Saturday, January 14, 2006
Statistics (November 15-January 13)
Unique Visitors: 17, 638
- November Average per day: 35
- December Average: 246
- January Average: 720
- Highest hits in one day: 1,438
- Top pages: Seat projections
- New York Times
- Toronto Star
- Globe and Mail
- Canadian House of Commons
- Supreme Court of Canada
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police
- Privy Council Office
- Solicitor General Canada
- Dept. Foreign Affairs and International Trade
- Finance Canada and Treasury Board Secretariat
- Canadian International Development Agency
- Environment Canada
- Natural Resources Canada
- Department of Fisheries and Oceans
- Transport Canada
- National Transportation Agency
- Public Service Commission of Canada
- Department of Fisheries and Oceans
- Immigration & Refugee Board
- Federal Office of Regional Development (Quebec)
- Department of Veterans Affairs
- Government of Ontario
- Government of Alberta
- Government of BC
- Government of Saskatchewan
- Government of Newfoundland
- Government of PEI
- City of Edmonton
- City of Burnaby
- City of Winnipeg
- Medicine Hat Police
- World Bank (and they keep coming back for more)
- US Navy
- US Air Force
- Government of Taiwan
- TD Bank
- Royal Bank
- Scotia Bank
- Pew Trusts
- General Motors
- Telus Mobility
George Bush also said "God bless America."
Canada is a part of America.
Stephen Harper blessed America.
We did not just make this up.
Choose your Canada.
Friday, January 13, 2006
Thursday, January 12, 2006
You might recall the 2004 US Presidential campaign, where Kerry remarked the now infamous, "I voted for the war before I voted against it."
Could we expect Martin, in the coming days, to distance himself from the ad? Will he say, "I approved the ad before I disapproved it"?
Warren Kinsella thinks so, saying today: "Clip and save this and post it to your fridge door. You will want it for the moment, arriving soon, when Paul Martin (a la Kim Campbell, his muse) denies that he knew anything about the barrage of Liberal attack ads, one of which has dramatically damaged the party's campaign."
Even if he does not distance himself from the ad, he may be undone like John Kerry in 2004 by this ad flop. It seems like Marin has distanced himself from his own party by saying he approved the ads when Anne Mclellen, Ralph Goodale, and Keith Martin said Martin did not. But Ujhal Dosanjh said he approved every one. Which one is it?
At any rate, this flip-flop, while bad in itself, is also symbolic. It may be Martin's Kerry moment - where so many things are going bad for the Liberal's campaign at once that this encapsulates all that is wrong with it: coherence takes a back seat to "promises written on the back of a cocktail napkin" (h/t Monte Solberg) in order to capture the votes of focus groups accross the country.
In trying to satisfy all, he may satisfy none.
In an interview Thursday morning on CTV's Canada AM, Martin said he approved every one of the harshly critical ads -- including one that suggested the Tory Leader would use the military to occupy Canadian cities.
-- Paul Martin, Jan. 12
On Wednesday night, Liberal incumbent Keith Martin apologized at an all-candidates debate in the Victoria suburb of Colwood. He told the crowd the ad was a gross error that does not represent the Liberals' view of the military. He said the ad was one of a series of 12 and it should never have been released.
"Some idiot went and sent it out with the other 11 ads, and it was never sanctioned by the party, never approved, and we are completely appalled that this went out. We apologize to the men and women in the uniform," he said.
They can't both be right.
You decide: who is being more sincere? Spin the bottle. Spin it faster; who might it point to? Not even fate knows.
UPDATE: Ralph Goodale is denying the ads were approved.
"Conservative Leader Stephen Harper has not only been judged the winner of Monday's leaders' debate, he is now the leader Canadians most trust to become prime minister, a new poll says.These numbers are simple stunning. This is even given that the Tories are losing in Ontario. Ontario, really, can push the Tories into majority territory. I think the myth of "do Ontarioans want a majority" is a non starter - it doesnt matter what people want. They don't vote for a particular scenerio as much as they do for a party. This means that Harper better spend some time in Ontario, while heading to Quebec to shore up some support.
