Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday night



This is way too short but it's suiting the mood tonight. Optimism in major key! Enjoy and have a good night.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The week in Harper's judgment

Harper appointed this Senator:
Housakos, a member of the Conservative caucus since late 2008 and an influential fundraiser for the party, came up at the inquiry Wednesday. According to testimony, Housakos met at an exclusive club with two men who now face numerous criminal charges in an unrelated affair, including Catania.
He was described as having attended two meetings and hosting one, all in 2007 and 2008, before he was appointed to the Parliament of Canada. His name appears in a detailed ledger of people who frequented Club 357c, a high-end establishment located at that address on de la Commune Street, in the heart of Montreal's old city.
The document was deposited Wednesday at Quebec's Charbonneau Commission and it included Housakos' name as well as those of two former Quebec Liberal cabinet ministers and local municipal councillors, among others. Investigators said that names of people they did not recognize or considered irrelevant to their probe were blacked out in the documents released Wednesday. However, Housakos' name appeared three times in the 10-page document. In the interview with The Canadian Press, Housakos said he welcomed the commission's work but challenged some of the details.
When asked about Housakos, Harper mumbled a French proverb in response about a man who saw a man who saw a bear.

Harper appointed this Senator too, in the news over a week ago:
Sen. Patrick Brazeau receives an annual $20,000 taxpayer-subsidized housing allowance for claiming his principle residence is in Maniwaki, Que., but other residents tell CTV News they’ve rarely seen him there.
Harper's party hired this firm:
Liberals are demanding an apology from Prime Minister Stephen Harper after a Conservative pollster was censured for conducting a misinformation campaign against MP Irwin Cotler.
An investigation by the market research industry's watchdog concluded Wednesday that the actions of Campaign Research Inc., brought the industry into disrepute. "The actions of Campaign Research have likely caused the Canadian public to lose confidence in marketing research and have tarnished the image of the marketing research profession," says a ruling by three-member panel of the Market Research and Intelligence Association.
The panel was struck after the association received seven complaints of professional misconduct against Campaign Research. The complaints related to a voter identification poll the company conducted last autumn on behalf of the federal Conservative party in Cotler's Montreal riding. The company's callers suggested to constituents — falsely — that Cotler either had or was about to quit as the Liberal MP for Mount Royal.
Hello, Conservatives, when are you going to get tired of this? Anything stirring in those heads of yours? Any folks of ethics or integrity to be found anywhere in your midst?

Monday, November 26, 2012

No more secret fishing trips for the buds



Good times with his bud on Harrington Lake are likely in the rear view mirror for Mr. Ford. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

Busy news day: Murray, Carney, Ford

Ok, obviously I was interested in this as the big event of the day but you cannot control for what the political gods of the day have in store for you: "Joyce Murray joins Liberal leadership, calls for co-operation with NDP, Greens." That's the leading Canadian Press coverage that should give you everything you need to know. Making the most news is the cooperation proposal more of which can be found here.

In a surprising development that Carney himself had downplayed, Mr. Carney went off to England to run their Bank of England. The new governor of the Bank of Canada may be the senior deputy governor "Tiff" Macklem. Would be the most interesting name for a Bank of Canada Governor ever.

And Mr. Ford may be shoved off. Or something like that. He is handling it with all the dignity and aplomb we Torontonians have come to know so well.

By-election results on deck for tonight.

For Joyce Murray for Liberal leader

I have decided to support Vancouver Quadra MP Joyce Murray in the Liberal leadership race that has just officially begun. That's not a big surprise after my blog post last week writing of the importance of a track record of electability for leadership candidates. That post was essentially an endorsement but not fulsome enough. So this post will hopefully do the job. I am supporting Joyce with real enthusiasm and hope as I look forward to this campaign.

I met Joyce in Toronto in October and a number of things just clicked in terms of mutual views on the party and issues. In addition, it was quite apparent that Joyce is an impressive and substantially accomplished woman.

