Monday, April 30, 2012

Bob Rae Is Running For Liberal Leader?

All of the people who were expecting Bob Rae to keep his word and not run for permanent Liberal leadership after accepting the interim position must have been shocked to learn today that Bobby intends to run for the job (though that's what many of us believed all along). Since being the party leader would give him an unfair advantage in a leadership contest, he is "expected" step down from the interim post in June. That's precisely why it was the Liberal Party who demanded that Rae promise not to run for the permanent job before taking the interim job. Originally Bob demanded he be allowed to keep the interim job for two years, now he's "expected" to resign (provided the party board of directors allows him to run for the full time job).

Bob Rae wants to be Prime Minister. That's why he joined the Liberal party and entered federal politics. That's what I've been saying all along. Today's poll question; should Bob Rae be allowed to run for permanent leader of the Liberal Party?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Wildrose Lost?

Ouch, very few saw that one coming. Given that Wildrose was leading in the polls for most of the campaign, one of two things must be true; either there was a last minute swing in support, or the polling during the campaign was completely inaccurate. Wildrose won zero seats in the previous election, so a jump to 20 should be considered a strong step forward; had it not been for repeated lofty expectations of a Wildrose victory. If the polling was accurate, then what officially knocked the train off the tracks? There were some comments by individual candidates which created significant amounts of negative press. Was it simply a case that in a pinch, people will tend to go with the devil they know rather than the one they don't? Can we find a way to blame this on the unions?

As a non-Albertan, I can't speak about the mood on the street; but I am trying to figure out what happened. I'd still rather live under Allison Redford than Dalton McGuinty, so in that sense Alberta, it could be worse (aka living in Ontario).

Friday, April 20, 2012

Lessons For British Columbia's 2013 General Election

The BC Liberal Titanic is slowly sinking, as the NDP easily won 2 byelections in the province on Thursday. When you break down the numbers, the Liberals lost votes to both the NDP and Conservatives. Christy Clark will certainly try to blame this result on the Tories while attempting to scare monger for the next election, but the truth of the matter is that her party is bleeding votes in all directions, right and left. People like Chuck Strahl and Stockwell Day endorsing Christy's party have only delayed the inevitable Liberal demise, they can't stop it. After 3 straight majorities, the people are growing sick of the governing party. People want change. If Day and Strahl want to play the roles of the band playing the happy music as the Titanic slowly sank, the people of BC are going to pay a price because not enough people will get onto a life boat before it is too late.

The BC Conservatives saw a substantial increase in their vote totals over the last election, so anyone trying to portray this as a "disappointment" for the fledgling party set the expectations too high. The Tories went from 7% and 0% to 25% and 15%. But hey, if people want to call massive increases in vote totals as a "disappointment", then so be it, even when the party bleeding votes in all directions has struck an iceberg. Chilliwack and Port Moody, both went Tory federally with 58% and 55% respectively in the 2011 federal election. The BC Tories are growing while the BC Liberals are dying. If you are a pragmatic right winger in this province, to which should you look to for hope next year? The answer certainly is not Christy Clark. The party which brought us the carbon tax and the HST needs to be replaced.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

BC Byelections Thursday

Just a reminder to the people of Chilliwack-Hope and Port Moody-Coquitlam to get out Thursday and vote in those BC provincial byelections for the Conservative candidates. These are strong right leaning ridings who otherwise vote Liberal provincially out of fear of the NDP, but the Christy Clark party is mortally wounded and doomed to lose the next general election. The sooner you abandon ship for a fresh new start, the better. It starts Thursday. Advance polls saw a significant increase in turnout, which tends to be a bad sign for the incumbent party. It's time for all the former Socreds to pick up and move to a new home with the BC Tories. The Liberals have passed their expiration date, and are surviving on borrowed time. Christy originally wanted a quick election to get a mandate from the people, until she discovered that the people don't much like her, now she'll delay as long as possible. Let's send a message.

