Friday, December 30, 2005

Paul Martin, the Christian multi-fideist

Paul Martin is being all things to all people this week. He has been hitting up the religious group during these "holidays." Holidays used to be known as "holy days." And this time of year, it is pretty clear that the Judeo-Christian tradition is front and centre.

As for Paul Martin, the devout Roman Catholic, he has been seen in every religious venue but a Church. A Church would be a natural place to visit, this being the Christmas season and given Martin's personal Catholic beliefs. You could say I find this religious venue hopping a bit odd, considering how Martin seems to have ignored the Church.




As you can see, the closest Martin got to a cross this Christmas season was the one on top of the tree you see in this picture below. OH, and did I mention that the Christmas tree was in a deli?

Day 2: Goodale's Income Trust debacle / Globe and Mail story

Today, there is a flurry of activity in Canada's political election campaign. The flurry centres around what may be the collapse of the Liberal party. As Bourque notes, the Liberal party has been dogged with problems: "the dog doo-doo's, the popcorn, the RCMP criminal investigations, etc".

The latest SES research poll shows a dead heat. Considering that it is rolling polling (that kinda rhymes, don't it?), either today's numbers represent an anomaly or the Liberals seem to be sinking everywhere in Canada, with only the lone two holdouts Quebec and Ontario.

ON THE ISSUE OF income trusts, the Globe and Mail headlines this story: "Trading offers few clues for RCMP."

Is this really the right title for the story?

Exhibit 1: this statement by one Bay Street exec:
"You would have to be pretty stupid not to figure out what's happening." The evidence bears this out.

Exhibit 2: It took less than a week to figure out what was going on based on public knowledge that everyone could access.

Exhibit 3: There are many clues that can be followed up. Here are some simple layman suggestions:
  1. Find out who profited/traded Income Trusts in high volume the day before and the day of the Income Trust announcement.
  2. Analyze phone records from the PMO and Goodale's office. Who were they calling? When?
  3. Try to establish links between communication with these offices and big firms.
  4. Find out what went on during the closed door meetings Goodale had with Bay Street in the days prior to the announcement.
  5. Trace messages indicating that Goodale would be "levelling the playing field" before the announcement.
Its just a start. Is the Globe trying to lower our expectations? "A look at the trading records shows that different brokerage firms led the trading of each stock, suggesting there was no concentrated pattern." Could it be possible - gasp - that more than one firm had leaked information?

Besides, the RCMP aren't looking for patterns per se. Is the Globe suggesting that there is no merit to the suggestion that 35x increase in the average volume of Paul Martin's Physicians' Medisys Trust was guesswork? Look at the statistics and decide for yourself.

Volume for MHG on the TSX:

Nov 25 12.000 12.000 11.700 5,053
Nov 24 11.500 12.000 11.200 9,045
Nov 23 11.020 11.200 11.000 6,220
Nov 22 11.000 11.000 10.800 203,953
Nov 21 10.800 10.800 10.650 5,714
Nov 18 10.600 10.620 10.600 1,530

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Liberal's Goodale Income Scandal hits the blogs

Once again, blogs are saying what other people, except maybe the media, are thinking. Political Staples notices the absurdity of self-accountability in this post: " All that an examination does is show that you are worried that there might some evidence, somewhere, that might implicate you."

You can watch the now-infamous Mansbridge/Goodale interview here.

Small Dead Animals has this: "Ralph is on local radio right now, repeating his assertions that he investigated himself to his own satisfaction. He sounds more than a little rattled."

Even Calgary Grit notices is pathetic CBC performance: "Watching Ralph Goodale on The National tonight was...almost sad."


Paul Martin is coming out this morning defending Goodale: "I have complete confidence in Ralph Goodale."

Will the electorate?

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Ralph Goodale Income Trust Leak

Props to the CBC's Peter Mansbridge for conducting a hard hitting interview with Finance Minister Ralph Goodale tonight. In it, I think Goodale summed up everything that is wrong with the current party's contempt for Canadians who demand bona fide accountability and transparency:

I've examined my own conduct in this matter and I'm confident that conduct is consistent with 30 years of integrity and trust in public life.

Isn't it reassuring to know that 'acountability' to a Liberal means "self examination"? It is the customary fallacy of nemo iudex in causa sua, or that no one can be a judge in his own case.

Globe and Mail & Income Trust Leak Story

News has just broke that the RCMP will be investigating the Income Trust "scandal." Bourque:
Bourque has learned that RCMP Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli has confirmed that the Paul Martin Liberal Government is under a criminal investigation over potential leaks stemming from decisions in Finance Minister Ralph Goodale's department relating to the multi-hundred million dollar Income Trust debable.
Now, the Globe and Mail has its own story on the issue. As I read it, I could not help but feel like the last sentence of the article did not belong. It seemed the closest thing to a personal opinion creeping in the story:

News of the criminal investigation comes in the middle of a federal election campaign in which opposition parties have tried to depict the Liberal government as corrupt and scandal-plagued.

Criminal investigations do not always lead to charges.

I mean, why would you even say that last sentence? It goes left unsaid, I think. The morale of the Globe: investigations do not equal guilt. As if Globe readers, thought to consist of very intelligent Canadians, can't infer that much already. And as most Canadians know all too well, most scandals don't lead to any charges either.

Michael Ignatieff's eligibility disqualification - part 2

The Michael Ignatieff candidacy hinges on whether or not he is "ordinarily resident" or not. See the Canada Elections Act, section 6 and 8. A plain meaning explication of this term leads to Ignatieff's disqualification - as one person put it, "ask him where he has paid his taxes over the past 30 years."