She is, above all else in my mind, a seasoned politician who is a fighter. That's who I believe the Liberal party needs right now as a leader. Joyce fights and wins and has repeatedly. She has successfully fought through three contested nomination contests, not two as I wrote last week. How many politicians in the Liberal party can say that to begin with? That they fought, there was no riding handed to or held for them. And then to say that they have won four elections? Very few except those who have substantial experience. She has also lost. And yet has come back to win again.

Why is this particular aspect of leadership, an electoral track record, so important? I would suggest that it instills deeply a sense of democratic accountability and respect for the democratic process for someone who has gone through it. This is a sense that I wish for the next leader of the party to have. To know through and through that you have to fight to win. To know the importance of winning each vote and to know how to do it.

To know that policy has to be grounded in values that connect with people otherwise you're not going to get re-elected next time. To know that you have to create that policy in a way that is collaborative, not top-down, so that your members and supporters connect with your party and then you indeed have a thriving party. To know that this is a political and democratic organization that the Liberal party is. It's not a club for the powerful and personalities. It's about doing good things for people and the country and we do that by getting elected!

So this is why I value electoral experience and believe in its importance for this leadership race. This is not a job that just anyone can do. Joyce has that experience, having been elected both provincially in B.C. where she was the Environment Minister and federally. I believe she shows the discipline that this democratic sensibility forces upon a seasoned politician.

I also believe it is important for our next leader to have a business sensibility, an on the ground depth of knowledge about what it takes to build a business and achieve success. Joyce also has that, having built a successful business with her husband of 35 years. The business they built has 600 full time employees and I believe about 800 seasonal employees. They reforest, among other things, demonstrating a real dedication to the environment as well. Building a successful business from the ground up over time. That shows a stick to it-ness and determination that the party needs as well.

Political acumen, business savvy, those are some pretty substantial credentials. That she is from the West, that's also a persuasive factor to me. It's time to have a Western leader of the party.

I would add the personal qualities as well that have impressed me. Integrity chief among them. You can sense when you are dealing with someone who sees the humanity in people and is fair. There is a likability too. She stands up for women (3:10 min mark here). She reminds me of some leading dignified women politicians of the day that I respect, including Alison Redford and Hillary Clinton. Why can't we members and supporters of the Liberal party choose that too? I think we should.

There are a number of policy reasons for my support as well but I'll leave those for another day (or days) as this campaign goes on.

Joyce is announcing her leadership bid at 11 am ET today. See you there!

See also: "Joyce Murray: Representing the Canadian Experience," "Joyce Murray will be a Formidable Liberal Leadership Candidate." 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Wrong way Harper

"Poll points to lagging support for monarchy and universal pride in medicare."

Shorter version of this fun little poll on a Sunday afternoon, Canadians for the most part aren't buying what Harper is selling. Monarchy? No thanks. Charter? Oh yes, we like that no matter how much this government tries to downplay and ignore it.

A lot of things money just can't buy, PMO Comms staffers.

Carry on, Canada! You're on the right track.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

David McGuinty statement

Here is the appropriate accountability for David McGuinty's remarks:
Statement by Liberal MP David McGuinty

OTTAWA– Liberal MP David McGuinty made the following statement today:

"As Member of Parliament for Ottawa South I would like to unreservedly and unequivocally apologize for comments which I made with respect to Parliamentary colleagues from the province of Alberta. My words in no way reflect the views of my party or leader, and I offer my apology to them as well as my colleagues from Alberta.

I hold all Parliamentarians in high esteem, and I regret my choice of words, as I can understand the offence they have caused.

I have offered my resignation as energy and natural resources critic to my leader, and he has accepted. I look forward to continuing to serve my constituents in the House of Commons."

-30-
People step in it from time to time. It's the right thing to do to own up to it and take responsibility. As opposed to many other political actors in present day Canadian politics.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

If you lost your seat, should you compete?

While the Liberal leadership race formally began this week, with the party's official opening date, it seems like it's been going on for quite a while. Many leadership aspirants have been testing the waters and speaking with Liberals and supporters across the country for months now. During that time, and having had a chance to meet many of them, I've come to prioritize a few qualities when considering what kind of candidate I'd like to support.

