Thursday, October 30, 2008

Justice for Robert Dziekanski Petition

Dear Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General of British Columbia :

It's been over a year now already - get the fuck on with it.
Two freakin' postponements and the RCMP are still refusing to hand over documents to the Braidwood Inquiry :
"Documents show that with only one exception, all the statements were gathered within three days of Mr. Dziekanski's death."
"... the RCMP says it invoked exemptions under the Access to Information Act to protect the privacy of the person stunned and to guard confidences about the force's investigations and weapons."
Just get on with it.

Sincerely and worded more politely,
[your name here]

PS : October 2006: "The case against a Prince George RCMP officer accused of having sex with underage prostitutes is thrown out by an internal disciplinary tribunal — comprised of three RCMP officers from out of province — because the force failed to bring allegations against the constable in a timely fashion.
Under the RCMP Act, a commanding officer must launch a disciplinary hearing within one year of becoming aware of an officer's alleged misconduct. "

Cellucci suggests huge aqueducts to carry Canadian water to US

Embassy Mag :
"Pointing out the imminent droughts in the southwestern United States caused by climate change, [former US Ambassador to Canada] Paul Cellucci raised the idea of constructing huge aqueducts to carry Canadian water south of the border.
He added that "to some extent, fresh water is a renewable resource," and that this opinion is shared by a recent report by the Montreal Economic Institute."
Yes, we already covered that Montreal Economic Institute report back here, Paul :
The chairman of the board of the Montreal Economic Institute, the 'independent non-profit' so keen on privatizing and exporting Canadian water, is Helene Desmarais. Helene Desmarais is married to Paul Desmarais Jr., co-CEO of Power Corporation of Canada and board member of GDF Suez, a multinational corporation that is a world leader in water privatization.
So. Not entirely arm's length then.

GDF Suez recently spun off its water equities into Suez Environnement Company, now Europe's 2nd largest private water management corp, in which it maintains a 35% controlling interest.
Meanwhile, we learn Paris is the latest city to take action to put water back into public hands, in Is the Water Privatization Trend Ending?, an interesting article about Suez, "corruption, fraudulent accounting practices, and high prices", and the EU's attempt "to impose the worldwide privatisation of water and other public services through the WTO".
Oh yeah, by all means bring on that Canada-EU Free Trade Agreement with its "deep economic integration negotiations", so enthusistically touted by French President Sarkozy, currently also president of the EU, as he awarded France's highest honour to Paul Desmarais Sr. ten days ago.

In 2006, Mr. Cellucci suggested "that water should be included in the same category as other natural resources exported as Canadian commodities on the open market," an opinion also shared by the Montreal Economic Institute.

Stick it, Paul.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Obama win a 'danger' to Canada, Cellucci says

in the Canwest headline (bold - mine) :
"A Barack Obama presidency would present a "danger" to Canada because he could renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, imperiling the future economic integration of the continent, former U.S. ambassador to Canada Paul Cellucci said yesterday."

Such remarks pass into the public record of our two big media conglomerates, CTV/G&M and AsperNation, without comment.

Cellucci was up in Canada to address the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute conference : "What Does it Mean to Be Good Neighbours?" See yesterday's post

Monday, October 27, 2008

Push-polling deep integration for General Dynamics

A mere four days after foisting John Ibbitson's paeon to deep integration on us, the Globe and Mail is at it again, this time reporting on a poll which purports to show that "Canadians want Prime Minister Stephen Harper to work more closely with a new U.S. administration" and "Canadians expect their government to work closely with the U.S. on international problems".
According to this poll, 62% of Canadians would even "adopt American regulatory standards if it would ease restrictions at the border".

As Ibbitson also proclaimed, the reason why this will all be ok is : "Canadians are excited about the prospect of a Barack Obama presidency". Obama, a fine orator whose speeches move me to tears but whose voting record is thus far still somewhere to the right of Stephen Harper's, is apparently the new deep integration selling point to Canadians.

The G&M refers to the institute which commissioned the poll, the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute, merely as a "Calgary-based institute".
Rather more useful would have been the information that CDFAI is a lobby group funded by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and "defence contractor" General Dynamics, beneficiary of millions of dollars in arms contracts due to Canadian participation in the U.S War on Terra.

The article also quotes "Colin Robertson, senior fellow with the institute", but fails to mention "he was a member of the team that negotiated the Free Trade Agreement with the United States", information freely available on his CDFAI bio, or that currently Mr. Robertson has been seconded by DFAIT to Carleton University to direct the Canada-US Project, along with fellow continentalist Derek Burney :

Blueprint for Canada-US Engagement under a New Administration
Purpose: To develop a blueprint for a joint Canada-US agenda focused on bilateral and global prosperity and security issues.

Included among its listed "themes" are :
  • Canada-US defense cooperation (Note US spelling of defence)
  • The North American energy-environment nexus
  • Cross-border regulatory cooperation
  • Scope and issue areas for greater bilateral cooperation in the Americas

Unsurprisingly, these are the same issues addressed in the CDFAI poll and happily reported in the G&M as Canadians, despite their "healthy skepticism of the Americans", enthusiastically supporting greater ties.

Thanks, G&M. Can hardly wait for your next one. And as CDFAI is holding a one-day conference in Ottawa today - What Does it Mean to Be Good Neighbours? - including Robert Pastor, Vice Chair of the 2005 Task Force on the Future of North America and author of Toward a North American Community, I expect we'll be hearing more of the same from you again quite soon.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Jesus Christ : The Lost Years

Went to see this very very funny live show tonight.

Jesus as a teenager searching for his real dad : Elvis was helpful, Luke Skywalker and the Three Wise Men - not so much.

Witty, fast-paced, and quite definitely irreverent, a wonderful piece of physical comedy with all the parts created and performed by just two actors : Katherine Sanders and Ryan Gladstone.

Thanks, guys, for a really great time.

Playing in Vancouver this week Tuesday to Friday at 8pm at ChapelArts, 304 Dunlevy.

More info at Here Be Monsters.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

"Stephen Harper's Big Thing"

John Ibbitson at the G&M has a "New Big Idea", which he also proposes to call "Stephen Harper's Big Thing" :
"a revolutionary new agreement that would transform both Canada and the U.S., truly launching the continent into the 21st century."

Good for you for finally coming out, John.
After years of pissing about, defending the very jelly bean-ness of the Security and Prosperity Partnership - It's not about deep integration; it's just about efficiency! It's not scary! Oh noes, it's dead now because of those whiny nationalists - you finally get down to it :
"This is the perfect time to do something big. This is the time for a North American environmental, security and economic accord."

