Friday, April 29, 2011

Orange Crush Friday : Cons-37, NDP-33, Libs-19

An Angus Reid poll of 3,003 Canadians on April 28 and 29 
NDP now in second place in Ontario!

EKOS Poll of 3,353 Canadians on April 26-28, 2011 in a dual landline/cell phone sampling

 Nanos : Cons - 36%, NDP - 31%, Libs - 22%, Bloc - 5.7%, Greens - 4% 
in a three day rolling average poll of 1,200 Canadians.
.Harris Decima : Cons - 35%, NDP - 30%, Libs - 22%, Greens - 7%, Bloc - 5% 
in a poll of 1,011 Canadians from April 20 -27

Ipsos Reid  : Cons - 38%, NDP - 33%, Libs - 18%, Bloc -7%, Greens - 4%
in a poll of 1,710 Canadians from April 26 -28.
Ipsos Reid also has the NDP in second place in Ontario at 34% with the Libs at 21%.
.Leger Marketing : C 36; N 31; L 21; B 7

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Patrick Muttart trail leads back to US dirty tricksters

Sun News headline, April 20, Brian Lilley  : Ignatieff linked to Iraq war planning
"As a politician in Canada, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has said that he was on the sidelines of the Iraq war, but new information reveals he was on the front lines of pre-invasion planning when he worked in the U.S."
Well, it is Sun News, aka Fox News North, after all, wot?

But then yesterday morning Sun Media Corp President Pierre Karl Peladeau published a photo that Sun News VP and former Harper spokesy Kory Teneycke had received from Harper's former deputy chief of staff Patrick Muttart.

It was "a compelling electronic image of a man very closely resembling Michael Ignatieff in American military fatigues, brandishing a rifle in a picture purported to have been taken in Kuwait in December 2002", together with "a clip from a Pentagon press briefing in which an American colonel thanked Michael Ignatieff specifically for his work in preparation for the invasion" on the day before the invasion.

Trouble was - it wasn't Iggy in the photo, a discovery credited to Teneycke by Peladeau.

Peladeau :
"It is my belief that this planted information was intended to first and foremost seriously damage Michael Ignatieff's campaign but in the process to damage the integrity and credibility of Sun Media and, more pointedly, that of our new television operation, Sun News."
Later in the day Muttart's present employer, the US PR company Mercury Public Affairs, responded to Peladeau :
"At no point did Muttart tell Sun Media that he had positively identified Ignatieff in the photo in question."
and went on to describe Muttart's work in helping set up the branding of Sun News :
For the record, Mercury was hired by Quebecor to assist Sun News with its pre-license branding and positioning. Muttart worked with a creative agency to develop the network's original logo (a modified version is currently in use). And he was the original source for the network's "hard news" and "straight talk" framing language."
including Muttart's pro bono work for Sun News after his contract ended!

Of particular interest here is that while all this was going on, Muttart was also working for the Harper re-election campaign :
"mostly from his Chicago home base where he has worked for an American public affairs firm since 2009, returning occasionally to Ottawa as needed. ... A source close to Muttart said the photo was found online by a U.S.-based political party researcher ."
"He has no further role in our campaign," Conservative spokesman Alykhan Velshi said from the party’s Ottawa war room. Muttart recently returned to work on the Conservative campaign as a consultant “offering advice on messaging and strategy,” according to Velshi.
According to Mr. Velshi, the Tory campaign "provided Sun Media with information that had been acquired during Internet research, namely a photograph described as that of Mr. Ignatieff. The campaign made clear to Sun Media that the identity in the photograph could not be verified and that our own efforts to verify the photograph had been exhausted."
So. Patrick Muttart, former Harper staffer, helps Kory Teneycke, another former Harper staffer, set up the brand for Sun News and then sends him incriminating but fake material in what looks to be an attempt to swiftboat Michael Ignatieff - and he did this while giving "advice on messaging and strategy" to Harper's re-election war room? Unbelievable!

