Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ralph Goodale Evicted

After an election, MPs get to choose their office space in the Parliamentary building and preference is given based on how each party performed on voting day. Conservatives had first choice of offices and left the Liberals alone. The NDP have second choice, and they most certainly want some of the nice Liberal offices in center block. The Liberals aren't happy. Veteran MP Ralph Goodale has one such office, or should I say "had" one such office, as he has been issued his eviction notice so a Dipper can move in. Bob Rae's spacious corner office could be next. To be fair though, the Dippers are letting Stephane Dion keep his office, no doubt a reward for the coalition agreement of December 2008.

Poor Ralph, his office was right beside the cafeteria too. I wonder how far he'll have to walk now to eat lunch? Oh the humanity! When asked about the evictions the NDP spokesperson said that on May 2nd Canadians voted for change, and obviously that includes the nice offices. Who will be moving into Ralph's office? The Globe and Mail did not say, but with its proximity to the cafeteria, I could hazard a guess or two...

Monday, May 30, 2011

Liberals Fall To 15%

To those of us who thought the Liberal Party had sunk to rock bottom with their 18.9% showing in the May 2nd federal election, guess again. The latest post election poll has the once vaunted "natural governing party" down to a paltry 15%. They had been polling around the 30% mark when they foolishly decided to force this election in March, a decision that now has to be viewed as one of the worst political moves in the history of Canada. They brought down the government on purpose and in the process have caused catastrophic harm to their public support. The Tories are sitting at 38% and the NDP at 33%. The Dippers now have more than double the popular support of the Liberals.

This Harris Decima poll was done before Bob Rae officially became the Liberal leader, so we will see how the numbers move in the coming weeks as Parliament resumes. It will be an uphill battle for the Liberals now that they sit in 3rd place with a small caucus. They will not get as much TV time and media attention as they are accustomed to, which might ironically help their poll numbers but hamper their ability to raise money. Convincing someone to say Liberal in a telephone poll is much easier than convincing them to donate money.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

"When the Gods Changed; the Death of Liberal Canada"

Jane Taber wrote an amusing piece for the Globe and Mail on Friday about an upcoming book by author Peter C. Newman titled "When the Gods Changed; the Death of Liberal Canada". When Ignatieff returned to Canada to become Prime Minister, Newman set out to write a book about Iggy which was to be named "Ignatieff: The Man In Full" about a brilliant intellectual, a knight in shining armour who would defeat Stephen Harper and become the next Prime Minister. Then sometime in the last year he suddenly decided to change course and write about the death of the Liberal Party.

What was not immediately clear in Taber's piece is whether Peter Newman will be releasing one book or two. One is supposed to be a biography, the other more of a novel, so there is very likely going to be two books. Amazon says that Iggy a man in full is coming out this fall, a book which was originally supposed to about his rise to leader of the country. I'm sure Peter had to rewrite a lot of material after May 2nd, and I doubt his working title for the second book was "the death of Liberal Canada" prior to election day. We also don't know exactly what happened to change Peter's opinion of Iggy from hero to zero. As Jane wrote:

"Several months ago, however, Mr. Newman, 82, realized he had to change course – and quickly. Mr. Ignatieff was not the “knight in shining amour and world intellectual” who he and his publishers expected to defeat Stephen Harper and become prime minister.

And with that, the ever-so-nimble Mr. Newman began writing When the Gods Changed; the Death of Liberal Canada."

Canada's New Majority Parliament Convenes This Week

For the first time in nearly 20 years, Canadian Parliament will convene this week with a Conservative majority government. It has been too long, but worth the wait. The first order of business will be selecting a new Speaker of the House, and right now Barry Devolin and Andrew Scheer are the front runners. Frankly I don't really care who it is, just so long as it is a Conservative. Thus far there is one NDP member running and several Tories; meaning that despite holding a majority of the seats, vote splitting could put a Dipper in the Speaker's chair. Whichever Tory has the most support, that is the candidate that all Tories should vote for.

The legacy of the previous Liberal Speaker Peter Milliken is generally positive, at least until his final days. Originally I was quite upset about him granting those contempt motions, but hindsight being what it is, he may have unwittingly delivered the Tories our beloved majority. Those ridiculous motions gave the Liberals the confidence and the means to defeat the government and force an early election. Canadians did not want an election and rightly rewarded the Conservatives with a majority government. Thank you Peter Milliken, without you this would not have been possible. We all owe you a debt of gratitude.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Canucks Fans, Don't Count Your Cups Before They Hatch...

While I have jumped onto the Vancouver Canucks bandwagon with both feet, listening to the last 3 days of local sports talk radio a large volume of callers are treating the end result as a foregone conclusion. Boston may as well have touched the Eastern Conference trophy, because it is the only trophy they will win this season. Some fans are calling this the beginning of a dynasty and that not only will they win the championship this year, but for several more years. Michael Bubble was even on Pratt and Taylor talking about how great it is that his grandfather is still alive to finally see Vancouver win it all. It is fine to predict a Vancouver victory, but be careful just how far you push this envelope before any games have even been played. Don't mess up your karma.

As I texted one of my friends this morning, somebody had better tell Canuck fans that they make you play one more series before they actually give you the Stanley Cup. Normally I support hockey fans being enthusiastic and optimistic, but if you spend even 20 minutes listening to the TEAM 1040, you'll understand what I'm talking about. It is getting ridiculous, and this is coming from someone who wants the team to win. Granted if the Canucks lose, I won't be losing any sleep. I've already watched my favourite team win 4 Stanley Cups. Sometimes people ask me how I became a Detroit fan back in the 80s, and I tell them that Robocop had a profound impact on my childhood. That usually gets a laugh.

My Campaign Advice For Dalton McGuinty

Far be it from me to offer advice to Dalton McGuinty as he seeks a third term in office as Premier of Ontario, but honestly the best thing he could do to assure his victory is to not campaign at all. I'm being sarcastic and serious at the same time. Maybe run a few generic feel good commercials, but he should avoid making policy announcements or debating the issues. Just sit back and let the right argue amongst themselves and cruise to your sacred 3rd term. The people already know what they are getting in Dalton, Tim Hudak is the one who has to get out there and make a first impression, releasing and defending a platform.

Dalton never should have won the last election, but John Tory made a policy announcement that upset some people and it permanently derailed his campaign. Besides, McGuinty and campaign promises have a tendency to work out very poorly; so if he stays underground while the Tories release their campaign platform, enough right wing pundits will inevitably complain about out it that it damages the brand. Isn't that how Dalton has always won? Let the Tories implode because that big blue tent on the right hand side has enough warring factions that you will rarely get unanimous agreement about anything.

Sit back, kick your feet up, and enjoy the show.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Should Prisoners Be Put To Work?

Today's poll question; should prisoners be put to work? Ontario Conservative leader Tim Hudak has announced his plan to put provincial inmates to work cleaning up garbage, graffiti, and repaying their debt to society by doing something good and productive. This has outraged some and pleased others. Personally I have no objection to this policy decision, though I would encourage some form of compensation to the inmates, be it cigarettes, increased television privileges, a few copies of Hustler, or maybe an extra pudding pop after supper. You know, things with tangible value in the prison economy that can be bartered or enjoyed.