The poll, prepared by The Strategic Counsel for CTV and The Globe and Mail, had people picking the winner as follows (percentage-point change from the December post-debate poll in brackets):
* Stephen Harper: 37 per cent (+26)
* Paul Martin: 14 per cent (-7)
* Jack Layton: 8 per cent (+2)
* Gilles Duceppe: 3 per cent (-12)
* DK/NA/Ref: 37 per cent
In Quebec, the Tories continue to rise, while the Liberals fall and the Bloc hovers around the 50 per cent mark (percentage-point change from polling conducted Dec. 30-31, Jan. 3 in brackets):
- Bloc Quebecois: 50 per cent (-2)
- Conservatives: 23 per cent (+10)
- Liberals: 16 per cent (-10)
- NDP: 7 per cent (+2)
- Greens: 4 per cent (unchanged)
Here is how national support for parties is allocated (percentage-point change from polling conducted Dec. 30-31, Jan. 3, when the Grits and Tories were tied):
- Conservatives: 39 per cent (+7)
- Liberals: 28 per cent (-4)
- NDP: 16 per cent (-1)
- Bloc Quebecois: 12 per cent (-1)
- Greens: 5 per cent (-1)
Oh, and the debate winner stats were remarkable too: 1/3 of viewers thought Harper dominated the debates. It looks like there may yet have been a knockout punch that delivered a Tory win - one that may have been launched by and landed on the same man (PM for PM).
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
"Dave Malka: Who do you think won the French debate?
John: To repeat: Harper won it, only because he was being listened to, which should never happen to a Conservative leader in a French-language debate."
That is quite surprising to hear. Should never happen? Maybe the Bloc can work to ban both the Tories and Conservatives.
"January 11th - Day Forty-Four : 'Daddy, What's a Margin of Error?'
11:31 AM - Homefront update: I've acquired more information about the troubling events of this morning. It's worse than I feared. Before the campaign started, James and his little brother Will, who is four, would begin each day with a bowl of cereal and the sports section of the Ottawa Citizen. Now, apparently, it's straight to the election coverage in the Globe. They even know who is Hot and who is Not. 'Well, James just asked me a million questions,' my wife informs. 'How did Paul Martin get to be leader? Why do they call the Conservatives the Tories? Where do they get these poll numbers? How come the Liberals were ahead and now they are not? Will Paul Martin still be leader if they lose the election?' Hmm, these questions are getting a little uncomfortable. THIS NEWS CONFERENCE IS OVER!!"
UPDATE: check out these PRIVATE documents on the Liberal web site. A lot of them are handwritten and very personal. Check it out. Let me know if they contain anything interesting. My internet connection right now is too slow to view them all.
They look like departmental audit documents or something. What are these governmental documents doing on the LIBERAL website anyway? Doesn't it re-enforce the image of a party which is too cozy with the bureaucracy???
ALSO check this out: a Confidential analysis/ forensic accounting of cash contributions in Quebec
Slogan: "Ensuring Canada's Success." So much different than the "Choose your Canada" scare tactics seen on a TV near you. I guess going negative was "plan B".
Odd phrasing: Speaking of the softwood lumber dispute, the Red Book rips this little piece from the Conservative playbook, calling their solution "Standing Up for Canada on Softwood Lumber". Soft Plagiarism?! You be the judge.
Left out: any mention of Bono.
Surprise inclusion: Any mention of demographics.
Surprise exclusion: That the solution to Canada's demographic problems could be realized through an increased fertility rate.
Boring rating: very high. Let's be honest here. I grew very tired - and fast - reading this.
Other Highlights: Rehashing old promises, stealing slogans, and other follies!
The Canadian population is growing older – first, because our birth rate for the past three decades has been below replacement rate. And second, because the post-war baby boom is about to hit retirement age. The implication of this is significant – fewer workers supporting more seniors. By 2015, Canada’s domestic labour force will actually start to shrink....
The obvious solution here is to encourage families to have more babies. Hey, its working in Australia ("AUSTRALIA has experienced the biggest increase in its fertility rate in almost a decade, and family-friendly policies and the $3000 baby bonus have been given the credit.").