One of my top criteria is indeed whether they have a proven track record of electability. This is a political party, after all, not a debating club as I believe Bob Rae put it in one well stated observation during this past year. Implicit in a proven track record of electability is political experience and acumen that only that electability brings. It matters to me. This party has to be more committed to the democratic process and walking the walk on that score. I want my leader to have been tested in that way.

That is a priority for me in this leadership race and I will judge all the candidates on that score. And that is how I read Warren Kinsella's article last night, with my criteria in mind.

Oh, and one other point on Warren's Sun piece. I just want to point out that in order to be complete he should have included one of the leadership candidates who will announce shortly, MP Joyce Murray. Who happens to have been through two contested nomination battles and has won four elections (one provincial, three federal).

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday night



Oh you've got green eyes, oh you've got blue eyes, oh you've got grey eyes...

Have a good night!

Summerville making waves in Victoria by-election #yyjbyelxn



Great video report from the local Victoria TV station. It's clear that Paul Summerville is the candidate who has shown leadership on an issue that is resonating with local citizens. Hope they give him the credit for the foresight and his political gut instincts on election day.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Last call: Electoral reform debate tonight #php #cdnpoli #topoli

CLICK TO ENLARGE

Info on location and resolution all above on our great flier designed by Graham Bolton, riding volunteer.

The debaters are all quite enthused about the night which has been inspiring to hear. They are prepared and looking to get into the issue. We are fortunate to have such a great panel willing to give of their time to further this policy discussion.

We do plan to have an audience vote at the beginning, as a temperature check, and then at the end, to see who has prevailed on the night. All in fun, of course. It will be a very high tech show of hands. That's how we roll in PHP. Although we will have wireless mikes for audience Q & A.

If you are in Toronto, hope to see you there.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Liberal leadership is on



Mailboxes are all aflutter with press releases and there's this nifty new video. This is going to be big, people. The officialdom of it all is starting to set in. Debate schedules and whatnot. Exciting.

Ontario's leadership race should be finished just as this one is starting to heat up. Debates commence roughly around the time when Ontario's campaign will come to an end.

I should have an endorsement - federal - up some time next week.

Monday, November 12, 2012

An answer to the carbon tax rhetoric

Postmedia's Mike De Souza uploaded this Environment Canada presentation on to Scribd and it is getting a fair amount of attention.

Notably, it includes some information on the dollar costs of climate change in Canada over the last decade or so. If you look to slides 25 and 29 for example, the increased costs of fighting fires in B.C. due to drought conditions and the increased costs on the east coast of hurricane damage are set out, respectively. The costs of fighting the pine beetle are on slide 23. And look at this one, the losses suffered by farmers in the west on slide 21, entitled "Increased temperatures can exacerbate drought conditions":
"While no single event can be attributed to climate change, increasing temperatures are expected to cause increased aridity and more frequent drought; Impacts of the extreme drought of 2001-2003 were far-reaching, though hardest hit were agricultural producers in Alberta and Saskatchewan: $1.33 billion in 2002 while Saskatchewan was $925 million in 2001and $1.49 billion in 2002; More than 41,000 jobs were lost, and GDP was reduced by $5.8 billion"
On slide 32: "An overall 10-14% increase in Northern Quebec river flows is projected - In anticipation, Hydro Quebec is making significant capital decisions."

The job killing carbon tax? No, it's the economy killing lack of action, stupid.* 

Key Climate Change Impacts - 2012 02 17

*A play on the famous "It's the economy, stupid" framing of the 1992 U.S. presidential election by James Carville, of course...

Friday, November 09, 2012

Friday night



I go with my old faithful, Kaskade, mashing two good ones. He released it this week, something he played during his summer tour.

Can you believe I did not blog anything this week with so much going on. That is just unacceptable and will have to change.

Have a good night!

