective sunglasses prescribed to her after eye surgery, so I guess there is a silver lining.

"The House isn’t sitting this week but that doesn’t mean Bev Oda is off the hook.

Michael Ignatieff’s Liberals are planning to keep the story alive with press conferences in Ottawa over the next few days to emphasize what they see as the Harper government’s culture of secrecy and deceit."
Stay classy guys. Bev Oda did nothing wrong. The opposition is over-doing their tired old crying wolf campaign about "government secrecy", because they certainly can't attack the government on Canada's economic performance (which has been one of the best in the world through this recovery). It will be interesting to see how the opposition and their friends try to keep this non-controversy in the news cycle for the rest of the week. I expect Soloman to talk about it every day.

Please read this Liberal blog "Dear News Media we need to talk".

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

BC's 1 Week Per Year Legislature

British Columbia's legislature has been empty for well over 200 days, now coming back for a week before going back into recess. It is ridiculous that these MLA's get paid a full salary to spend virtually no time doing what they were elected to do. The left jumped on Stephen Harper for proroguing federal parliament by a month, but could you imagine the outrage if he cancelled entire sittings of the legislature? Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell has done that more than once. Next to the carbon tax, it is his one policy that I disagree with the most, these long extended absences of the legislature.

And can I just say to anyone voting in the upcoming leadership race to replace Gordon, please anybody but Christy. I'd rather vote Green than vote for Christy. I reluctantly voted Liberal in 2009. Gord was the lesser of two evils. But if it is Christy Clark, I'm moving to a riding where the BC Conservative Party is running a candidate. They did not run a candidate in my riding last time. It was Liberal, NDP, or Green. I would have been better off just urinating on my ballot...

Ignatieff-Obama Not Invited To Royal Wedding

The Prime Minister of Canada has been invited to attend the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton on April 29th, and left off the guest list are Barak Obama and the leader of Canada's so called "natural governing party" (meanwhile the King of Bahrain has been invited). One has to wonder if Iggy, who spent so much of his adult life living in England, is a little jealous. Maybe that's why he's so keen on forcing an election in March, in a vain attempt to win an invitation as Canada's PM? I expect attending the royal wedding would be a higher priority to Iggy Pop than actually governing the country. He's in this for his own personal glory, for the parties, for the attention. A royal wedding is a perfect vehicle for Iggy's vanity. He thrives in an elitist environment.

Canadian Middle East Democracy Policy

Today's poll question; what should be Canada's policy on the current and future democratic revolutions in the Middle East? Do we vocally encourage them or even actively assist them? Do we stay out of it? There is an inherent instability to revolutions with uncertain outcomes, and we are right to fear what happens if the whole region erupts in civil disobedience leading to a sudden catastrophic decline in the global crude oil supply. And yet as I look at the map, there is not a Middle Eastern dictator that I would not feel satisfied by their ouster from power (except King Abdullah in Jordan; he is not only my favourite in the Arab world, he's my only favourite. I would rank King Hussein as the best all-time).

So what should be Canada's official policy on current and future democratic revolts in the Middle East? Thus far I think the Prime Minister has said exactly what he should have. These revolts cannot end in the status quo. As a wise philosopher once said; "you can't put the toothpaste back into the tube"...

I am a non-religious person who strongly supports the right of Israel to exist (I am a student of History, it was my minor at University). Now is a really good time to have Benjamin Netanyahu at the steering wheel. Olmert was a dud, so was Livni.

Stay Frosty Jack

I know how badly the NDP would like to avoid an election, but the Prime Minister has now said that he won't negotiate with socialists; though he will invite them to his office for 40 minutes to hear their demands. After listening to Jack Layton outline what he needed to support the budget, the PM announced that they will release the best possible budget for the country and no longer compromise matters with pork barrel spending just to stay in power. CTV's Barney Fife said after the Layton-Harper meeting that the Prime Minister was likely to take the deal in order to stay in power because he likes power.

At this point in time the PM will do what's best for the country in the budget and dare the opposition to vote against it. After seeing the most recent rounds of byelections, the NDP have to be scared shitless, and if they aren't, they bloody well should be. They might just accept a budget that does not contain any of their suggestions. I know the NDP is running around declaring candidates, and we know that they have a green screen and a webcam in their campaign headquarters just incase...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Who Would Make The Best Prime Minister? Iggy Scores 13.6%

In a recent poll by Nanos, when Canadians were asked who would make the best Prime Minister, Iggy scored a miserable 13.6%. Stephane Dion was popular by comparison. All that money spent on those country tours, all that crying wolf over faux controversies, and what has that delivered for the Liberal leader? Not much. In fact, it seems to have hurt. Better to keep Ignatieff indoors, away from ordinary Canadians and TV cameras, because he has been doing himself more harm than good.

Nanos has the Tories at nearly 40%, but admits that his poll did not include much if any of the Odagate time frame. The polls can't get much higher than this. I fully expect at least a 4% retraction in the next round of post Oda polling, but that these numbers will eventually recover. The left basically ran a blitzkrieg that should have short term gain without long term legs. There is no way Peter Miliken can rule her in contempt.

Quebec City Oilers

Gary Bettman has now said that the NHL cannot survive in Edmonton unless they build a new arena in the next 5 years. Forget the fact that they sellout every game, the NHL commissioner is now casually threatening to move the storied franchise. What other cities are building new stadiums? How bitterly ironic would it be if the Edmonton Oilers moved into the new arena in Quebec City? Though I suspect they'd change the team name. Alberta oil is not very popular in la belle province. They could call the team the Quebec Green Crusaders.

I would support a small, modestest investment by the federal government to help save the Oilers by building a new barn. I supported the feds helping to build the rink in QC not because I wanted to pander to francophone voters, but because I love hockey and recognize the value of these franchises to our economy and more so our culture. Don't worry Winnipeg, the Phoenix franchise is dying. You'll get your Jets back. First Gary Bettman must be fired. I want to start a petition.

Demanding Oda's Resignation

Sunday on CTV's Question Period, Jane Taber cited a poll that said 58% of Canadians want Bev Oda to resign. She did not provide any other details about this poll, and I've been doing google searches trying to find it because I would like to know the details. When did they do this polling, who did this polling, and was there an online component? The Globe and Mail is now running their own poll "should Bev Oda fall on her sword", really civil language from our nation's largest newspaper. Click here to register your vote.

