Monday, April 30, 2007

Dion helps Harper stay in Afghanistan -- again

Turns out that Stephen Harper's most loyal ally in the war in Afghanistan isn't the US, or the UK, or Australia: it's Stephane Dion and the Liberal Party of Canada.

Every single Liberal MP voted to help the Conservatives defeat an NDP motion that would have begun the immediate withdrawal of Canadian troops from the combat mission in Kandahar.

If Dion is smart enough to conclude today that the mission won't be worth supporting in February 2009, how can he possibly argue that it's worth supporting in April 2007?

With this betrayal of ordinary Canadians, Liberals have made it clear that they aren't opposed to the ill-defined mission even in the midst of the prisioner abuse scandal.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Liberals on the wrong side of Canadians on Afghanistan

A poll in the Globe and Mail shows that most Canadians are in support the NDP's motion to end the mission in Kandahar as soon as possible.

"The survey also found that 46 per cent of Canadians want the troops home as soon as possible, while 24 per cent believe the soldiers should stay in Afghanistan as long as it takes to rebuild the nation."

So what exactly are Liberals doing by saying they will oppose that motion in Monday's vote?

The Liberals are so caught up in the political chess game in Ottawa that they are ignoring Canadians.

Their motion last week - which was defeated - to keep the troops in Kandahar until 2009 is supported by less than 8% of Canadians according to the poll. Stephane Dion's motion also put the Liberals in the bizarre position of having to defend the current mission and its $4 billion price tag for another two years, when only a year ago Liberals were saying they were against the extending the mission to 2009.

But as was exposed earlier this week, the Liberal motion was all about politics - not principle. Dion refused to work with the NDP to put a deadline sooner than 2009 in their motion because they wanted to force the NDP to vote against their motion.

Even James Laxer, who for decades has been a better friend to the Liberals than the NDP has concluded that Stephane Dion is wrong on this one.

If the Liberals vote with the Conservatives on Monday to keep our troops in Kandahar until 2009, they will not just be defeating the NDP on their motion, they will be rejecting the wishes of the majority of Canadians as well as condoning the prisoner abuse scandal and giving Harper and O'Connor a blank cheque for the next two years.

If Stephane Dion was a real leader he would put the chess board away and get back to doing what Canadians expect from a "progressive" party.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Conservatives’ “Son of Sponsorship”

The words still hang in the air . . .

They “broke nearly every rule in the book on this one.” – Auditor general Sheila Fraser, May 8, 2002

“Perhaps there was a few million dollars that might have been stolen in the process. It is possible.” - Jean Chretien, Speech to Liberal Party, May 30, 2002.

Liberals “were directly involved in illegal campaign financing” and “disregarded the relevant laws governing donations to political parties.” - Gomery's First Report, p. 78.

Liberals “cannot escape responsibility for the misconduct of its officers and representatives.” - Gomery's First Report.

Liberals are still dogged by the abuse of funds in the Sponsorship Scandal. It has rocked their supporters and weighs down their popular support in Québec and elsewhere like ballast.

For their part, the Conservatives were stern in chiding the Liberals for breaking the rules by having an open and unaccountable slush fund from which their supporters could draw for political purposes.

So imagine the revulsion to hear about the Conservatives' $30 million backdoor fund to support events in their Conservative ridings. The NDP’s Charlie Angus uncovered "the Son of Sponsorship" in a memo to Conservative MPs. The memo describes the fund as having no rules for how the money can be dispersed and who can obtain funds.

Angus' questions in the House had Bev Oda - the minister in charge of the fund - ducking out the back door to avoid reporters.

Reminds one of the old adage "Liberal – Tory same old . . . something, something."

Developing . . .

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Truth Comes Out: Liberals refused to work with the NDP to stop the mission.

You can add military analyst Stephen Staples to the list of people who see though Stéphane Dion's manipulative Afghanistan motion.