Offering minor compensation to these prisoners for their labour would certainly increase productivity and willingness to cooperate, but I do not agree that forcing them to pick up garbage at the side of the road represents any kind of crime against humanity. Prison is supposed to be in part a deterrent to committing crime. It is supposed to suck. The one counter argument that I might listen to are from those who think prisoners should remain in the prison for the purposes of public safety. I too have seen the movie 48 hours.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Layton Lays Out Terms For Separation

When the NDP absorbed the Bloc Quebecois earlier this month, many wondered just how far into the sovereignty agenda Jack Layton would venture. For starters, 50% plus one, and Quebec should become its own country separate from Canada. Perhaps instead of the NDP we should start calling them the NDPQ, the New Democrat Parti Quebecois? Any other tips and suggestions Jack for splitting up the country? Of course Jack's declaration today only came after being hounded for days on this issue by the Quebec media, with the opposition leader dodging the question. He has flip flopped on the Clarity Act before, but now that he has absorbed the Bloc Quebecois there will continue to be substantial pressure on Jack to adopt a more separatist friendly policy agenda. It is what it is.

Christy Clark Misses The Point

To all the adults in British Columbia, under Christy Clark's "families first" administration, you are quickly becoming a second class citizen unless you have children (specifically under the age of 18). If you'd like an HST rebate for that tax you are so angry about, better hurry up and produce offspring if you want any relief. Otherwise you have to wait until 2014 (after the next Provincial election). The new changes released Wednesday about the HST are a complete failure across the board and completely missed the point. What upset BC tax payers was not a merger of the federal and provincial taxes, but rather such a large basket of food items becoming 7% more expensive. Stephen Harper gave Gordon Campbell the option of not adding the provincial tax to previously untaxed goods, and that offer was declined. Just take that 7% off food and your problem is solved.

But hey, I'm still pissed off about our carbon tax, the HST was just the straw that broke the camel's back. The BC Liberals need to spend some time in the penalty box just like their federal brethren. It is time for the BC Conservatives to run a full slate of candidates. For crying out loud, in the last year the BC legislature has only sat for a few weeks. Where are all those prorogation protesters demanding our legislature sit more often?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Bob Rae Era Has Begun

The first phase of the merger of the Liberals with the NDP has begun, as Bob Rae is now officially the leader of the Liberal Party. This had to be a sad day for right minded Liberals (those few remaining) who fear their beloved "centrist" Party will start swinging for the fringes. Comrade Bob, the former NDP Premier of Ontario, defected to the Liberals in 2006 after somebody in the LPC convinced him that he could become Prime Minister. Bob declared his goal of uniting progressives before being defeated by Stephane Dion when the leadership came to a vote. Bobby finished in third place, but he was able to win the support of Liberal juggernauts like Joe Volpe and Scott Brison.

Ladies and gentlemen of the Liberal Party fasten your seatbelts, it is going to be a bumpy ride. If Bob wants to run for the job permanently, Bob will be running for the permanent job. Trust me.

I Endorse Tim Hudak For Premier Of Ontario

With Ontario heading to the polls this fall, the Iceman would like to endorse Tim Hudak to be the next Premier of Ontario. When the provincial Conservatives selected a replacement for John Tory in 2009, I did not have a horse in the race (John Baird and Jason Kenney endorsed Hudak). Federal politics has consumed most of my attention since 2004, and I have rarely been engaged in Ontario politics since emigrating to British Columbia after Dalton McGuinty's first budget. As a "Mike Harris refugee", I continue to be astonished that Dalton won re-election. People were angry at the funding for religious schools, and decided to vote for Dalton "I will not raise your taxes" McGuinty instead? Great, how much more are you paying in taxes today? Any regrets?

To the people of Ontario, in the next few months Tim Hudak might say something that you disagree with. You are more than welcome to voice your disagreement and share your opinion. Even if Tim gives you one or two reasons to vote against him, there are 101 reasons to vote against Dalton McGuinty. Short of police finding Tim in a hotel room with a dead hooker in the bathtub or video emerging of him lighting kittens on fire; I will continue to endorse Tim Hudak to be the next Premier of Ontario.

Go Canucks Go!

You don't have to be a Canucks fan to be excited about Vancouver advancing to the Stanley Cup final as the team has a chance to win the first Cup by a Canadian team in nearly 20 years. What a hockey game! A dramatic game tying goal with just seconds left to play, and then a fluke goal on a crazy bounce in the second overtime to win. Alex Edler shot the puck around the glass, it took a funny bounce to Kevin Bieksa and he shot it in the net with everyone else looking in the other direction. It was one of the strangest goals you will ever see in hockey, let alone as a series winning goal. Then within a matter of seconds the good people at GM Place started dumping 2 tons of paper confetti on the ice as the referees were huddling together discussing if the goal should count. I guess that's why they call it home ice advantage, although replays did show the goal was legit.

As a Vancouver resident I have officially jumped onto the Canucks bandwagon with both feet, flying a Canucks car flag and putting my Red Wings hat away for a Canucks hat. I have already declared on my sports blog that the Vancouver Canucks are going to win the Stanley Cup this season. Perhaps taking statistical likelihoods as absolute certainties is ill-advised, but I feel quite confident in this prediction. Then again, I did declare a 0% chance that the NDP would win 100 seats. I am fallible.

The Tweet of the night has to go to James Moore, @JamesMoore_org: "Just cheered like we won Ajax-Pickering all over again"

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

NDP Shadow Cabinet

Jack Layton is expected to announce his shadow cabinet this week, after an enthusiastic speech Monday in front of his new caucus. Libby Davies is on Power Play talking about how excited everyone is to find out who will be sitting in their pretend cabinet. Personally I don't really care since most of their loudest voices (Pat Martin, Paul Dewar, and Tom Mulcair) always have me scrambling for the mute button. The only appointment that I would like to see this week is Ruth Brosseau as the new tourism critic. Other than that, I look forward to learning more about the people who are appointed as I expect plenty of fodder for the political bloggers.

Perhaps someone can tell me what changes with the critics role when a party moves up from 4th place to the official opposition? Yes, they get to speak more on the floor of parliament and might get a few extra interviews, but do they get higher wages or increased office/travel budgets? Will Pat Martin be afforded the ability to travel around the country more than he did previously?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Who Will Become The Permanent Liberal Leader?

Today's poll question; who will lead the Liberal Party into the next Canadian election. The question is not who should be, but who will be. The Party may very well wait 2 years before naming a permanent leader. Will it be someone not currently sitting in Parliament? Surely the Liberals have to have operatives down in the United States scouring the Ivy Leagues for the next false prophet. I strongly suspect the Liberals who want to wait 2 years to pick a new leader are not the same Liberals who want Bob Rae to become leader. The Liberals who are receptive to a merger with the NDP surely are more likely to support Bob Rae.

I did recently ask in a poll question who should be the interim leader, and your response was:


Stephane Dion (40%)
Ralph Goodale (17%)
Bob Rae (11%)
Dominic LeBlanc (10%)
Justin Trudeau (8%)
John McCallum (7%)
Scott Brison (3%)

Stephane Dion was not included as an option for the permanent job because there is a 0% chance that the Liberals would follow him into another election. It is more likely that the Party implodes and folds into the NDP, following Jack Layton into the next election. Remember, if 100% of Liberal voters instead voted NDP, Layton would be projected to win about 187 seats. Then again, in 2000 the Alliance + PC vote = 38%. After their merger, the Conservatives scored 29% of the popular vote. There was a migration from the Tory left flank to the Liberals, people like Scott Brison, Keith Martin, and Joe Clark.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Kenney: Senate Reform Major Priority

Jason Kenney announced today that Senate reform will be a major priority when our new majority government convenes in 2 weeks. The way we can do this without re-writing the constitution is to have provinces hold their own Senate elections and have the winners appointed to the chamber by the government. If Premiers Brad Wall and Darrel Dexter are angry about the latest appointments, I would encourage them to put Senate nominees on a ballot next time they hold provincial elections. The nominees need not be affiliated with any political party, and once elected they will represent those provinces in the upper chamber.