The Liberal solution? "All of the net growth will need to come from immigration." This assumes that other countries have the fertility rates to meet our demand. NEWSFLASH: they don't. Canada will need to actually start producing some legislation encouraging familes. Perhaps that is too hard for the Liberals to consider, however. But still, is this little stat not shocking? The fertility rate has dropped from a high of 3.94 in the late 50's to 1.49 in 2002.
For Liberals, the debt burden is not only an economic issue.We believe that government has a moral responsibility not to pass the debt incurred by one generation onto the backs of the next...
If my memory serves me correctly, wasn't it under Liberal governments that Canada's staggering debt began to accumulate? But no matter.
To guide the use of any possible unplanned surplus funds in future years, the Martin government introduced new legislation in the last Parliament which provides that a budget surplus in excess of the $3 billion Contingency Reserve (which if not needed is used to pay down debt) will be divided in equal thirds among personal tax cuts, new investment, and further debt repayment.
Great. So their platform is a rehashing of what they have already legislated?
There is a lot of rehashing of old accomplishments here (ie. First Ministers conference on healthcare). But among the hash comes something that I thought was Harper's bit: guarentees on health care:
A Liberal government will work with the provinces, territories and health care practitioners to implement a Canada Health Care Guarantee.
This is ripped off of what the Conservatives said Dec. 2/2005:
A new Conservative government will work with the provinces to develop a Health Care Guarantee that ensures patients receive essential medical treatment within clinically acceptable waiting times.
Wow, it is even the same name. Can you spell PLAGIARISM? Martin announced this guarentee Jan. 4 - a month after Harper. But has no one noticed that it is the same damn name?
Their new "Public Health Care Protection Initiative" violates the Charter too. It would, "Consider it a violation of the Canada Health Act if a physician provides the same medically-necessary services to some patients on a privately paid basis..." But didn't Chaoulli pretty much state that if an urgent service would be delivered in a fashion that would endanger your life or security of the person, then it is not a violation of the Canada Health Act to seek private treatment? So much for government defending the people's rights to their own health. The way I see it, protecting the consent of a small few is more important to him than the millions of people waiting for medical treatment.
The Liberals want to
Double the number of Aboriginal health professionals in 10 years from the present level of 150 physicians and 1,200 nurses;
That is easier said than done. You can't just slot people of a certain group into a certain professional field. Of course, the Liberals also have still kept the same promises from the past 8 Red Book, such as their desire to
"Work to close the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians in key areas such as infant mortality, youth suicide, childhood obesity and diabetes."
Maybe the Liberals believe in property rights after all (as much as Martin hammered Harper on this tonight):
– Encourage a culture of home ownership in Aboriginal communities.
– Expand the skills of Aboriginal people and their governments to manage their land,
infrastructure and financing.
While Paul Martin accuses Harper of tax cuts which benefit the rich, the Liberals are proposing these two ditties that they are committed to:
"Reducing personal taxes by raising the basic personal amount, cutting marginal rates, and eventually increasing the threshold when the top rate kicks in to $200,000;"
Accelerating the increase of the income threshold (from $200,000 to $300,000) below which the 12% small business tax rate applies;
We will also provide an additional $10 million a year for 10 years to increase the number of graduating RCMP officers.
That ought to make no dent whatsoever in replacing RCMP officers. Thank goodness there is no mention of the dreaded "reverse onus" proposition.
If every human being consumed as much as the average Canadian or American does today, it would take five planet Earths to provide the necessary resources.
If every nation had as much babies as Canada does, the population of the world would crash and burn drastically. Who looks even more selfish now?
- Day care:You've heard it before.
- Post-secondary: See above bullet.
- Agriculture: snooze.
- Forestry: no mention of the softwood lumber dispute.
- Arctic sovereignty: "The Liberal government has pledged $150 million of new money to bolster Canadian participation in the International Polar Year, including a targeted research program on climate change impacts and adaptation." This seems like an awful lot of money for a so-called Polar Year. I don't approve. Their military solutions are also weak sauce.
- Promises that cannot be delivered bin: "A Liberal government will build on the international reputation earned through Canada’s prominent initiatives on such issues as disarmament and the landmines convention and will lead an international campaign at the United Nations to establish a treaty banning all weapons in space." Pipe-dream. And what if nations like China or North Korea refuse to sign on? Then what? Say "don't do that"?