Staples had an interesting seat to see it too. Turns out that he and others acted as go-betweens between the Liberals and NDP to craft a better motion, but the Liberals wouldn't play ball. They were more interested in politics than having their motion pass. Staples writes on his blog:

"The Liberal motion was uncritical of the military mission and supported its continuance unchanged . . . We urged the Liberals to make a small amendment to their motion in order to win NDP support, and Former UN Ambassador for Disarmament Peggy Mason actually suggested specific changes to the language that would likely have been palatable to both Liberals and the NDP. We sent the suggestions to every Liberal and NDP Member of Parliament. The NDP even proposed an amendment during the debate, but the Liberals rejected it."

This just in: So, the NDP has tabled it's own motion today to notify NATO that Canadian troops will be withdrawn as soon as possible, not in 2009. Any credibility the Liberals had on opposing the ill-defined mission goes out the door if they vote with Harper.

The motion reads:

(1) all Members of this House, whatever their disagreements about the mission in Afghanistan, support the courageous men and women of the Canadian Forces;

(2) the government has admitted that the situation in Afghanistan can not be won militarily;

(3) the current counter-insurgency mission is not the right mission for Canada;

(4) the government has neither defined what ‘victory’ would be, nor developed an exit strategy from this counter-insurgency mission;

therefore this House condemns this government and calls for it to immediately notify NATO of our intention to begin withdrawing Canadian Forces now in a safe and secure manner from the counter-insurgency mission in Afghanistan; and calls for Canada to focus its efforts to assist the people of Afghanistan on a diplomatic solution, and re-double its commitment to reconstruction and development.

Liberals stoop to "you support the Taliban" logic.

The Coles Notes on last night's Afghanistan vote: The NDP is opposed to the ill-defined mission in Kandahar. They were in November 2005 when Paul Martin began it and that hasn't changed. They could not vote for a Liberal motion that endorsed that mission until 2009. It's as simple as that.

But today, Liberals (and their proxies) are declaring victory because their motion was defeated. (It’s been a tough couple of months for the party that made a deal with another party that over 60% of Canadians don’t support, so one can expect them to celebrate just about anything.)

But saying that the NDP was "helping" the Conservatives on the vote - as A6 of the Toronto Star blasts today - is trafficking in the same garbage as when Harper says the NDP and the Taliban are on the same side in opposing the war. It’s tortured logic (er, sorry, Iggy).

The NDP wants this ill-defined mission to end. Not to wait until 2009.

Less than a year ago, 66 Liberal MPs – including Stéphane Dion - voted with the NDP against extending the mission to 2009.

But today the Liberals are in favour of the mission. Bryon Wilfret said so in the House only six days ago: "We support this mission. Any suggestion that we do not is pure fallacy."

But today the Liberals have agreed to Harper's timeline. Their motion would keep Canada in an ill-defined mission for another two years. This isn't leadership at all.

The Liberal motion was all theatre. As Richard Warnica says over at The Tyee, "Canada’s mission to Afghanistan is already scheduled to end in 2009. So what exactly this motion would have meant isn’t entirely clear."

If the Liberals still need some tutoring on what the NDP vote meant, they only need ask their backroom-deal partner Elizabeth May. Stephen LaFrenie, her candidate in the Toronto riding of Trinty-Spadina has figured out. Perhaps he can explain it s-l-o-w-l-y to them:

"Jack Layton and the NDP were not agreeing with the Conservatives. They were continuing their stance of withdrawal which they took up in September. Once again the liberals play politics while avoiding taking a stand on real principle"

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Elizabeth May is propping-up the Conservatives -- at the bar!

Elizabeth May has been foaming mad for months on the baseless allegation that Stephen Harper and the NDP are in cahoots. Who can forget her over-the-top rant on CTV Question Period:

"What the hell is wrong with Jack Layton that he can't answer a phone call? I don't understand this. He talks to Harper all the time."

Her conspiracy theories about the NDP "propping up" the Conservatives have even earned her a public rebuke from Toronto Green Party candidate Stephen LaFrenie.

