Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Sunday, May 29, 2005
John Reynolds is quoted in the Globe article, above, as saying essentially that, hey, that's democracy folks. We don't believe in an appointment process. We have riding battles and if members in a riding don't like it, they should sign up enough members to prevent a one-issue candidate from winning. I think that's a problem for the Conservatives. They're leaving their nominations wide open to activists that could really harm the party's efforts to reach out. I agree with Reynolds' democratic sentiments to a point but it can really create problems for a political party. Any well-organized group could target a number of ridings and put in place some really questionable candidates. If they leave themselves open to this kind of manipulation, they are shooting themselves in the foot once again. You'd think they'd be especially vigilant with their choice of candidates, knowing the perception problems they have had.
Why not have some balance in the process and allow for the riding association executive or the national executive to have some input to ensure the candidate is acceptable to the party? If the democratic choice is acceptable to the national party, then fine, there would be no need to change it. I would imagine that in the majority of ridings, there would be no issue about the choice of candidate. But if there are a few questionable choices, then do something about it. I guess the criticism is that interference in local associations by the national party is too top-down and antithetical to the "grass roots" philosophy of the party. Maybe, yes, but isn't it a small price to pay at this stage of a party's development? Once you can attract a broader variety of quality candidates there might be no need for such interference.
We shall see how this plays out. But if the polls are any indication, this altruistic practice at the riding level may come back to bite the Conservatives once again.
Friday, May 27, 2005
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
The article focusses on such immediate matters as the sponsorship scandal and the goings on in Ottawa - Stronach's defection is mentioned, although not by naming names, curious considering her renown - but also over some latent long-simmering environmental problems. Namely, greenhouse gas emissions and our shameful #1 ranking by the OECD as the top producing nuclear waste member. Apparently we are also the 4th ranked per capita emitter of carbon dioxide (not surprising), but behind the U.S., Australia and that widely known polluter, Luxembourg (yes, Luxembourg, I know, WTF?).
The article also refers to the emerging debate over what exactly Canada's identity is, a topic discussed last week/weekend on the Canada e-blogs website. Indeed the article's title itself seems to be stirring up this debate, "Was Canada Just Too Good to Be True?"...
Interesting to see the prominence accorded to the article, but little more than a poke in our eye from the neighbour down south.
Saturday, May 21, 2005
Friday, May 20, 2005
Thursday, May 19, 2005
The separatist spectre in Quebec has greatly affected Harper & the Conservatives in the past few weeks. As the polls have come out showing a surge of support for separatism, his alliance with the Bloc to defeat the national government became a significant liability. Stronach recognized this and refused to go along. While the Conservatives may have viewed their pairing up with the Bloc as an alliance only as a technicality and out of necessity to defeat the government, they have been wilfully blind to the effects of their teaming up with the Bloc. The Bloc's desire to defeat the government in order to boost the separatist cause cannot be ignored, no matter that the Conservatives say that it is the Liberals fault, it is a result of adscam, etc. That doesn't matter. What matters is the reality of the separatist threat as it is occurring and re-building right now and sometimes a party has to do the right thing for the country rather than their own ambitions. The federalist options in Quebec are weakened right now and it would be a terrible result if an election were to give the Bloc a stranglehold on Quebec seats.
Quite a dramatic moment when Cadman stood up. A "Mr. Smith goes to Washington" moment. A moment of purity amidst weeks of negativity and cynicism. It looks like he did the right thing. The last few weeks have made people weary about politics and politicians in particular and so he has saved everyone from the election the population doesn't want. And given people a moment of inspiration.
Stronach standing up with the government seemed to be fitting, like she should have been there all along.
Now off to our summer preoccupations, what will we do without the daily shenanigans to write about?
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
First, it says that he cannot hold his caucus together and therefore his skills as a leader are in question. Belinda Stronach telegraphed her discontent with the Conservative strategy to defeat the budget a few weeks ago. What did Harper do as a result? Nothing? Or just not enough? Can you imagine this happening to Brian Mulroney or Jean Chretien? I don't think so. Some may think this unfair, that there was nothing he could have done, etc. Maybe that's true. But I think that the circumstances say something about Harper's leadership skills. Perhaps he was uncomfortable with her as a former rival. But she had left the door open to a resolution by making her discontent public. This should have forced him to do whatever reckoning he had to do in order to solve that situation. Now, she is gone and whatever efforts were made to keep her there were a failure...and so this reflects upon him.
Now there are rumblings about two Conservatives from Newfoundland who may also vote for the budget on Thursday under tremendous local pressure to support the Atlantic accord. Belinda's move to the Liberals may provide them with the political cover to vote in support of the budget as their votes may now not be crucial, given the new numbers. How will such further defection reflect upon Harper?