So who is this US company Mercury Public Affairs that Muttart now works for - presumably the source of the photo found by "a US-based political party researcher" ?

Mercury - A firm specializing in "high-value public affairs," including image management, polling, and "grassroots coalition building".
Company slogan : "We know what it takes to win in difficult situations."

May 20, 2009 :
Mercury Public Affairs named Patrick Muttart as an MD [Managing Director] and leader of the firm's new Canada/US practice, starting May 4. Muttard is the former deputy chief of staff for Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and former chief marketing strategist for the Conservative Party of Canada. At Mercury Public Affairs, he will also work with the international public affairs team, which is led by partner Terry Nelson.
Muttart's new boss Terry Nelson, former political director of the 2004 Bush Cheney campaign and former McCain-Palin campaign manager, is now also a Senior Advisor to teabagger and 2012 presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty, which might go some distance towards explaining why Harper's recent campaign ad bore such a strong resemblance to Pawlenty's.  [My parody of Harper's ad here.]

Here's Rachel Maddow on Terry Nelson : the race-baiting, the phonejamming dirty tricks, and, before his firm Crosslink Strategy Group became an operating unit of Mercury Public Affairs, the staffer in his employ who was previously the media advisor on the original Swiftboat Veterans For Truth ads , which used lies and doctored photos to smear John Kerry's war record.

Which pretty much brings us full circle on the apparent attempt to swiftboat Michael Ignatieff by a former Harper staffer on loan from a Republican PR company during our election.

Update : Sixth Estate has a few questions.

Thursday Upperdate : Cons : No, no, no, he wasn't in our war room while simultaneously advising Sun Media.
Muttart : Yes, I was.

PostMedia : "Contrary to what some have reported, Patrick hasn't been working in the (Conservative) war room or been in Ottawa," wrote Conservative spokesman Chisholm Pothier in an email."

CP : Tory strategist says he advised Sun Media, and worked for political war room

"Patrick Muttart, the former deputy chief of staff for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, told The Canadian Press on Thursday he gave periodic unpaid advice to Sun Media in recent weeks to help it launch its new television news channel. Until this week, he was also on the Tory payroll as a consultant to the party's election war room."
We still don't know, however, what he was doing sending false and incriminating stuff on Iggy to The Sun in the middle of an election. And did he send it from the Con war room and on whose instructions?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Orange Crush Wednesday : Cons-34, NDP-31, Libs-22

Poll of voting intentions of 3,150 Canadians last night via Forum Research and The Hill Times.
Forum Research Seat Projection : Cons - 137, NDP - 108, Libs - 60
Interesting details on the fight for key urban ridings in Toronto and Montreal also at The Hill Times.

Voters aged 18 to 24 : NDP -33%, Cons - 20%, Libs -18%.
Voteres aged 25 to 34 : NDP - 37%.
Voters aged 65 and over : Cons - 45%.

Best PM : Layton - 33%, Harper - 32%, Ignatieff - 14%


EKOS : Survey of 2,792 Canadians aged 18 and over on April 24 to 26

NANOS : A three day rolling average of 1,020 Canadians conducted from April 23 to 26

Of course not everyone is happy about it :

Global : Will the Orange Crush crash?
"After a sudden surge in Jack Layton’s popularity last week, there’s some speculation that the NDP’s “orange crush” may be crashing as the leader’s economic policies are coming under close scrutiny. "
Dear Global : Blow me.

Update : Ditto the G&M : Will Layton raise your mortgage payments?
handily debunked by Pogge, who has already warned us about The Masters of the Universe waking up.

Love this from Thwap : Dear Corporate Shills: Fuck Off
What he said.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Orange Crush Tuesday : Cons-35, NDP-30, Libs-22

That's all I got. It's a tweet from Robert Fife at CTV on a new Angus Reid poll.
Back with links and graphs when they become available.