And what a great name you have chosen for it - The Big Idea.
The "Big Idea" was also the name coined by the C.D. Howe Institute in 2002 for their Shaping the Future of the North American Economic Space: A Framework for Action, but I'm sure they'll be happy to hear you want to revive it. As I recall, that report suggested that Canada could woo the US into deeper integration with us by joining the war on terra and offering them free access to our water and oil.

Oh, that is what you mean :
"Canada should propose a harmonized, universal, continental market, coupled with massive joint investment aimed at reducing the environmental impact of the oil sands, in exchange for guarantees that the U.S. gets all the oil."

All the oil?
"Let's not stop there. Let's propose a joint security agreement to prescreen goods and people coming into the continent. Let's set a joint tariff. Let's remove national protections on cultural and financial services."
Because I ask you what could be better for Canada right now than hitching our wagon to US security agreements and US finances? But let's not stop there, John. How about US medicare too?

Congratulations, John. As the only journalist invited to the SPP leaders' meet-ups, you have finally proven your worth to them. And a big idea shout-out to the G&M too, for having the guts to go public with this. We always knew you had it in you.

Friday, October 24, 2008

And now for something completely predictable...

Recent testimony from economist Alan Greenspan, 19 years at the helm of the Fed, can only really be appreciated if you imagine that it is part of a previously undiscovered Monty Python skit :
"I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such as that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms," Mr. Greenspan said.

Referring to his free-market ideology, Mr. Greenspan added: "I have found a flaw. I don’t know how significant or permanent it is. But I have been very distressed by that fact."
Rep. Henry Waxman pressed the former Fed chair to clarify his words.
"In other words, you found that your view of the world, your ideology, was not right, it was not working," Mr. Waxman said.

"Absolutely, precisely," Mr. Greenspan replied. "You know, that’s precisely the reason I was shocked, because I have been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well."
h/t Relentlessly : "Alan Greenspan testified today before the house that myopic self interest would not lead to the creation of the New Jerusalem here on earth."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Chapter 11 agribiz agro

Dow Chemical - excuse me, Dow Agrosciences - doesn't much care for Ontario and Quebec's ban on cosmetic use of their weed-killer 2,4-D on lawns and they'd like $2-million compensation, plus legal costs and yet-to-be specified damages under NAFTA's Chapter 11, to help them feel better about it.

Dow filed their lawsuit against Canada in August but it only just appeared on the Dept of Foreign Affairs website yesterday. Do you think maybe someone in the PMO didn't want a contentious NAFTA sovereignty issue muddying up their nice election?

The company points to a "2007 risk assessment by Canada's own Pest Management Regulatory Agency which said the product could continue to be used safely on lawns".
Oh gosh, Dow, don't bring that up.
When it was explained to us back in 2006 that the SPP meant Canada would have to "harmonize" its pesticide regulations with those in the U.S so as not to prove "a trade irritant" to U.S. corps, there was a huge fuss up here about it.

Kathleen Cooper, researcher with the Canadian Environmental Law Association, is "troubled that chemical producers can invoke NAFTA in an effort to "undermine the decisions of democratically-elected governments."
But that's the whole point of it, my dear. Chapter 11 allows U.S. investors to legally ensure we don't pass laws for public health or the environment that might interfere with their profits.

Besides, $2-million is chump change compared to the $1oo-million lawsuit that U.S.-based Chemtura Corp. has already filed against us for banning their carcinogenic neurotoxin pesticide, lindane.
Which is a bit mean of them, really, as lindane is due to be phased out in the U.S. soon anyway.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Nah, that's too simple. It would never work.

Rick Mercer on Libs choosing their leader :

"Members of the Liberal party don't actually get to vote for the leader. Oh no, no, no. That would be madness. Instead, they choose a delegate. And when they choose their delegate, they hoist them up on their shoulders and they march them down to the train station and then send them off to Montreal somewhere. And then three days later some guy named Gerard Kennedy makes a back room deal and then suddenly, the guy in third place who can't communicate becomes the leader. Then there's an election. Then they lose.

Here's an idea. From now on in, how about members of the party actually get to vote for the leader? And instead of one of these old fashioned multi-million dollar conventions, do it on the Internet. Hell you can do your banking on the there, you can buy a kidney on there, surely to god you can figure out a way to vote for the leader of a political party on there."

Actually, Rick, at their last convention the Lib delegates held a forum on whether or not to open up the vote to, you know, the members of the Liberal party. Then they voted against it.

Iacobucci whitewash into Canadian torture-by-proxy and rendition-lite

Shorter former Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci : After two years of reviewing the cases of three Canadian citizens detained in Syria during which time the RCMP are alledged to have faxed Syria the questions to be put to them under torture, and after interviewing only the Canadian officials involved, I am ready to conclude that :
"The inquiry did find that the three men were tortured in foreign prisons and that the mistreatment may have "resulted indirectly from several actions of Canadian officials."
but that :
"I found no evidence that any of these of these officials were seeking to do anything other than carry out conscientiously the duties and responsibilities of the institutions of which they were part."
See, that's exactly what worries us, Frank.
That's exactly it right there.

Does 'conscientiously carrying out their duties and responsibilites' include outsourcing torture-by-proxy and rendition-lite to third party countries?
Rendition-lite : No, we don't bag em here; we wait till they're visiting their dying Mom in Egypt and then put the word out.
Torture-by-proxy : Hey, if you're gonna beat the crap out of our citizens anyway, I got a coupla questions you could put to them for us.

Because without testimony from those US and Syrian and Egyptian officials, who have been more than willing to finger Canadian complicity in these deals in the past when our own officials were denying it, what's the point of your secret inquiry?

Justice Dennis O'Connor's previous inquiry into our government's treatment of Maher Arar uncovered evidence of Canadian rendition-lite and torture-by-proxy.
He recommended a further inquiry to nail this down.
That was your inquiry, Frank.
A mandate so narrow in its scope - not your fault, I know - as to exclude all but the Canadian officials involved in it does nothing to restore confidence in the ability of CSIS and the RCMP to act in our interests without sending us off to foreign countries to be tortured in the process.
And wasn't that the whole point?

Speaking of which, how's our other rendition-lite case, Abousfian Abdelrazik, doing?
Is he still living in the lobby at the Canadian embassy in Sudan?
Sudan is begging us to take him back as they consider him to be innocent but DFAIT obstructs his repatriation so as not to upset the Americans while frantically attempting to appear not to do so.

Iacobucci's inquiry only considered Ahmad Abou El Maati, Abdullah Almalki, and Muayyed Nureddin.
How many more are there? How many more?

UPDATE :Stockwell Day issues some pap on it :
"Our Government is moving forward on comprehensive and robust security and intelligence review measures.
Our Government is unwavering in its commitment to give law enforcement the tools they need to safeguard our national security and to ensure review mechanisms are in place to protect Canadians."