Polls show that roughly 15% of the country is even paying attention to politics right now, but suddenly in the 1st week of an exaggerated controversy, Taber says 58% of Canadians want her to resign. Boy that sure was fast. Can somebody help me find the poll that Taber cited Sunday? Also, could her and Oliver not joke about how Bev Oda will not appear on their program. She's recovering from eye surgery. I'm sure the last thing on her mind is joining Taber under the bright lights of a studio show. The Globe and Mail has had a picture of Bev Oda wearing the protective sunglasses posted on their main politics webpage for days (where Jane Taber "sets the agenda"). Maximizing effect by drawing extra attention to the vision impaired, that's not what we would call integrity.

Stay classy Jane...

Taxing Drivers Off The Roads

There is now a movement afoot in Vancouver to put toll booths on more bridges and major driving routes. The objective is to tax drivers into driving less, like we don't already pay enough in gas taxes (and in BC a carbon tax). Today's poll question; do you think we need more tolls on Canadian roads and bridges. I think this is crazy, where people like Andrew Coyne want to force low income people off the roads so he can make it home a few minutes faster.

I spend 1.5 hours commuting every day to and from work, where I make $12 an hour. I'm already living paycheque to paycheque unable to pay down the principal on my student loans. I can barely make the interest payments. Taking public transit would double my commute time, and not really save me any money. The cost of living in Vancouver is already insane, and some doorknob wants to add $50 a month to my monthly budget of getting to and from work so he can get home ten minutes faster? If the provincial government wants to make this policy, good luck.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Gaddafi Crackdown

As revolution spreads across the Arab world, General Muamar Gaddafi displays the most effective way to suppress a revolt if you are a dictator who wants to retain power in the region; open fire. Protests spread to Libya, and the response has been helicopter gunships and sniper fire. Where the Egyptian army refused to open fire on protesters, the Libyan military evidently is more loyal to the boss. I would be shocked if Gaddafi relinquishes power as Mubarak did. The only way that's possible is if the military refuses to execute orders, and thus far it appears the Libyan army is following orders.

I would love to see that tyrant removed from power. He is an evil man and the world would be a better place with him having no influence over any human being. Gaddafi has got to go. By the way, Barak Obama seems unusually conflicted about what's been going on lately.

The Bev Oda Pile On

As more people find out more facts about the latest opposition attack of another Conservative woman, the more this faux controversy will simmer. I feel as though some people were too quick to pile on, before they had actually learned the rest of the story. The more we learn, the less outrageous the alleged offense becomes. Bev Oda did not do anything wrong, and if you don't agree with me, read this Liberal blog, which presents the most detailed and precise analysis of this so called controversy.

If the Prime Minister expels her from cabinet and we confirm that she did nothing wrong, expect the Liberal party to rally around Bev Oda calling her a victim of Harper's misogyny. It is the same thing that they did with Helena Guergis. Hows about we find out all the facts before you summarily demand her resignation on the first day of the crisis? The Liberals have been sitting on this for months, waiting for the most opportunistic time for a drive by smear. And in the immediate aftermath, some voices on the right took the bait, swinging at what they saw as the low hanging fruit.

Some of you are going to end up owing Bev Oda an apology.

Will Christy Clark Even Run If She Losses Leadership Race?

In the race to replace Gordon Campbell as BC's Liberal Premier, leadership contender Christy Clark isn't sure she'll run for BC Parliament if she loses the leadership race. In the only debates of this campaign, Kevin Falcon nailed her with the question of will you still run for office if you lose the leadership, and Christy stumbled and said she doesn't know and would have to do what's best for her family. Okay, so it is only good for her family if she is Premier, not a plain simple member of Parliament? If you have a leadership candidate who will only run for office if they win leadership, then you have to ditch that candidate. That's not someone who is in the race for the right reasons.

I am supporting George Abbot, but really would be content with anybody but Christy. That was a brilliant strategic question by Kevin Falcon in the debates. I think it tripped her up because she does not intend to run in the event of a loss. I mean, if you are getting back into politics, it can't only be as Premier. Even Ignatieff ran for office after losing to Dion. And I never liked her radio show. I remember being pissed off when she took Charles Adler's afternoon time slot, bumping the boss of talk to pre-recorded nights.

Would Iggy Fund Kairos?

Question: if the Liberals form a government after the next election (be it by coalition coup or less likely outright victory), would the new government fund Kairos, and if so, for how much? Listening to Ignatieff speak on the matter, he certainly seems to support this organizations which actively campaigns to shut down the Alberta oil sands. Good luck balancing the budget without Albertan oil revenue. Perhaps somebody can ask the Igster if he will fund Kairos if he becomes Prime Minister; next time he does one of those Open Mike bits (which clearly have not benefited him in the polls).

In the last two years how many "cross country tours" has Iggy done? 5? His personal approval numbers are smaller than they were two years ago. What does that tell you?

For the most concise and detailed breakdown of Oda-gate I have seen thus far, click here.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

CIDA: Belligerent Bureaucrats?

I would like to know more about the bureaucrats at the Canadian International Development Agency. Greg Weston recently said on the Soloman Show “Good for us potentially, because, I think, I’m hearing more and more from the senior public service saying ‘enough’. And if they turn against the Harper Government there is no more ferocious enemy because they have all the brown envelopes.” (to watch click here and go to the 18:45 mark) Has Bev Oda been presiding over a belligerent bureaucracy? Personally I think Stockwell Day should be put in charge of that portfolio for a few months and shake things up.

I listened to an interview earlier in the week on CBC radio with someone important over at CIDA. She was quite livid at what she believed was a criminal offense. She described Kairos like it was Mother Teressa and insisted that Canadian tax payers should be funding them. After listening to the interview, I found myself questioning  if we should even be funding CIDA, let alone Kairos. CIDA has an annual budget of $3.2 billion dollars.

I'm considering making an Access to Information request to CIDA. Any suggestions as to the information I should be seeking? Funding requests that never made it to the Minister's desk might be a good place to start.

Update: Check out this Liberal blog for a fantastic breakdown of the timeline of this latest controversy.

Paul Dewar

Having followed the "Bec Oda saga" this week, I have seen enough Paul Dewar to last me a lifetime. Has he now become the NDP's official voice for moral outrage? He had to set a personal best for time on Canadian televisions this week. I don't know if he has been guest co-hosting the Soloman Show or just hanging out a lot at TV networks. He gets my mute button. There are opposition members that I enjoy watching, but I'm out on Paul Dewar. I'll still listen to Jack Layton, but I can no longer endure Dewar, Mulcair, Martin, Davies, and among others. The Liberals don't send John MacCallum out to do the politics shows as much as they used to. Wonder why?