- Occupying 0.0046% of the Red Book, I can also see how the Democratic Renewal is also a fundamental top Liberal priority: "In the coming year, a Liberal government will engage in dialogue with Canadians to define the values and principles they wish to see reflected in their democratic institutions." Who hasn't heard this for years?
Overall, slick job. Nothing much new here though. That could, ultimately, be the biggest burn on the Liberal party in due time however. Martin knew he had nothing new to say in the Red Book that wasn't already in his previous campaign speeches and pre-election promises. Thus, the "napkin" notwithstanding-ban idea during the English debate, if you can even call it an idea.
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
"The first clue to who's losing an election campaign is usually found in who first turns to negative campaigning. Stay tuned."CBC's "campaign confidential" made this prophetic statement one month ago.
The Liberals attack the Conservatives, saying "Harper is pro-Iraq war, anti-Kyoto and socially conservative."
Is this supposed to scare people back into the Liberal camp? After all,
1. Martin is on record supporting the Iraq war
2. Martin's environmental record shows that America has done better than Canada in reducing emissions singled out by Kyoto.
3. Martin's proposal of removing the notwithstanding clause is as American as one can get. It sure isn't conservative, but it is certainly a move that would make us more like America in terms of values - even though Martin praises himself as the champion of Canadian values.
Have the Liberals nothing better to say? Are you scared of Harper yet? Another bomb, I suspect, blowing up in Martin's face. Actually, its probably closer to a nosedive.
Layton had it right: "[Martin's] electioneering. He will say anything to get elected."
I don't believe that Canada was built on american conservative values...
I guess the only thing I would say to Mr. Harper in this discussion is that America is our neighbour. It's not our nation, and we have our own set of values, and that's why we're so strong in this country, and they apply to the debate we're now having.
Harper should have said: "Nothing is more Canadian than the notwithstanding clause, which strikes a balance between British and American constitutionalism. Mr. Martin, it is you who has an agenda which will remove the notwithstandin clause, which, in effect, would give us a Charter that is a carbon copy of the American constitution. As you yourself have said, "we have our own set of values." Your proposal would no longer seperate us from the American system of Court-rule."
POINT 2: Although Martin could be applauded for actually limiting his government, he also should be chided for worsening the democratic deficit - something that is "fundamentally his absolute top priority."
Removing s.33 of the Charter would essentially make Canada's Parliament a slave to the Court - how much more of an undemocratic gesture is that? It is a reduction of democracy. Further, it would absolve him responsibility of making tough social decisions that would actually make him take a position on social issues. Without s.33, he could just pass the buck on to the Court. The buck doesn't stop here, apparently.
I pundit that Martin's notwithstanding idea backfired. Listening to CKNW this morning, it was clear that it wasn't a popular idea. I did not hear one person come out and outright support it. In fact, many undecided voters swung to the Tories over it. It is surely a wedge issue. A wedge issue that backfired I reckon. People saw it for what it was - a desperate "hail mary" as I (and Peter Mansbridge) had called it.
There are conflicting ideas about how this would work.
1. Andrew Coyne suggests this: "In fact, I've argued for much the same thing: let the federal government formally forswear its use, and challenge the provinces to do likewise -- by moral example, rather than constitutional amendment"
What is the point? You can invoke s.33 of the Charter by majority vote, and easily overturn the formal forswearing with a simple vote. Both carry political consequences - what makes anyone think that a formal forswearing will add much to the weight? The fact is, such an act is not entrenched. It would be like asking future governments to ensure a formal act that the Prime Minister appoint elected senators. It is useless.
2. Official Liberal plan:
“I would like to ask Mr. Harper if he would join with me in supporting a constitutional amendment to remove the federal government's ability to use the notwithstanding to overturn the Supreme Court of Canada and take away Charter rights,” the Prime Minister said."
The provinces would still have to agree to this. They won't. The Liberals can say this all they want: "The Prime Minister’s proposal would amend the clause to deny Parliament this power while leaving the ability of provincial legislatures to invoke the clause unaffected." But amending the Charter still requires provincial support. I can't see them being impressed.