Fuck you, Doris.
Not every one is quite so sanguine about torture :

Reuters : Canada actions likely led to Syrian torture: report

AFP : Canada had role in torture of its nationals: probe

Kady live-blogs Iacobucci's press conference

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Pipeline saboteurs in the media... and biblical solutions to WMDs

Experts at a national conference for emergency officials in Calgary yesterday were mightily exercized about last week's EnCana gas pipeline bomb attempts in BC. Well, not so much the actual bomb blasts themselves, but how they would play in the U.S.
The Canadian media played along :

Alberta ripe for attacks: experts - Economic terrorism would rattle U.S

Terrorists target U.S.A. via Alberta - Hitting energy supply seen as strike on U.S

Gas pipelines vulnerable to terrorism: expert

Yikes! Who are these experts and what are they saying?

"Alberta has become a "prime location" for terrorists looking to capitalize on shaky economic times in Canada and the United States, terrorism experts said"
"I think that the alarm bells are going off and that is indicated by the fact that the RCMP are bringing in the people who deal with terrorism to look at this," Mercedes Stephenson, a military analyst, told CTV Newsnet Sunday.
"You don't blow up part of a pipeline and kill lots of people . . . you disrupt the economy," she said.
She said that Alberta supplies more than 90 per cent of California's natural gas supply.
"You are not disrupting just Canada but you are disrupting Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego."

Mercedes Stephenson : 27 year old media/think tank whiz kid, has worked for the Pentagon, the Cato Institute, US Army Headquarters, and the Fraser Institute. A Koch Fellow, a master's student at the University of Calgary's Centre for Military and Strategic Studies where she wrote a thesis published by the Department of National Defence about the importance of Canada embracing the U.S. Ballistic Missile Defence System, a frequent military analyst for CBC, CTV and Global News.

Note : According to Steve Staples of the Rideau Institute, U of C's Centre for Military and Strategic Studies is one of 12 university programs funded by the Department of National defence to "churn out 6oo articles a year which have to toe “a particular view” that subscribes to larger spending on the military."
“It’s not about scholarly journals, peer reviewed articles that they have written—it’s really about appearing in the mainstream media. What you tend to get as a general trend, is a steady stream of hawkish opinion from academics that are all linked together through Department of National Defence funding,” says Mr. Staples.

Alrighty then. Next expert :
"Longtime international foes of the United States are closely watching that nation's sharp economic decline, said Igor Shafhid, a world expert in nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.
Financial instability causes panic and fear, said Shafhid, founder of Global Strategic Resources, which develops and teaches emergency-preparedness courses in the U.S. and Russia.

"Those are things terrorist states or countries will take advantage of," he said. "If it goes towards recession or depression in the United States, I suspect some activities might start happening in the next few years in the form of biological, radiological or who-knows-what-else terrorism."

However, he said there's no need to fear the world will be destroyed."

Igor Shafhid : author of "Inside the Red Zone", "his personal journey within a godless Russia to the classified operations of the Soviet Strategic Rocket Force where he trained as a military doctor in WMD deployment. Using his own life experience Dr. Shafhid brings answers to Russia's fascination with WMDs, the need for a solid civil defense program, and the importance of maintaining the Biblical foundation America was founded on."
Featuring "Biblical solutions to remain a safe-guarded nation under God"

Dear CanWest, CTV, Calgary Herald.
It would have killed you to include a little bio info on these experts to go along with your fear-mongering Terror! Terror! Terror! headlines?
For shame. Besides, where's your sense of fun?
Not one of you mentioned a single word about biblical solutions to WMDs .

OK, we'll provide our own expert then :
Here's Andrew Nikiforuk, author of "Saboteurs: Wiebo Ludwig's War Against Big Oil".
He dismissed the RCMP's description of the saboteur as an eco-terrorist and said he doesn't believe the saboteur meant to hurt anyone.

"This is not the work of eco-terrorists, for God's sakes. This is the work of a pissed-off landowner who's probably a property-rights advocate, who doesn't like the fact that either his health has been damaged, or his property has been devalued by sour-gas developments."

"Whoever did this wanted to make the headlines, they didn't want to kill people. If you want to kill people up there with sour gas, it would be very easy to do. There are thousands and thousands of pipelines, wells, and scores of sour-gas plants up there," he said
"Whoever did this planned it very well, picked the locations very carefully, and seems to have been either skilfully adept at not rupturing a pipeline, or skilfully inept at not rupturing a pipeline -- and I suspect there are signs here of skilful adeptness."

It's a long shot, I know, given that Nikiforuk fails to make any mention of San Diego or biblical solutions to WMD, but I'm leaning towards his analysis here.

h/t Toe at Bread 'n Roses

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Shorter Sarkozy

to Paul Desmarais Sr. of PowerCorp :

"In recognition of your help in making me the president of France, I hereby award you France's highest honour - the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Green Party guy endorses Gordo ; Gordo endorses Harper

G&M : Campbell urges support for Harper government
Blaming Quebec separatists for election results, Premier says it's time to work together

"The Liberal Premier of British Columbia blames Quebec separatists for the country's third minority government in a row.
"Everyone should understand that the only thing that prohibited Mr. Harper from getting the majority he was seeking was the separatists in Quebec," Gordon Campbell said yesterday"

Can I get a lolcat to go with that, please?
We have all already given our collective thanks to the Bloc, Gordo.
"He added that Mr. Harper is clearly the man most Canadians want as prime minister."
Yo! Gordo! Steve won less of the popular vote than last time!
But I can see where you might be hoping to hitch your little rightwing wagon to Steve's in time for your election campaign next year.

In other fabulous cross-party wankfests:
"The former Interim Leader of the BC Green Party endorsed Premier Gordon Campbell’s leadership and joined the BC Liberal Party team today."
"Over the past year I’ve been impressed with Premier Campbell’s leadership," said Christopher Ian Bennett. "It was time for me to move over and be part of a party that was making a difference and truly leading Canada blah blah blah..."
For his part, Gordo said he "respected [Bennett's] ability regardless of party label to stand up for what was right for British Columbia blah blah blah..."
Previously, Bennett was Elizabeth May's communications director in her successful bid for GP leadership.

Ok, are we done with this nonsense of referring to all Greens as "left wing" now?

The friends of Gary Lunn

Minister of Natural [Oil] Resources Gary Lunn had some interesting third party advertising help in keeping his seat in Saanich-Gulf Islands.

Of the 52 third parties registered with Elections Canada to advertise for special interest groups, Andrew MacLeod at The Hook reports that four of them share the same address and phone number at the law offices of former Alliance Party candidate Bruce Hallsor who, along with the four, was working to re-elect Lunn.