I called for Helena Guergis' resignation before the PM actually removed her from caucus. Not this time. I support Bev Oda and don't believe she did anything wrong, other than a staffer making a clerical error. The question that I'd like to have answered but likely never will, is when did the Liberal Party first learn of this allegedly controversial memo?

Do You Tweet?

Today's poll question; do you use Twitter? I have asked this question before, and last time it was well under 20%. That was over one year ago and Twitter seems to have risen in popularity in politics and pop culture. Lady Gaga can tweet one Youtube clip and turn a Winnipeg girl into an overnight celebrity. The kid posts a clip of her singing a Lady Gaga song, and the next day a limo is picking her up from school.

I use Twitter for website content, where I collect short thoughts and respond to other people's tweets (which is then posted on my blog). I have 900 career tweets and currently sit at 84 Twitter followers. So I get a new follower for just over ever 10 tweets. Tony Clement has 2,678 tweets and 11,502 followers, so he gets roughly 4 new followers for each tweet. I'm not jealous, he has a higher profile, ran for leader of the Conservative Party, and is on TV on a regular basis. Stephen Taylor has over 8,000 tweets and just under 11,000 followers. Tony has a better slugging percentage.

One thing that a lot of people do is follow as many people as possible, because if you follow someone they are more likely to follow you. Tony Clement follows over 10,000 people (including @pragmatictory). I follow 35. I try to keep my list short because I don't want to flood my Twitter page. People who Tweet way too much bother me, even if I like their opinion. I don't like to log in, and just see one person with 30 tweets in the last hour, drowning out everyone else. There are at least 15 people that I used to follow but stopped following for no other reason than they tweeted way too much.

Jack Layton Visits Prime Minister's Office

In yet another twist in the never ending road of minority government election speculation, NDP leader Jack Layton had a visit with Stephen Harper in the Prime Minister's Office on Friday. According to CTV, Layton laid out a rather passive list of demands, and will not make their support of the budget contingent on repealing already approved corporate tax cuts. Craig Oliver seems to think that this diminishes the probability of a spring election, and he might be right. He concluded by saying that if Harper wants his government to stay in power it won't cost him much, and that people in Ottawa are joking that Jack Layton has become "a cheap date".

The business of predicting election timing is tricky at best. The Liberals would love to see the NDP prop up the government so they can attack the Dipper right flank with accusations of enabling Harper's grip on power (just as the NDP did when the Liberals approved previous confidence motions). Personally, I'm at the point where I would like to see a new election. We haven't had a fresh mandate since we found out that the left would like to a form a coalition if necessary.

The NDP has been trying really hard to sell people on their election readiness, but that might have been all for show; because at the end of the day, Jack Layton might prove to be nothing more than a cheap date...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Spring Election Back On?

If all the political parties are running around the country trying to get all their candidates declared and selected before a budget vote, what does that tell you about the probability of an election? The Pundit's Guide blogger has been feverishly writing about new candidates being declared all over the country, one of the busiest being the NDP. Tommy Muclair just announced 5 new candidates in Montreal. Brian Topp, the co-architect of Jack Layton's coalition coup attempt in 2008, is now predicting that there will be a spring election.

I thought that the NDP had gotten cold feet before I downgraded my "Imminent Election Probability Meter" from red to dark yellow, but if the Dippers are rushing to name candidates and one of their insiders is declaring an election imminent, does that mean an election is coming soon? Should I change my election meter to orange? Has Iggy finished appointing all his candidates? Will he let the riding associations vote, or just appoint whichever he personally favours?

Pablo Rodriguez Must Resign!

I am calling for Liberal MP Pablo Rodriguez to resign immediately for misleading a Breathalyzer after driving his drunk ass into a traffic accident. Of all the mistakes, misdeeds, crimes, and misdemeanors that elected officials can possibly commit; I have Pablo's refusing to blow into the Breathalyzer (after the police showed up on the scene of the traffic accident where he admitted that he had been drinking) at the top of my list of resignation worthy offenses. I'm wondering if Scott Brison was found by Miliken to be in contempt after tipping a friend at a major bank as to the contents of the budget prior to its release? Will Ruby Dhalla resign for mistreatment of a foreign worker?

Despite this transgression, Scott continues to sit in Ignatieff's shadow cabinet. Pablo is still an MP. Why won't these ministers resign?

I'm just saying...

"Foreign Hackers" vs "Government Secrecy"

In a tale of two Canadian political shows, Don Martin and Evan Soloman decided to lead their programs with different stories on Thursday. Don led with the major story that China had allegedly hacked the Canadian Finance Department computers, while Evan led with the headline "GOVERNMENT SECRECY". Good ole E-Solo was in full throttle sanctimonious mode. Granted, I had to leave and did not stick around for the whole show so I can really only comment on the first 5 minutes before I changed the channel. Sadly I no longer have the ability to stomach a full two hours of Soloman. By the way, how ridiculous is it that they give this guy two whole hours every week day? The late great Don Newman only got an hour. Do any single host political television shows in North America get two hours? It is way too much of a bad thing.

That transition between Newman and Soloman still leaves me scratching my head. Change the name of the show from "Politics" to "Power and Politics" and give the kid double the air time. What?

Ignatieff Must Resign!

The leader of the Liberal Party has been misleading the Canadian people and must resign immediately. I am calling for the creation of an online petition demanding Iggy's resignation. At the very least, can we get a Facebook group? He misleads Canadians, cannot be trusted, and his secretive hidden agenda would be an epic disaster for Canada. This man has got to go! I want every document that this man has ever signed or initialled to be forensically analyzed for any clerical errors. In the event of even a single clerical error among thousands of documents, CALL THE POLICE!

I'd like someone to start a petition that I can promote on my blog. Also, can one of you who is predisposed to making Youtube montages make a highlight reel of Liberal fury in the House of Commons when they attack female Conservative cabinet ministers? Because they turn it up to a whole new level when they are attacking a Conservative woman.

Also, if you can't appreciate sarcasm, this website probably isn't for you...