All the more incredible then, that over at May's blog, Stéphane Dion' s partner in the war against Harper is gushing about her brilliant repartee with John Baird and how she and the environment minister she pretends to vilify are planning to hook-up for cocktails and "giggles" later.

People who want results for the environment aren't laughing.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Weak-end warriors decide "Layton should be shot for treason"

On Wednesday, Jack Layton called the Prime Minister to account for negotiations that the government has apparently undertaken to involve the tiny United Arab Emirates in the war-fighting mission in Afghanistan.

Over at Small Dead Animals the outrage is tantamount to when Chapters stopped carrying Mack Boland books on tape.

The comments section literally overflows with vitrol against the NDP.

From the war-rooms of their bachelor apartments, and secret bunkers in their parents' basements these misanthropes have decided that Layton’s referencing a document released legally by the Department of National Defence, and obtained legally through the Access to Information Act, and discussed legally, and printed and broadcast legally by newspapers and television news has literally given comfort to the enemy.

With all the deliberate jurisprudence of a Pinochetian court, our weak-end warriors have decided that Layton and the whole NDP gang are guilty of treason and shouldn’t even be afforded the luxury of a Lucky Strike.

A few of the more rational suggestions put forth:

“How about a wall and a blindfold.”

“Ny God when will we start slamming some of this traiterous 5th column trash in the slammer...or give them a session in Gitmo . . .”

“Arrest the bastards on charges of treason and sedition and have them shot. No kidding!!!!! Don't fuck with our Country . . .”

These remarks are just incredibly over the top. It’s embarrassing to read them -- let alone consider that adults might have written them.

Folks, it's called democracy. If you're not sure why we have it, ask a veteran.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Thomas Mulcair to be NDP star in Québec

As was predicted on your favourite equine-themed politics blog, Thomas Mulcair has announced today that he has joined the NDP and will be Layton’s Québec lieutenant in the next election.

Mulcair of course, has been a Liberal MNA from 1994 to 2006 including time in cabinet as minister of the environment.

For a host of reasons, his decision to join the NDP is of monumental significance not just to the NDP but to federal politics in Québec.

For the first time since 1988, the NDP is ready to start electing MPs in Québec. Last month’s election signaled that politics in the province is fluid and ripe for change. Mulcair’s candidacy is the clearest signal that Québecers looking for that change need only turn to Jack Layton and the NDP.

Not to be missed in this is the endorsement it represents of Jack Layton’s strong leadership on the environment. As a former environment minister who introduced sweeping environmental protection legislation and fought passionately in favour of Kyoto, Mulcair was aggressively courted by both the Conservatives and Liberals. Instead he chose the NDP: a party with no seats in the province, but an ambitious environmental plan that will resonate with Québecers.

At this point, it’s still not clear where we can expect to see “Elect Mulcair” signs show up but a lot of wags are pushing towards the Outremont by-election vacated by Liberal, then Bloc Québecois, then Liberal MP Jean Lapierre.

May and Dion put out the trash

More signs that the Elizabeth May / Stephane Dion spin-factory have reached the end of their tether.

They've called in former Green leader Jim Harris to spin this piece of fiction. Just like May's groundless "no party leader has ever faced a challenger in an election," Harris is re-inventing history.

As Layton says in the story, it was Harris who requested the meeting because he had a list of his own demands, including that the NDP stand down against Green candidates.

Harris' version of events is baseless. People who worked the 2004 NDP campaign say the strategy on the Greens was to not talk about them at all. Talking about them gave them air. This direction was strictly adhered to at all levels. There was just no way Layton was going to give them the time of day, let alone brokering a Dion-style deal like Harris alleges today.

Greens will recall that when Harris was leader, his tactics were described as manipulative and duplicitous. They couldn't get away from him fast enough. Now that they are losing the argument over their backroom deal with Dion, they are calling on his talents again.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

NDP compels Harper to come clean on make-over

Little else can demonstrate just how much being in government has changed the Harperites than the fact that the NDP are having to launch an inquiry into the costs of Harper's personal on-staff groomer.

