Sunday, February 26, 2012

We Finally Know Why The Liberals Lost

If you were shocked that the Liberals got their asses kicked in the last federal election, fear not, we finally have an explanation. Robocalls. Case closed. The latest scandal of the week is that a company hired by the Conservatives to do campaign work in the last election was allegedly robocalling voters directing them to false voting locations. That is not only a stupid idea, it is illegal. Investigating it should be a fairly simple matter, find out who made the calls and charge them with a crime. Either the company was told to use this particular tactic, or it was their own idea. Either they were calling from a predetermined list of known Liberal supporters, or they were random dialing numbers out of the phone book (in which case they would also be misdirecting right leaning voters to false locations). That's what investigations are for, before we all go rushing to extreme hyperbole (I'm talking to you Bob).

Here's the part I don't get. There were reports on election day that people had been receiving telephone calls misdirecting them, which again, is illegal. The election was 10 months ago and Elections Canada was obligated to investigate those reports, as I'm sure they have been. Does anyone know how that investigation is going? It should not be hard to get phone records for criminal phone calls (and if it is, I have some suggested additions to bill C-30). They already know the name of the company alleged to have done this. We know that a number of conservative voters also received such phone calls. Mostly, I'd like to know who thought this was a good idea. It is an easily traceable criminal offense with a high probability of being reported and investigated. Bob Rae is out doing his best to tie this directly to Stephen Harper, but Stephen Harper is not stupid. This was a stupid idea, likely to become known and damage public perception of the party.

You need to read what Sandy at Crux of the Matter wrote about her own experience. We know Bob Rae is already blaming the ass kicking his party received on robocalls. Investigation be damned Stephen Harper must have a Richard Nixon ouija board in his office. All political parties get a list of the registered voters in the riding before the election. Before election day, they even get an updated list on who has voted and who hasn't.

I downloaded Google Chrome because I wanted to write about this after listening to Bob Rae yap on the radio today. This web browser sucks. Please Google, resolve your spat with Microsoft.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sorry Google...

Google Blogger seems to be having a bit of a dispute with Microsoft, as Blogger is no longer accessible through Internet Explorer; the message goes "your browser is no longer supported by Blogger". They want me to start using Google Chrome, but unfortunately I am a fan of IE and am not changing my preferences just because Google and Microsoft are having a technical dispute. So for the time being, I'm shutting things down until I figure out my options. Wordpress seems to be the best alternative, though I have to look into the logistics of transferring a library of 2,500 posts.

"I'll be back"

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Has Vic Toews Been Treated Fairly?

Today's poll question; has Justice Minister Vic Toews been treated fairly this week? On Tuesday he introduced a government bill to help police catch child pornographers, which had many on the left and some on the right going bananas expecting to be persecuted like child predators. By Thursday the CBC was promoting places on Twitter where you could go to attack Vic personally. One Twitter feed with a House of Commons IP address went so far as to post sensitive details from Toews personal life. All this because he introduced a bill to catch child predators, then made the ill advised comment that if you do not support the legislation then you support child pornography.

Liberal MP Wayne Easter seems to think he deserves what he's getting, but I'd rather hear what you have to say. Has this now gone too far?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Should Trudeau Run For Liberal Leader?

Today's poll question; would you like to see Justin Trudeau become leader of the Liberal Party? Previously I have endorsed Gerard Kennedy as my favoured "scorched earth" candidate, but he has been overtaken in recent days. There is no doubt in my mind that the Tories would win a second majority if JT led the party into the next election. The assortment of video clips that are piling up in his wake are becoming legendary in a bad way, and will provide priceless material for election ads. The third person references are outstanding and hopefully those will continue.

Realistically the separation fiasco this week has eliminated the likelihood that he runs against Bob Rae in 2013. He has a constituency should he decide to run, and I truly hope he does. Promoting separation as an option if you disagree with the elected government? The fact that he doesn't seem to understand why his words were so toxic, is just further evidence that he's not fit to lead the country, but lead the Liberals, absolutely. He can count on the Iceman's endorsement, because the Iceman also lives Canada in his bones.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

To Catch A Predator

It is astonishing how a piece of legislation designed to make it easier for law enforcement to capture and prosecute those who produce and traffic child pornography, in matter of hours, can have the media going bananas with broadcasters comparing the bill to George Orwell's 1984 (thanks for that Lisa LaFlamme). We can all agree that producing or possessing child pornography is a despicable crime, one we would all like to see wiped out. We know that the people who commit this crime in the greatest volume are incredibly cryptic and difficult to catch.