[updated again below]

Update : OK, a few details in now from the Montreal Gazette, although no data as yet.
An online poll of 2,040 Canadians on April 25&26 : "If a federal election were held tomorrow, which one of the following parties would you be most likely to support in your constituency?"
NDP favoured by 30 per cent of Canadians: poll 

"Now the NDP surge has become more solid, with marked increases in Quebec and Ontario, and a higher level of committed voters who say they will not change their mind before election day," the poll said.
The Conservatives were first in every region, except Quebec, but the NDP was polling second in B.C., Alberta, Manitoba/Saskatchewan and Atlantic Canada.
The Liberals were second in Ontario and third in every other region.
The Bloc Quebecois had seven per cent support nationally, down two points. They were at 29 per cent in Quebec, second to the NDP's staggering 38 per cent.
Greens holding at 5%.

Upperdate : From Angus Reid :

The NDP is attracting more than one third of decided voters aged 18 to 34 (37%, +7 since mid-April), while the Tories hold on to a similar proportion of respondents aged 35 to 54 (38%) and those over the age of 55 (also 38%).
 [The Libs hold 22% across all age groups.]

The Grits are holding on to just 64 per cent of their voters in the 2008 election, and one-in-four of these voters who supported the Stéphane Dion-led Liberals in 2008 are now backing the NDP.

The idea of a coalition government featuring the Liberals and the NDP, if these two parties have more combined seats than the Tories, is appealing to 41 per cent of Canadians. Grit and NDP supporters like this scenario, but four-in-five Tories reject it. 


Monday, April 25, 2011

Orange Crush : Cons-34, NDP-28, Libs-24, Greens-7, Bloc-6

EKOS poll surveyed 3,004 Canadians, including 2,783 decided voters, between April 22 and April 24.
8% were undecided or ineligible.

A poll is only a poll is only a poll. But if it has any basis in reality and holds for the final week, we are now looking at a Con minority of 131 seats, with 100 NDP seats plus 62 Lib seats giving a 31 seat lead over the Cons. [Ed. Seat estimates revised]


Sunday, April 24, 2011

For the benefit of Mr. Kent

Today : Kent backtracks over Tory candidate in Tamil Tigers row
“I regret any embarrassment that my remarks may have caused the Prime Minister.”

And so, with apologies for the massacre of The Beatles 'For the Benefit of Mr. Kite' ...

For the benefit of Mr. Kent
A tv spot for his repent - on trampoline!
Coz Mr Steve went quite potty
About Pete's diss of Paranchothy, what a scene
It's a Tamil Tigers sympathist story
But it's okay if you're a Tory  - yeah
In this way Mr. K. bends over for Steve!

The celebrated Mr. Kent.
Performed his feat to circumvent a message split,
While HarperCons did clap and shout
To drown Milewski's questions out - how chicken shit
Yet Mr. Steve assures the public
His majority will be second to none
But of course we don't endorse the buyers' remorse!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Election 2011 : Steve : Majority rule or bring on the coloured scarves

At the 3:20 minute mark in Don Newman's interview with John Baird in December 2008, Baird explains how the Cons plan to do an end run around being defeated in Parlament by shuttering it.
Baird : "I think what we want to do is basically take a time out and go over the heads of the members of Parliament, go over the heads frankly of the Governor General, go right to the Canadian people.
Newman : "You live in a British parliamentary system and in a British parliamentary system it is only legitimate for the government to be the government if it can sustain support in the House of Commons, and to say now that you're going to go over their heads, brush them aside, they're not even important anymore ..."
After a bit of bluster, Baird repeats his intention about going over the heads of Parliament and the GG "directly to the people".
Newman asks if this is going to be "like Kiev with people wearing different coloured scarves" in the streets.

After listening to Steve's creepy interview with Mansbridge, I think the Cons have decided - as a defeated government this time round - that it's time for the coloured scarves.