Come on, can I get a montage?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tories Riding High In Polls

Polling results can very often be cyclical, but it would appear that multiple polls now confirm the Tories with a significant lead. Perhaps the Liberals need to increase their advertising budget, but right now public opinion is not on their side. They were in full assault mode from the moment that this Kairos-Oda "not" story hit the news, suggesting that this was in part a co-ordinated pre-planned effort. The alleged transgression took place in 2009. Interesting that this is the big story at this specific moment in time. The timeline interests me.

How often do these over-exaggerations actually shift polling trends? Right now the Tories are bordering on majority territory. I can't say that I can predict if any of the 15%-30% who are paying attention might actually defect from the Tories if at all over this clown show. Based on my own traffic I suspect that more people are paying attention, but I can't make any statistical conclusion as of yet.

Bev Needs A Cigarette

It really highlights how insane this story has become that suddenly Bev Oda smoking a cigarette outside parliament was treated as a big "gotcha" moment on Wednesday. If I had to sit through Question Period and listen to what the opposition members were screaming, I'd need a smoke too. She's Canadian, and she is not the Minister of Health. Maybe if any good comes from this ordeal, it will be a Tory increase among smoking voters?

And by the way, if you are wondering about her giant welder's glasses, she recently had eye surgery. This photograph makes me feel sympathy for Bev Oda.

Parliamentary Civility Great While It Lasted

The Liberals in Question Period this week have been eerily similar to a pack of rabid dogs. It would appear that our new era of Parliamentary civility has come to an end, just a few weeks after Obama's civility in politics speech. Too bad Martha Hall Findlay, weren't you demanding civility in politics not so long ago when the Tories launched a marketing campaign after Liberals vowed to force an election? Now we get the Prime Minister standing up to announce a royal visit, and the Liberals go bananas within seconds. Any Tory who stands up to talk about anything faces a volley of cat calls and outlandish screams before they can finish a sentence.

Minority parliament in Canada is unstable at the best of times. I think we need a new mandate. I would love to see the opposition collapse the government on the Oda matter. Good luck with that one guys.

Bev Oda Getting "Guergisized"

I have been watching this hatchet job the opposition is trying to perform on Bev Oda, and I've seen this movie this before. Back when the Toronto Star published their "busty hookers" story, the Libs responded viciously in the House of Commons with Marlene Jennings even going so far as to call Helena Guergis a drug trafficker. They demanded her resignation, the PM removed her from caucus, and when the police cleared her name the Liberals were incensed that she had been removed from caucus. I'm pretty sure that Marlene Jennings never apologized for her statements in Question Period.

Now here we are and Bev Oda is the victim of the same twisted Blitzkrieg. You had an inflated over reaction by the opposition before we learned all the facts in this case, and the more we found out, the less egregious the alleged "offense" became. She didn't personally forge any documents as alleged because she wasn't in the country when it happened. She simply ordered that the funding be denied, which is within her discretion as minister, and the staffer neglected to initial and date "not". There was no crime here committed by the minister, and a clerical error does not mean she was trying to misrepresent the bureaucrats who made the recommendation.

In her testimony before committee, she never denied that it was her decision to deny the funding. She was asked by a member of the opposition who actually wrote "not" and she said that she did not immediately know the answer to that question. Isn't it possible that she didn't know in that moment, and had to go back to her office to look it up? How many documents has Bev Oda signed (or had signed on her behalf by electric pen) since taking this office two years ago? 1000? If you are sitting in a witness box, you might not immediately recall every detail of every single decision that you've made, especially when there have been hundreds, even thousands of them.

At no point did she attempt to imply that CIDA was the one who did "not" want to fund Kairos. The problem is that the letter itself which was written without her permission would have functioned basically as a cheque to get the money. The government did not support this initiative. She'd have been better off to just stick in the paper shredder, which also would have been her right as minister.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Unstoppable

I have watched a lot of bad movies in the last two years. There are a number that I would not even watch until the end despite paying money for the privilege. That being said, I rented Unstoppable with Denzel and the new Captain Kirk, and I very much enjoyed the film. If you are looking for something to do in the evening in the near future, Unstoppable is worth watching. Chris Pine has a future, though I would still rank him talent wise behind Christian Bale.

My late grandfather was a train engineer/conductor, and as a youngster I had the opportunity to ride with him once in the lead car. Perhaps based on these childhood memories I am more inclined to enjoy this movie than others. Take that for what it's worth, but I still think you'll like the film.

The Canadian Flag

For as many warm and fuzzy memories this sports fan has of the Canadian flag in international competition, after getting into a debate with a Toronto Maple Leafs fan yesterday about the latest Sportsnet Leaf games marketing campaign, I am having second thoughts. Lester B. Pearson was the Prime Minister at the time our flag was designed and unveiled; Lester was a Liberal from Toronto who decided on a red flag (Liberal colours) with a maple leaf (logo of Toronto's #1 team) in the middle. So what if Diefenbaker had been Prime Minister when our country decided we needed our own flag, and it was Tory blue with a Saskatchewan Roughriders logo? How do you think the left would have responded? What if it were Pierre Trudeau and a Montreal Canadiens "C" in the middle?

I'm not saying that we should change our flag because we are accustomed to it now, I just wish I had a hot tub time machine and that 1965 had a blogosphere, because it isn't right making the flag the logo of one city's top sports franchise. I get that we have a lot of maple trees, delicious maple syrup, I'm just saying that we had a Toronto Liberal who chose a red maple leaf. Now the Leafs are running promos for the hockey games that is interchanging the Canadian flag with a Toronto Maple Leafs flag and declaring themselves Canada's team. It is as though MLSE is trying to brainwash young sports fans in other cities into associating their logo with the patriotism of our national success.

We'll keep the flag the way it is, but I wanted to complain...

Vancouver Earthquakes

While it was not enough to wake me from my sleep in my basement apartment, there was a minor earthquake yesterday morning in Vancouver. According to the geologist, it would have felt like a big truck was driving past your house. This is the second magnitude 3 or less quake that has shaken the area in the last week, leading to speculation that there could be a larger earthquake in the not so distant future. I believe she said a 10-20% chance of a big one in the next 50 years, which is significant on the geological scale.

I know that I have some readers in BC. Did anyone else feel any tremors? I was sleeping and did not wake up. The last one was at around 6:45am Tuesday. I know that Vancouver has been planning for a major earthquake for a generation or two, and many buildings are earthquake proof. As a resident I am concerned that a large quake could produce a substantial mess, even if our engineering ingenuity softens the blow.