Evidently it would have been acceptable to some critics if the Prime Minister had appointed people who did not run for Parliament. By selecting people who lost their bids to be MPs, it is said that Stephen Harper showed contempt for the voters in the ridings. Sure, 51,000 people voted for Verner, Smith, and Manning, but they don't count. Verner and Manning were both within 3.3% of winning their ridings, and have won elections previously. It is not as though the PM selected losing candidates from Senate elections over winning candidates in Senate elections, or over-tuned the result. Liberal Scott Andrews is still going to represent the people of Avalon in Parliament.

Those people musing that the PM appointed those Senators in order to deliberately create chaos and thus demand for Senate reform, give your head a shake. You are trying to be too clever. I believe it had more to do with re-establishing majority control before committee chairs are chosen, which is happening soon. In any event, we will have term limits soon enough and once the provinces start electing Senators, those elected will become Senators. Personally I don't see what the big deal is, but that's just me.

Stockwell Day Endorses Liberals Over Conservatives

After retiring from federal politics and returning to British Columbia, Stockwell Day has now publicly declared his support for the BC Liberals over the BC Conservatives. His justification is on par with the large majority of federal Tory voters who vote Liberal provincially. Anybody but the NDP. That makes sense, and I sympathize as a survivor of Bob Rae's Ontario. But the BC Liberals (whom I voted for in the last election) need to spend some time in the penalty box. Christy Clark is exactly the wrong person to lead this province. She needs to lose the next election. Do I think the fledgling BC Conservatives will win that election, well it is very unlikely but they need to run a full slate of candidates. I am willing to accept one term of the NDP in order to send the Liberals to the penalty box and help the future chances of the BC Conservative Party. Let's take one for the team.

When the Liberals selected Christy Clark to be their leader, they forever lost my support. Stockwell, I disagree with your opinion on this matter even if I understand where you are coming from.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The World Is Still Alive

Surprise, surprise, the end of the world was predicted for today and it looks like we're going to make it. The clock has struck midnight in the eastern time zone, with 3 hours left to go here in Vancouver on the west coast. Maybe I should have waited before posting this because I don't want to jinx anything by proclaiming the world did not die today. We still have 3 hours for the left coast to sink into the Pacific, so I'll keep my fingers crossed that the sun will come up tomorrow.

The real winners in the failure of this one apocalyptic prediction are the proponents of the world ending in December 2012 at the end of the Mayan calendar. Those are the people who have to feel vindicated. They could not have liked this one lone kook encroaching on their turf. The world can only end once, and there is surely no definitive agreement with the apocalyptic movement.

Winnipeg's New NHL Team

The NHL is returning to the fine city of Winnipeg, as a local group is reported to be buying the Atlanta Thrashers. This is exciting news for Canadian hockey fans, especially in Manitoba where fans of the departed Jets have been celebrating in the streets. Today's poll question; what should the new franchise be named? The Winnipeg Jets or the Manitoba Moose? Or maybe the Winnipeg Moose or the Manitoba Jets? Perhaps some of you out there like the Thrashers brand, so that option is on the table.

It would have been nice, at least nostalgic, if the Phoenix Coyotes moved back to Winnipeg because that is the original franchise (even if only Shane Doan remains). That being said, there are some interesting puzzle pieces with the Thrashers. Evander Kane and Dustin Byfuglien are going to become cult heroes in Manitoba. Evander is the future.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Canada Does Not Agree With Obama On Israel

The Canadian government is not going to follow Barak Obama's lead in demanding that Israel return to 1967 borders, and I applaud my government for doing so. If Obama thinks that returning the Golan Heights to Syria and sharing Jerusalem with Hamas is going to lead to long term peace, that is wishful thinking at best and depraved disregard at worst. The Syrians are a brutally repressive regime who used the Golan Heights (a strategic military position) multiple times attempting to conquer and destroy the state of Israel. By about the 3rd invasion of Israel by Syria through the Golan Heights, I'd say the Syrians forfeited their right to that territory. 3 strikes and you're out! I'm also not so sure that the people who live there would want to go back to Syrian control after 45 years. Maybe you haven't noticed, but when people rally in opposition to Assad, they end up dead.

Returning to the 1967 borders also includes giving half of Jerusalem back to the Arabs, which would be a logistical nightmare. Is Obama also demanding right of return? What if I told Obama that Texas should return to its pre 1836 border with Mexico. We should move hundreds of thousands additional Mexicans into Dallas and Houston and put them under the control of the Mexican government. Mexico has a legitimate historical claim to Texas. Why isn't Obama addressing this? I'm outraged!

We should be seeking sanctions and punishment against Assad's regime in Syria, not seeking to give them more land and put more people under their repressive rule. Hamas remains the elected government of Palestine, and I really don't see how these two sides are going to peacefully share a metropolis. That could go to hell in a hurry.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bob Rae Abandons His Ambitions?

Joy to the world, Bob Rae wants to be the leader of the Liberal Party, but only if the job lasts for 18 to 24 months, no more, no less. At least that's what Bobby is saying; "I'm not running for the long-term leadership. Frankly, I don't think the party wants anybody to be running for the long-term leadership right now." But if he does become the interim leader, he insists on keeping the job for at least a year and a half, otherwise "then obviously somebody else can do that". The Party is currently debating whether the new leader should be appointed as soon as possible or two years from now.

So has Bob Rae abandoned his ambition? Forgive me for being skeptical, but I still believe Bob wants the leadership job permanently. The Liberals who support Bob Rae to be the next full-time leader should be the ones who want to hold a leadership vote sooner rather than later. They already have their man. The "anybody but Bobby" crowd should be the ones trying to postpone a convention to give "the next one" time to establish themselves and build a campaign. Bob is ready to go now, Justin Trudeau needs more time. The wild card I can't figure out is Dominic LeBlanc, whether he will be running for leader and when his supporters would prefer to hold a convention.

It would be interesting to poll card carrying Liberals and ask them who they would most like to see become permanent leader and when they think the convention should be. While caucus members might not come out and declare support publicly for a specific leadership hopeful, most should already have a preference. The "hopefuls" are now engaged in a chess game against each other and it is difficult to analyze the moves without knowing what conversations are taking place behind closed doors. I for one fully expect Rae to become interim leader and still run for permanent leader. Any internal rules that prevent his candidacy can be easily changed when the time comes.

The Party hit rock bottom with 19% of the vote May 2nd. Those numbers should rebound as the NDP team of novices make fools of themselves in opposition. If the Liberals can get to 26% in 16 months, then Rae's supporters will point out the party is heading in the right direction and the guy who has had the job should keep it into the next election.

Where there's a will, there's a Rae...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Speed Up Senate Reform

Now that we have a majority government and can pass Senate reform, that should be addressed as soon as possible when Parliament resumes. It did not look good to appoint 3 defeated candidates to the upper chamber so soon after the election, and many on the right and left were not happy about it. All 3 are very qualified people who did collect a combined 51,664 votes on May 2nd. Personally I believe that Senators should be elected and have term limits; but I'm not screaming from the roof top over these appointments because I believe that the Prime Minister will deliver on this promise in due course. I'd just like to see the reforms sooner rather than later.

And I will thank Liberals not to get high and mighty about Senate appointments; as most Liberals sitting in the Senate owe their jobs to patronage. The NDP are justified to complain about this.

