Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wednesday notes

1. Couldn't help but think, when reading this op-ed on the Indian election, that it provides some inspiration for us as well. In enumerating all the factors that voters rejected, for e.g., nationalistic appeals following the Mumbai attacks, a confrontational approach with neighbours such as Pakistan and regional vote splitting, there's the clear sense of a rallying effect that overcame the divisive options. The Obama effect gone global? Who knows but if our next election has even traces of a similar pattern, it would be a good thing.

2. Are the Ontario PCs, with their talk of abolishing human rights tribunals, going to cause trouble, not only for themselves, but for their federal cousins who have worked soooo hard (Jason Kenney) to pry away Ms. Dhalla's and other suburban GTA ridings?
The proposal may win votes in the leadership race, but it could cost the Tories dearly in a provincial election, said Henry Jacek, a politics professor at Hamilton's McMaster University.

The Tories need to win Toronto-area suburban ridings to defeat the Liberals, but could end up alienating new immigrants who live in those areas and feel the tribunal is protecting them from discrimination, he said.

"If I were an adviser, I wouldn't advise a Conservative candidate to essentially make this a big issue in the general election campaign, because I think it will probably hurt them in ridings that they need to win," he said.

Elliott echoed that sentiment, adding that the party must "be careful" with the idea of scrapping the tribunal, which is still needed in Ontario. (emphasis added)
Federal-provincial issues don't always cross over but given Mr. Flanagan's high profile entry into the debate yesterday, it wouldn't be difficult to connect the dots.

3. That O'Brien trial is hearing some very interesting stuff at the moment. Conflicting statements from John Baird which will be put to him when he testifies.
The first of two Baird police statements says Kilrea initially either emailed or called the minister about the parole board appointment, and they then met at Baird's office.

"We had some sort of communication, then he came to see me and we had a bit more of a substantive discussion about it," Baird told police.

In a subsequent police interview in October 2007, Baird first said he could not "recall at all" having spoken in person to Kilrea about the appointment, then later in the same interview flatly denied having any such conversation.
OK, taking back what I said about not being interested...looking forward to that appearance.

4. One more critique of the Conservative ads, in le Devoir, translated version. The point is raised once again how these ads are meant to drive Quebec voters to the Bloc, despite the PM's rhetoric against the Bloc in recent months and most notably as he faced losing a non-confidence vote in December. Apparently only too happy to use the Bloc however, in his electoral calculations, strengthening it in fact if it's to his benefit and to the detriment of a federalist option in Quebec.

5. Finally, fun with attack spoofs that continue...:) John A. MacDonald, "Not a Real Canadian":

"The Visitor":