I remember at the job orientation at GM Place, they told us that it was the safest structure in the city to be in a major earthquake. The hockey arena was built to be earthquake proof, as though it is intended to be used as a crisis center in a catastrophic event. It makes sense to build a venue in an earthquake zone that would remain completely safe if the ground shook during a live event. They built it not long after that earthquake during the world series in Oakland California. Cali is right on our southern border, isn't it?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ads Too Loud?

There has been something that has been bothering me for years but I never thought would become a political issue. It is the practice of TV broadcasters cranking up the volume when their shows go to commercial, which can be very aggravating to people with sensitive hearing. Congrats to Conservative MP Nina Grewall's private members bill to force broadcasters to air commercials at the same decibel level as their regular programming. I only hope that this law, if passed, also applies to podcasts because some ESPN promos blow up my ear drums.

I am thankful for private members bills, too bad Iggy doesn't care to show up and vote on them.

Much Oda About Nothing

Today's poll question; do you support the federal government giving $7 million dollars of aid to Kairos? After turning on my TV today, it certainly seems as though the sky is falling because the government decided to deny funding. The NDP wants Bev Oda to be investigated by the RCMP! I would certainly concede that inserting the word "not" into a memo is "not" the smartest way to enact policy; yet I support the decision and believe that the government should have the power to make that kind of decision. It is hard for me to be critical of Bev Oda for enacting a policy that I support and that I believe cabinet should have the authority to do.

Next time, write a new memo saying that you are denying funding instead of changing the previous memo. Do I think Bev Oda belongs in jail? That's ridiculous. It's funny when you stumble on to the opposition reaction to a story before you even know what the story is; and you realize it is the same Chicken Little routine you've seen repeat itself so many times before in so many absurd situations. Yes, this is the end of our democracy and the Prime Minister can't be trusted, somebody call the police! I've heard that broken record before.

I don't know why I can't stop laughing...oh right, I just watched Iggy pop off in Question Period...

"When elections loom, Liberal support collapses"

John Ivison brought up a great point in his most recent piece in the National Post, that whenever the Liberals decide to start moving towards an election, their support collapses. It happened in 2009 after Iggy's infamous "Stephen Harper, your time is up" press conference; and appears to be happening again in 2011 with the Liberals declaring Canadians election ready and pledging to vote against the budget. First EKOS declared the Tories with a 12% lead, and now Ipsos has them with a 14% lead.

This does vindicate the EKOS results, and shows that the Tories might have been too quick with their "don't get too excited about these results" memo. It would appear that EKOS is more accurate than Conservative "internal polling". Personally I think this internal memo that was pounced on by Jane Taber had more to do with Graves excited punditry when the Tories decline in the polls than it was about disputing the results. Never the less, it is encouraging news for partisan Conservatives that more Canadians are again shifting away from the Liberals.

It is very bad news for the Liberal Party that their support collapses every time they seek an election. I don't blame the Tories for sending out orders to curb enthusiasm for a Graves poll, but the bigger story is that the Liberals are bleeding support when they need it the most.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Frank Graves Accuses Tories of "Byzantine Scheme"

Frank Graves seems to think he's under attack by the Tories because he released a poll that was not consistent with the Tories own internal polling and Frankenstein isn't happy. I'll admit that it is rare for a political party to come out and disagree with a poll that shows them with a substantial lead in majority territory, but nothing in the Conservative statement actually accused Graves of doctoring his results. What they said was “In the past pollsters have sometimes reported support for our Party that is unusually high relative to the prevailing data, only to have the anomaly corrected in a subsequent poll, giving the artificial impression of negative momentum”.

I don't think that EKOS manipulates its results, but I do question the randomness of their poll solicitation methods. While EKOS does have a tendency to produce outliers, their most consistent overvaluation is of support for the Green Party. The CBC pays Graves to produce weekly polling, and I'd like to know more about how they collect votes. Does every Canadian have an equal probability of getting a phone call from EKOS? Do they rely on voluntary internet polling? Nanos has the Green Party consistently at about 30% less support than EKOS does. What is the reason for that systemic difference between Nanos and EKOS? It has to be in the method. So what's different about their method? From Sept 1st 2008 to Nov 2008 EKOS averaged the Green Party at 10.8%. Nanos averaged them at 7.7%. In the October 2008 election, the Greens scored 6.8% of the popular vote.

Where I most often find myself disagreeing with Graves is not necessarily his numbers, but his analysis of his own data on Canadian political news shows. Anytime he reports a drop in Conservative support on the Soloman Show, his face lights up like a Christmas tree of excitement. I disagree with his punditry more than his actual numbers, so frankly I don't have a problem with the Tories sending out an internal memo telling their people to curb their enthusiasm. They didn't say this in a press release, they circulated an internal memo which was pounced on by Taber and friends in the media. This is the guy who advised the Liberals to start a culture war against old men in Alberta. He is as much a pundit as a pollster, and there is nothing wrong with disagreeing with a pundit.

I could run a poll on my website that asks which party you will vote for, and the Tories will score 90%. Does that mean that the Tories will win 90% support in the next election? No, it means that the people contributing to my polls is not a random sample of the Canadian population.

Advertising Betwen Elections

Okay, so Rick Mercer seems a little choked up that the Tories can afford to buy advertising between elections, and on prime time television no less. I suppose that begs the question, should we allow political advertising in a non-election period? Is it unfair that the Conservative donor base continues to donate money to the party while the Liberal base dwindles? Personally I don't care and have never cared about the timing of political ads. While I don't watch the CBC as much as I used to, I can say that hundreds of ads have been purchased on CTV newsworld. These ads are helping pay the salaries of Taber, Oliver, and friends.

My motto used to be "watching the CBC so you don't have to", but really their news channel has become unwatchable. I'll watch snippets of the Soloman Show, At Issue, and some O'Leary, but I'm out on the rest of it. CTV has its problems, but at least they go straight news more often. CBC has become too cute with its documentaries and specialty programming.

Is Proving Your Identity When Voting Racist?

How is it that asking someone to prove their identity at the voting booth is now blatant racism? If you listen to the Liberals on this, asking people to show their face when they vote has suddenly become some sort of twisted hate crime. Making sure that people are who they say they are for something as critically important as our electoral process is not racism. The Tories want to make this law, and the Libs are crying foul saying it is racism targeted at Muslims.