Secondly, this says something about the direction that Harper is taking the party. And I see it in this quote: "I told my wife only a few days ago that I thought it had become obvious to Belinda that her leadership ambitions would not be reached in this party regardless of whether or not we won the next election. It will be interesting to watch her progress in the Liberal party."
What is he saying here? I hope that better folks than me try to decipher this statement. So, she would not be able to succeed as a leader within the Conservative party according to Harper. Let's say there was an election and he eeked out a minority win. OK, then Harper would stay on for the foreseeable future. But if he lost a June election once again to a Liberal minority, wouldn't he have to consider resigning? I guess he's saying he wouldn't. But do his comments mean on a longer term basis that people like Belinda Stronach could not become leader due to their political views? This is the likely import of his statement to me. That his party has no plans to reach out beyond its current constituency to grow in their positions on social issues such as gay marriage. That the western base of the party is too strong for someone like Stronach to overcome in the next few years.
And if that is the case, then the Conservatives will not be a truly national party for the foreseeable future.
I'm still looking forward to the moment where one can attribute the political smarts directly to her, an authentic moment that says she really deserves the attention being paid to her.Well, kudos to her, she did it. Read her statement today. She stood up, made a bold move and has changed the political landscape for the foreseeable future, on so many levels. I don't know where to start with this but will try to sort it all out in coming posts.
I also posed a question the other day, "where have all the leaders gone?", wondering whether there was anyone who might step up out of the current morass and actually cut through all of the fog to speak about what is really important in this country. And finally someone did it. Not one of the leaders but someone who has now demonstrated leadership. And lo and behold, that person was Belinda Stronach.
Good for her, I applaud this move heartily.
Jacques Parizeau reappeared on Monday to remind us all of the stakes the current Parliament, as of Monday anyway, was playing with...here he is giving an interview to CTV news, saying the following:
"They know very well the writing is on the wall," he said, also dismissing the federal Clarity Act which demands a clear referendum question as a prerequisite to negotiating terms of separation.
"Can you imagine feds saying we don't like your answers," Parizeau implored, calling such suggestions a "political stunt."
"It's not serious."
Oh, and thanks for showing up on the eve of the budget vote, you may have actually pushed Belinda Stronach over the edge to joining the Liberals...:)!!!
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
But please, if there are any Conservatives out there writing ad scripts, let's not follow Kinsella's advice in one regard...do we really need to keep hearing this guy telling us his name? Geez!!! He's been leader of the opposition for almost a year now and has already used this ad formula in the last election. Then it was understandable, first national campaign and all, but shouldn't we know him by now? Or is it just the same old machismo technique that the ad world/political consultants must inflict upon us that is supposed to have us all thinking, oh, this guy really means what he's saying if he's willing to put his name on the line...?!? The "honourable" guy and all, with the music soaring as he tries hopelessly, with that accountant persona, to evoke some sort of emotion from us about what he believes in... So please spare us the name telling and come up with something new and creative in the script as I'm not sure I can take listening to 30+ days of "My name is Stephen Harper" ads!
Saturday, May 07, 2005
Her positions are pretty much where Canadians are and if the Conservatives were led by someone with her policies (and rid themselves of some of the yahoos), they'd likely be on the verge of a majority government.
Friday, May 06, 2005
Thursday, May 05, 2005
Parmi les postulats qu'une telle étude doit poser, il y a le partage de la dette et de l'actif. Les auteurs ont procédé à un bilan pro forma de l'administration publique fédérale aux fins de succession des deux États. Ce bilan constitue le point de départ de la méthode utilisée pour ce partage. Les auteurs reconnaissent d'emblée qu'il s'agit d'un élément délicat. «L'état des finances publiques d'un Québec souverain est influencé par l'ampleur de la part des actifs et de la part des dettes du gouvernement du Canada dont il héritera», écrivent-ils.It does appear that there is a bit of hedging here though, a recognition that Quebec's finances will be contingent on these negotiations, and the outcome of such discussions would be uncertain to say the least. The rosy picture portrayed of a future financially stable province of Quebec should be considered in detail by the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs' office and met with an equally forceful response. Thanks to Paul Wells for highlighting the lackadaisical approach of the current minister and the need for action.
I can think of one issue that might warrant addressing. For example, would Quebec be using the Canadian dollar post separation or their own currency? Are they assuming they would be permitted to adopt the Canadian currency? This is not a foregone conclusion and would also significantly impact the finances of a future Quebec.
We eagerly await the response of the government of Canada.
Monday, May 02, 2005
I never would have guessed that they would throw in that surprise ending though. Gee, I sure didn't see that coming. But I bet the ratings were smashing! Can't wait for the next mini-series!