But on a more legal note, this is what Elections Canada and Parliament have to say about residency: The new information brought to my attention is pretty damaging information. That is, there are really two relevant factors here determining relevant to determining Ignatieff's candidacy:
  1. Length of absence from Canada
  2. Intention of residency
On the first point, Michael Ignatieff has lived outside Canada for more than 5 years. Prima Facie, he is not eligible to vote:

"If you are an elector (a person who is eligible to vote) and have been living away from Canada for less than five consecutive years since your last visit home, you are eligible to vote under The Special Voting Rules."

Ignatieff has been living away from Canada for more than five years. Thus, he runs afoul of the ordinarily resident clause in the Canada Elections Act, explained here by Parliament:

"Since 1993, Canadian citizens who reside outside Canada have been permitted to vote in federal elections provided they have been absent for five years or less and plan to return to Canada."

Ignatieff has not been absent for five years or less. I thus infer that he is not eligible to vote if the above information is correct.

Ignatieff only can be eligible to vote based on one factor: intention. If Ignatieff intends to reside in Canada again, he can vote. Ignatieff is not saved by his intentions, though. As he said before, he intends to go back to Harvard: “If I am not elected, I imagine that I will ask Harvard to let me back." Further, after politics, if elected, he still plans to go back to Harvard: “It would be an honor to return to Harvard once my political career is concluded."

I see no way to interpret his comments as a "joke." Who is laughing?

Besides, as one commenter put it more or less, we have a right to know what Ignatieff's permanent address is.

*****Correction: As someone stated correctly in the comments, Ignatieff is not prevented from voting per se. He may indeed be eligible. The problem is merely finding out which electoral district he was living in. If Ignatieff has bought some sort of permanent place, these questions surrounding his candidacy are answered. If Ignatieff does not have any place he is "ordinarily resident" at all, then I think all the above still applies.

As far as this comment goes, that "the "5 year" rule you continue to cite only applies if a person is currently absent and has been so for for 5 years or more," I have not seen any evidence to suggest that it only applies to people currently absent. When I read the material from Elections Canada's own website, it talks about past ("have lived") not the present ("currently lives").

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The problem of Ignatieff

Thank you for all your comments. Thank you also for correcting me - the candidate need not live in the riding he is running in. But he still must be an eligible elector. And his status as an eligible elector, in my opinion, is in doubt.

One commenter is certainly right - the public does have a right to Ignatieff's permanent address. The problem with Ignatieff is not that he is possesses the possibility of being an elector because he certainly does. The problem of Ignatieff is that he may have voided this possibility by indicating his return to Harvard if his candidacy does not work out. This intention, interestingly, does matter. As I reiterated before, intention is used to determine where students are eligible to vote. Where they intend to return after their studies is their eligible district. What is Ignatieff's?

It is still important to keep in mind that the final call does come down to the wisdom of the Returning Officer though. I am in no way saying that Ignatieff should or shouldn't have the right to vote or be a candidate. I am merely questioning his candidacy based on current election law. I don't know of any cases where a Canadian has been denied their right to vote. Can anyone think of such a case? I dont suspect there are many. It's that Charter thing.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Election Canada 2006: the nasty campaign myth

Like Mark Steyn's explosion of the brutal Afghan winter (scroll down to read), so seems the media's propogation that the 2006 Canada election campaign will turn undeniably nasty:

"Many are predicting the election run will get nasty after Jan. 1, when party leaders are expected to return to full speed campaigning. With the campaign about half over, civility is expected to give way to nastiness."
Of course, they were saying the same thing a month ago. It was "fast approaching then." And it is "fast approaching" now. I don't know, though. The campaign still seems pretty tame to me.

Michael Ignatieff disqualified to run in Canada's election?

Recently, I have taken a few crash courses in Canadian election law. The result is a realization that Michael Ignatieff may not be eligible to run for the seat in Etobicoke-Lakeshore. Here is why:

The Canada Elections Act stipulates that candidates must be eligible electors. In order to be an eligible elector in a riding, you must be "ordinarily resident" in that riding. To my knowledge, Ignatieff disqualifies as an elector, and thereby as candidate, in Etobicoke-Lakeshore for the following reasons:
  1. Ignatieff has no known connections (dwellings, residences, etc.) in that riding. He has not lived there before.
  2. Ignatieff does not intend to stay in that riding if he loses the race. That is, he has indicated that he would return to Harvard if he lost the election. In order to qualify as being "ordinarily resident" one has to fulfill this demand as stipulated in the Act: "The place of ordinary residence of a person is the place that has always been, or that has been adopted as, his or her dwelling place, and to which the person intends to return when away from it." Thus, the only concievable way that Ignatieff can be considered ordinarily resident is if he bought some property and intended on residing in that riding. But since his comments in the Harvard Crimson do not show he intends to permanently adopt it, or return to it "when away from it", Ignatieff has disqualified himself from being an elector in that riding.
To help pound home the point of this information, Elections Canada will not usually grant students a vote in the riding he or she goes to school in. That is, even if a student spends 8 months of the year in Calgary at school, he is not eligible to vote there if he intends to go back home after school. Likewise, if Ignatieff intends to return home at the end of January, then he would not normally be considered an elector in the riding he is a candidate in.

But this is purely my opinion. There be facts of which I am unaware.