Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Doomsday Dion pilloried at jobs rally

Word from Ottawa this hour is that Stéphane Dion was forced to abandon his prepared remarks to a group of workers when the crowd turned on him – badly.

The demonstration on Parliament Hill was calling on the Conservatives to wake up and smell the crisis in Ontario and Quebec’s manufacturing sector.

When Dion got up to address the crowd – surely on the invitation of his pal Buzz Hargrove – murmurs began as folks recognized that this was the same Liberal leader who had flip-flopped and voted against a ban on scab labour only a month back.

By the time Dion was to the part where his speechwriter was urging tax cuts for all, the crowd was a chorus of “Booo!” and “Anti-Scab!”

By now well-attuned to any sign that the Master Communicator has failed to reach the hearts of his subjects, Dion’s staff had pulled their guy off the podium to safety behind Ken Dryden.

More signs that Dion's common touch is really catching on.

Anyone who was near the rally with a camcorder is reminded that YouTube is free to use.

UPDATE: Video is here courtesy of Canadian Press

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Brother of Conservative star says “Harper is protecting a corrupt regime in Afghanistan”

In the same week that Harper turned Afghanistan into the backdrop for his “Everything’s Alright Here” Tour, Arthur Kent, the outspoken journalist -- and incidentally the brother of Harper’s star candidate in Thornhill – offered a devastating critique of the mission that the Conservative Party is wedded to.

Arthur Kent has been in Afghanistan for years reporting for his internet news service Yesterday he told CTV Newsnet yesterday that Harper is fighting a war to rid Afghanistan of one treacherous regime only to replace it with another:

“The prime minister is not taking appropriate care to ensure that the government in Kabul, which is the real hope of the Afghan people and the essential component to any success in Afghanistan is cleaned – cleared up of corruption and made more effective and responsive to the Afghanistan people . . . If Prime Minister Harper really wants to support the troops, and Lord knows they deserve that support, then Prime Minister Harper has got to get some very senior people in to Kabul and start cleaning up that rat’s nest known as the Karzai regime.”

This is not the first warning that the structures of Afghan governance are corrupt. Indeed, legislator Malalai Joya was kicked out of the Afghan legislature this week for saying those same things. But having Kent level this kind of attack on the very raison d'etre of the mission while his own brother is preparing to press the flesh for Harper at the summer hot-dog circuit brings the criticism much closer to where the Conservatives will have to respond to it.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Procedural Pettiness: Harper’s latest tantrum lashes out at Layton

On the very same day as it was revealed that the Conservative Party has a circulated a secret 200-page secret play-book guiding their MPs to turn their House committee into a dysfunctional zoo, the Harperites are once again putting pettiness first.

The NDP made it clear weeks ago that they would be using their next opposition day to call on the government to act on C-30, the re-written environment bill that Harper has been sitting on since it came out of the all-party committee that the NDP pushed for last October.

But where this debate was supposed to happen earlier this week for a full 8 hours, the Conservatives moved it to today – Friday – the shortest day that the House of Commons sits and limited it to a paltry two hours.

Why? In retaliation for the NDP having the temerity to ask for a standing vote on the changes Harper proposed to equalization, the Conservatives are punishing the NDP.

Canadian Press reported on Harper's latest tantrum:

Layton said the motion was bumped to punish the NDP for insisting on a recorded vote Tuesday on the budget implementation bill. The vote embarrassed some Altantic and Saskatchewan Tory MPs who were compelled to support the budget despite vicious opposition in their home provinces.

"Canadians should be furious at this," said Layton of Wednesday’s machinations. "It may seem like inside parliamentary procedure but what it is is arrogance. It is a rejection of the dignity and respect which is owed to parliamentarians, it’s childish and it’s completely unacceptable as far as we’re concerned."

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Taylor's Alterations

So over at Stephen Taylor’s site, careless Aerosmith fans are straining to read deep thoughts on all the trouble the Top Tory Typist sees on the horizon for Jack Layton and the NDP.

Taylor’s site is usually a good indication of where the Conservative Id is at, but the warmed-over hooey he’s offering as a substitute for analysis of the NDP is just thoughtless.

A few of the more objectionable klunkers:

He says “the Green Party is eating Jack’s porridge.” WRONG. If the Greens are taking votes away from the NDP as the thoughtless orthodoxy has it, then how can both the NDP and Greens be up in the polls? (Check the most recent Ipsos.) The NDP and Greens aren’t fishing from the same pond.

He says the NDP is having trouble “with low polling numbers”. WRONG. Poll after poll has the NDP holding steady near the 17.5% it got in the last election. Both SES and Ipsos have them at 17, with the latter showing surprising strength in BC and growth in Québec. Down from 36.3 to 31%, it’s the Harper-ites who should be worrying.

He says “big labour is knocking down [Layton’s] attempts at carving out any discernible green platform.” SO WRONG IT HURTS TO LAUGH. Probably best to not confuse the recent brown-talk of Buzz Hargrove with anything going on in the NDP. Besides, the NDP is the only party that has had a coherent green plan for longer than a year. The Liberal spokesperson who runs the Green party used to say so at every election.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Stephen Harper's Scandal Sheet

Offended by Oda?
Baffled by Blackburn?
Killed by Cannon?
Conned by Khan?

You aren't alone.

The NDP asks "Why have so many Conservatives been caught looking out for themselves at the expense of ordinary working families?"

Good question.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Did the Liberals sell their opposition day for $282,000?