The perverts we see on the show "To Catch a Predator" are more of the casual/curious pedophiles, the big fish generally aren't that easy to catch. If this legislation is a bad idea, then does anyone else have any better ideas on how we can increase the rate at which we capture them? Certainly having officers cruise the Internet posing as sexually curious minors is a great deterrent and should continue. We want the creeps to know that if they go online to try and find a victim there is a reasonable chance it could be a cop. I'd like to hear from those officers who specialize in capturing child predators and pornography traffickers why this legislation is good or not.

I don't need left wing journalists alleging that Stephen Harper's thought police are going to hunt down scores of innocent civilians under cover of darkness. Honestly 99% of Canadians will never be affected in any significant way by this legislation. I'm a Libertarian with no objection given the objective. But hey, maybe I'm just an idiot for trusting the police.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Justin Trudeau: Idiot At Best, Separatist At Worst

Today Justin Trudeau told a Quebec radio host that if he thought "Canada was really the Canada of Stephen Harper" that he would consider making Quebec its own country. This is a remarkably dumb thing for a man who sees himself one day running for Prime Minister to say. Clearly this was not something blurted out on a whim like the "piece of sh*t" cat call in Question Period, but rather something "I always say". He's put a lot of thought into it, with the intended strategy of appealing to the Bloc swing voters who elected all those Dippers last May. This might play well on the Quebec left's cocktail circuit and might make him some new friends; but outside the province, he looks like an idiot at best, a separatist at worst.

"I always say that if, at a given time, I believed that Canada was really the Canada of Stephen Harper and that we were going against abortion, that we were going against gay marriage, that we were moving backwards in 10,000 different ways, maybe I would think of wanting to make Quebec a country."

He's going to have this one thrown back in face for the rest of his political career. I'm sure Bob Rae has no intention of instructing Justin to stop saying ridiculous things. Trudeau has a significant base of support to run for Liberal leader whenever he decides to do so, but shit like this piling up doesn't help his chances. Up until now he was probably Rae's biggest threat, and these self inflicted wounds only improve Bobby's chances of capturing the permanent leadership.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Canada's Aging Second Hand Submarines

Today's poll question; Should the Liberals have bought Canada's 4 cold war era submarines from the British 13 years ago? Hindsight is starting to show that it was a colossally bad idea, as repeated problems and frequent repairs have wiped out the savings from buying the boats used. Would you rather we buy new subs or do you think that we don't need any at all? Canada has one of the world's largest coastlines and as such submarines can serve a useful purpose (like patrolling for smugglers). If there are more efficient and less costly means of performing this function, all options should be considered. The current sub fleet is close to its end anyway, so we are going to have to start slowly decommissioning them in the not so distant future. Perhaps we can buy fewer planes and a few more boats?

Evan Soloman was trying to float the idea today that there was a mysterious cover up regarding a training accident last summer, and that the government has been "misleading" Canadians. It was reported that there was an accident, but apparently we should have been told there was a big hole in the front of the boat. None of the sailors were seriously injured (two had minor bruising), the boat made it back to base on its own power and an inquiry was held into the incident (which is why Evan even had pictures to wave around for the camera). I'm not sure why they seem to think every detail regarding damage to our military equipment needs to be broadcast immediately to the entire world. How many other countries do that?

Evan was focusing in on the fact that the damaged sub was removed from the water at night to support his cover up conspiracy "under cover of darkness". Then later he had a military rep on the show who simply explained that it was done at 4am because they needed high tide to lift it onto the dry dock. Evan struggled to come to terms with the simple truth, and that the damage was structurally like "ripping the skin off your bumper", except that it is an expensive bumper. He had a very unhappy look on his face. It was almost funny to watch him conduct his interview while trying to compute the information, after he'd been pumping a cover up of a larger story for the first hour and a half of his show.

This is yet another example of the media breaking a story before they have completed their research. In the modern 24 hour news cycle and Twitter universe, journalists compete to be the first to break a story, and often do so before completing their due diligence. The bloggosphere and punditry class then go on to draw conclusions based on incomplete information. When they end up looking like idiots, they'll blame the government for not telling everyone every detail about everything immediately.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Three Cheers For Pandas!