The office receptionist had never heard of them.
Well, we have.
Patricia Trottier, Elections Canada contact person for one of the four, the "Economic Advisory Council of Saanich", is an oil and gas consultant married to Gwyn Morgan, former CEO of EnCana Corp. where he is still a director.

Hallsor, a former member of the B.C. Chief Electoral Officer's Advisory Committee, is also named in Election Canada documents in the alleged Con in-an-out scheme, in which moneys were transferred to local candidates, who then transferred the funds back to the federal party to spend on more advertising for the national campaign. Elections Canada maintains that in this way the Cons exceeded their spending limit by more than $1 million in the previous election.

More Saanich-Gulf Islands shenanigans.
Mike Watkins writes about the automated phone calls allegedly impersonating the NDP and urging voters to vote for an NDP candidate who had already stepped down, thus further splitting the vote.
The removed NDP candidate received 3, 667 votes ; second place Liberal Briony Penn lost to Lunn by 2,621 votes.

Election "08 - Proportional representation chart

This chart shows how many seats each party would have received under proportional representation in yesterday's election.

From Fair Vote Canada :
"Once again, Canada’s antiquated first-past-the-post system wasted millions of votes, distorted results, severely punished large blocks of voters, exaggerated regional differences, created an unrepresentative Parliament and contributed to a record low voter turnout."

The chief victims of the October 14 federal election were:

- Green Party: 940,000 voters supporting the Green Party sent no one to Parliament, setting a new record for the most votes cast for any party that gained no parliamentary representation. By comparison, 813,000 Conservative voters in Alberta alone were able to elect 27 MPs.
- Prairie Liberals and New Democrats: In the prairie provinces, Conservatives received roughly twice the vote of the Liberals and NDP, but took seven times as many seats.
- Urban Conservatives: Similar to the last election, a quarter-million Conservative voters in Toronto elected no one and neither did Conservative voters in Montreal.
- New Democrats: The NDP attracted 1.1 million more votes than the Bloc, but the voting system gave the Bloc 50 seats, the NDP 37.
“How can anyone consider this democratic representation?” asked Barbara Odenwald, President of Fair Vote Canada.
Now just imagine how much higher voter turnout would be if more people could depend on their vote actually counting for something.

In 2002, Elections Canada hired Decima to do a survey of over 5000 Canadians on their satisfaction with our current electoral system, including roughly equal amounts of voters and non-voters.
70% were either "Very supportive" or "Somewhat supportive" of the introduction of proportional representation :

Instead, we get this :
along with some self-serving rhetoric from rich old white guys about how a proportional representation system would be "disfunctional", exactly the same reason the same guys gave for calling this last election.
We can either support the aims of Fair Vote Canada or we can watch that wiggly black line in the above graph continue its downward trend towards less than 50% participation in elections.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Election '08 - Canada doesn't vote!

So what the hell was that good for?

No majority for Steve, mostly due to the Bloc in Quebec.
Voter turnout was 59%, the lowest in Canadian history.
In his acceptance speech, Harper said, "Voters have entrusted us with a mandate".
Given that Steve's win here is based on the support of 22% of eligible voters, at least that mandate isn't likely to be anyone that you know.

Libs boast the lowest popular support in a general election in the history of the Liberal Party of Canada. Tomorrow liberal media pundits will explain that this was caused by not enough of us voting for them.
No seat for Lizzie May but Dippers up by 8 seats.
Note that a voting coalition of Libs and Dippers can now no longer beat Steve, so I would like to propose a new coalition - one made up of the Libs and the Cons.
Then any candidate who doesn't support imperialistic war-mongering and corporate-run deep integration will leave to join some more progressive party that the 40% of the rest of Canada might actually feel like showing up to vote for.

TV coverage P.S. : Is it just me or is Michael Ignatieff beginning to resemble the American eagle in appearance?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Election '08 Seat Projections in Vancouver/Lower Mainland

From Democratic Space - Oct 13, 2008 :
Vancouver/Lower Mainland Seat Projections
(DS uses yellow to denote a seat change since the last election - Emerson, Blair Wilson)
The rest of Canada's seat projections according to DS here. YMMV.
Strategic voting = Stop Harper
If your chosen candidate is third or fourth place down in the polls in your own riding and cannot possibly beat the Con, vote for which ever other party has the best hope of doing so.
If the Cons or any other party has a lock on your riding for sure, vote for whoever you like.
And please remember : All politics is local - you can only shift the vote in your own riding, no matter what is happening nationally.
Scott's non-partisan pitch for SV here.
My own grudging rant here.
Vote For Environment has a list of 40 ridings in which the Cons are projected to win but "3rd to 6th parties could defeat the Cons by joining the second party". Shown are projected number of votes required from parties polling in 3rd to 6th place to put the second place party ahead of the Cons. For example, according to their projection, Richmond only needs 150 Lib votes from the Greens or NDP in order to defeat the Con frontrunner.
Yeah, I know, it's all hypothetical but - only 150 votes!
Correction : VFE's list actually has 62 close ridings listed, not 40 as stated above when I missed page 2 - doh.

Election '08 Final Nanos Projection

Yeah, it's only a poll but Nik nailed it in 2006 :
In the last election the Cons were 36.3%, Libs - 30.2%, NDP - 17.5%
Vote today, but be careful out there.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Have you seen the sniggering that changed the election?

On a final tour through Québec to shore up ReformaTory support, "Harper accused opponents of unfairly demonizing him in Québec", insisting "that Quebeckers will see through attacks on his character."
"I'm confident the attempt to demonize me really belittles the intelligence of Quebeckers," he said. "I think Quebeckers are more tolerant than that."

Hey Steve, speaking of belittling intelligence, have you seen the latest election flyer from your Con MP Wajid Khan? Voilà :

Think they've seen it in Québec yet?
Because as I recall, there's nothing Québeckers like more than a really good laugh at the expense of a Francophone struggling with English.

Good call though, Waji - the Cons losing a boatload of support in Québec will indeed "change the election".

h/t Kady O'Malley for the flyer

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Elizabeth May's third strategic voting do-over in as many days

Today's Star : It isn't easy being Green
"Green Leader Elizabeth May has called on her candidates to consider whether their participation in a close contest could help elect a Conservative MP – an outcome she opposes.

May made the statement yesterday after acknowledging that some Green candidates have expressed concern about vote splitting that could result in Tory victories.

"It's up to our local candidates to decide in a close riding whether they feel their participation is likely to elect a Conservative or not. I'm not weighing in on that. But in the vast, vast majority of ridings in this country, voting Green is clearly the right thing to do," she said in an interview last night.