First, I have no objection to women wearing a burka in public if that's what they want to do. Sure it denigrates them as possessions of their husbands or fathers, but I will allow them that cultural preference; except when it comes to voting. I don't care if someone wants to walk around town wearing a spiderman mask, but not at the voting booth. You should produce ID when you vote and show your face. If you don't want a man to see your face, there are always women employed at the polls. By muslim culture, women are allowed to look at the faces of other women. Otherwise, what is stopping a muslim man from taking his wife's voter registration card, putting on a burka, and voting on her behalf?

Good luck Liberals if you want to take the side of covering faces when voting. I'm sure you will add lots of new votes that you did not get before...

British Columbia's Next Premier

Today's poll question; who would you like to see replace Liberal Gordon Campbell as Premier of British Columbia? Have you signed up to vote on the leadership? You might want to check and make sure, because evidently many BCers are being signed up for the Liberal Party without their consent. Even people's pets are being recruited to vote for our next Premier. I know that interest in this leadership race may not be very high outside BC, but the amount of alleged fraud taking place should be a national story.

I am supporting George Abbott. If Christy Clark becomes Premier, I'm voting for the Green Party in the next election. Hopefully the BC Conservatives run a full slate of candidates next time, because it is not a happy experience to get into a voting booth and be presented with 3 choices: Liberal, NDP, and Green. It is enough to make your head explode.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Dalton's Green Energy Gone With The Wind

With all the upheaval in Egypt, you may not have noticed that Dalton McGuinty is scrapping some of his green energy projects because they just aren't feasible. Great Dalton, I could have told you this wouldn't work back when you were campaigning on the need for wind power. I wonder what other policies Dalton will back track on in the lead up to this fall's Ontario election? He already reneged on his eco-tax, so what's next?

Kelly McParland wrote a great piece in the National Post on this subject.

Gore Recruits Olbermann

It's funny, for as plugged in as I am to the politics of the day, I did not realize that Al Gore had his own cable channel. Now it would appear that the king of climate change is recruiting Keith Olbermann to be his new voice. Keith you might know was released from his job at the left leaning MSNBC, and is now looking for work. Enter Al Gore.

I would write more on this subject, but Rex Murphy has already composed a beautiful piece on the Gore-Olbermann marriage. It is a must read.

Remembering The Vancouver Olympics

A year ago today was the first day of the Vancouver Winter Olympics. I was downtown for the opening ceremonies and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. There was a vibe in the streets unlike anything I had ever experienced, a flood of Team Canada jerseys, not to mention riot police. I made the decision to emigrate from Ontario when Vancouver was awarded the Olympic Games because I wanted to be here for the build up, the event, and the aftermath. It was the best decision of my life.

It became apparent very quickly that we were not going to win the overall medal count, but after the first week we had a shot at taking home the most gold. Canadian athletes left Vancouver with more gold than those from any other country. Once upon a time they used to determine the winner of Olympics by who finished in first place the most. As the wise philosopher Ricky Bobby once said "if you ain't first, you're last!"

So a year later, what is the legacy? Well venues like the Olympic curling facility have been renovated into community centers with hundreds of patrons passing through their doors daily (and the renovation isn't even finished). The Olympic spirit remains, even if the games are in the past. It united the community and built an athletic infrastructure that will produce future Olympians for a generation to come. I am thankful to have been a part of it. Well done Canada! It was certainly worth proroguing parliament to host such a prestigious international event.

Duceppe's 95% Approval Rating

Every so often the Bloc Quebecois holds a convention (likely paid for with vote subsidy money), and the most recent gathering produced a 95% approval rating for Gilles Duceppe. Well done Gilles, I thought you were in trouble after you were "blocked" from taking over control of the Parti Quebecois not so long ago, but evidently the separatists in Quebec support him running the Bloc. One has to wonder if the same people who voted confidence in his federal leadership are the same people who wanted Pauline Marois to run the PQ, the main engine of Quebec separation?

It should be noted that the Liberal Party is not holding conventions to allow the rank and file to vote on leadership approval. In fact, the Liberal Party never elected Iggy into party leadership. The last time Iggy went to Liberals for a mandate, he lost to the Stephane Dion juggernaut. In 2009 shortly after Ignatieff's coup the Liberals met in Vancouver for a party convention where they could have voted on their leadership, but instead decided to hold a coronation party with no leadership review or vote. What were they afraid of?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

How Do You Feel About Mubarak's Resignation?

Today's poll question; how do you feel about Hosni Mubarak's resignation in Egypt? Overjoyed, content, indifferent, nervous, or frightened? Some Canadian pundits seem to think that our Prime Minister should be out in the streets singing and celebrating with dissidents. I hope that this works out for the best, but I am concerned about who might win an election and what policies they might enact if they win power. We should be cautiously optimistic.

Also when the Prime Minister made his toothpaste back in the tube comment, Mubarak and not yet announced his resignation (he quit about 3 hours later, thank you Gabby in QC). It was the morning after the Egyptian President said he was staying in power until the election, and the context was that Mubarak could not return to the status quo. Then the usual suspects on the Canadian political news shows discuss the Prime Minister's comments in the context of the dissidents celebrating the resignation.

When Hamas won Palestinian elections in 2006 they proceeded to engage their main opposition party in open warfare, seizing all institutions on the Gaza strip from Fatah. Now here we are in 2011, and Hamas is trying to prevent new elections (why risk losing power when you can just cancel elections). Depending on who wins, Egypt's next election could be its last for a long time.

Furthermore, when was the last time you saw the Canadian media this excited about a military taking control of a foreign government? Don't they call that a junta? Those don't always work out for the best you know. The Generals might find they enjoy the perks of power and ignore the election results like what happened in Burma...I'm sorry...Myanmar...

Thank You Scott Reid

For as much as I tend to complain (and indeed joke) about Scott Reid, I really should be thanking old Beer and Popcorn for playing such an important role in electing Stephen Harper. Scott I don't know if we could have done it without your help, and it has paid off. Mr. Harper has now passed Lester B. Pearson in tenure and stands poised to be one of the most effective Prime Ministers in our nation's history. Beer and popcorn did our country a great service.

I don't want to kiss your ass Scott, I want to shake your hand and say thank you. If I should ever meet Scott Reid in person, I'm just going to smile, nod my head, offer to shake his hand and say "thank you for beer and popcorn".