This was the party that came to Ottawa because of Mila Mulroney's shoes.
This was the party that came to Ottawa to end MP's "gold plated pensions."
This was the party that came to Ottawa to shut down the parliamentary barber.
This was the party that came to Ottawa to turn Stornaway into a bingo parlor.

Now after only 16 months around the limos, plush offices and hot and cold running "yes-people," these Conservatives are more Ottawa than skating on the Rideau.

"Um, just a bit more concealer on my hypocrisy, will you? That's better."

"It might be better not to run Liberals in other ridings as well": Montreal radio host

Federal Liberals look at Montreal with the same mix of desire and disheartenment that Toronto Maple Leaf fans look at the Stanley Cup.

Once it was all theirs. They want it back so bad they can taste it. But it continues to allude.

If they ever hope to form a government, Liberals need Montreal back . . . bad. So, they held their leadership convention there. And they selected a Montreal MP as their leader.

So how's that strategy working out for Liberals so far? Well, according to one of Montreal's top talk radio hosts, not well, and the Dion-May "Axis of Ego" backroom deal aint helpin' much.

Tommy Schnurmacher echoes the sentiment of the city when he writes:

“Voters may come to the sensible conclusion that if it’s better not to run a Liberal in Central Nova, perhaps it’s better not to run Liberals in other ridings as well.”

“Dion is the leader of a party often described as the natural governing party of Canada. Thanks to him, the party has now been lowered to ignoring its own constitution to make a desperate deal with a party that isn’t taken seriously by more than 90 percent of the population.”

“With this deal, Dion has admitted that the Liberal record on the environment is so fragile that they need the endorsement of a fringe party that does not have a single seat anywhere in the country.”

Pile on top of that this week's fascinating SES poll that shows current Bloc voters are least likely to vote Liberal of any of the parties, and you get the sense of what the post-Gomery world looks like for the Liberals in Quebec. Ce n'est pas bon.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

May struggles to defend "Axis of Ego"

This morning's panel on "The Current" on CBC Radio is must-hear-radio.

Ed Broadbent, Elizabeth May and former Alliance MP Val Merideth debate the "Axis of Ego" backroom deal.

Real Player audio here

A few of the more amazing highlights:
08:00 - Broadbent declares "this kind of politics is as old as the hills."
11:04 - May blames Ed Broadbent for the Green Party's electoral failure.
11:40 - May re-invents history to make it appear that no party leader has ever had their election contested.
11:59 - May struggles to muster the sincerity to say it was a principled decision.
12:26 - Ed holds May to account for her Liberals having done nothing for the environment for years.
13:36 - May accuses the NDP of having elected Harper by "faking left and going right." (um, you might be looking at Paul Martin's playbook there.)
18:45 - May launches the clunker that the Greens can't win a seat because their constituency is "the world."
22:46 - Tremonti concludes with "Stephane Dion could not be reached for comment."

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Green candidate denounces "Layton-bashing" Red-Green deal

For a plan that was supposed to attack Conservatives, the Dion-May deal has been exposed as a cynical scheme to out-flank the NDP, not Harper.

Both Dion and May have gone out of their way to target the NDP in all this. Witness May's ill-tempered and over-the-top rant against Jack Layton on CTV's Question Period.

Baffled by a strategy that purports to save the environment by attacking a party and a leader that has been alone in championing the environment in the Commons for years, Greens are speaking out against it.

Stephen LaFrenie, the nominated Green Party candidate in the Toronto riding of Trinity-Spadina has indicated his growing frustration in this comment he posted to the Green Party's website:

"Jack Layton is an honourable man. Stephane Dion is NOT . . . Why should Jack Layton show Ms. May and ourselves courtesy when she has done nothing but insult him since becoming leader. She comes from a conservative mind set and has done nothing in her leadership to build the kind of cooperation she now claims to be trying . . . I continue to find the Layton bashing, partisan nonsense of many Greens on this site to be unacceptable. You are kidding yourself if you think the NDP is going vanish from the political landscape. If we continue to justify failed politicians and political parties like Stephane Dion and the liberals then we will only be seen as liberals and not an alternative."