May made the comments after two Quebec Green candidates were reported to have asked their supporters to back their Liberal rivals."

In both of those Quebec ridings, the Bloc is an absolute lock - nowhere near being close ridings - so their switchover to the Libs does not help defeat the Cons and changes absolutely nothing in the vote outcome.

May acknowledges their actions were a mistake/misquoted.
Meanwhile the rest of us are waiting for May to finally throw the whole Green Party under the Liberal bus.
Ekos polling has May running third in her own riding against Con Peter MacKay and NDP Mary Louise Lorefice, who came second in the last election.

May's previous SV do-over.

The Greens must be tearing their hair out.

h/t Rabble

Nanos Daily Election Tracking ending October 10 :
CP... 32, LP... 28, NDP... 22, BQ ... 10, GP... 8

Sunday night Update : Right under the bus!
G&M : "Ms. May has been accused of “selling out” the Green candidates and supporters in close ridings, but the Green Leader says those candidates understand Canada's first past the post-electoral system forces situations where voters sometimes must leave their first choice.

"Those are not places where we're going to win seats. I love our candidates. I think they're fantastic people,” said Ms. May. “Of course the situation created by first past the post and the Green Party's larger commitment to action on climate means there is a certain amount of confusion… I cannot lie to voters and say there is no issue [with voting Green] in these ridings. I trust the voters. That's what it comes down to."

In addition to Central Nova, Ms. May said there about six other ridings where the Greens will have a chance of winning on election night."

LaPresse called it back in early September

Steve and Kory - The tale of the tapes continues...

Why, just last week Harper successfully postponed a hearing into the veracity of the audiotape and now his own audio expert has blown it for him four days to E-Day.
And way to go, Kory! Would you say your new job as Steve's spokesthingey is more or less difficult than your previous internship with the ethanol lobby getting government grants to sell us on the idea to feeding corn to cars?
"A tape recording at the centre of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's $3.5-million defamation suit against the Liberal party was not altered as the prime minister has claimed, a court-ordered analysis of the tape by Harper's own audio expert has found.
The key portion of the recorded interview of Harper by a B.C. journalist contains no splices, edits or alterations, a U.S. forensic audio expert has determined.

Kory Teneycke, a spokesman for Harper, maintained that the findings do not undermine the prime minister's case — and in fact can be used to buttress Harper's claims."
Good morning, Globe and Mail.
Creekside would like to congratulate you on your ringing editorial endorsement of Steve for another PM stint yesterday : "Harper is growing into the job".
It's not too late to take "refreshing candour and courage" off your list of reasons to vote for Steve. Just sayin'.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

SPP : "We're getting better all the time."

Stockwell Day, the RCMP, Bell Canada and Microsoft will be partnering on "a national cyber-security strategy that will seek to protect key infrastructure as well as Canadians' identities".
"A high-level security conference being hosted by the Conference Board of Canada" will take place on Nov 5 and 6th.
The Conference Board of Canada, you may recall, partnered with the U.S. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) to launch the North American Future 2025 Project , "to help guide the ongoing Security and Prosperity Partnership". At their conference in Calgary last April their agenda noted : "the overriding future goal of North America is to achieve joint optimum utilization of the available water."

So you'll excuse me if I cast a jaundiced eye on whatever new plan to protect my "Canadian identity" they might be hosting this time round. One of the original objectives of the SPP was "improving the coordination of intelligence-sharing, cross-border law enforcement".

At least Canada's Privacy Commissioner, Jennifer Stoddart, has been invited this time and will be addressing the conference on "Balancing Privacy with Cyber Security".
In May there was a "Server in the Sky" meet-up in San Francisco to discuss the FBI's proposed shared database of biometric information - our fingerprints, palm prints, and iris scan data to be exchanged among the International Information Consortium of US, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, and eventually the EU. Ms Stoddart first heard about the conference by reading about it in the British press.

As Ms Stoddart said on CBC in response to that meeting in May : "Canada has a very weak 25 year old Privacy Act with no human rights standards built in to our agreements with other countries." Additionally she was alarmed by "the conflating of criminals and suspected terrorists", the lack of oversight of the biometric info once it passes to other countries, and the rise of "a surveillance society".

One of our partners in the International Information Consortium is already well on the way to becoming a surveillance society:
The Daily Mail via Statism Watch :
"Every person in Britain could have their internet history, email records and telephone calls tracked under a proposed £12 billion plan by ministers.
The system would see hundreds of hidden devices planted to tap into communications on the internet and via mobile phone providers.
And a national database would be created to store the information which officials say would help in the fight against terrorism and organised crime."
I thought we already had Facebook for that.

"In terms of Canadian participation [in Server in the Sky], our citizens rightfully expect that their personal information remains safeguarded and understandably, could be reluctant to see that information freely shared with two countries that were ranked near the bottom of Privacy International’s ratings of privacy protection around the world."

David Black, manager of the RCMP's cyber infrastructure protection section, says of the Bell/Microsoft/RCMP plan for "the protection of critical cyber infrastructure and the convergence of technological and physical security", presumably to be shared in due course with the other members of the FBI's International Information Consortium :
"We're getting better all the time."

Canada to rescue U.S. banks?

When Stephen Harper suggested on Tuesday that the market sell-off would present an excellent buying opportunity for investors, is this what he was referring to?

Fin. Post : Fed trolls Canada to rescue U.S. banks
"In a desperate bid to help U.S. banks recapitalize, Washington is dropping its inhibitions and reaching out to Canadian financial institutions to gauge their willingness to participate in rescue operations.
The Federal Reserve has activated a back channel that puts the central bank in direct contact with chief executives at Canada's largest banks and insurers, according to a person familiar with the dialogue.
They are approaching "banks with major assets in the U.S. like [Toronto-Dominion Bank] and Royal [Bank of Canada]"
A lobbyist for a Canadian bank said the political climate in Washington had changed markedly since the passage of a $700-billion bailout and that this country is now seen as a potential source of support.
It was not clear how deeply involved Canadian authorities were in the discussions."

G-7 finance ministers are due to meet in Washington this weekend.

In its June 2008 report, Compete to Win, the federal government’s Competition Review Panel recommended scrapping the ban on bank mergers and "harmonizing its expectations with those of the U.S."

h/t Anon in comments

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Elizabeth May and strategic voting...again

Poll from Nanos Research

The G&M has Elizabeth May endorsing strategic voting for close-race ridings again today, mentioning both VoteforEnvironment and DemocraticSpace as sites to go to for advice/info.
VoteforEnvironment is still endorsing May in Central Nova against Peter MacKay, even though the Ekos, Decima and Nanos polls listed there all show her running a close third place behind the NDP candidate. Come on, guys, get it together - these are your own rules.