Cabinet 2011: Some Interesting Appointments And Disappointments

John Baird (Foreign Affairs) and Tony Clement (Treasury Board) were the big winners today as the Prime Minister unveiled his new cabinet. There were not many significant changes, no notable demotions, some notable omissions, and Maxime Bernier was introduced in the minor role of minister for small business. Jason Kenney, Peter MacKay, James Moore, Rob Nicholson, Lisa Raitt, Diane Finley, Rona Ambrose, Jim Flaherty, Leona Aglukklaq, Bev Oda, and Peter Kent all stayed put. Personally I was disappointed that Candice Hoeppner and Shelly Glover were not included in cabinet as both have been outstanding members of Parliament. There were only 3 rookie MPs appointed, and I was disappointed not to see Kellie Leitch or Chris Alexander among them.

John Baird at Foreign Affairs will be interesting, and Treasury Board is a great assignment for Tony Clement. Libby Davies was on Power Play and when discussing the new Tory House Leader Peter Van Loan, Libby joked that she was going to end up missing John Baird. Evidently John is a friendlier person to work with than Peter. James Moore is wasted at Heritage, unless he tries to implement CBC reform; otherwise it is just a ceremonial post that allows him to attend a lot of parties, galas, and special events. It would no doubt be a fun job, but I'd rather see his talent put to better use in something like Industry.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What About Bev Oda?

When the new cabinet is announced tomorrow, I expect to see the allegedly controversial Bev Oda remain in cabinet. In fact I'm surprised that more media people aren't talking about her substantial victory in the election despite being the target of so much fury in the build up to the vote. She might be moved to a new post after being the lightning rod of contempt allegations that helped inspire and encourage the Liberals to foolishly force an election; but she proceeded to win her Ontario riding by 20,000 votes. It would be nice to see her remain at CIDA after Oda-gate, but that job would also be a nice posting for rookie MP Chris Alexander. To many on the left Not-gate was a case of criminal tampering, and to some on the right it was one of incompetence. I strongly disagreed with those of my "colleagues" who came out quickly to label Bev Oda as incompetent before we even really knew what happened. As it turns out, she did nothing wrong and her constituents agree.

NDP Arts Caucus

The NDP has found a 'Quebec friendly' theme for their first term as the official opposition, introducing their arts caucus at a comically bad press conference. Their purpose was to introduce new MPs with a background in the arts, but none of them were actually prepared to have a substantive discussion about the arts. When journalists asked them about arts policy, Charlie Angus told them that the NDP is not the government. "When we are government you will see that platform be brought forward in one of our first press conferences but now we are the Official Opposition so we’re not bringing out our election platform to you and saying we demand this to be implemented". Way to dodge the question Charlie! So the NDP are going to wait until they win an election to announce their policy platform?

The toughest questions for the arts caucus came from the Quebec media. On reporter even asked "why are you holding a press conference here this morning? Are you announcing something? Promising something? Are you worried about the majority you are facing? Do you think that you can have any kind of influence?" You have to enjoy those moments when the journalists attending a press conference have to ask why a press conference is even taking place.

Tensions High At First Liberal Caucus Meeting

The Liberal caucus met today for the first time since the election, and reports from the media indicated that this gathering was not all sunshine and lollipops. There is some anger and frustration within Liberal ranks, which is to be expected given that their leadership led them to a humiliating and catastrophic defeat. It was Ignatieff and Donolo who decided to force this election that saw their party decimated, which has to rank as one of the most historic blunders in Canadian political history. Forcing an early election to their own detriment. Yeah, that contempt of parliament ruling introduced by a Liberal member and approved by a Liberal Speaker, was a really great idea that resonated with voters! As it happens, more Canadians had contempt for the Liberals than contempt for the government.

The big fighting point right now seems to be over restrictions on the interim leader. They don't want an interim leader who can run for the permanent job, while a number of party brass are pushing for Bob Rae to take the temp job. Considering the rules, it has to be considered a backhanded compliment to Bobby that so many of his peers want him to take the temp job, but not the full-time job. Dominic LeBlanc and Justin Trudeau showed up together and were quite friendly with each other...a little ray of sunshine in an otherwise dark day for the Liberal Party.

When Should The Liberals Appoint A New Leader?

Today's poll question; when should the Liberals appoint a permanent leader? There seems to be loud divisions within the party about whether the party should wait 2 years to "get it right", or if they should act quickly. Carolyn Bennett for one is publicly upset that the Party brass declared that the interim leader cannot run for permanent leadership when the time comes. It would also seem that some of the people pushing for Bob Rae as interim leader don't want him to be able to take the job into the next election; while others who want Rae to take over tomorrow also want him to be able to run for full leadership when the time comes. Smart money says Rick Mercer wants Bobby to get the temp job then run for the permanent job. They did go skinny dipping together...

We shall see if the Liberals can overcome this internal strife. Clearly the Liberals did not expect a Tory majority and are a little pissed that Peter "the Pied Piper" Donolo led them into this election. By the way, does anyone know if Donolo still has his job? Some in the media proclaimed him to be the Oracle of Chretien when he replaced Ian Davey, the guy who recruited Iggy from Boston.

Gerard Kennedy Was Robbed Of His Seat!

For those of you out there who were shocked to see Liberal Gerard Kennedy lose his seat to the NDP on May 2nd, your confusion was justified. The seat was in fact stolen from him by dirty tricks, shenanigans, and late night phone calls from the United States. This is why Gerard lost by 8,000 votes, at least that's what he was saying on the Soloman Show today. By the way Gerard, when you talk about these "tricks" costing Liberals in "close" ridings such as yours, you lost 33% to 47%...it really wasn't that close. It is doubtful that a few prank phone calls made any difference in that riding.

What wasn't abundantly clear was which party Gerard was accusing of committing these "dirty tricks". In Parkdale the Tories never had a chance of winning and finished a distant 3rd with only 15% of the vote. If there was a conspiracy to defeat Kennedy illegally, the NDP were the beneficiaries. Peggy Nash is no more desirable in opposition to the Tories than Gerry, so I don't see the motivation for Conservatives to break election law to have him defeated. The defeat of Gerard Kennedy is little more than a feel good story for right wingers.

What's The Best Job For Maxime Bernier?

With the Prime Minister set to announce his new cabinet some time this week, the only sure non-incumbent consensus pick is that Maxime Bernier will be given a seat at the cabinet table. Today's poll question; what cabinet job would be best for Mr. Bernier? His skill set would be best suited to an economic portfolio, and given his popularity in Quebec he deserves a significant responsibility. The Treasury Board is currently vacant, and Maxime has to be one of the names being considered. Though it is more likely that somebody like James Moore who has more time served in cabinet would get that kind of promotion. I don't expect a lot of changes, with probably about 75% of ministers keeping their current jobs. There doesn't need to be a major shake-up, because we have many talented ministers sitting in cabinet already. Foreign Affairs is open, but Maxime already had his shot at that one and accidentally left his office work at his girlfriend's apartment.

Even Martha Hall Findlay likes Chris Alexander for Foreign Affairs. It was odd to see her endorse the man who took down Mark Holland.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Coming Soon: Parliament

Those of us excited to see our newly elected Parliament in action aren't going to have to wait much longer. Today it was announced that government will be returning on June 2nd. Of course the Soloman Show is debating that Parliament should be sped back to work even earlier on an emergency basis to deal with the natural disasters that are hitting communities around the country. The Tory MP on Evan's panel had to remind him that many new MPs can't even be legally sworn in yet, which did take some of the wind out of the sails of Evan's "Parliament should come back sooner" debate. The federal government is already working with the provinces on disaster relief, and rushing the legislature back before they can even be sworn in isn't going to make any difference on the ground.