LaFrenie and others are right: if May is serious about environmental results, working with Stephane Dion against Jack Layton sure is an absurd way to do it.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Elizabeth May, Liberal Party candidate

One day Elizabeth May was the principled leader of the Green Party of Canada and the next she is the Liberal Party's candidate in Central Nova.

Usually people wait until they are in the House before crossing the floor. But at least we should be thankful that Elizabeth May has removed any doubt about her loyalties ahead of time.

But just the same, Green Party supporters are left feeling betrayed and wondering why they bothered.

Exasperated Green supporter Fraser Mowat has said “I know that our EDA has been working hard to get more members. Why join the Green Party when the Liberals will have a great leader that will do it all for us”?

May talks about "shared values" with the Liberals, but Green Party members don't see much to value in a party whose environmental policies May once said were "handed over to the oil patch in Alberta."

Even former Green leader Jim Harris has questioned the sense of working with a party with a worse environmental record than George Bush.

Erin Weir at Relentlessly Progressive Economics points out that by selling out to the Liberals, May has alligned herself with a party that favours further continental integration.

Even the Sun chain of papers get that Greens are being used by the Liberals. Columnist Lorrie Goldstein writes: “Let's ask so-called "progressive" voters, including May, what good comes, for them, from supporting Liberals? Where's your implemented Kyoto accord, folks? Where's your national day care program? Has child poverty been eliminated? When was the free trade deal re-negotiated? All Liberal promises, all broken, despite 12 years in power, most as a majority government.”

Dion and May are calling this cooperation, but it looks more like vote-fixing to most people. It is patently undemocratic for two people to decide who 140,000 people can or can’t vote for.

The Dion-May marriage makes sense from one stand point: they are two party leaders who should be worried about keeping their jobs.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The clock is ticking on Doomsday Dion

Swifter and fiercer than most imagined, the knives are truly coming out for Stéphane Dion since his announced back-room deal with Elizabeth May.

Here, here, and here.

But it’s not the only reason Liberals are turning on Dion.

There have been the 16 MPs who have announced they won’t be running, including the incredible departure of Belinda Stronach.

Liberals are panicking over meek candidate recruitment (what does it say when “Jodie” from “Today’s Special” is considered a star candidate?)

Liberals are falling far behind the other parties in fund raising.

Dion’s personal polling numbers have dramatically tumbled to Stockwell Day levels.

And less tangible, there is also the sense that the people around Dion - who long-time Liberal Ray Heard calls "control freaks"- aren’t up to the task.

But Dion’s ridiculous and inexplicable deal with a party that has no seats has become the flash point for Liberals.

Where this goes next is anyone’s guess. Recent history has shown that Liberals do internal wars better than anything else. It is now established fact that Paul Martin’s “Board” dispatched Chretien and his acolytes over 11 years with brutal efficiency compared to how they governed and ran elections.

While the Herle-Reid instincts take over and the Liberal Party becomes a font of anonymous comment, secretive backstabbing and internal leaks, the NDP is the only party with a leader Canadians actually like and its guns facing outward -- actually in a position to take on Harper.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Ed Broadbent tears into the Red-Green Show

Yesterday's panel on the Mike Duffy show was one for the archives. In addition to the ususal suspects - Tim Powers for the Conservatives, Scott "beer and popcorn" Reid for the Liberals - and incredibly - Ed Broadbent was subbing in for the NDP.

Within minutes, it was Ed's show as he punched holes into Reid's weak defence of the Dion-May pact.

An excerpt:

The reality is, the performance of the Liberal Party on the environment - and I cite Michael Ignatieff, never mind New Democrats.