Would be very peculiar if this means Greens are expected to not vote for May in her own riding on top of her having done the deal with Dion to not run a Lib there, but last time Lizzie was quoted as coming out in favour of stategic voting, she says she was misquoted, so we'll have to see. Her oft-stated position is that the most important thing is to stop the Cons.

I was part of a two hour radio show on SPP and the election today, with local candidates giving their thoughts. Unsurprisingly the Libs and Cons both declined to participate.

Thursday night Update : Yup, it's happened again. May says she did not endorse SV.
Received from Adriane Carr, Green Party, 2pm:
"Media reports and suggestions from other parties that I am urging strategic voting across the country or that backroom deals are being made are complete nonsense,” Ms. May said. “As I have said over and over, strategic voting is generally not a sound strategy at all and I do not support it. Canada needs to elect Green MPs."
Ms. May was responding in particular to the headline and opening of a Globe and Mail story that directly contradicts what she said to the reporter.
“I clearly said that voting strategically as advice is pretty useless. I also said: ‘Suggesting one should jump away from the Green Party is very bad advice indeed.’
“I want to do politics in a much different way, with collaboration, civility and respect. But I am not making deals with other parties, and the Greens are not in discussions with other parties.
“I will say it once again so absolutely no one can be confused or misled: I want Canadians to elect Green MPs."

The G&M had reported May as saying :
"As the leader of a grassroots party, I'm not in a position to yank anyone, or tell anyone what to do. I just think Canadians need to take a long hard look at the potential here to get rid of the government of Stephen Harper and all that it represents…”
“That includes Greens as elected MP's, and to make that change it includes Stéphane Dion as a minority prime minister.”
She said it's a bad idea to leave the Greens in most ridings in the country, but that it would make sense in a small number of ridings where there are tight races."
I dunno. If the above G&M quote is accurate, it clearly is a limited endorsement for SV. If that's what she said. This misquoting business happens a lot to May. Hard to say whose fault that is.

Peterborough Politics has background on the Green reaction.

Saturday Update : And she's back to endorsing SV again.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Bobblehead Steve

Bobblehead Steve.
The doll with the spring-loaded head.
Canada's Go To Guy Hits the Streets through direct mail in the US
"You may have heard about Steve.
The little guy from Canada is getting around and he's driving a whole new CTC campaign in the US geared to meeting, convention and incentive travel markets.
Bobbleheads might not be as popular in Canada, but we have them for everything here in the US."
Yes we hear you have one running for vice president.

I'm somewhat surprised at the return to the nickname "Steve", although he did campaign as a Reform candidate in 1988 as Steve Harper.

Canada Tourism :
"Steve in a wetsuit; in Calgary, in a business suit wearing a Stetson, riding a mechanical bull"
Greg Weston : Bobblehead Steve pricey nod to U.S. :
"PM gets new look in expensive tourism marketing campaign.
...comes complete with a glossy 25-page booklet, and a custom-designed website that couldn't have cost more than a federal election. In a government where central messaging control is religion, it is all purely coincidental that the feds' latest marketing mascot is a white guy with a helmet-head hairdo. "

Plan B? What the hell happened to Plan A?

NaPo : "In a marked change of tone entering the final week of the election campaign, the Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, said Monday he's in the midst of working on "secondary plans" to protect Canada from the ill-effects of a global financial crisis should conditions worsen in the country."
CBC : "The Conservatives have a Plan B..."

Plan B? What the hell happened to Plan A?
I heard that Plan B may cause nausea and vomiting, must be taken within 72 hours to be effective, and then when you die you get fast-tracked to hell.
So a little late here, huh, Steve?

But what do I know about economics? For a serious strategic analysis : Ottawonk breaks it down at e-lekshunHub08™

Monday, October 06, 2008

SPP and Election '08 : From Star Wars to listeriosis

Kevin Brooker, columnist at the Calgary Herald, gets it :
Beware Government deals made secretly
"Before you go into the voting booth next week and do your part to help give Stephen Harper's Conservatives a parliamentary majority [ahem], there's something you need to think about.
With all of the structural problems in the U.S. economy, is now the time to give deep integrationalists encouragement to do what we never asked them to do in the first place?"
Mr. Brooker refers to the Con's summer release of their Competition Review Panel report "Compete to Win" , which recommends loosening up foreign investment restrictions and ending the prohibition on bank mergers.

Well just lol. The U.S. economy is tanking and we already have one of the world's most foreign dominated economies, but as usual, not U.S.-dominated/decimated enough for the North American Competitiveness Council, aka the Canadian Council of Chief Executives.

Let's do a little review of "Compete to Win", in their own words, courtesy of Integrate This! :
"The chief mechanism to deal with Canada–US border issues, the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), has yielded too little progress in improving crossborder flows. In this context, the Panel believes that it is imperative to intensify our bilateral effort with the US, focusing on facilitating the flow of goods, services and people across the Canada–US border"

"The Minister of Natural Resources should issue a policy directive to liberalize the non-resident ownership policy on uranium mining..."

"The Minister of Industry should introduce amendments to the Competition Act (to) align the merger notification process under the Competition Act more closely with the merger review process in the United States..."

"The federal, provincial and territorial governments should continue to reduce corporate tax rates to create a competitive advantage for Canada, particularly relative to the United States."

"Addressing the thickening of the Canada–US border should be the number one trade priority for Canada, and requires heightened direct bilateral engagement at the highest political levels."

"Canada should harmonize its product and professional standards with those of the US, except in cases where, and then only to the extent that, it can be demonstrated that the impairment of the regulatory objective outweighs the competitiveness benefit that would arise from harmonizing."

As Mr. Brooker notes :
"When these people sit down to discuss, say, environmental regulation, do you think it is to make those laws tougher?
Do you suppose they're spending much time thinking about how to preserve workers' rights?
And how about Canada's vast freshwater resources, which were specifically excluded from NAFTA. What are the chances that emergent "security" needs will put water back on the table and thus guarantee the U.S. permanent access, just like they got with our oil?"

The always wonderful Laura Carlsen, director of Americas Policy program at the Center for International Policy, answers Mr. Brooker's questions with a quote from someone who should know :
"In April 2007, on the eve of the North American Trilateral Summit, Thomas Shannon, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs, described the SPP's purpose with remarkable candor: The SPP, he declared, "understands North America as a shared economic space," one that "we need to protect," not only on the border but "more broadly throughout North America" through improved "security cooperation." He added: "To a certain extent, we're armoring NAFTA."

Carlsen notes: "This was the first time that a U.S. official had stated outright that regional security was no longer focused on keeping the citizens of the United States, Canada, and Mexico safe from harm, but was now about protecting a regional economic model."