Jack Layton As Powerful As 1980 Joe Clark

Congrats to Jack Layton for now being tied with Joe Clark circa 1980 as the largest opposition ever in a Canadian majority government. Before you go making all kinds of promises to your new constituents Jack, just remember how much Joe Clark accomplished in the last term of Pierre Trudeau, nothing at all. Also there seems to be a belief among Quebec's chattering class that Layton is now Quebec's "strongman" in Ottawa, when in reality he can't accomplish anything more than Gilles Duceppe did. If Quebec Nationalists expect the NDP to be the new Bloc Quebecois, they are in for a major disappointment.

Unless of course Jack's strategy is a Quebec-centric platform designed to retain his seats, but he's still in opposition to a majority government and can't do anything without Conservative approval. He has to be willing to compromise if he's going to accomplish anything for Quebec. As we saw with Budget 2011, Jack wanted everything or nothing. The Tories addressed many NDP demands, but didn't spend quite enough so Jack withdrew his support of the government and forced an election. 60% of what he wanted wasn't enough. For Jack it was everything or nothing and if he takes that attitude into the next session, he won't pass any legislation of substance.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Reduced Conservative Majority

To all the Conservatives who have been celebrating the 167 seat majority victory in this month's Canadian federal election, you need to curb your enthusiasm because it turns out that it is only 166 seats. The NDP won a recount in Montmagny Quebec from the Tories, which the CBC is spinning as a significant loss for Stephen Harper and pushing the NDP to historic heights. They are calling this a loss for Harper because he now has fewer Quebec ministers to choose from when appointing cabinet, when the real losers are the people of Montmagny who lose a likely voice in cabinet. Instead they will have to settle for an opposition member who will have no power and not be able to affect any real change.

Personally I don't think that the government has to appoint a set number of cabinet ministers from every Province. Quebec had the chance to vote for the new natural governing party, but instead of voting for a seat in government they chose the NDP which only has the power to be first in line to complain. If Quebec is reduced to the same number of cabinet seats as Nova Scotia, I won't be losing any sleep. If what they wanted was a voice in opposition, then let them have their voice in opposition.

Great, the NDP is now tied with Joe Clark 1980 as the largest opposition in a majority government. Congrats, how much did Joe accomplish in the last term of Pierre Trudeau? Nothing at all.

Liberal Brand Now Toxic?

In the category of amusing political news items, an MLA with the provincial BC Liberal Party is now suggesting that the Party switch names so as not to be associated with the increasingly unpopular federal brand. The fun part is what should they name the new Party if they are to dump the Liberal name? Of course the BC Liberals only rose to power after absorbing the old Social Credit Party, but I doubt that any former Socreds would support the Liberals taking that name. Perhaps under Christy Clark they should call themselves the Clown Party, or even the Pirate Party? Given her family's deep ties to the criminal BC Rail deal, we should call her new Party the BC Rail Party?

Frankly as a BC resident and voter, I am cheering for the BC Conservatives to run a full slate of candidates in the next election and mount a strong right wing challenge to Clark's left wing Liberal revolution.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Liberals Out Of Work

Perhaps the biggest losers on May 2nd were not the Bloc and Liberal candidates who lost their seats, but rather their paid staffers who worked in their offices. The CBC is running a story about the 400 people who lost their jobs after the election. It makes sense that the CBC would be mourning the loss of so many possible anonymous sources. Hopefully these people will be able to integrate back into the labour force, because I doubt Bluesky has enough room to hire them all. Does anyone have any suggestions for possible career options for out of work Liberals? We don't want them simply collecting EI all summer, we should be trying to get them back to work, even if it is as a Starbucks "barista".

"The Elizabeth May Party"

Full marks to Kelly McParland for his article this week suggesting that the Green Party should change its name to the Elizabeth May Party, as she has transformed them into a one person show; great for Lizzy, but to the detriment of every Green member outside of Saanich. The Greens nationally saw their vote cut nearly in half, as their leader spent virtually all her time in Saanich trying to win the one riding. Being the leader afforded her media attention, which she was unwilling to share with other candidates. I also recommend Rex Murphy's latest piece about the "historic" Green victory in the election.

"Ms. May was supposed to bring the party a higher profile and greater credibility. She has succeeded in the first, although party members have to wonder exactly who is benefiting from the extra attention: the Greens or Elizabeth May. To a large degree their party leader has succeeded in establishing the Elizabeth May Party as a regular fixture, and has her seat in Saanich-Gulf Islands to prove it."

-Kelly McParland

Friday, May 13, 2011

Two New Supreme Court Judges

Ironically the day after a large "March for Life" rally in Ottawa, two Supreme Court judges are announcing their retirement. The Soloman Show was rife today with speculation as to what kind of judges will be selected to replace the outgoing justices. Today's poll question, should the Prime Minister appoint socially conservative judges to the Supreme Court? Also today the Supreme Court ruled that the public does not have the right to access all documents from the Prime Minister's Office or the offices of cabinet ministers. I'm sure Kady O'Malley will be pissed off.

I'm assuming that nobody knew during the campaign that these judges were likely going to retire, otherwise the Liberals would have gone bananas over the alleged evil right wingers the PM would inevitably select. The first judge stepping down is Louise Charron (the last Paul Martin appointee) who was not facing mandatory retirement until 2026. The other judge leaving is Ian Binnie, appointed by Chretien and otherwise scheduled for forced retirement in 2014. After the two new judges are named, then 4 of the 9 judges on our Supreme Court will have been appointed by Stephen Harper. The next scheduled mandatory retirement is November 16th, 2013, with one more retirement in 2014.

That means that by the time this majority Parliament ends in 2015, 6 of 9 Supreme Court of Canada judges will have been appointed by Stephen Harper.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

NDP Votes + Liberal Votes = 186 Seats

Now that the NDP are the official opposition they have cooled to talks about a merger with the Liberals, with Ed Broadbent now ruling out the possibility. Meanwhile if you do the math and shift 100% of the Liberal vote to the NDP, the Lib Dippers could go as high as 186 seats. That is of course assuming that all Liberal voters would migrate left, as signs indicate that many Liberal voters shifted right when the NDP surged in the polls. The question is why wouldn't the NDP try to increase the size of their tent and take a shot at 186 seats? Are they becoming arrogant, or are they not comfortable shifting to the center?

The NDP should be embracing merger talks while the Liberals are weak, because right now they have the most bargaining power and can get the best possible terms.

Which Cabinet Job Would You Give Jason Kenney?

Today's poll question; what cabinet job would you give Jason Kenney? Many of you rightfully feel that he should be rewarded with a significant promotion when Prime Minister Stephen Harper announces his new cabinet in the coming weeks. Kenney has been very effective at Immigration, and if he wanted to keep that job I'd have no objection to that. Where would you like to see him? Foreign Affairs? Treasury Board? Health? Public Works?

There are plenty of options to choose from.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Liberal Scorched Earth

Most pundits agree that the Liberal Party will find themselves in dire financial straights if the Conservatives cut tax payer subsidies to political parties. Susan Delacourt was on Power Play today declaring that Stephen Harper won't be happy until he drives a stake through the heart of the Liberal Party, which is likely how the Liberals will spin the elimination of their $2 per vote payments. They might even want to consider trying a full scorched earth where they declare bankruptcy claiming full victim status, being murdered by the vindictive Prime Minister.

The catch in all this is that the PM campaigned on eliminating the vote subsidy and was rewarded with a majority government. This is not a replay of 2008 when it came out as a big surprise, this is now a public part of the Tory platform. Yet, I expect the Liberals to cry bloody murder when their vote money is withdrawn.