Boneheaded Election Mistake

A piece of advice to anyone running for public office, there are smart things to say and incredibly stupid things to say. For example; going on the radio and saying that the colour of your skin gives you an advantage over your opponent is among the dumbest things any candidate could do in an election campaign. That's what happened today yesterday in Alberta, which has a chance to derail Wildrose momentum. I'm a fan of Danielle Smith. I think she'd make a great Premier and a strong candidate to one day run for federal Tory leadership. I'm willing to bet she's mightily pissed off at Ron Leech for his comments, which could jeopardize their chances of usurping a provincial political dynasty. The media has already been trying to paint her as a Canadian Sarah Palin, which is ridiculous (one is a Libertarian, the other is a hardcore social conservative). Even clowns like John Ibbitson have been on television saying "having an arch-conservative in Alberta is bad for Stephen Harper", which is asinine. How on earth is a Redford better for the Prime Minister than Smith?

When Alberta does go to the polls, I'll be cheering for Danielle to be the next Premier, but I'd like to see Leech taken off the ballot if it is not too late to name a replacement.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Did You Celebrate The Charter's Birthday?

Today was the 30th anniversary of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Did you throw a party or otherwise celebrate this occasion? That is today's poll question. There were minor grumblings in the media that the Conservatives were crudely shunning human rights by not throwing a party, which shows you how far the level of discourse has fallen in the Canadian press. I've always viewed the Charter as something that feels nice in theory, but in practice has proven to be a Pandora's Box of frivolous litigation. Frankly it is ridiculous to criticize the Conservatives for not hosting a government celebration of Liberal legislation. Why wasn't today a national stat holiday? Why not hold annual birthday parties for the National Energy Program?

Vancouver, Where Have All The Car Flags Gone?

One thing you can't help but notice driving around Vancouver this playoff season is the stunning lack of car flags in the city. Last year it was borderline ridiculous how many vehicles were running Canuck colours, and one year later the fad has easily fallen by at least 90%. Last year they could barely keep them in stock, this year there has to be boxes upon boxes of this unsold junk in merchandiser inventories. It isn't just that Vancouver has fallen behind 0-3 in their series against Los Angeles, the virtual extinction of this phenomenon happened from day 1 of the playoffs. Did the Stanley Cup riots sour everyone's spirits? It's possible. Or everyone just got sick of an asinine exercise.

Today's poll question; who will be the next Canadian NHL franchise to win the Stanley Cup? Vancouver is all but done this season (with less than a 5% chance they can come back when down 0-3), but would still have to be the Vegas favourite to win next season. Ottawa still has a chance this season, but their long term odds don't necessarily look good as the window on Alfredsson and Spezza closes shut. It is tough to tell anything about Toronto anymore (99.9% chance next season is Burke's last in TO if they miss the playoffs again) , Montreal is a mess, Calgary is barely mediocre bordering on a mess, and Winnipeg is still a few pieces short. Edmonton has the greatest abundance of high end young talent, but are still waiting for them to come of age.

What will happen? Nobody knows for sure. That's why they play the games. TSN's expert projections had Pittsburgh and Vancouver meeting in the finals. Now both are down 0-3 (for example, you have a 6% chance of winning a 50-50 proposition 4 times in a row). Even the experts are wrong a lot.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Are Budget Cuts Putting Your Life At Risk?

Today's poll question; are you concerned that government budget cuts are putting your life at risk? That seems to be the running theme lately of the CBC "ballot box" questions. They even have an article about challenging the scrapping of the gun registry that includes a picture of a gun pointed at the viewer (where have we seen that before?) Basically the message is that government cutbacks are putting your life at risk. Do you agree? It should be noted that the CBC is hardly an unbiased observer, as they have been whining about their own budget cuts. They are trying to help sell the story that government budget cuts are bad; but hey, if I were receiving a hefty government salary, I'd probably be saying the same thing.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

F35-gate: What's In A Pricetag?

Reading and listening to the media outrage over F35-gate, you would be convinced that the consensus opinion in Canada is to have gasoline and insurance costs included in the sticker price when you go to buy a car. If the dealership does not put your cost of fuel for the next 30 years in the purchase price, then it is lying deceit and the salesman should resign. It's that simple, or stupid, depending on how you choose to look at it. The dealership should attempt to guess what oil changes will cost in 2040, and then include their guesses in the 2012 price of purchasing the vehicle. It shouldn't matter if you are already paying a similar amount for maintaining and operating your existing car, you must guess how much the next 30 years of associated expenses will cost and put that in the current price. And if you're off, you must resign.