Harper questions right of opposition parties to form government

Stephen Harper is challenging a key element of Canada’s parliamentary democracy, saying the ability of the opposition parties to defeat his minority government and be asked to govern themselves is open to “debate.”
In an interview with CBC News on Thursday, Harper refused to concede that the opposition parties have the constitutional right to form government after the May 2 vote if they can win backing of most MPs in the House of Commons.
At first, he dismissed the question as a “constitutional theoretical discussion.”
But asked whether the opposition parties would have the “right” to form government, Harper said “that’s a question, a debate of constitutional law.

If the other guys win, they get a shot at government and I don’t think you challenge that unless you are prepared to go back to the people,” he said.

“We’ll be into another election before too long. That’s why I think need a majority mandate. I think this has gone on long enough.”
Wow. Just wow.
Parliamentary expert Ned Franks dismissed Harper’s comments as “constitutional nonsense.”

“What he’s trying to do is elevate expediency into a constitutional principle.”
What he's threatening to do is provoke a constitutional crisis over his inability to share power, to play according to the rules in the sandbox, to not be king.

He was not always so pathological about it.

In Our Benign Dictatorship, a paper he wrote with Tom Flanagan 15 years ago and to which I've referred before, Steve makes the case for functioning coalition governments supported by proportional representation in Canada :
"Among major democracies, only Great Britain so ruthlessly concentrates power.
In the United States, President Clinton cannot govern without making concessions to the Republicans in Congress. In Germany, Chancellor Kohl needs to keep the support not only of the CSU but of the Free Democrats. In France, the presidency and the national assembly are often controlled by different party coalitions. In most of the rest of Europe, proportional representation ensures that coalition governments routinely form cabinets. In Australia, the Liberal prime minister needs the National Party for a majority in the House of Representatives and, often, the support of additional parties to get legislation through the Senate.
In New Zealand, which used to have a Canadian-style system of concentrated power, the voters rebelled against alternating Labour party and National party dictatorships: electoral reform now ensures coalition cabinets."
Ten days ago in the leaders debate, Jack Layton turned to Harper and said : "You’ve become what you used to oppose. You’ve changed in some way. What's happened to you?"

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Election 2011 : Two polls walk into a bar ...


EKOS and Ipsos Reid polls - just a snapshot in time of what a few thousand Canadians think today .

EKOS seat projections : Cons - 134 seats, down from 143, so no majority
Libs - 82 seats, up from 77
NDP - 60 seats, up from 36
Bloc - 32 seats, down from 47
Ipsos Reid poll puts the NDP ahead of the Libs nationally

and in Quebec : NDP : 28% ; Bloc : 27% ; Cons : 24% ; Libs : 20%

House Effect : Surprise. Ipsos Reid notable for usually massively overestimating Cons and underestimating NDP compared to other polling companies, rather like every political pundit and talking head in the country to date.

40 - 40 - 20 revisited

Con MP and anti-abortion crusader Brad Trost, who lists being a member of the cross-party Pro-Life Caucus as one of his duties as an MP on his website, addressed the Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association’s annual convention on Saturday and thanked its members for their help in killing off federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
“Let me just tell you, and I cannot tell you specifically how we used it, but those petitions were very, very useful and they were part of what we used to defund Planned Parenthood because it has been absolute disgrace that that organization and several others like it have been receiving one penny of Canadian taxpayers dollars."
Planned Parenthood has been waiting over a year to find out whether the Con's official program defunder, Bev Oda, would renew PP's decades old funding and now Trost has let the cat out of the bag.
Harper spokesy Dimitri Soudas hastily convened a 1am presser to distance Harper from Trost, blowing Trost off as a mere uninformed "backbencher", but as Cathie points out : Trost has been right before.
Soudas :
Asked repeatedly whether allowing access to abortion was part of the government’s funding criteria, Soudas replied: “No, it does not.”
He also repeated the Harper government’s often stated position that it would not re-open the debate on abortion."
Well of course with Harper seeking a majority, he doesn't want to reopen the debate but he doesn't need to, does he? Defunding it, with the repeated help of the Blue Dog Libs, is working just fine as an alternative.