Further, even die-hard Martiniac partisan Jason Cherniak doesn't like it. Talk about abandoning your bread and butter base.
UPDATE - Monte Solberg's take on the notwithstanding ban:
I think Paul thought that the notwithstanding thing was supposed to be the big Hail Mary pass but instead of throwing it into the end zone he threw it into the concession stand. Didn't he say he would use it to protect religious freedom if the Supremes went ga ga. So which way is it Paul?
Mark Steyn does it again:
Been following the Canadian election campaign? Whoa, come back, no need to stampede for the exits screaming in terror. The Canuck angle is just an opening sentence: if I'm still yakking on about swing voters in Yellowknife and turnout in Moose Jaw at the foot of the page, feel free to turn over to our exclusive excerpt from The Boris Johnson Illustrated Guide to Lesbian Movies.
But here's my point: right now the polls in Her Majesty's snowbound dominion show the Conservatives are ahead and poised to topple the incumbent Liberals on January 23. And what's the name of the glamorous metrosexual matinee idol who has brought the Canadian Tories to the brink of electoral triumph?
Well, he's a guy called Stephen Harper and he's widely agreed by all the experts to have "negative charisma". Think how you felt about my opening sentence and then multiply it a thousandfold. Mr Harper is unexciting even by Canadian standards! He's unflashy, unflamboyant, unshowy, unspectacular, unmodish, uncool - except in the sense that the Yukon in January is cool. He is, in other words, the anti-Cameron. And he's on course to win.
"Following stories Sunday in the Star and the Toronto Sun about Harper hinting at a majority, right-wing blogs were abuzz with dark — and unsubstantiated — suggestions of a mainstream media conspiracy to stall the Tories' momentum."For the Toronto Star to say this is especially amusing. This coming from a paper who yesterday headlined "Harper musing about majority" when Stephen Harper never mused about a majority at all. Yes, the right wing blogs are full of conspiracy. And the newspapers keep feeding it to them.
My responsibility as Prime Minister, my duty to Canada and to Canadians, is to defend the Charter in its entirety. Not to pick and choose the rights that our laws shall protect and those that are to be ignored. Not to decree those who shall be equal and those who shall not. My duty is to protect the Charter, as some in this House will not.Sounds like this whole s.33 scrapping plan is an excercise in "pick and choose."
Prime Minister Paul Martin says he would use the Constitution's notwithstanding clause if the Supreme Court rules that churches must perform gay marriages. "Oh, yes I would," Martin said Thursday on CBC Radio when asked whether he would use the clause.So, Martin is the only one to promise to use the notwithstanding clause out of Harper and himself, but he is now not in favour of it, hoping that Canadians will feel injustice enough to block Harper. Sounds like a hail mary to me. In fact, the notwithstanding clause is what made the Charter even possible. The provinces would not even have signed on without legislative supremacy over the Courts. Martin is free to try to amend the Constitution. But good luck. I can't name a province outside of Ontario that would seriously consider such a move.
-- CanWest News, Monday, January 12, 2004
But the major thing is what precipitated this move. It was same-sex marriage. It is simply unbelievable. I mean, the Liberals want to put the onus on people jailed for gun possession (which violates the Charter) but want to also fiercely protect the rights of couples to marry each other.
I don't know about you, but I tend to believe that "innocent until proven guilty" (onus on the Crown) is a much more important and ingrained historical right than same-sex marriage. And to think that this same-sex marriage debate is fueling the fire to get rid of the notwithstanding clause....simply unbelievable. I mean, I would have expected a gross abuse of s.33 to occur before such a proposition was made. But that hasn't happened. Parliament has been very responsible about this, because of the implications it has politically.
Removing s.33 would pass on responsibility to the Courts to have the final word on Canadian philosophy of right and values. That is something the Liberals have done for years - lacked the courage to lead socially, and make decisions independently of the Courts.
Martin cannot and will not get his way. Canadians understand this. And do not wish to be led by a noose around by the Courts. And I am even guessing the SCC justices don't wish to be the ones leading either.