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's trade mission to China has been a roaring success. Not only did he secure Canada billions of dollars in trade agreements, but he scored Toronto and Calgary a pair of pandas. Nice touch! Granted, there are some people who don't want us to sell resources to China or accept their pandas. Rather what we should be doing is boycotting trade until they change their foreign and domestic policy to something that's more agreeable with Canadian values. Evidently making public statements disagreeing with Chinese policy is insufficient, we should cut off trade altogether until they change (because doing so will surely make them change course).

The poll question today on the CBC's Rosemary Barton Show was; is Canada putting trade with China ahead of human rights? 83% said yes. It's ridiculous that Soloman has started naming his polls "the ballot box question", when most of his loaded questions are completely irrelevant to how people vote. I'd like to see Rosemary permanently take over for Evan. The better question is; should Canada halt trade with China until they adopt more agreeable foreign and domestic policies?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Warning Shots-gate

The controversy of the day on Thursday was whether or not it is appropriate to fire warning shots with a gun to deter someone threatening your life. Recent comments by the Justice Minister set off a small media firestorm, including attacks in Question Period and a grilling on the Soloman Show. Though when Evan ran a poll asking "should you be able to defend your property with a gun?" it is unlikely he was expecting 80% of his audience to answer "yes". You can lead sheep to water, but you can't always make them drink. He should have asked if it is cool to fire warning shots.

Today's poll question; if you are being threatened, is it acceptable to fire warning shots with a gun?

Liberals For Life

Looks like the pro-life wing of the Liberal Party is starting to become more active, but I don't see rampant media accusations that the Party is trying to re-open the abortion debate and threatening women's rights. Instead the conspiracy is that "some federal Liberals fear single-issue pro-lifers are trying to hijack their weakened party." That was the opening sentence of Joan Bryden's recent exposé in the Globe. Thanks Joan. Any mention of the word "abortion" coming from the right is generally like "cat nip" for the left, but they struggle to process it when the words come from their own side.

Remember when Bob Rae tried to pass legislation for Canadian taxpayers to fund abortions in foreign countries? That bill died on the floor of the minority House of Commons because a handful of "Liberals for Life" declined to show up for the whipped vote. Now Liberals for Life are trying to get a pro lifer nominated for the Liberal Party in the upcoming byelection in Jack Layton's old riding. Rest assured Bob Rae will overrule the candidacy even if they succeed, but it will be interesting to see how he goes about stomping out this fire. The Liberals have been attacking a Tory "hidden agenda" on abortion for over a decade. Meanwhile it is an agenda shared by a number of Liberals who don't get anywhere near the attention of Tory backbenchers.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What Happened To Kevin Page's "Demographic Time Bomb"?

Certainly I can't be the only one who remembers Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page hammering the Tory government's long term budget projections in 2010 because they did not take into account Canada's "demographic time bomb" (aka: our aging population). Fast forward to 2012 when we are debating pension reform and suddenly everything is sustainable and does not require change? Well Kevin, which is it? Is a bomb about to explode, or is everything sunshine and lollipops? Forgive my confusion, maybe Kevin has just been so busy booking Liberal fundraisers that he's taken his eye off the ball. Certainly Andrew Coyne thinks we have a very serious problem.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Government Promoting Torture?

The big controversy today on the Soloman Show was a "government directive to CSIS" to use information that MAY have been obtained through torture if that information can save lives. As you can well imagine, the usual suspects went bananas claiming that this was tantamount to promoting and encouraging the use of torture. Gerard Kennedy was damned near ready to ship Vic Toews off to the Hague. Evan kept referring to "groups" who might use torture, when in fact what he's talking about are foreign governments, a number of them our allies.

Canada has intelligence sharing agreements with roughly 150 countries, and a chunk of them allow what we define as torture. Does that mean we should immediately stop accepting all intel from those countries, or should we have them prove that no torture was used on a case by case basis? I was hoping that Evan would list all our allies who permit torture that we should stop sharing intel with, but he would only mention the United States and Afghanistan. Today's poll question; should we stop accepting all intelligence from countries known to on occasion use torture? We're going to have to stop using most intelligence coming out of the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. I'm not sure how much we can use from South America either.