A year ago the Libs tried to smoke out the Cons on contraception and abortion by introducing a Liberal motion in the House to include a broader range of family planning programs in a maternal health initiative for developing countries. It was defeated 144-138 when four Libs voted against it, two abstained, and 12 missed the vote altogether.

So it's a bit much that it's the Liberal party who broke the news about Trost's shenanigans at the annual Pro-Life bunfest, just because the Liberals having 25% 17% anti-abortion MPs is better than the Cons 69%  66%
Let's have another look at the 40 - 40 - 20 support for pro-choice in our current government.
[Update : See corrected chart for the election below this one]

From Choice Joyce, updated December 2010 :

while Sixth Estate has a 2009  list of suspected Pro-life Caucus members, based on their voting records and public statements. Suspected. Because membership in the Pro-Life Caucus is a government secret.

At least they're more upfront about it in the US, where bills to defund Planned Parenthood are currently pending in Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Indiana, North Carolina, and the District of Columbia.

More : Dammit Janet, Dr. Dawg. Dammit Janet again

Update : Courtesy of Choice Joyce at ARCC : an updated list of anti-choice MPs for this election.

Good news is :  that 40 - 40 - 20 is now updated to all-party totals of 48.5% Prochoice - 36% Antichoice - 16% Unknown,
with 17% of the Libs and 66% of Cons identifying as anti-choice.

Well that's better but 66% is still a horrific percentage for the governing party of Canada.

Joyce reminds the 36% of antichoicers from both parties is a 'conservative' estimate, and her research bears this out.
For instance, voting for some version of fetus rights doesn't automatically get an MP onto the chart because maybe the candidate is pro-choice but it was a whipped vote, or they are anti-choice personally but have stated they would not vote against reproductive rights.

Check out her list of MPs and their voting record before you vote.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Stephen Harper's "Here For Canada"

In an old science fiction story by Damon Knight, aliens arrive on Earth and provide us with some of the advanced tech and cheap unlimited power they enjoy on their home planet - which we are encouraged to visit as part of a ten year exchange program. As people trundle happily off into the spaceships, the narrator steals an alien book, along with an alien/earth dictionary, and manages to translate the title : "To Serve Man". That sounds pretty nice but further translation reveals it to be a cookbook.

Stephen Harper's "Here For Canada" campaign pitch strikes me very much the same way.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Does this poll make my bias look fat?

Back in November, Three HundredEight . com published this chart illustrating what he called "the house effect" Note that the chart does not measure accuracy compared to actual election results nor does Éric claim his methodology is immune from its own 'house effects':
"The numbers are the amount of percentage points a particular pollster favours or disfavours that particular party compared to other pollsters over a similar period of time.
This does not necessarily equate to a deliberate bias, but instead is more reflective of the polling methods used - the "house effects".
OK, so bearing all that in mind ... Toronto Star : NDP moves into tie with Liberals: Poll
and are polling second place behind the Bloc in Quebec.

That would be Angus Reid, but if their poll is born out even to a lesser extent by other pollsters - and depending on the kind of skewed media coverage it gets : holy shit, TorStar! - it's certainly going to throw a fuck into the perennial "Vote Liberal so the Cons don't get in" meme, isn't it?

Which, btw, is a silly meme anyhow. We don't vote federally, we vote locally. If you're going to attempt to vote strategically, vote for the party most likely to beat the Cons in your own riding. If you're absolutely sure the second party back has no hope of beating them, vote your heart.

Update : Pundits' Guide : Why the Conservatives Love the “Strategic” Voting Sites

Dr. Dawg : A vote for the Liberals is ...

Friday, April 15, 2011

Surprise! We Are Voting! No You Aren't!

(updated below)
You really have to wonder what was going through the head of Michael Sona, communications director for Guelph Conservative candidate Marty Burke, when he barged into the special advance ballot arranged by Elections Canada for students at Guelph University, "making a huge scene stating that this polling station was illegal and tried to grab for the ballot box."

Maybe he thought the two previously successful federal election polls held at U of G were quite enough. Maybe he saw another party's ads too close to the polling station. Maybe, like John Baird, he found all this 'get out the youth vote' flash mob stuff to be "disconcerting".