Of course the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, the Canadian Wing of the NACC, have not only always known this, they are very keen to take credit for the idea. From their website :
"As our Council made clear in launching our North American Security and Prosperity Initiative in 2003, it is in Canada’s fundamental interest to pursue bilateral and trilateral agreements that will keep our border with the United States as open as possible, and this requires hard work on issues related to security.
...In this context, we would restate our view that it is in Canada’s interest to participate in the ballistic missile defence program."

Oh goodie! Pudding!

And while I was over at the CCCE website perusing their "Blueprint", I ran in to this :
"In 2003, our Council proposed that the federal government adopt a “five percent solution”, which would require that each year, each minister and each deputy minister identify the least effective five percent of spending under their direction. This identification of relatively ineffective spending would provide a pool of resources that could be reallocated to new purposes if and when needed."
A 5% cut in each department's operating budget?
That sounds familiar. And voilà!
"A Canadian Food Inspection Agency employee was fired on Friday for sharing with his union information he found in a Treasury Board document that CFIA planned to make a 5% cut in its operating budget by outsourcing responsibility for food inspections and the labelling of products to industry.
It's like watching a prophecy unfold, isn't it?
The CCCE proposes something, the Cons make it flesh, and we get listeriosis.

On Oct 14, be sure you are not voting for these puddin' heads.

Police TASER™ a runaway sheep

"Police zapped a runaway sheep that was blocking traffic with a Taser stun gun, a weapon issued for use in violent situations.
Motorists trapped in the traffic jam caused when the sheep got out of a field in north Wales in Britain were horrified to see the sheep stunned by police then carried to the side of the road where it continued to convulse, the Daily Mail reported"

Unfortunately the article is a little short on details.
Was the sheep carrying a concealed weapon?
Did it have a "pre-existing medical condition"?
Did the sheep ignore police demands to turn around with its hands up?

Last year the Home Office eased restrictions on the use of stun guns so that they could be used "where officers are facing violence or threats of violence of such severity that they would need to use force to protect the public, themselves and or the subjects of their action".

OK, but what if those officers had encountered more than just the one sheep wandering in traffic?

Forbes is pretty excited about a whole new line in sheeple crowd control tech :
"A License To Not Quite Kill"
Taser Shockwave
"If one Taser is a powerful deterrent, imagine six or 18 stacked side-by-side. The Shockwave offers what Taser International calls "Remote Area Denial." When the weapon is fired, six Taser cartridges fire in a 20 degree arc, incapacitating anyone in their path. "
"Use Shockwave defensively to create a perimeter around rioters ... and a mob of unruly individuals can be corralled into a corner. Or fire the device into a crowd, and several targets go down in a temporarily paralyzed heap."

A heap o' sheep!
Seven more new devices include a TASER™ shell that can be fired from a gun; Active Denial System, a heat ray that can make targets feel as if their skin is catching fire; a two-foot diameter laser that can temporarily blind a vehicle's driver; and an electrically-charged riot shield from Stinger that "causes painful shocks and incapacitation".

"Police officers are paid to enforce the law, not to get hurt," says TASER™ spokesman Steve Tuttle. "Police need this."


Sunday, October 05, 2008

Toxic toys, now with 700 times more lead

"The Star shopped at 18 retailers in the GTA and found lead in about one in every four [children's] products purchased."
A pacifier.
A Disney bracelet tested at 445 times the legal limit on lead in jewellery marketed to children.
A child's jewelry clasp that tested at 700 times the federal limit.

Wait. A pacifier?
"Since 2002, Health Canada has proposed that it be made illegal to sell a pacifier with more than 90 parts per million lead. But there is still no law banning lead in pacifiers.
Meanwhile, the Star found a pacifier at Everything For a Dollar on Warden Ave. that tested at more than 10 times the proposed limit."

Apparently Health Canada may issue "recall notices", but "a recall notice does not allow the government to actually demand a recall of dangerous items", leaving "retailers to police themselves".

Liberal MP Paul Szabo :"The system doesn't work. Imports from China are a disaster."

In reference to the proposed pacifier law, "Health Minister Clement told the Star he would consider adding such a measure to any law he proposes, should he be re-elected Oct. 14."

I guess this falls into the category of "lazy fare" economics.
Stop buying crap, people.
Note : Would also be wise to avoid foods containing flame retardant :
"Mr. Brown 3-in-1 Instant Coffee products distributed in British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba, however, revealed melamine levels three times as high as those that made the Chinese children ill."
M&M's milk chocolate snack and Snickers peanut Fun Size were withdrawn in Korea after testing for melamine, although Mars and Nestle's both declared them "absolutely safe by recognized international standards."
We have standards. Yes we do. And they're flame-retardant too.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Strategic voting - all politics is local

Excellent post from 900 ft Jesus :

How you can be true to your party of choice and still vote strategically

OK, outside of the Libs, who really likes strategic voting?

No one. Every single election we have the Libs shouting at us at last minute: The Cons are coming! The Cons are coming! Vote for us or the Cons will get in!

There are many good arguments against strategic voting. It promotes a two party system by eroding long term support for third parties. It violates your right to vote for your favourite candidate. Faced with the option of strategic voting or having your least favoured candidate get in, many just opt for not voting at all. Your guy doesn't get his $1.67 per vote. And then there's the unabashed crust of the Libs and their Vote for us or the Cons will get in.

Yeah, that's what really burns, isn't it? In our crappy first-past-the-post system, the Libs really own the brand on strategic voting.

But that shouldn't make us stupid about it. Strategic voting means voting for whoever has the best chance of beating the Con candidate in your riding and only if it's a close two-way race, even if they are not your first choice, whether that be Lib, NDP, Green, or Bloc. All politics is local. If the Cons are a lock in your riding, vote for whoever you like. If the Libs, NDP, Bloc, or Greens are a lock in your riding, vote for whoever you like. But if two days before the election you discover you're in a swing riding with your guy 20% down in the polls, vote for whoever is close enough to the Cons to have your vote bring them down.

In the meantime, as 900 ft Jesus says, get out there and fight for your candidate of choice. Vote For Environment has five different major polls for every riding. Look 'em up, check into your riding and then make up your own mind. Democratic Space has a list of swing ridings and their recommendations.

First we get rid of the Cons. Then we get rid of first-past-the-post. Then we can vote with our hearts.

Ken Dryden, what the fuck were you thinking?

Lib MP Ken Dryden, speaking at Beth Emeth synagogue on Sept 24:
"Stop all aid that flows into Gaza. While that may seem a harsh measure that will hurt Palestinian civilians… it is the right thing to do at this time."