Picking The Next Cabinet

Today's poll question is ready to go; after the budget, what policy initiative should the new Canadian government address first? The Prime Minister will announce a new cabinet before getting down to work, so I would like to collect some suggestions for cabinet appointments. Which cabinet ministers should retain their posts? Jim Flaherty has the Finance job as long as he wants it, and I like Tony Clement at Industry. We need a new Foreign Affairs minister, and I am nominating Chris Alexander. Leona Agluklak did a good job with the Health portfolio, but I think that would be a great position for Kellie Leitch (who even Jane Taber seems to be a fan of). One cabinet minister that I think deserves a promotion is James Moore, perhaps to the Treasury Board.

What say you?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

What Should Parliament Address First?

When our new federal Parliament is officially sworn in and gets to work, what legislation would you like to see them get to work on first? The Conservatives will be re-introducing and passing their budget as one of the first priorities, but what should come next? Scrapping tax subsidies to political parties? Senate reform? Privatizing the CBC? Eliminating the gun registry? Parliamentary seat distribution reform? Tough on crime bills? This is to be the subject of an upcoming poll question, but I'd like to listen to suggestions first to make sure I'm not forgetting anything. These are not secret agenda items; they are campaign promises, and we have a majority mandate.

Jack Layton's One Night Stand With Quebec?

When the Conservatives won 10 seats in Quebec in 2006, Chantal Hebert took a leave of absence from her job at the Toronto Star to write a book named "French Kiss: Stephen Harper's blind date with Quebec" (which ranks #3,658,410 on Amazon's best seller list, behind The Armageddon Factor which is at #2,181,787). So will Chantal take another leave to write a book about Quebec's latest love affair with Jack Layton? If she does, I have some ideas for book titles: One Night Stand, Knocked Up, The French Tickler, Booty Call, The Shocker, or maybe Friends With And Without Benefits.

When you look at the NDP's numbers in the province, the gains are remarkable to the point where they are likely unsustainable. In some ridings they jumped from 10% support in 2008 to over 50% support in 2011 in a province where populist political fads are easy come, easy go. Wooing French nationalists is far easier than maintaining their affection. That takes work, and if you don't deliver they move on to the next fad (which could be Trudeau-mania).

To make matters worse the NDP candidate recruiting and selection procedures were woefully negligent and inadequate. All you needed was to be friends with someone at a riding at office, and you could be nominated, selected, and elected without once setting foot in the area. Did they even go so far as to put an ad in the paper "Run for the NDP"? Maybe the Conservatives have had this wrong all along, trying to recruit top quality candidates and business leaders. Instead we should just try posting possible job openings in the Job Bank or Workopolis. No experience necessary (in fact no experience encouraged), you don't have to spend anything or do anything and you get $150K per year if you happen to win (whether you show up to work or not). I bet you'd get a lot of applications.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mothers Day From Mr. T

To all the mothers out there, may you have a great day. Today is a day to celebrate your mother and everything she has done for you. If you are looking for ideas on special ways to express your gratitude to your mother for raising you, consider playing her the Mr. T song Treat Your Mother Right. It is a cheesy 80s song, but when we were little kids my sister, some cousins and I did an air band performance to this song for our moms and it was very well received. Based on my own personal past experience, this Mr T video is a very effective way to say thank you to your mom.

New NDP MP: “I’m very excited about visiting the riding. I hear it’s a lovely area.”

If the first week after the election is any indication, this is going to be a fun 4 years! One of the newest Quebec NDP MPs Ruth Brosseau said in an interview today that she has never been to the riding she now represents, but that she is very excited to visit. I'm sure that will be of great comfort to her new constituents; but when they finally do get to talk to their newly elected representative to voice their opinions on issues, that voice had better be speaking English. She insists that she will not resign her seat, and will be going to Ottawa (fortunately she already lives there) to sit in Parliament because "once I’ve decided to do something, I do it". I'm sure the $150K salary has nothing to do with it...

Now that's entertainment! Poor NDP candidate selection at the riding level never ceases to amaze me. She's no Dana Larsen, but she is still completely unqualified to sit in Parliament, as are many of her new colleagues.

Did Harper Trick Ignatieff Into Forcing Early Election?

At the start of the 2011 election campaign, some pundits were musing that Stephen Harper in fact engineered his own defeat and tricked Ignateiff into forcing the early election. This theory was born from the fact that the Liberals were trailing significantly in the polls when they decided to bring down the government, which had a lot of people scratching their heads. Generally elections are forced by parties who sense "winning conditions", but those tea leaves did not exist for the Liberals in March.

It is more likely Ignatieff's ignorance that forced this election instead of an elaborate rouse by the Prime Minister, but I suspect that the PM wanted the Liberals to defeat the government, if he sensed a majority on the horizon.

As I wrote on March 27th:

"This is a plausible thesis considering the lead the Tories have in the polls, leaving a lot of people scratching their heads wondering why the opposition would be so recklessly foolish triggering an election when they are so far behind. If the Tories win a majority, this "historic" contempt of Parliament vote will be forever viewed as one of the dumbest political blunders in Canadian history. The opposition might have done the Prime Minister a giant favour by forcing an early election, and it might be exactly what Stephen Harper wanted."

Friday, May 6, 2011

What Happened In Edmonton-Strathcona?

This was one result that I did not expect on election day, NDP MP Linda Duncan retaining her Edmonton seat and substantially increasing her margin of victory from 2008. The Tory vote held consistent, but Linda went up 11% in popular vote, while the Liberals fell 6.3% and the Greens fell 4.1% (there are almost no Lib or Green votes left to migrate to her in 2015). It isn't fair to call Ryan Hastman a dud because he did get more total votes than Jaffer did in 2008, though his share of the popular vote fell 1.1% because 1500 more people voted. I would be curious to see how many people moved into this riding since 2008. Elections Canada does keep track of how many voters where transferred in from another riding, though you might have to do an access to information request to see that information. Did a whole bunch of Alberta's left wingers migrate to that riding?

Harper Invades Quebec!

Oh no, it is exactly as Scott Reid and Paul Martin feared, if given a majority government Stephen Harper would invade Canadian cities. Shortly after winning a large majority, the armoured personnel carriers started rolling into Quebec. As we speak they are putting up sandbags around a small community, possibly to entrench their position for the battle ahead. I'm sure they are not there to protect the citizens from a natural disaster, this is part of Stephen Harper's secret agenda. This is what Scott Reid predicted, that's how I know it is true...

Soldiers with guns in our streets, in Canada. I'm not making this up.

PS: I do want to say thank you to those people (military and civilian) who are putting their own safety at risk to help protect others. Keep doing what you do!

Who Should Be Interim Liberal Leader?

Today's poll question; who should be the interim leader of the Liberal Party? Sure, there is not much left in caucus to choose from, but there are a handful of big names remaining. Stephane Dion is the only remaining MP who has won a leadership convention and was overthrown by Ignatieff in an undemocratic bloodless coup. This is just a caretaker role until the Liberals save up enough money to hold a new leadership race, as they haven't even finished paying for the last one. If the Liberals want to merge with the NDP, Bob Rae is the man. If the Liberals want to win back Quebec from the NDP, Justin Trudeau is the man. If the Liberals want to lower expectations with a happy hour superstar, John McCallum is the man.

Personally as a Conservative I think Dominic LeBlanc is the most electable potential leader left in caucus. For a permanent leader, the Liberals may want to consider looking outside caucus, because they don't have much talent left on Parliament hill.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Now That We Have A Majority...