Or just maybe he realized there was no friggin way there was anything like a majority of Con votes among those 700 sealed votes in those ballot boxes. In which case - interesting he would cop to that.

Guelph was also where the original non-partisan vote mob was held on April 4th in response to Rick Mercer's challenge to young people to "do the unexpected" and get out and vote.

The Cons didn't much care for that one either :
Several students who were participants in the non-partisan "Surprise! Youth are voting!" flash mob outside the Con rally in Guelph were refused entry into the Con rally afterwards by the RCMP despite having registered for it :

"A Conservative Party of Canada official approached them and indicated they were not welcome because of their involvement in an action that was perceived as a protest by party insiders".
Now the Conservative Party of Canada has written to Elections Canada yesterday to disqualify the Guelph students' votes :
"request that none of the votes collected during the U of G session be included in the final tally of votes in the Guelph riding. The letter was sent by lawyer Arthur Hamilton, of Toronto-based law firm, Cassels Brock."
[Say, aren't you the same Con lawyer who dished the dirt on Helena Guergis? ]
"Elections Canada media advisor James Hale said this was the third election during which the university of Guelph held a special ballot on campus. And this is the first time it’s ever been challenged, Hale said."
Well you know the Cons aren't overly fond of Elections Canada either at the moment.

Meanwhile the Vote Mobs : Youth are voting this election! rolls on across the country. Watch their vids. Pretty inspiring stuff.

More : Dr. Dawg.

Friday Night Update : Elections Canada rejects Tory effort to annul votes at University of Guelph 

The Guelph ballot collection was not technically an advance poll but rather a way to collect a batch of 'special' ballots which are put in sealed envelopes and then the students' names will then be checked against the voters list on May 2. So to answer Con lawyer's complaint - proximity of election ads to collection box presumably even not an issue.  Former DRO James Bow explains it at Dr. Dawg's.

Elections Canada News Release via Dammit Janet :
"A special ballot coordinator, appointed by the local returning officer, oversaw the activities at the University of Guelph. All information at our disposal indicates that the votes were cast in a manner that respects the Canada Elections Act and are valid."
So the Guelph campus vote has been validated by Elections Canada, however EC has ruled against future ballot collection sessions on campus instead of at the local EC office.

Score one for the Cons here. Remember this was the third election that such a ballot collection session was held on Guelph campus to enable students in the middle of exams to vote. Con operative makes a grab for the ballot box, Con Party sends off lawyery letter, and now EC has clarified against any other campus doing this for students in future in this election.

They really are the Contempt party, aren't they?
Saturday Night Update : Elections Canada Senior General Counsel issues what appears to be a mild rebuke of the Con spin :
"In his letter, Mr. Hamilton refers to calls that were placed yesterday to the Public Inquiries unit regarding the situation at Guelph University and the statements made by Mr. Boutet who tried to assist him. I have spoken to Mr. Boutet and he indicated that he had not understood the situation as described in Mr. Hamilton's letter."
Lead Now : Tell Elections Canada: Let Students Vote on Campus 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Canada's Funny Animals Election 2011

My very first video. Somehow I don't think the gang at A Creative Revolution will be quaking in their boots.

A huge tip o the hat to Martin Clark for doing the voiceovers, and to the BBC who let you rip their clips.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Steve's G8 Slush Fund

[updated below]

When the G8 leaders stayed for one night at the Deerhurst Resort as part of the G8/G20 $1.2-billion bunfest, their one-night stay probably didn't afford them the opportunity to fully appreciate all the benefits of the G8 Legacy Infrastructure Slush Fund spent in Industry Minister Tony Clement's riding.