One thing that kept coming up today was that the information obtained through torture "is not reliable" or "tainted". It is most unreliable when obtaining a confession, but I would be curious to see the actual numbers when it comes to the locations of militant bases, future attacks, or the names of operatives. That data is likely classified, but my guess is that the more specific the information, the more reliable it is. I don't condone torture nor want to see my country torturing enemy combatants, but if Saudi Intelligence informs us that there could be an attack on a subway on a certain day, we certainly can't ignore that because someone may or may not have been tortured. It may not be 100% reliable, but neither is it 100% unreliable.

The letter Vic Toews wrote to CSIS (which Evan kept waving around for the camera today) made perfect sense. It is not creating a "market for torture" if we accept intel that may save lives. One panel loon even
went so far as to say that this memo was going to lead to rendition, where we start shipping off prisoners to foreign countries for the sole purpose of having them tortured. Come on man! Seriously?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Canada's Relationship With China

Once upon a time when Stephen Harper criticized China for human rights abuses, the Liberals went bananas saying that it jeopardized our valuable trade relationship. Now that Harper is in China on a trade mission, Bob Rae is on the CBC saying that the PM should speak out against human rights abuses when Evan Solo asked him how he should deal with China. I believe Bob's exact words were that the Harper government must "become a more robust proponent" on human rights. Meanwhile the PM has gone so far in the past as to boycott the Beijing Olympics, which won him support in the Canadian Asian community.

Now Mark Holland is on criticizing the Prime Minister for once doing too much and now not doing enough. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Either way, China has a lot of money and we have a lot of resources to sell. Though 63% of Evan's audience does not think that we should "boost ties" with China while they support Syria. My poll question: how much trade should we seek with China? More, less, or the same?

The Soloman Show has a neat new feature that if you Tweet something with the hash tag #PnP during the show, it will pop up on the screen during the broadcast. Obviously there is a filter. I went 2 for 3 today. My Tweet asking if Mark Holland gets paid for panel appearances (and if so how much) did not make it to air. It was a surprise to see my Tweet "Anytime anyone even loosely affiliated with the Tories mentions abortion, Soloman has to dedicate half his show to it. #PnP" pop up on my television. Solo has really been pumping the Twitter hard.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The James Moore Decline

Very rarely do I run a poll during a "controversy" asking if a Tory minister should be expelled from cabinet with the result leaning 75% yes. Yet James Moore has accomplished exactly that. Did this collapse in support happen overnight or has he been slowly building towards this since taking the Heritage portfolio? He has lost more support in the right leaning community in a short period of time than Helena Guergis ever did. Many have stood by Christian Paradis, Maxime Bernier, Tony Clement, Bev Oda, Lisa Raitt, etc; but Moore's support of the CBC and his prophecy of Sun News demise has created more ill will than any of the aforementioned "controversial" figures.

I'd have to say that the first Blogging Tory I can remember hammering James Moore on a semi-regular basis was BC Blue. He's been on this for a while, but the calls for his cabinet expulsion are a very recent phenomenon. Once upon a time Moore was a rising star, but after too many galas he's become drunk on the elixir of Canada's cultural elite.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Dalton McGuinty Lied To Voters?

When Dalton McGuinty ran television ads pumping the vigorous health of Ontario's finances in the election a few short months ago, turns out he might have been covering up a serious problem. In his first election victory he promised not to raise taxes, then broke that promise repeatedly and blaming it on Mike Harris. Dalton is now in his third term, so he can't blame this on Iron Mike anymore. This is now on his shoulders. To all those people who re-elected him, this is on you, seduced by the happy smiling face on TV. For more on this story, I direct you to Kelly McParland who wrote a great piece today for the Post.

I decided to move from Ontario to British Columbia in the first half of McGuinty's first term, and I'm happy to be here (even if I want our Premier replaced).

Friday, February 3, 2012

Should James Moore Be A Cabinet Minister?

Today's poll question; do you think that James Moore should be sitting in cabinet? The Tory Heritage Minister is under fire for recent comments to a Sun News reporter that she's a "pawn" for her employer after a question about the CBC broadcasting porn. He went on to say that Sun News is going to be shut down (I'll try not to hold my breath while waiting for that prophecy comes true). Even Heather Mallick has come out in favour of Moore, once considered to be a bright star of this Conservative Party. I'm starting to wonder if he's attended too many galas and parties to be thinking straight on the matter of Canadian culture. Nobody gets to attend more parties than a Heritage minister. Should he be booted out of Cabinet, shuffled out of Heritage, or stay in his current job?