Ha Ha Ha, we fooled Canadians and have squeezed out a majority government! Now we are free to unveil our secret hidden agenda and subvert our democracy! Woo Hoo! What's the point of ever having another election when we can have Stephen Harper as Prime Minister for life? Fixed election dates every 20 years sounds about right. We can sell Evan Soloman and Terry Milewski to North Korea, sell our hospitals to the United States, and make it illegal to even think about sex before marriage. Thought police...think about it. With an oil tanker in every driveway we can herd the poor into open pit mining gulags in Nunavut. I am so excited for this new country that we have created that I am going to steal candy from the next baby I see!

We should offer George Bush a Senate seat so that we can put him in cabinet. Who cares if he's not Canadian, we have a majority and we can do anything we want to do! Dick Chenney the next inductee into the Order of Canada? Two words, invade Cuba. Mandatory church attendance on Sundays, enforceable by jail terms. The question is not whether or not to disband the CBC, it is whether or not to send all their employees to secret prisons. Not only do I want more prisons, I want more secret prisons. Aircraft carriers, lots of them, such that we could bomb countries that allow abortions. I can't be the only one who wants to build a military base on the moon. Can we at least build a Death Star?

Come on people, we have a majority! We can do anything we want! I am being completely serious, not sarcastic at all...

The Ignatieff Blame Game

As some talking heads try to come to grips with Monday's crushing Liberal defeat, many are blaming it on the effectiveness of Tory attack ads against Ignatieff. If not for those ads, the Liberals would not have collapsed and we might be lurching towards a left wing coalition government today. While I agree that the ads were very effective, the reason they were effective is because Iggy is an inherently creepy man. Be it his shocking resemblance to Count Chocula or how he always sticks his tongue out like a lizard when he speaks, Canadians were never comfortable with him. The ads worked because he was really terrible choice for leader of a party, not that he would have been a great candidate had it not been for the ads. The chicken came before the egg. Had Iggy been a likable charismatic man, the ads would not have been as effective as they were.

The University of Toronto really is the best place for him. I had been cheering for him to go back to Boston after writing True Patriot Love, but generally I am very pleased to see him fade back into academia.

Thanks for the memories Mike...

Survivors Of Liberal Attacks

Pop quiz: what do Lisa Raitt, Bev Oda, Christian Paradis, Tony Clement, Gerald Keddy, Maxime Bernier, Peter MacKay and Wai Young all have in common? All of them comfortably survived contrived Liberal controversies to win their seats. The biggest being Bev Oda, who's controversy helped fuel the Liberal contempt of Parliament drive that forced this election. Bev won her riding by 20,000 votes. Yeah, her constituents were really pissed off that one of her aides scribbled in "not" to reject funding for an anti-Israeli organization. To those right wing pundits that called Bev incompetent, her constituents disagreed with you.

Lisa Raitt with her "sexy" portfolio won her riding by 24,000 votes. Tony Clement allegedly misappropriated G8 funds (in addition to census-gate), he won by 15,000 votes. Bernier left cabinet files at his girlfriends house, he won by 11,000 votes. Keddy handed out a jumbo cheque with a Tory logo. MacKay helped torture detainees and won by 12,000 votes. Young was invited to speak at a parents night at a Sikh school, and someone acquitted of a terrorist act showed up.

I'm sure that I'm forgetting other controversies. The Liberals have thrown out so many of these that it is tough to keep track. I don't even remember what Christain Paradis allegedly did, just that one day I ran a poll question "should Paradis resign?"

Canada's Next Speaker

Now that we have a new Tory majority, who should be the next Speaker of the House? This is a difficult decision, do you go with a high profile MP that could otherwise be in cabinet, or should it be a lesser known MP? Having previously endorsed Michael Chong for the job, I still think it would be entertaining to see John Baird in the Speaker's chair. But he is likely to get a top cabinet spot, so there are more valuable posts that he can serve. Perhaps we can go with a female speaker? I doubt the Prime Minister would appoint Bev Oda, but the irony would be delicious.

Who should be appointed? Maxime Bernier would be interesting.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Stephen Harper: "George Bush Without The Warmth And Intellect"

Nice to see Heather Mallick is taking the new Conservative majority government gracefully. Of course that is intended as a statement of sarcasm, not unlike how Heather would cite the warmth and intellect of an ex-President she clearly considers to be an evil idiot. Her sentiments were echoed by the scattering of left wingers who called in to Vancouver talk radio on Tuesday. There was a lot of "Canadians are stupid", "blah blah blah George Bush blah blah blah", "you will get what you deserve" etc etc etc.

To be honest, this kind of hatred doesn't bother me in the days after the Tories won a majority. I'm in a very happy place right now. It amuses me to listen to Charles Adler read Heather Mallick's column.

The Death Of The Bloc

Ding dong, the Bloc is dead. While the party still exists despite being reduced to 4 seats, the newly elected Tory majority will eliminate the vote subsidies on which the Bloc is dependent for their survival. The sovereigntist donor base gives most of their money to the Party Quebecois provincially. If you take away the subsidy money, the separatists would be smart to pour all their resources into the mothership that can actually force a referendum. The Bloc was always just gravy, trying to extort a better deal for a single province but never affecting anything of substance.

The PQ is the parent of the Bloc, and if they are reduced to being nothing more than a financial burden that can't pay for itself, there is a really good chance that they will be dissolved. They no longer have official party status, despite still getting a lot of votes on election day. All this being said, if the Bloc goes up by 5%, the NDP could lose half their caucus.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Layton's "Mandate For Change"?

Today Jack Layton declared that Canadian voters gave him a "mandate for change" on election day, as though he is suddenly going to pass all kinds of legislation to shake up the country. Jack, it was great that you had this historic night, but has anyone told you that the Conservatives won a strong majority? The Tories got the mandate from the voters, not the NDP. What you won was first place in line to complain. The NDP can't actually do anything without the support of the governing party. Good luck getting Stephen Harper to agree to a carbon tax.

That being said, it is shrewd to come out of the box with policy instead repeating the mistake of Ignatieff, refusing to unveil policy and take no firm positions in the first year of his reign of errors. The Liberals were simply reactionary, and look where it has taken them as a party. By the time Thinkapalooza came around, impressions had already been set. Their demise has been a slow and agonizing death. The NDP are not repeating the same strategic mistake, but going so far as to say they won a mandate is a bit rich.

How Does Absorbing Bloc Change The NDP?

As the NDP heads into official opposition status in a Tory majority, how does their outlook on life change after absorbing the Bloc Quebecois? Don't get me wrong, I'm more than happy to see death of the Bloc, to see Gilles lose his seat, 95% of his caucus gone. I'm just wondering where do we go from here? This much we know for sure, Jack you may happily instruct your MPs that they may schedule all the vacations they want until 2015. Well done NDP, I'm just wondering when sovereignty becomes part of their platform. Jack could be the next Mario Dumont.

Thank You Conservative Volunteers

Prior to the election I predicted that the difference would be the ground game, which is what drove the Tories to 44% in Ontario (where Nanos had them at 36% the day before) and took the party over the top across the country. We all owe a big thank you to all the volunteers who pounded the pavement, who drove people to the polls, who repaired vandalized campaign signs on a daily basis, who knocked on doors; all right minded people owe you a debt of gratitude. It does make a Tory majority feel just a little bit sweeter when you have contributed to it.

