Tuesday, July 31, 2007

O’Contradictions (or feel bad for Rona Ambrose)

"Gordon O'Connor is making a fool of himself . . ."

Last month's truth has become today's monumental understatement.

O’Connor’s O’Contradictions haven’t made life easy for him. There were the briefing books not read. There were the multiple versions of who was looking after our detainees. There were air-conditioned tanks with no air-conditioning.

Now there’s this: the long-coming public spat between O’Connor and General Hillier – the man who as chief of defence staff, is supposed to work for the Government.

Once again, the NDP has called for Harper to show some parental discipline and put an end to the keystone cops routine.

Yet there O’Connor continues to sit, pretending to run the Department of Defence during a controversial war while pocketing an additional $72,200 for the privilege.

It’s tough not to feel bad for Rona Ambrose.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Liberals keep Gomery in the news

More than the promises they never kept; or their flip-flops on issues like anti-scab legislation and Afghanistan; more than their ineffective leader who is today under attack for appointing a male candidate in Outremont; Liberals see one thing holding back their triumphant return to power: Gomery.

Any new arrest, like that of Jean Lafleur this April, or the RCMP sniffing around Jacques Corriveau's home this month sets Liberals to dining on their fingernails. But to be fair, they don't have a lot of control over what the police do in bringing those responsible for the Sponsorship scandal to justice.

So surprise then that Gomery is back on the front pages today because a former Liberal cabinet minister put it there. Alphonso Gagliano has applied to the federal court hoping they will strike down the Inquiry's final report.

A recent poll found that 64% of Canadians don't think the Liberals have done enough to regain public trust, and the same number don't think Liberal MPs are honest or ethical. Having Gagliano challenging the findings of Gomery inquiry in open court isn’t likely to help.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Weak Liberal leader and boredom in the Bloc costs us $4 million

St├ęphane Dion’s weak leadership and the floundering of the Bloc Quebecois are as distressing for their dwindling supporters as the prospect of a pair of tight orange coveralls must be for Lord Black.

But for the rest of us, who cares, right? What does it matter that two Bloc and five Liberal MPs have already taken to the life-boats and left the parties that helped get them elected only 18 months ago?

Here’s why: it’s about to cost us $4 million!

All the more reason that voters in those ridings won't be eager to reward weak leadership and a party that is past its expiry date.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Harper to Canadians: "Er, I got nothin'."

Today's Globe has this story on an email circulated among Conservative staff from Harper's office begging them for ideas for the next session of Parliament.

The article says:

The request is contained in an e-mail from the Prime Minister's policy office to political staffers for Tory ministers and has also been made verbally. It comes as cabinet ministers and senior advisers believe the government has exhausted its agenda after a controversial spring in the House of Commons.

“We are looking for some ideas from you,” said the e-mail, the contents of which were read to The Globe and Mail. “These ideas will be considered as part of a larger policy recommendation that will go forth later on.”

Anyone who watched CPAC in June would have a hard time concluding anything other than that these guys were out of ideas. Van Loan's theme weeks like "Getting Results for Livestock week" were among the strongest signals.

But there's a reason why no one should trust that this email is for real. Harper and his inner circle are too controlling to ask for ideas or to leak anything. Recall the bogus "secret" memo from Doug Finley that fingered Ignatieff as their biggest fear as Lib leader (Heck, for added effect, this bogus memo was even followed up with another bogus memo on not leaking memos!).

If anyone is taking odds, bet that this memo is about the Harperites trying to soften their Ottawa image as manipulative control freaks.

('Course they could be just trying to get Conservative staff to spend less time on Facebook. )

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Montreal likes Layton best

Politicos are scratching their heads raw trying to remember an occasion when a federal NDP leader was the most popular leader in the minds of Montrealers. But that’s exactly what’s happened according to Environics.

Even on a national scale Layton has the highest approval rating of any leader (8% more than Harper and 18% more than Dion) and is the only leader a majority of Canadians (56%) approve of.

For Harper this is really bad news. It confirms that after 18 months as Prime Minister, fewer Canadians think he’s on the right track.

For Dion, it keeps getting worse. People looking for an alternative to Harper aren’t looking to him, they are looking at Layton – even in Dion’s Sponsorship Scandal-weary Montreal.

And the malaise is electric, running right from Dion’s backyard to his backbench, which saw the astonishing resignation today of a first-term Liberal MP from Saskatchewan at a time when the Conservatives are under siege in the province.

The national “horse-race” numbers aren’t likely to show it for a while, but Canadian politics is shifting dramatically.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Liberal sycophants are discrediting the enviro movement, says insider

Jamey Heath is well known as the author of “Dead Centre” and for his time as a shrewd adviser to Jack Layton.

But before that, he was the communications director for Greenpeace, where he moved in the same circles and Elizabeth May and John Bennett, then-of the Sierra Club, and Louise Comeau now of the Sage Centre and Climate for Change.

In this article, Heath warns that these three are among a small segment of enviros whose close ties to the Liberal Party are risking the credibility of the movement by unfairly flattering the Liberal Party’s record of failure and applying a double-standard to the Conservatives.

Heath says:

"People like ... Louise Comeau need to be intellectually honest in that you can't validate extraordinarily backwards policy from the Liberals, and then the moment a Conservative party comes into office demand that Kyoto targets be met come hell or high water."

Heath is right. The only difference between the Liberals and Conservatives on climate change is that the Liberals promised specific action in 1993 and 1997 and failed, while the Conservatives made no promise to do anything at all.

If the issues and results do matter, then both the Liberals and Conservatives deserve to be treated with the same brush. The work being done by a lot of good people in the environmental movement deserves this kind of honesty.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

FACT-DOWN: Layton spoke before the casualties, not after


BADH is “Canada’s number one equine-themed politics blog” for a reason (and it’s not just because Conservative Colt fell victim to inconsistent copy-editing). It’s because BADH fights the right with facts, not name-calling.

Which brings us to this week’s “FACT-DOWN”!
The number one falsehood used by the right (here, here and here) this week to attack Jack’s criticism of the Afghanistan mission is that Layton was as one wag put it “Within hours of the news that Canada had lost six more soldiers in a roadside bomb, he was exploiting their loss”.

A blistering attack – but totally false. Here are the facts:

1) Layton’s press conference was on Wednesday, June 4th at 11:00 am. The media were informed of it on Tuesday.

2) The first news that “NATO says a roadside bomb has hit a military vehicle in southern Afghanistan, killing six soldiers and their Afghan interpreter” moved from Broadcast News using Associated Press copy at 11:27 am – long after Layton’s press conference had ended.

3) Layton made no other public comments on Afghanistan on Wednesday.

To their credit, a few writers noted this, including Chantal Hebert. Even St├ęphane Dion made note of it in his press conference later on Wednesday when he said “To the merit of, I would just want to say Mr. Layton, if I understand well, made his comments before the tragedy of today.”

So, for those who think political discourse is helped by sticking to the truth as much as possible: Layton spoke before the casualties, not after.