EKOS Has Tories With A 12% Lead

Liberal pollster Frank Graves latest EKOS poll has the Conservatives opening up a 12% lead over the Conservatives. Normally this is the kind of headline that would get me excited, but Tory strategists are calling this an anomaly saying that their own polling suggests the race is closer. As pointed out in a memo: “In the past, pollsters, have sometimes reported support for our Party that is unusually high relative to the prevailing data, only to have the anomaly corrected in a subsequent poll, giving the artificial impression of negative momentum”.

It is very rare to see a poll released that strongly favours a political party and then have the party come out and deny that it is accurate. Yet EKOS does have a tendency to produce outliers, and then when the outliers return to real value, the pollster can go on the Soloman Show and say that the Liberals are reducing the Tory lead. I would peg Tory support around the 36% level, but 24.8% seems too low for the Liberals. That number should bottom out at 26%, hover at 28%, then peak in the low 30s. I will believe the poll if other polling firms report similar numbers. Forgive me if I don't trust Frank's call list.

Harper Not Happy Enough About Egypt?

I was able to catch a few minutes of Power Play on Friday, enough to see Jane Taber criticize the Prime Minister for not being excited enough about Mubarak's resignation in Egypt. As she put it, this is a joyous occasion and the Prime Minister should be praising it and expressing happiness. I get that Mubarak is a bad guy and I would never want to live under his rule, but I don't think our Prime Minister should start singing and dancing when a Western ally is overthrown. He handled it exactly as he should have.

Like him or not, Mubarak kept the peace in Egypt for 30 years. I will wait to decide how great this move is when I see who finally ends up replacing him. If it is another Nasser, we have a problem. It is all fine and dandy to watch the corrupt dictator leave, and if a functional democracy takes hold, power to the people. If the next leader wants to wipe Israel off the map, we have a problem. By the way, wasn't it the George Bush people who said that if you install a democracy in Babylon, it will spread to other countries in the region? I would ask Jane Taber, do you think Bush deserves any credit for this wonderful happening?

I'm just saying...

Friday, February 11, 2011

Norm MacDonald Gets A Sports Show

Canadian comedian Norm MacDonald finally has his own sports show, and as a sports fan I think that's excellent! If you want a good laugh, just watch this clip of Norm hosting the ESPN Awards in 1998. I am a big fan of Norm MacDonald; "there's Charles Woodson, what a season he had. He became the first defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy, and that is something Charles that they can never take away from you...unless you kill your wife and a waiter, in that case, all bets are off." Comedy gold. Stormin' Norman is awesome.

Quebec City "if you build it, they will come..."

I must report my excitement that Quebec City will go ahead with plans to build a modern "NHL ready" arena even before guarantees of federal or private funding assistance. The reason that the private sector has cold feet is that the NHL has said that it has no plans to expand or relocate. Gary Bettman does not want to admit that his dream of turning the Southern US sunbelt into hockey fans failed, but it has. There are about 6 NHL franchises that are bleeding money and have never built the necessary fan base. Many of those franchises were put in those cities under Bettman's reign.

I want the Jets back in Winnipeg, and the Nordiques back in Quebec. I want teams in Hamilton, and Saskatchewan if possible. I would support federal funding for new stadiums in Hamilton and Regina. The Canadian dollar is never going back to where it was we lost those 2 teams back in the 90s. The failed Bettman franchises cannot sustain themselves and will eventually come back to Canada. It is inevitable, and there is substantial monetary value to having an NHL franchise.

I know that many of you don't agree with me, but I am a die hard hockey fan who worked a thousand hours at an NHL facility. FYI, I was not the only University graduate in the janitorial department... :)

"Taking Aim" At Opposition Ridings

With the NDP now "taking aim" at Tory ridings that they think they can win, I would like to start my own equivalent series of posts dedicated towards vulnerable Liberal and NDP seats that the Tories could win. But unlike the Dippers, I would like to use more politically correct (if even sarcastic) language than "taking aim". Unlike Jack Layton, I listened to Obama's speech on political civility. What do you think I should name this series of posts exposing weak opposition ridings? I am after all, a quasi expert in electoral math.

What should I call the series? Through the looking glass? Purpose direction? Point reason? Anything but the dirty politics of "taking aim".

Transexual Rights

Today's poll question; should transsexual men be allowed to use women's washrooms and change rooms? The opposition parties just narrowly passed a bill on transgender rights that forbids any form discrimination, which would theoretically include public washroom selection (according to CTV news). I believe that all Canadians should be protected from discrimination regardless of gender, age, race, or creed. But I do believe that if you have a penis, you should be using the men's room. Is that discrimination? Not in my book, but if a dude wearing women's clothing were prevented from using a men's room, that would be discrimination.

I support gay rights on a number of issues, be it hazing, marriage, even adoption. Homosexual people already have substantial protection and rights under the law, which I support. I even wore my only purple sweater to work on Ellen's gay hazing awareness day. But trannies using womens change rooms is a bridge too far. I don't think this opposition legislation is necessary, as discrimination is currently illegal.

Sorry guys, I have to close this post to comments. I have to work and can't be at my computer to delete any random anonymous comments that could get me sued. I trust 95% of you to have a rational non-libelous opinion, but in this particular case, I have to beware of the fringes. You may express your opinion in the poll question. If you have a valuable opinion that you would like to share, send me an e-mail and I will post it as an update to the post when I am not sleeping or at work.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Iggy Cold As Ice

Why is it that every time the leader of the Liberal Party goes skating, it suddenly becomes headline news? Is Donolo just calling in favours? Is it a slow news cycle? What gives? Great, the guy can stand up on skates; this is a major news story and belongs in a constant loop on CTV and CBC new channels. His big clip of the day "I'm a Liberal, I'm very generous." I agree Mike, but I would say that the Liberal Party is just a little too generous, evidenced by the 2005 Martin-Layton "bromance".

And is it just me, or does he give off a creepy vibe around children? I'm not talking about criminal creepy, but rather awkward creepy. I know that he abandoned his own children in England years ago, so I don't blame him for not being comfortable around kids.

Merging Stock Exchanges

Today's poll question; do you think that merging the Toronto and London stock exchanges jeopardizes our economic sovereignty? If Jack Layton opposes it, then right away you know it will be of great benefit to Canadians. This makes our markets open to a much larger consumer base that otherwise is not buying selling Canadian equities, while companies operating in Canada still have to abide by Canadian law. The NDP is against global competition because it reduces union bargaining power. Has the NDP ever favoured any free trade agreement ever? The merger might change the way companies report their data, but they are all still subject to Canadian law. We are not giving up sovereignty.