I can't claim credit for being a volunteer. I earn roughly $1.25 per hour for my blogging work, so I have been corrupted by commercial gain. Oh well, I would like to claim some credit for relentlessly hammering Iggy Pop over the last 2 years. He has even lost his seat! In the fall of 2009 I blogged Can Ignatieff even win Etobicoke Lakeshore? Can I claim to be the first pundit to predict Iggy would lose his seat?

CTV Mathematicians

At about 7:20 pm Pacific time Monday night, CTV mathematicians reported a 10% chance that the Tories would win a majority. This despite the Tory count being at 130ish with about 80 ridings left to report (many of those in the west). About 40 minutes later their network declared a large Tory majority. Great work CTV math guys! How do you see the Tories at 130 with most ballots left to be counted in Western Canada and say they have a 10% chance of a majority? They reported this 10% chance about 5 minutes after I texted my sister that there was a really good chance of majority. Hopefully none of you eggheads quit your day job.

What's funny is that on election eve Lloyd Robertson was on CTV bragging about the team of mathematicians at their disposal, supposedly brilliant people who tell the story the way it is. 10% chance about a half hour before majority declared. Good call.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Iggy Popped: Conservative Majority!

What a night! Iggy popped, and was not able to retain his own seat. Goodbye Michael Ignatieff, Mark Holland, Gerard Kennedy, Ken Dryden, Shiobhan Coady, Ujjal Dosangh, Gilles Duceppe, Ruby Dhalla, Helena Guergis, Marc Garneau, Joe Volpe, Anita Neville, and many more as the Tories have captured a large majority government. The Liberals and Bloc Quebecois have been decimated and if you are a right winger this has been a night to celebrate with your beer and popcorn! I never imagined that the Liberals would fall to 34 seats and the Bloc to 4. How does absorbing the Bloc change the NDP? They now have a lot of Quebec MPs, so there will be a shift in their priorities.

This has been a historic night indeed!

Bob Rae remains in parliament with Stephane Dion and Justin Trudeau.

Here is my anthem for Monday night...

Thank You CBC For Airing Early Election Results

I am in British Columbia eagerly waiting for our polls to close so that I can find out what happened back east. Fortunately CBC Newsworld was able to satisfy my appetite with a few minutes of coverage that allowed me to see what was unfolding in Atlantic Canada, before our polls have officially closed in BC. This now begs the question, will Elections Canada punish the CBC for providing me with information that I wanted to know? Will they call the RCMP and raid CBC headquarters? If our tax funded election body takes on our tax funded public broadcaster, the tax payers are going to be paying the expenses on both ends.

It provided me with a moment of joy. I was jumping up and down in my apartment when I saw *bleep*'s acceptance speech in Nova Scotia. For that, I must thank the incompetent engineers at the CBC. Thank you.

This law is really pissing me off. The law predates the existence of television.

What If Liberals Finish 3rd In Tory Minority?

An excellent question, do you think the Liberals would vote against the throne speech if they finish in 3rd place behind Jack Layton in another Tory minority? If they topple the government, the Governor General would go to leader of the official opposition to ask them if they are willing to form government. At least that's how Iggy told us our democracy works. Would the Liberals help put Layton in 24 Sussex? Somehow I doubt they would. How do you think this will unfold if Jack Finishes in 2nd place and we have a Tory minority?

PS: Anonymous comments are turned off for the day, so if you'd like to leave a message you'll have to sign in with an ID. If you leave a comment disclosing election results before 7pm Pacific time and Elections Canada gets angry with me, I will send them your IP address. Opinions are welcome, results are not until all polls are closed.

2011 Election Prediction

My final prediction for the 41st Canadian election is right on the border of a Tory majority with the NDP as the official opposition; Conservative 153, NDP 63, Liberal 61, Bloc 30, and 1 Independent. If the final numbers from Nanos are accurate, then the Tories will fall roughly 10 seats shy of a majority, but I believe that the Tory ground game will be the difference maker on Monday. One big question is whether or not the Conservatives can regain representation in Newfoundland, now that Danny Williams is not campaigning against the party. I think the Tories will have a good day in Ontario. Quebec is anybody's guess, but I would not be so quick to predict the death of the Bloc...Though if you saw Duceppe's election eve speech in Montreal, he looked to be fighting back tears. I expect Gary Lunn to defeat Elizabeth May.

PS: Anonymous comments are turned off for the day, so if you'd like to leave a message you'll have to sign in with an ID. If you leave a comment disclosing election results before 7pm Pacific time and Elections Canada gets angry with me, I will send them your IP address. Opinions are welcome, results are not until all polls are closed.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Bin Laden Dead!

Wow, the night before the Canadian Election, news is breaking that the United States has recovered the body of Osama Bin Laden who was killed by an American special ops unit deep inside Pakistan personally authorized by President Obama (initial reports that it was a predator drone attack were not correct). Well done America! If this is indeed true, expect Obama to get a big bounce in the polls. This dramatically increases his probability of re-election in 2012. This will be the big conversation around the water cooler on Canada's election day. Canadian troops are preparing to withdraw from Afghanistan, which is great timing.

Ignatieff The Worst Leader In Liberal History?

Twas the night before the election and all through the house, many pollsters were stirring, especially Nik Nanos. It would appear that the safest bet Monday is that the Liberals will have their worst outing in the history of their party. That begs the question, is Iggy the worst Liberal leader ever? It is hard to believe that anyone could have a worse performance than Stephane Dion, but at least he finished in 2nd place. That is my election day poll question.

To all those pundits who said after the debates that there were no knockout punches, you were wrong. Clearly the Jack Layton attendance jab caught Iggy square on the chin, as it was the precise moment will Liberal numbers began to crash. Depending on how things turn out on Monday, that debate moment will go down in the annals of history as a game changer.

The Final Countdown

Tomorrow Canadians head to the polls for our nation's 41st general election. Seat predictions are currently all over the map because there have been some dramatic shifts in Quebec polling numbers that have sent forecasters scrambling to figure it out. For the NDP, the difference between 55 seats and 97 seats boils down to about a 5% range in the exodus from the Bloc. Here are some Quebec scenarios, holding the Tories and Liberals at 18%:

NDP 32%, Bloc 28%; NDP gets 14 seats, Bloc 38
NDP 34%, Bloc 26%; NDP gets 30 seats, Bloc 23
NDP 37%, Bloc 23%; NDP gets 53 seats, Bloc 6

What a difference 5% makes! Personally I'm capping the NDP at 33% in Quebec. I will post my final predictions tonight. My new computer arrived on Friday, and I spent much of Saturday rebuilding my election matrix which was lost when my old computer crashed. Nanos will be releasing new numbers on Sunday night. The Tories are currently about 4% in Ontario short of a majority. To put it another way, a Tory majority is within the margin of error. Maybe we can call that a "statistical majority"?

Which Party Leader Will Lose Their Job First?

Today's poll question; who will be the first political leader to lose their job after the election? Ignatieff, May, and Duceppe have all been colossal failures. Jack has exceeded expectations, though he'll be lucky to get his new supporters to polling booths on election day. If I had to guess, Elizabeth May will be the first to go. Her own party has been trying to turf her for over a year, while Liz has done everything possible to block a leadership review.

As for Iggy, it depends how much of a hurry he's in to get back to Boston. Perhaps one of the reasons for Liberal decline in Quebec are Habs fans not trusting the Boston guy. I could see that. Duceppe is facing catastrophic loses, which could see Gilles getting the ceremonial guillotine.

Many have been musing that the failure to win a majority will be the end of Stephen Harper. I'll believe it when I see it, though it is not impossible. My personal opinion is that Harper has been a very effective leader at navigating a volatile minority parliament. It is very rare in Canadian politics for a minority leader to survive for 5 consecutive years.