Monday, May 18, 2009

Check your stats: NDP has best record of balanced budgets - Gvnt of Canada

Reading this, anyone who knows anything about New Democrat governments would conclude that Janice MacKinnon was either (a) badly misquoted, or (b) the victim of a nasty spill off the turnip truck.

Though threadbare from over-use, the talking points that say “New Democrats equal deficits and profligate spending” are flat wrong. The fact is that since the mid 1980s, New Democrat governments have had the BEST record of balancing budgets of any party on average. The source for such blasphemy? Why, the shysters over at the Federal Department of Finance, of course!

The whole "spend us into deficit" racket is sadly more true of Liberal and Conservative federal and provincial governments. It's something you’d expect MacKinnon to have some familiarity with, given that she was an NDP finance minister responsible for a balanced budget or two herself.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Only 300 ridings left to go ...

Taking a cue from others, this corner of the internet has for some time observed a policy of not commenting on the musings of the leader of the Green Party, nee Liberal Party spokes-thingy.

The point having already been made, and nothing having changed, what’s left to say? But an article in the Owen Sound Sun Times does change things. For the worse ...

Coming off of this week's election in BC which saw Green support tumble 37% from their electoral high, Elizabeth May is now suggesting she’s looking at running in “seven or eight” ridings across the country.

For those keeping score at home, since re-entering electoral politics in 2006, May has now mused about running in no fewer than EIGHT federal ridings:

Central Nova: here

Cape Breton-Canso: “I’d love to be the Member of Parliament for Cape Breton--Canso. That's where my family home is.” – CTV Question Period, January 7, 2007

London North Centre: “I want to be the best MP London-North-Centre has ever had, quite honestly, I want to work really hard for the riding." - London Free Press, October 26, 2006

Sydney-Victoria: "One morning I wake up and think for sure I’m going to run in Cape Breton-Canso . . . Then I think maybe I should run in Sydney-Victoria by the end of the day.” – Halifax Chronicle Herald, February 21, 2007

Ottawa West—Nepean: "I love the idea of running against one of the cabinet ministers of this (Conservative) government. I live not that far away from where (Environment Minister) John Baird's riding is in Ottawa.” - Halifax Chronicle-Herald, January 18, 2007

New Westminster—Coquitlam: “Green Leader Elizabeth May says she would consider running for a seat in a soon-to-be-vacant riding out west but will not make up her mind until a by- election is called.” – Toronto Star, May 11, 2009

Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley: “It depends on when and if a byelection is called because if there is a general election first, then there is no byelection opportunities. If a byelection opportunity presented itself, I’d be very interested.” – On running in Bill Casey’s former riding, CBC "Politics with Don Newman", April 28, 2009

And now, Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound

Honourably in the last three years, May has managed to eke out a shrinking share of the political space talking about the need for politicians to be straight with people. So it’s more than a bit revolting to find her ending her political comeback by packing-up her carpet bags after making this solemn promise to the people of "her riding" ...

Layton to help Obama become America's Tommy Douglas

The history of the fight for universal public medicare in Canada records that opponents to the CCF/NDP's plan in Saskatchewan were backed by US-based health care companies and doctors. In spite of this, Tommy Douglas and Woodrow Lloyd were successful, and Canada is the country it is in large part because of that victory.

So it's fitting that as the Obama White House seeks to make history again by transforming the notorious US health care system into a less costly, fairer, and more universal program, Canadians should return the favour: "Layton to help Obama in health care battle".

Monday, May 11, 2009

Polkaroo is not the only imaginary thing on TVO

People who live outside Ontario will have missed the panel on TVOntario tonight on “The Future of the NDP” which is too bad, because it was some of the more contrived programming ever offered by the basic cable superchannel (and that includes the Today's Special when Jeff's magic hat gets lost at the drycleaners).

Let’s run through:

On one hand there were the detractors: Buzz "Basil" Hargrove (best remembered for musing about running for the Liberal Party in 2008) and self-described radical Judy Rebick. These two firmly of the timeless opinion that New Democrats will only succeed when they sound less like your neighbour and more like hectoring 1970s anti-market crusaders -- Brother Hargrove intoning at one point that calling Employment Insurance “Employment Insurance” was tantamount to giving in to the man (the irony having clearly been lost on the Champion of the Working Class (TM) that it was his old pal and CAW jacket honoureee Paul Martin who changed the name from Unemployment Insurance back in 1995.)