For more dialogue on this matter, check out the comment section over at Blue Like You.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Breaking News: Bob Barker Pissed Off

The coolest news story this Groundhog Day is that one Bob Barker is furious at his former game show the Price is Right for awarding a prize vacation package to the Calgary Stampede on a recent episode, which he sees as animal cruelty. The price is wrong Bob, and may the people who won the prize enjoy their trip to Calgary taking in a great show! The Stampede is quality entertainment and a must visit "bucket list" destination. Bob Barker being pissed off (as the PETA people often are) is a headline that should surprise nobody, it was just fun to see his old show promoting bull riding, cattle roping, etc.

As the wise philosopher Happy Gilmore once said "I hate that Bob Barker".

Groundhog Day

Happy Groundhog Day everyone! If you've missed it thus far, the most famous groundhogs seem to be at odds with each other as to whether it is warming or cooling, on this a day when weather experts admitted that the cold winter they predicted isn't happening. The explanation is that strong jet streams are trapping cold air in the arctic. That should be great for the polar bears right? But this "holiday" (if you can call it that) is about the rodents, and really amounts to nothing more than a coin toss. Statistically the little critter is right about 50% of the time.

My own observation about this Groundhog Day in Vancouver was an unusually high number of traffic accidents this morning. My regularly 45 minute commute took nearly 3 hours. It was a nightmare this morning on Vancouver roads. The weather was fine, conditions normal, just a cluster of traffic incidents on Groundhog Day. Spooky, though I'm sure nothing more than a coincidence.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Pension Crisis Deniers

While many on the left have been screaming that proposed public pension reform suggested by the Prime Minister would have catastrophic consequences, others have been arguing that there is no pending crisis at all. The argument presented by a union economist on the CBC's Soloman Show earlier this week was that funding public pensions would become more expensive for 10-30 years, but there is no crisis because eventually the baby boomers will "pass through the system". That's a gentle euphemism for "we'll be fine once the boomers are dead". Boy do I feel better, how about you? All we need to do is hunker down, wait for our parents and grandparents to die, and we're golden! It might take a couple of decades, but we'll just raise taxes in the meantime.

Now the accusations are coming from the NDP's Peter Julien that the Tories are manufacturing a crisis as a rouse to take money away from seniors. As Jane Taber Tweeted: "NDP finance critic Julian pushes on OAS, says Cons manufacturing a crisis to cut seniors benefits." I'd be curious to know why Mr Julien does not believe there is a crisis, because there is a strong chance that he'd cite the same report as the union dude. OAS itself isn't the biggest problem, it is just a piece of the puzzle. Public sector pensions are also a big part of the equation, including members of Parliament. The health care system is going to be strained, and we'll end up with too many critical holes in our labour force. To suggest that there is not going to be a problem and that pension reform is not required would make you a pension crisis denier.

UPDATE: I recommend reading John Ivison's piece in the Post today.

Christy Clark's Downward Spiral Continues

When the BC Liberal Party selected Christy Clark to become Premier of the province, she promised to hold elections promptly to seek a mandate from the people (which she currently lacks). She has since delayed the next election to 2013, which could prove to be a costly mistake considering that her popularity peaked right after she took over the top job. Support for the Liberals has been slowly sliding downward ever since, despite a desperate volley of attack ads against both the Conservative and NDP leaders. The Liberals were at 41% a year ago but now sit at 28%, well behind the NDP at 42% with the BC Tories at 19%. Clark's approval numbers are also falling. In this instance, attack ads are backfiring.

In British Columbia the Conservatives won 45.5% of the vote in the last federal election, and probably 80% of those people voted Liberal provincially. The Liberals won 13.5% of the vote federally, and those people seem to be split about 40-60 between Liberals and NDP provincially. The ideal conditions would be to have 3 functional parties that resemble the federal vote split come election time (45-32-13). The BC Liberals are in a death spiral, and those Conservatives still sitting on the Titanic would be advised to jump in a life boat at the nearest opportunity. They are taking on water and sinking fast. Let Christy do what Christy does best, appeal to the left of center and fight with the NDP for the hearts and minds of the left wing.

Vote Conservative.