Monday, January 09, 2006
"You'll see some action this week, we have no option. You might see some incidents in which we'll try to frustrate Harper. Unlike last time when [John] McCallum and Judy Sgro were given this task and they failed to deliver, this time we can't afford not to," said the source pointing out that this would be one of the tactics the Liberals would use, on top of negative ads and aggressively dissecting the Conservative Party's policy stands."
Notwithstanding the antics of Sgro and McCallum, who embarassed themselves by personally heckling Harper on the campaign trail of 2004, the Liberals feel as though they have only one option left- fight nasty. They are down in the polls. Down in momentum. They are down in motivation.
My thesis is that I disagree with the idea that the Liberals have to fight dirty to get back in the game. Nasty need not be. Here are some reasons why:
- The Liberals haven't sufficiently gone positive. Their ads on the radio are nice and polished. I like them. It is a working component.
- The Liberals, as the Hill-Times article suggest, are in a vision slump. They don't have a slogan. They don't have a real comprehensive platform. I would argue that the only policy that has stuck with voters has been the post-secondary funding - an area that few people list as a "top priority." The handgun ban too registered. But, pardon the pun, it is safe to say that the policy backfired when amateur sleuths discovered that there is a practical handgun ban already in effect. And, of course, that most handguns used in crimes are illegal weapons imported from foreign nations. Conservatives have momentum because they have vision. Where is the Redbook? Where are the great debates Martin always talks about?
- The Liberals have been way too slow in the game. If they want to catch up, they need to display some platform - now. It is probably too late to regain the support they have lost. But I reckon some solid ideas could go a long way in the home stretch.
"EKOS Research Associates, polling for the Star and La Presse in results to be issued tomorrow, found over the weekend that the Conservatives still continue to climb ahead in all parts of the country, including Quebec."
Frank Graves, head of EKOS, said last night that his firm's polls show the trends are all in the Tories' favour going into tonight's debates. Nightly polling is showing "continued strong growth to the Conservatives largely at the expense of a fading Liberal campaign," he said.Graves says the Quebec surge could translate into bigger gains beyond that province for the Tories."
It would be an understatement to say that tonight's (and tommorrow's) debates are the most important and crucial debates of Martin and Harper's career. If the Tories climb anymore than they already have, they are drifting into majority territory.
Going into tonight's debates, Stephen Harper has a commanding lead on Paul Martin. The latest Strategic Counsel / Globe and Mail / CTV poll (Jan. 8) shows momentum clearly in Harper's favour:
- Conservatives: 53 per cent (+30)
- Liberals: 14 per cent (-19)
- NDP: 6 per cent (-4)
- Bloc Quebecois: 6 per cent (-3)
- Greens: 1 per cent (-1)
The latest poll sample are from IPSOS Jan. 7/EKOS Jan. 7/Strategic Counsel Jan. 8.
The national seat breakdown looks like this:
- Conservatives 139
- Liberals 82
- Bloc 65
- NDP 22
These projections are pretty consistent with other projections. Going into the leader's debate, the question will be, "does Stephen Harper look like a frontrunner?" If he looks anything but, I will predict that the Liberals will be back in the race. With visibility often comes a shift in perception. When the media can no longer spin the contest and the candidates are seen in their own words, people tend to have their faith restored. The question is, can Harper keep people from that perception that momentum is no longer in the Tories' favour?
Sunday, January 08, 2006
Note today's top headline: The Globe and Mail: Tory spending promises would result in deficit, Liberals say.:
"The Liberals claimed today that Conservative campaign promises Sunday would plunge the country into deficit..."
The problem is, I don't believe it. It smacks of not only desperation, but untrue desperation. So let's see if the claim susses out. According to CBC's spending tallies, here is where the parties have promises so far this election:
Conservatives: .... a total of $65.5 billion.
Liberals: a total of $59.4 billion.
So far, the Liberals have a case. But there is a catch. These numbers do not include the $8 billion dollars in post-secondary funding promised by the Liberals. So, if my calculations are correct, Liberals are actually promising $3 billion in more spending than the Conservatives. In other words, if the Liberals are claiming the Conservatives will be running a deficit, their plan would also run Canada into a $3 billion greater deficit.
This has been a fact check, brought to you by the Potent Pew.