Also on the panel was Globe and Mail columnist Adam Radwanski, who could most charitably be called, oh, cynical about the NDP and Jack Layton.

In the middle of this maelstrom of the imagination was NDP MP Niki Ashton who did a fine job at checking the sur-reality of having her party's obituary read to her by the detractors and occasionally by host Steve Paikin while the party, quite heathily, lives and breathes.

The only thing that appeared to be missing from the program was a ticker giving moment by moment updates about Michael Ignatieff’s feelings about puppies and his childhood crushes.

Come on. We get it. The Liberal Party membership had a new leader forced upon them and are therefore up in the polls from their historic low. Does it necessarily follow that the New Democrats are doomed, let alone even affected by this? No, but that's not stopping TVO from assembling a panel to suggest it.

Funny how the only people saying the New Democrats are down and (almost) out are the same people who say your favourite sports team sucks … non-supporters.

Ignatieff knows less than a 9th grader

So this is interesting for two reasons:

1) Ignatieff now says the Liberal-NDP coalition would have "divided" people. Really? A historic accord agreed to by a majority of parliamentarians, representing a majority of voting Canadians and that would have brought political rivals together into an alternative government would have been more "divisive" than Stephen Harper's government?

Well, that's worth remembering.

As are these things Ignatieff used to say about the coalition he now derides:

“I think the thing that the Canadian people…have to understand is that the coalition agreement does not jeopardize the national unity of our country. No Liberal, certainly not me with would ever sign into any agreement that jeopardized the national unity of the country, that compromises the national authority of the government or sets in place unequal treatment of provinces." – Michael Ignatieff, "Mike Duffy Live", 5 December 2008

“I support the [Coalition] accord because it's fiscally responsible, it provides responsible economic leadership in tough times and it also conserves the basic principles of national unity, equality that our party has always believed in.” – Michael Ignatieff

In fact, Ignatieff was so opposed to the coalition accord he now considers more divisive than Stephen Harper, that he was only willing to sign a petition to the Governor General in favour of it:

2) Upon reflection, Ignatieff has also concluded - along with Stephen Harper and the Conservative letter-to-the-editor writing base - that "There was also a question concerning the legitimacy of the coalition that troubled me.”

No surprise really that a man who has lived outside Canada for 30-odd years thinks we are the Republic of Canada too.

Free advice to Professor Ignatieff: on one of your book tours, consider picking up a copy of the high school reader "How Canadians Govern Themselves" where in the first chapter you will learn:

"If a Cabinet is defeated in the House of Commons on a motion of censure or want of confidence, the Cabinet must either resign (the Governor General will then ask the Leader of the Opposition to form a new Cabinet) or ask for a dissolution of Parliament and a fresh election."

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

“She superimposed her face on another body image”

Given, um, recent revelations, Team Ignatieff may want to borrow from Ruby Dhalla’s very own expertly crafted “Photoshop” talking points to explain away this now unhelpful photo from the weekend …

Monday, May 4, 2009

Subscribe to the Liberal Party and get a free clock radio & pen set

For a moment a jolt of electricity seemed to be in the air in the otherwise dull-as-dishwater convention coverage on Saturday. CPAC reporters took a break from their usual stalling for time or chatting-up delegates about by-law amendments and swollowed hard at the prospect of getting to report actual NEWS!

Across the land, Elevator Network viewers and retirement home rec room occupants were agape that the Liberal Party was about to announce a new … wait for it … logo!

But in all seriousness, a political party’s logo is an important part of its overall branding. It needs to be recognizable as well as say something about the party.

So isn’t it a bit odd that their new logo …

Appears to be an un-italicized throw-back to their old 1992-era logo?

And what about that new leaf device? What does it say about the new Ignatieff Liberals? Who knows? Perhaps it’s a reminder to renew their subscription to Macleans’.