One of the reasons I went back into politics in 2004 was that your party - and Mr. Dion was in the cabinet - was piling up surpluses of billions of dollars in the 1990s
after the deficit was dealt with and did noting about the environment. I repeat, it was Michael Ignatieff that said that and Mr. Dion was in that cabinet.

I went back in because Jack Layton then as now has been the one leader definitely persistently out front on the environment.

As for Ms. May, she actually publicly said she's not a person on the left. She said the Greens aren't on the left. I acknowledge that. She's not on the left. In fact it was a Liberal that Mike quoted that said that she's a social reactionary. That's rather strong language but she's certainly not on left and you're welcome to her.

It was a negotiated deal. Again she talked about this is not back room politics. She only talked, what she said was a dozen times with Mr. Dion on the phone? Well, isn't that -- we're not talking about the 19th century back rooms. That's a negotiated deal over the membership of both parties that they reached and it disenfranchised all those voters in the Nova Scotia constituency who happened - and I respect their choices - happened to want to vote Liberal. It's a simply calculated arrangement between two parties.
Ed's passion for democracy and principled politics is unassailable. On a day full of theatrics and circus acts, it was great to hear someone of his integrety and experience call this for what it was and expose the faux credentials of Elizabeth May and Stephane Dion.
Who's back? Ed's back!

Friday, April 13, 2007

The pact of 26.2 percent

The announcement just ran on CTV.

May did most of the talking and as usual stepped in it whenever she could. The most stunning bit of vanity was when she over-reached to compare herself and Dion to Ralph Nader and Al Gore.

The overwhelming impression: these two haven't thought this through at all.

Dion has yet to answer this question:

"If your goal is to defeat Harper, and you are willing to concede to a party that has no seats, doesn't it make sense to not run candidates against the NDP and the Bloc in the seats they actually hold?"

Dion's teetering credibility now rests on his answer.

Dion's deal to end the "national governing party"

The prospect that the Liberals would concede to not run in all 308 ridings has been the stuff of wild conjecture for about a month. But few thought it was much more than a prolonged game of footsie designed to buy sympathy from a potential Green voters.

But today all signs are that Stéphane Dion intends to follow though. One can only imagine Laurier and Trudeau would be displeased.

Putting aside the dubious strategic merit of reaching out to the 6% of Canadians who say they will vote Green and the 3-4% who actually will, it’s not too early to conclude that this announcement is going to prove calamitous for the Liberals.

The most obvious reason is that the Liberals have ended their claim to “strategic voting.”

Liberals have won recent elections by telling supporters of other parties that only the Liberal Party is strong enough to stop Stephen Harper in all regions of the country.

In the next election, this argument will be counted by: “if that’s so, then why aren’t you running in all 308 ridings? And by extension of that logic, if you really want to defeat Harper, why don't you step aside in ridings that the NDP and Bloc already hold or where your party is not competitive?

For this reason and more than a few others, Dion’s decision is going to prove extraordinarily short sighted.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Fun with fhotos

Too easy.

The further you are from the GTA the funnier this will be for you.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Free advice for the Liberal communications shop

Imagine one day that the federal government appoints an investigator into whether or not you diverted hundreds of thousands of dollars of public money to close friends of yours in lobbying and polling firms over the 13 years you were in government.

When the fourth estate comes a calling, the prefered response is "I have not and never would be involved in such a thing."

Not "er, ah, well . . . the federal investigator is a separatist!"

Way to maintain culpability, gang.

Too late now, but try to remember it for next time . . .

Stronach resignation a massive blow to Dion

BREAKING NEWS that Belinda Stronach is calling it quits.

It won’t be long before the Libs will be out in force (well, as much of a force as they can muster these days) to down-play it, but losing Stronach is a big blow to their Party.

Her entry into politics three years ago was credited as providing a renewed hope for the Conservatives. A year and four months later, Stronach's crossing the floor to the Liberals was credited with providing renewed hope for Paul Martin's teetering minority government.