"32 projects that received funding, many of which appear to have no connection to the needs of the G8 summit, chosen by Industry Minister Tony Clement, the mayor of Hunstville, and the general manager of Deerhurst Resort"
And "reducing congestion" at the border by putting up gazebos 50k away is a neat trick
The (Jan. 13th) draft report says that in November 2009, the government tabled supplementary spending estimates which requested $83 million for a Border Infrastructure Fund aimed at reducing congestion at border crossings. But the government did not reveal that it intended to devote $50 million of that money to a G8 legacy fund, even though Huntsville is nowhere near the Canada-U.S. border.
Also ... Auditor general Sheila Fraser is not pleased the Cons misquoted her about the G8 slush fund the day Parliament dissolved last month. Their dissenting opinion to the committee report to the House read :

All witnesses brought forwarded testimony demonstrating strong endorsement of the government's unprecedented transparency to summit costs. [lols]

The Auditor General, Sheila Fraser commented in this regard the following: "We found that the processes and controls around that were very good, and that the monies were spent as they were intended to be spent."

Well actually :

Fraser said the quote had nothing to do with the summits. Instead, the Conservatives falsely recycled an old comment she made on security spending by a previous Liberal government after the 9/11 terrorist attacks a decade ago. (emphasis mine)


Oh well, at least we still have all those nice Economic Action Plan signs.

Tuesday Update : More shenanigans. It would seem the dissenting Con report from the committee hearings into the G8/20 bunfest expenses that misquoted AG Sheila Fraser also managed to misquote Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page as well :
"The document suggests Mr. Page gave security costs for the summits a passing grade after they were held, when in fact the quotation the Conservatives attribute to him was plucked from a report on government estimates he prepared before the meetings."
Yeah. Steve the Economist wants this election to be all about the economy and the Cons' supposed record for solid fiscal management. Yet their best rebuttal to a committee report critical of that record at the G8/20 is to appropriate a ten year old positive assessment that was actually about the Libs and a quote the PBO issued before the summits even began. .

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Bruce Carson : "stickhandling" the Afghan file

Five times convicted fraudster Bruce Carson - currently under RCMP investigation for influence peddling and illegal lobbying of Indian Affairs to obtain a water filtration contract that would have netted his 22-year old fiancee 20% of sales - was granted a secret security clearance in 2006 by some "low level staffer", just so he could be Harper's "main player "and "point man" on the top secret and sensitive Afghanistan file.
"... starting in 2007, Carson was a regular participant in daily telephone briefings on Afghanistan involving senior officials from departments such as foreign affairs, defence, RCMP, justice and corrections. “It was evident to all the departments that he was the main player, Harper’s point man on the file,” said one source familiar with the briefings. “He was given the most sensitive file to work on."
So while Stockwell Day was braying in the House in 2007 that even to question the treatment of detainees was tantamount to treason, a convicted felon was briefing his Correction Services Canada inspections team in Afghanistan "on a daily basis" and possibly figuring out what to do about Corrections Canada requests for boots suitable for "walking through blood and fecal matter on patrol or in the prison".
While Harper has a national security adviser, it was left to Carson, chief policy analyst, to stickhandle the Afghan file on a daily basis. His focus was usually on how the mission was being communicated here in Canada rather than on developments in the field, the source said."
Ah yes, putting the happy face on war crimes :
Canadian diplomats in Afghanistan were ordered in 2007 to hold back information in their reports to Ottawa about the handling of the prisoners, say defence and foreign affairs sources. The instruction — issued soon after allegations of torture by Afghan authorities began appearing in public — was aimed at defusing the explosive human-rights controversy, said sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The controversy was seen as “detracting from the narrative” the Harper government was trying to weave around the mission, said one official. “It was meant to put on a happy face,” he added.

The instruction was passed over the telephone by senior officials in the Privy Council Office."
Impolitical says : "Incompetent leadership that left the highest, most sensitive affairs of Canada in Bruce Carson's hands without the proper security clearance"

but I think Harper knew exactly why he wanted the felon they called 'The Mechanic'.

By the way, how is the more recent stickhandling of the Afghan detainee documents progressing, 16 months after they were demanded by Parliament?

March 3, 2011 : Secret Afghan documents could be ready in two weeks, say Liberals a month ago.