Any Canadian who owns stock will see the value of their portfolio rise. We want to open our markets up to foreign investments as much as possible to maximize the value of Canadian business. I'm still waiting for the feds to take a position on this, but the NDP certainly wasted no time opposing it. I treat Jack Layton as my canary in the coal mine. As long as he is singing and complaining, I know that all is well. When he shuts up, I know something is wrong. But I guess Jack become less and relevant the more the Liberals hijack NDP positions. The Libs are moving away from the center and towards the left. Good luck guys, I remember how well that worked for Stephane Dion.

Quebec does have the power to veto the merger as per terms of a past Toronto Montreal merger, so this could die before the issue ever reaches Ottawa.

Liberals Supported "Dumb On Crime" Legislation

This recent Liberal trend towards merging their policies with the NDP has become comical. Bill C-15 (now S-10) passed through parliament with help from the Liberals, and the initiative they formerly supported they are now branding as "dumb on crime" legislation. They supported it until they opposed it. Same with corporate tax cuts. These measures were previously supported by the Liberal Party, they shifted to the NDP side, and are now using the legislation to attack the government! Ha! Even John Kerry thinks Ignatieff needs to make up his mind already...

Ironically enough, this flip flop comes on the same day as an Ottawa think tank refutes claims by Statistics Canada that criminal activity is decreasing. Statscan revises its data and makes conclusions that are not statistically valid. Regardless of that story, it is flabbergasting how the Liberals have shifted to changing their minds on previously supported positions, now calling them reckless and dumb. Great, so why did you guys support them then? Oh I get it, they were afraid of being perceived as soft on crime. I think the term "dumb on crime" is a great tag line which perfectly describes the Liberal Party. Dumb on crime, dumb on taxes, dumb on a lot of things.

On the Statscan story:

The 28-page report strongly criticizes Statscan’s approach to analyzing crime statistics on several fronts:

* The annual report on crime statistics, know as Juristat, routinely revises crime statistics from previous years upward in any given year’s report, making annual crime decreases appear more significant than they are.

* Crime categories are revised from year to year, with specific crimes added or dropped, making it difficult to compare apples with apples.

* Juristat does not attempt to factor in unreported crime, even though a separate Statscan survey shows more people are not bothering to report crimes such as break-ins and auto theft because they don’t have any confidence the crime will be solved.

* The report fails to identify whether the crime was committed while the offender was out on bail or parole, although the data is available.

When all of the omissions are factored in, Mr. Newark concludes, the evidence suggests that, “serious violent crime is increasing, contrary to the report’s highlight claims

Jack Layton, Stock Market Expert

I was able to watch a few minutes of the Soloman Show before heading to work on Wednesday, and I got a good laugh seeing Evan doing a big story on the Toronto Stock Exchange with Jack Layton as his "expert" witness. Yes because whenever there is news in financial markets, the first person that I want to hear from is Jack Layton (that was sarcasm if you didn't notice). In my own experience, I find that I very rarely agree with Jack Layton on financial matters. Okay so I rarely agree with him on any matters, but most especially financial ones, and he was Evan's go to guy on the TSX.

One person that I do trust on financial matters is Kevin O'Leary and he thinks that the merger with the London exchange is fantastic. It opens up Canadian equity to millions of new buyers, which will increase the value of Canadian companies. Others are trying to argue that we are giving up our "economic sovereignty", but that's absurd. Companies operating in Canada still have to play by Canadian rules, just like foreign companies who operate in Canada. Basically Canadian stock values are going to go up, meaning that anyone who owns any Canadian stock will see an increase in the value of their portfolio. Opposition to this initiative is naive.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Selling Blogging Tories

With the news that AOL has purchased Huffington Post for a cool $315 million dollars, I wonder how much money the Blogging Tories would be worth if Stephen Taylor and Craig Smith were looking to sell to a company like Bell or Rogers. Obviously the Huffington Post is worth much more because it focuses on the United States which has a substantial larger local and global audience to appeal to. The Blogging Tories site has a persistent and loyal audience which would carry with it a value, but who are largely interested in Canadian issues.

We have 1/10th the population of the United States, so right away you'd have to bump the price down to $35 million. There are far more people outside of the United States who follow American politics than foreigners interested in Canadiam politics, plus the Huffington Post has higher standing in America than the BTs in Canada. Maybe, they could get $5 - $10 million dollars if they tried to sell their venture to a major telecom. Though unlike the Huffington Post, the Blogging Tories is not currently monetized, so there is no framework by which to value an accurate purchase price. My question to Stephen Taylor would be, what would the price have to be for you to sell?

Will any of that "Huffpo" money go to the bloggers who create most of the content which drives the site? It is unclear if Arianna is going to share any of her bounty with her unpaid bloggers.

NDP "Taking Aim"

Gee, talk about bad taste in this new era of political civility, the NDP now has a map on their website with targets spread across a map of Canada proclaiming "Taking Aim: The NDP's region by region plan to send Harper packing" (thank you Kate at Small Dead Animals for pointing it out). Are the Dippers borrowing a page from Sarah Palin's playbook? Did they see her putting targets on a map and say "what a fantastic idea"? And all this after Obama's civility in politics speech...shame...what would Marth Hall Findlay say?

I only hope some misguided kook doesn't see the NDP website and do something stupid. If only the NDP stopped to think how their strategy might be in bad taste and possibly contribute to violent unrest. That's not responsible leadership Jack. I am very disappointed in you.

Scott Reid "Kiss My Ass"

A warning to any pundit out there who might bring up Scott Reid's "beer and popcorn" debacle in a debate with the former Martin communications director, you just might get a nasty response. Tom Flanagan learned that lesson on the Tuesday edition of the Soloman Show, when Reid told him to "kiss my ass". Though I suppose that was better decorum than saying "Alberta can blow me". I would love to know how much money the CBC spent on Scott Reid's work in 2010, though I expect that access to information request to be denied. This guy should not be getting a tax funded pay cheque to spout his vitriol.

I would start a poll question; would you rather kiss Scott Reid's ass or "blow" him, but that would be in bad taste. Bottom line, this guy should not be collecting a CBC pay cheque. I checked out the CBC website tonight and the clip was not posted. Perhaps somebody can post a link when one becomes available?