Jesus Christ, even the Cons indirectly support aid to Gaza through the UN.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Project Censored 2009

From Project Censored, their top 25 stories the media failed to report or reported poorly :

#1. Over One Million Iraqi Deaths Caused by US Occupation

"Over one million Iraqis have met violent deaths as a result of the 2003 invasion, according to a study conducted by the prestigious British polling group, Opinion Research Business (ORB). These numbers suggest that the invasion and occupation of Iraq rivals the mass killings of the last century—the human toll exceeds the 800,000 to 900,000 believed killed in the Rwandan genocide in 1994, and is approaching the number (1.7 million) who died in Cambodia’s infamous “Killing Fields” during the Khmer Rouge era of the 1970s." continued ...

#2. Security and Prosperity Partnership : Militarized NAFTA

"Leaders of Canada, the US, and Mexico have been meeting to secretly expand the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with “deep integration” of a more militarized tri-national Homeland Security force. Taking shape under the radar of the respective governments and without public knowledge or consideration, the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP)—headquartered in Washington—aims to integrate the three nations into a single political, economic, and security bloc." continued ...

#3 InfraGard : The FBI Deputizes Business

More than 23,000 representatives of private industry are working quietly with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to collect and provide information on fellow Americans. In return, members of this rapidly growing group, called InfraGard, receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public, and at times before elected officials. “There is evidence that InfraGard may be closer to a corporate Total Information Awareness program (TIPS), turning private-sector corporations—some of which may be in a position to observe the activities of millions of individual customers—into surrogate eyes and ears for the FBI,” according to an ACLU report titled “The Surveillance-Industrial Complex: How the American Government Is Conscripting Businesses and Individuals in the Construction of a Surveillance Society.” continued...

#4 ILEA : Is the US Restarting Dirty Wars in Latin America?

"A resurgence of US-backed militarism threatens peace and democracy in Latin America. By 2005, US military aid to Latin America had increased by thirty-four times the amount spent in 2000. In a marked shift in US military strategy, secretive training of Latin American military and police personnel that used to just take place at the notorious School of the Americas, in Fort Benning, Georgia—including torture and execution techniques—is now decentralized. The 2008 US federal budget includes $16.5 million to fund an International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in El Salvador, with satellite operations in Peru. With provision of immunity from charges of crimes against humanity, each academy will train an average of 1,500 police officers, judges, prosecutors, and other law enforcement officials throughout Latin America per year in “counterterrorism techniques.” continued...

#5 Seizing War Protesters' Assets

"President Bush has signed two executive orders that would allow the US Treasury Department to seize the property of any person perceived to, directly or indirectly, pose a threat to US operations in the Middle East. " continued...

And another 20 at Project Censored

"The twentieth century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy."
~ Alex Carey : "Taking the Risk Out of Democracy"

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Election 2008 - the English debate

Right now Susan Orniston has a big pie chart up onscreen at CBC : "Twittering about the Leaders"
Gosh, I wish I'd said that.

Shorter debate
Jack to Steve : Where's your platform? Under your sweater?
Steve : We don't need no stinkin' platform - we're the government.
Stephane : Hi. I was the third choice for party leader at the last Liberal Leadership Convention.
Gilles : Jeez, but you guys all talk a load of crap!
Lizzie : [Answering the question - and I'm paraphrasing here - What would be your first order of business upon forming the government?] Reform the electoral system.

Thank you, Lizzie May - the only one to bring it up.

She was a very good addition to the debate - many times piping in a fast fact-checking refute on Steve while he was talking, too quick and stoccato to be called on interrupting, although she did a lot of that too. Steve was furious but in terms of vote-splitting, it will ultimately help him to have had her there.

After-polls all showing for Steve - bigtime.

Most devastating line of the night :
Jack to Stephane : "You supported Mr Harper 43 times. His policies, your responsibilty. If you can't do your job as leader of the opposition, I don't know what you're doing running for prime minister."

Gilles Duceppe for Prime Minister!

We are so fucked.

Ipsos Post Debate Summary : Sample size -2512

Who is winning this debate?

Did you change your mind about who to vote for on October 14th because of tonight's debate?

YES - 15% ....... NO - 85%

Update : Hah!

Afghanistan and Taliban Steve

The Independent : British ambassador warns against Afghan surge
"Britain's ambassador to Afghanistan has warned the international mission is failing and that sending more troops will only make things worse, according to a top-level telegram leaked from Kabul.
Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles told a senior French diplomat that "American strategy is destined to fail," and he warned that increasing troop levels would serve only to "identify us even more clearly as an occupying force and multiply the number of targets".

L.A. Times : More U.S. troops needed in Afghanistan 'quickly,' general says
"Allied forces are facing a tougher fight in Afghanistan than was expected and need an infusion of American troops "as quickly as possible," the top U.S. commander there said Wednesday."

Meanwhile Impolitical points out that Steve's unswerving support for Operation We're-Sorry-We-Didn't-Support-Your-Iraq-Oil-Occupation-More-Wholeheartedly seems to be heading for some vote-collecting in Quebec :
"Toward the end of the [French] debate, Mr. Harper said he supports efforts by Afghan President Hamid Karzai to attempt peace negotiations with elements of the Taliban.
"Mr. Harper, on negotiations with the Taliban?" asked moderator Stéphan Bureau.
"This is not entirely new," said Mr. Harper. "The government of Afghanistan has made local efforts from time to time with the Taliban. President Karzai is looking for a political solution and a democratic debate instead of a debate with arms. It's an essential part of his program and I support it."
Does this mean we won't be hearing quite so much about "Taliban Jack bin Layton" any more?

I guess that depends on how widely this attempt to unshit the bed on Steve's part is reported - so far one story, paragraph 24 - and whether he repeats his remarks in the English debate tonight. Aaah , except that the English debate is being televized at exactly the same time as the highly publicized U.S. vice-presidential debate/Pallin slapfest soap - oh, what a surprise! - so just how many people do you think are going to be watching it?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

And now, a couple of words from The Economist

Attack of the Clones - introducing Stephen Harper

G&M : "Stephen Harper's 2003 speech urging Canada to join the U.S. assault on Iraq was plagiarized from one given by the Australian prime minister two days previously."
According to Bob Rae, about half of it.
UK Press : "Harper spokesman Kory Teneycke said the speech was five years old and they were not going to be drawn into a discussion of issues that have no relevance to Canadians. "
Yeah but I'm guessing you didn't really want his plumping for the Iraq adventure to come up the day before the election debate.
CP : "Harper speech lifted from Aussie PM makes worldwide headlines"
"ABC, CNN, MSNBC, FOXNews, the BBC, International Herald Tribune and the International Business Times..."
Gosh, world stage again.

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