F35-gate has proven to be another case of crying wolf when there is no wolf present. The Tories campaigned on the cost of NEW expenditures, but others disagreed with what should be included in the price tag even before the election. If this was such a grand controversy worthy of the Prime Minister resigning, why weren't the opps able to hammer him on this during the campaign? This cost debate started well before election day. Now you have the media spinning Peter McKay's response of a difference in accounting procedures as him blaming an "accounting error". McKay never said it was an error, it was a matter of campaigning on the cost of new expenditures and not money we already spend on our current air force.

Today's poll question; Should costs already incurred by the Canadian air force be included in the purchase price of new jets?

March Polling 2012

Here are your poll results for the month of March. There were fewer poll questions than in previous months, but I've been busy with life. Not much exciting happened, unless you consider the NDP leadership contest exciting, which is debateable. How do you see the new Conservative ads against Bob Rae? What should be the mandatory minimum sentence for the sexual assault of a child by an adult? 29% of you think that people should be required to pass a test before voting.


Technical glitch or system flaw (61%)
Liberal cyber attack (11%)
Anarchists (19%)
Undecided (3%)
Foreign espionage (2%)
Tory cyber attack (1%)


Necessary Infomercial (75%)
Indifferent (11%)
Have not seen them (8%)
Deplorable Attack (4%)


Life  (32%)
Castration  (31%)
20 years  (14%)
10 years  (8%)
5 years  (7%)
30 years  (3%)
2 years  (2%)


Tom Mulcair  (62%)
Nathan Cullen  (9%)
Peggy Nash  (9%)
Undecided  (8%)
Brian Topp  (7%)
Paul Dewar  (1%)
Martin Singh  (1%)
Niki Ashton  (0%)


Yes  (51%)
No  (45%)
Undecided  (4%)


You should have to pass a test to vote  (29%)
18  (25%)

20  (16%)
25  (11%)
19  (8%)

30 11 (5%)
17  (1%)
13  (0%)
16  (0%)


Yes  (49%)
No  (45%)
Undecided  (6%)


No  (54%)
Yes  (42%)
Undecided  (4%)


For the money  (97%)
For the children  (3%)


No  (92%)
Yes  (7%)
Maybe  (1%)


Liberal  (37%)

Dipper  (16%)
Anarchist  (13%)
Media member  (9%)

Conservative  (7%)
We will never know  (6%)
American Activist  (5%)
Marxist  (1%)

Chinese spy  (0%)
Green  (0%)

Taliban  (0%)

Friday, April 6, 2012

"New" Old Revelations In F35-gate

As F35-gate continues, there are many suggesting and saying that Stephen Harper deliberately misled parliament and the Canadian people by campaigning on an optimistic estimate of the cost of the F-35 program. They said $15 billion, somebody else said $25 billion, all of which were estimates of future costs, none guaranteed to be accurate. Were the Canadian people kept in the dark about the alternative estimates of future costs (where no actual cheques have been written)? Well Kevin Page was on the Soloman Show 2 weeks before the 2011 election saying that the program would cost $30 billion, leading to a major headline piece in the Globe and Mail. So who had what number when? Well EVERYBODY had Kevin Page's numbers prior to the election. The Liberals, the NDP, the media, and the major debate was over maintenance costs; like Kevin Page can guarantee the cost of an oil change in 2030 (and with nobody saying how much we spend to maintain our dying fleet).

These recycled old debates prompted Bob Rae this week to demand the Prime Minister's resignation, but there are no new revelations in this latest controversy. Of course the government knew that there were conflicting estimates, EVERYBODY DID! It was public knowledge prior to the Tories winning a majority! They didn't steal anything from taxpayers, and this debate over what estimate to use was being debated in the media weeks before the election. There's nothing new here, other than the auditor general reporting about what was being reported over a year ago. As the CBC reported March 10th 2011:
Page warns that the total pricetag for the F-35s is subject to change due to a number of factors including: possible modifications to the technical specifications of the aircraft, any reductions in the number of planes countries participating in the Joint Strike Fighter program end up purchasing and the "circumstances prevailing" when the planes are due for a mid-life overhaul.

He also points out that his analysis is based largely on historical data and that the possibility exists that the F-35 deal won't fit with historical cost trends. "This means that it is possible that the F-35 constitutes an outlier, in that its costs might be significantly different relative to what the historical trend would suggest," the report states.