In exactly the same way, today's decision must be credited with extracting hope for the Liberals. Young, charismatic, and influential in business circles, it would be an easy bet that more Canadians know Stronach, than do Dion.

Equally unmistakable is the big picture: Stonach's departure brings the number of Liberal MPs who are walking away from their party to an incredible sixteen!

Paul Martin
Jean Lapierre
Bill Graham
Ray Bonin
Brenda Chamberlain
Jim Peterson
Andy Scott
Stephen Owen
Nancy Karetak-Lindell
Paul Steckle
Joe McGuire
Tom Wappel
Joe Comuzzi
Lucienne Robillard
Bill Matthews
Belinda Stronach

Plunk those numbers next to the recent poll that shows only 17% of Canadians think if Dion as a prime minister, and you get a real sense of the growing unease among Liberals.

But, er, there’s always Garth Turner.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Stephen Lewis on caucuses and cactuses

Sometimes it's extraordinary to recall that Stephen Lewis had a life (not in a pejorative sense) before he was the UN's special envoy on HIV-AIDS.

For the blog-generation, Lewis is revered for his harrowing and at times seemingly lonesome campaign to keep the tragedy of HIV-AIDS in Africa in front of Western policy makers. The man and the issue have become so intertwined that one hardly remembers his 15 years as the MPP for Scarborough West and his eight years as the Leader of the Ontario NDP, including as leader of the official opposition.

Then, two media bits this weekend pleasantly put Lewis back in a partisan context.

First, in a discussion on Saturday on CBC Radio’s The House about political comebacks, panelists Don Martin, a columnist with the National Post and Montreal Gazette columnist Josee Legault mentioned Lewis as someone they would want to see "pull a Broadbent."

Second, there was this very funny story on Lewis' recent visit to Sault Ste. Marie, in which he took a moment, in his characteristic style of high oratory peppered with the off-colour, to reflect on his time as Ontario NDP leader.

"I had a bunch of New Democrats who were so feckless, so undisciplined, so
irresponsible, so unfocused, so rhetorically extreme, so impossible to manage
that it was chaotic from morning till night. I spent most of my time explaining
to them the difference between a caucus and a cactus," said Lewis. "With a
cactus, the pricks are on the outside."

His reaction to former MPP Bud Wildman gets even better.

It’s reminiscent of his remarks at the NDP’s convention last fall. Confronted with a delegate who was pleased to see he “was still with us,” Lewis retorted: “Still with us? Why, I’m David’s son, Avi’s father, Naomi Klein’s father-in-law. I’m a social democrat to my viscera. Still with us? I’m not Bob Rae! My ideology is not infinitely flexible.”

Draft Lewis: the cactus candidate.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

"We never agreed to buy you kids lunch": Conservatives

Greg Thompson may be the reason permission slips were invented.

For the Conservatives, the 90th anniversary of the Canadian victory at Vimy Ridge is a "gimmie" -- the kind of event that allows governments to look, well, like governments.

For anybody else, this would be an occasion of high statesmanship. Of ceremony played out against an international backdrop, with reverence to historical and solemn circumstance, executed with the greatest of decorum and humility.

And then there's Greg Thompson.

Our Minister of Veteran's Affairs has decided to commemorate the battle that saw the loss of 3,598 Canadian soldiers and the solidifying of our country's place at the table of nations by turning it into a fight over who's going to fork out $5 for a sandwich for a group of school kids.

That's the same Greg Thompson who didn't bat an eye at dropping almost $200 on lunch for he and his staff in one month last year.

"To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to get a receipt."

Monday, April 2, 2007

Shock and Odd

For a party that says they want to govern until 2009, the Conservatives sure are acting every bit like a party that is spoiling for an election.

First the ads.

Then this.

One wonders if the tv studio in their 15,000 sq foot war room has a video master to erase the smirk of every cabinet minister who is forced to utter "We didn't want this electon."