Last week, instead of using their opposition day to force a debate on C-30, the re-written environment bill that the Conservatives have been stalling and Liberals used to say was important, Liberal leader Stéphane Dion moved a motion to push for income trusts to go tax free.

Only the Liberals think it makes sense to give special tax status to trusts so that taxes that should be paid by corporations are pushed onto the rest of us. It's an absurd position that actually puts the Liberals to the right of Stephen Harper.

So why are Liberals making such a priority of something that most Canadians rank well behind Romblomanon as an official language and tax deductibility of ski-lift passes?

It might just have something to do with the close connections between the Liberals and the Canadian Association of Income Trust Investors, a group whose founding members are the big investment brokers in income trusts. In debating the Liberal motion, NDP finance critic Judy Wasylycia-Leis offered this possible explanation:

"[The] founding members of the Canadian Association of Income Trust Investors made a total of $282,000 in donations to the Liberal Party since 1993 and, in the year 2006, made donations to the Liberal leadership contenders to the tune of $53,700. These are founding members of the Canadian Association of Income Trust Investors who have lobbied this place day in and day out for many months and who are tied to the hips of members in the Liberal Party.

Does the member for Mississauga South and others think it is acceptable for that association to be putting out personal ads that reference me with words like "Hail Judy!" and, "What do you really know about finance?" What about the one that states my name and then states "Finance critic or Judas?" Based on the reactions of members of the Liberal Party, they clearly support this kind of irresponsible, unethical and libelous advertising."

As though to help make her point about being "tied to the hips of members in the Liberal Party", Liberal MP Paul Szabo gave a convincing demonstration in the debate:

10:25 - Wasylycia-Leis draws the connection between contributions to Liberal leadership candidates and the big income trust investors who founded CAITI.
12:15 - A furious Szabo rises and reads an email that CAITI sent at 11:04 to Wasylycia-Leis (CCed to Szabo as well, it would appear) into the record.

With rising gas prices, bad air, and stagnant incomes, ordinary folks clearly have it too good. That's why it's nice to see the Liberal Party standing in defence of the people who bankroll their party for a change.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Who's standing up to Stephen Harper? Not Stéphane Dion.

Now we know what the NDP was up to with that vote analysis that showed Stéphane Dion voting with Stephen Harper 60% of the time.

Neat animated graphic. Sure gets the point across.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Layton propping up Harper? Try Again. Liberals have voted with Harper twice as often!

Liberals are in love with the line: “the NDP is voting with Harper / the NDP is propping-up Harper.”

They repeat it so often and with such stern-faced vehemence that it has started showing up un-challenged in mainstream media and from the Liberal spokesperson who runs the Green Party.

Imagine then discovering that not only is the Liberals’ line on the NDP voting with Harper unreservedly, unabashedly, and without reservation bogus, but that what is true is that the Liberals have voted with Harper twice as often as the NDP!

A memo has shown up in the in-boxes of a few bloggers – appearing to originate with the NDP research office – that analyses the votes of Layton, Dion and Harper in some detail. Here are the facts:

Since becoming leader, Dion has voted with Harper for 60% of votes.

Layton on the other hand has voted with Harper for only 31% of votes, opposing him the other 69% of the time.

So once more Liberals are resorting to flat-out lies to attack the NDP and mask their true colours -- Conservative blue.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Introducing the NEW NDP website: now with 97% more ass-kicking!!

Not to be outdone by the new-look Globe and Mail, the NDP launched their new "re-imagined" website this morning and it’s pretty sharp.

From an ascetic standpoint (and with all partisanship aside, of course) theirs has always looked the best of the three major parties: very clean, good use of white space, and simple navigation. Contrast that with the Conservatives who run a pretty cluttered site, and the Liberals who appear to have ripped-off Dion's old site, which was really just a rip-off of the old NDP site.

The new version also makes good use of graphics throughout. The O’Connor resignation count-down (or count-up, really) is terrific.

And showing some commitment to this medium, they have added a new section with tools for bloggers, including skins for WordPress and Blogspot.

(Hmm, BADH might be due for a make-over, too.)

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

May's "Nazi" comment splatters onto Liberals

For the Liberals, one of the main attractions of their backroom deal with Elizabeth May is being able to contract out their dirty work.

May has been cued up to go on endless tirades – particularly against Jack Layton and the NDP. Recall her ludicrous “What the hell is wrong with Jack Layton that he can't answer a phone call?” And who can forget her incomprehensible conspiracy theory that "the NDP fakes left and goes right."

Liberals see this as smart strategy. The realization among the more sober in their ranks is that after 13 years of “not getting it done” they haven't the credibility to make their attacks stick. There was also the hope of sparing Dr. Dion the indignity of having to sully his fingernails trifling with the NDP.

So, imagine the consternation in Liberal circles today to find that they are now having to explain the tasteless remarks coming out of a woman they called a “prophet” only days ago.

As an appetizer for what there will be generous helpings of in the future, here’s Liberal MP Glen Pearson trying to distance his party from Elizabeth May’s tactless equating of the Conservatives’ environmental policy to appeasing Nazis:

“Canadians need to get more serious about it [the environment], but the whole link to the Nazis over that went beyond the pale, for me. You have to be careful there. We have all messed up on the environment, right? . . . I just didn't think that analogy was probably the best one that could have been used."

You can bet that Liberals who haven't already expressed dread over this backroom deal are begining to right about now.