And I'm done linking the National Post. Anyone who wants to link dump those articles, they are destined for the recycling bin. At this point, I'd rather read the Globe and Mail, and that ain't saying much. Kelly MacParland is damned near the only writer left at Postmedia worth reading. The rest of their writing staff has turned into an anti-government clown car every time there is a new controversy.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

How Much Money Have We Actually Spent On F-35s?

The Canadian media sure has been busy lately reporting on the F-35 cost estimate "fiasco, mess, debacle, crisis, catastrophe, etc, etc", and I've been pouring over these articles trying to find how much money we have actually physically spent on the F-35 program to date. Thus far all I can seem to find is a few hundred million forked out by the Chretien Liberals when they originally signed us up at the beginning of this joint development project with our military allies. This fiasco is much ado about estimates, as Lockheed Martin has slowly boggled the project. Andrew Coyne has called this "a spectacular illustration of how our system of government has gone to hell". Ivison says Canadians were played for fools. It looks like the National Post asked every writer on staff to write a rant about this "crisis" with a different apocalyptic synonym in the title.

Perhaps the government should have admitted that the project was going sideways a few months earlier, but I'm willing to wager that Lockheed Martin hasn't exactly been completely honest about the state of affairs thus far. They stand to lose quite a lot of money if the program crashes completely and would be providing their customers with the most optimistic appraisals of the project. If there is a silver lining in all of this "mess", it's that the program has crashed and burned before we actually bought the damned planes! Unlike the BC NDP dropping half a billion dollars on Fast Ferries, which we did not learn until after they were in the water that they did not meet requirements and were God awful machines.

The worst part of the "F-35 Fiasco" is that our timeline for acquiring jets to replace our dying fleet has been set back. I'd suggest buying second hand equipment from the British, but that didn't work out too well for the Chretien Liberals. It does underscore how terrible the previous government was at military procurements. They cancelled a contract for helicopters that it turned out we actually needed, they signed us up for the F-35 program which now suddenly doomed to failure, and those second hand submarines they bought have been a disaster. For crying out loud, we didn't even get those boats back to Canada before one caught fire, killing a sailor! The Conservatives inherited a mess from the previous government, and have tried to make the best of a bad situation.

If a dispute over cost estimates and project specifications is the worst F35-gate has to offer, it is still an upgrade over Liberal government.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Rae Calls Mulcair "Mini-Harper"

Bob Rae must be afraid of Tom Mulcair stealing some of his mojo, as today he called the new NDP leader a "mini-Harper", a moniker that is surely offensive in left wing circles. Personally I don't think Mulcair is anything like Stephen Harper and that the comment is more offensive to the Prime Minister than visa versa. The NDP would be lucky if their new leader is as effective and efficient as the man who currently leads a majority government. The comment shows that there is some concern on Rae's part that Mulcair is either a threat to his long-term chances at forming government, perhaps just a short-term threat to steal television time, or both. This much is clear, the Mulcair era is beginning with some nastiness by the Liberal leader, which might be a sign of things to come. Stay tuned...

Justin Trudeau; There Will Be No Rematch

Having defied the expectations of many partisans and non partisans alike, pulling off an upset in a charity boxing match against Senator Brazeau, Justin Trudeau will not allow his opponent an opportunity to redeem himself. He's done. Retiring on top. Given that Justin proclaimed his victory to be a symbolic representation of the fight between Liberals and Conservatives, losing the rematch would itself be ripe with symbolism. As Apollo Creed said to Rocky at the end of the fight in Rocky 1, "there will be no rematch". He probably knows that he was lucky to win, and even though a rematch would likely raise even more money for cancer research that the original fight, he's had enough. It makes sense from a self image perspective. Muhammad Ali won both rematches against Joe Frazier. Lennox Lewis creamed Hollyfield in their rematch. Rocky won the second fight against Creed. If you win, that's basically as good as it is going to get. Who wouldn't want to go out on top instead of risking embarrassment in a rematch?

Is Justin Trudeau retiring from charity boxing because he's preparing a run at the Liberal leadership next year? Today's poll question, why do you think Trudeau is denying his defeated opponent a chance at redemption?