The Cons have been stonewalling on handing over the Afghan detainee documents to our duly elected members of Parliament, while some unelected convicted felon buddy of Harper's was the Afghan file "point man" doing the "stickhandling" during the time in question. Unbelievable.


Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Harper's Tea Party ad

Just over a year ago we were all surprised to learn that Stephen Harper had hired former Bush WH press secretary and Freedom's Watch leader Ari Fleischer not once but twice -first to promote Harper to the US media, the second time for unspecified duties.

Fleischer's facebook page continues to describes him as "an international media consultant to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper", although as noted by Emily, Harper is not exactly lacking in alternative tea party support.
UPDATE : Here ya go, Steve - I fixed your ad up for ya.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Known country for old men

EKOS, April 1, 2011 dual landline/cell phone sampling of 2929 Canadians over 18. Margin of error +/- 1.8% point 19 times out of 20.

According to Elections Canada, only 37% of eligible voters under 25 voted in the 2008 election, compared to 59% among all age groups. In 1988, 75.3 % of all eligible voters voted.

Update : "Surprise. We are voting" Good on you, Canadian youth.

Meanwhile Steve's handlers throw a couple of 19 year old first time voters out of a Con rally after they discovered one of them had a picture of herself with Iggy posted on her facebook page. Because it would obviously be a really really bad thing if she were to check out all the parties first before voting.

Another student is arrested for walking across a parking lot to his car while not being one of the many other Con supporters in the parking lot and yet another student is reportedly "barred because she had participated with the Sierra youth coalition on climate change at the Cancun conference last December".

Can't have that.

Several students who were participants in the non-partisan "Surprise. Youth are voting" flash mob outside the Con rally in Guelph were refused entry into the Con rally afterwards by the RCMP despite having registered for it :

"A Conservative Party of Canada official approached them and indicated they were not welcome because of their involvement in an action that was perceived as a protest by party insiders".

Flash mob to promote youth participation in voting = protest - to Con "party insiders".

Well done, dickheads.


Saturday, April 02, 2011

Stephen Harper : Election 1997 2008 2011

In every election now, Stephen Harper's June 1997 speech to a right-wing U.S. think tank in Montreal comes up. You know the one :

"Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term"

"the NDP is simply the left-wing agenda to basically disintegrate our society"

"the PC party were in favour of gay rights officially, officially for abortion on demand. Officially for the entrenchment of our universal, collectivized, health-care system and multicultural policies in the constitution of the country."

"the Liberal party ... enacted comprehensive gun control ... believes in gay rights, put sexual orientation in the Human Rights Act"

"a constitutional package which ... included distinct society status for Quebec and some other changes, including some that would just horrify you, putting universal Medicare in our constitution, and feminist rights, and a whole bunch of other things"

And every election, Steve's supporters make the same two objections to bringing it up : . 1) Harper says he was only speaking in jest, and 2) it's an old speech and he's 'evolved' since then.

Let's deal with Steve the funny guy first.

A couple of months after making this supposedly jokey speech, he co-authored a policy paper with Tom Flanagan in which he repeats many of the same points. Celebrating Conrad Black's purchase of the Southam newspaper chain, Steve looked forward to the end of its previously "monolithically liberal and feminist" stance.

"Public policy reflects the growing conservatism of public opinion. Canada is not the same country it was 10 years ago. Almost everyone in public life now takes ... free trade, privatization of public enterprise and targeting of social welfare programs for granted."

And as for 1997 being a long time ago ... well here's Steve on the campaign trail 18 months ago, stumping for a majority with the same old complaints about feminism and gun control and social programs :

. .

Excellent column from Antonia Zerbisias yesterday on how Harper is 'targeting' women : both in the sense of wooing their votes with an income-splitting "family tax cut" that will only benefit the wealthiest 13% of Canadian families sometime after 2016 if he gets a majority in the next two elections, while in the meantime cutting programs that benefit the rest of Canadian women and enacting policies that don't. A solid read.


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