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Reasons to vote



In this week before the U.S. election, noted film maker Errol Morris had a great short film that ran in the New York Times. It's about voting and is meant to encourage people to get to the polls. He does it in a light and humorous way by coming at it from the other direction. One of the best things seen online this week. Enjoy!

Friday, November 02, 2012

It is on: Electoral reform debate

In west end Toronto, on the evening of November 15th, the Parkdale-High Park federal Liberal riding association will be hosting a debate on electoral reform featuring some fine Canadian public policy leaders. We are very appreciative that they will be taking the time to participate with us in this event. The debate will be held in the auditorium of Bishop Marrocco High School (at Dundas West subway station on the Bloor line) from 7 – 9 pm. Fair Vote Canada has kindly agreed to co-sponsor the debate.

This is a little different from the usual town hall variety event that you might see going on in your ridings and that is the idea behind it. To raise an issue with some subject matter experts in a manner that is not partisan but rather puts a policy front and center. To seek the community's input on the issue. And to hopefully have some fun in doing so!

Here is our flier, below, with details and which is also available for downloading and sharing at this link.

CLICK TO ENLARGE

There are a lot of people here in PHP working hard to put this together. All are welcome and please mark it down on your calendars.

Related links:

Facebook event for Facebookers to RSVP.
Liberal.ca.
PHP Association.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Romney punts on climate change



Excellent video of Romney at a rally and his tin ear non-response, when given the opportunity, to respond to a heckler who challenges him on climate change.

Hecklers shouldn't be allowed to commandeer an event. But in these crucial few last days, when climate change has been brought to the fore and the ground is shifting in the form of Michael Bloomberg's climate change driven endorsement of Obama, wouldn't you think a gut instinct politician might take the moment to say something? Romney did not. He followed the chanting crowd and missed a moment.

André Pratte on Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay

This is essentially a call for the Mayor's resignation from the influential Pratte. Written in the wake of the tawdry cross-examination of witness Martin Dumont before the Charbonneau commission by the lawyer for Union Montreal. Union Montreal is Mayor Tremblay's party. Here's Pratte:
Et qui est le chef de ce parti nauséabond? Gérald Tremblay. Ce qu'a dit mardi Martin Dumont sur ce que savait le maire du financement occulte de son parti n'est peut-être pas exact. Il faudra attendre le témoignage de M. Tremblay devant la commission avant d'évaluer précisément le niveau de sa responsabilité dans les différents rouages du système de collusion et de corruption.
Toutefois, quoi qu'il ressorte de ce témoignage, il est clair depuis des lunes que le maire ne jouit plus de l'autorité morale pour gouverner la Ville. Selon la rumeur, il annoncera bientôt qu'il ne sera pas candidat aux élections de 2013. Ça n'est pas suffisant.
Le contre-interrogatoire répugnant mené hier par l'avocat du parti du maire n'est qu'un incident de plus montrant combien la situation est devenue malsaine. Mardi, M. Tremblay demandait qu'on le laisse «travailler pour la Ville de Montréal». Pourtant, ce n'est certainement pas en se cramponnant à son poste comme il le fait qu'il contribue à la bonne gestion de Montréal.
The mayor is taking a sudden leave of his job: "With his administration under fire, Montreal mayor leaves for a break." Further:
A Leger poll commissioned by the Journal de Montreal newspaper and published Thursday showed 76 per cent of respondents think Tremblay should quit his post.
Might he be on the verge of taking a longer vacation than an extended long weekend? Things could be moving faster than expected for keen federal observers of all varieties.

Natural Resources asks media outlet to destroy records

Postmedia had a report last night on Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver writing to his officials, in email, on his needing briefings on major energy projects in Canada so he could speak to them knowledgeably. He made the request in the aftermath of a Jim Prentice speech which mentioned a number of big energy projects. Prentice is the former Environment minister who left for CIBC. So the emails make it appear that the Natural Resources minister is playing catch up on issues that a former minister, now departed, is making waves on.

Notably, Oliver asked for information on a $15 billion bitumen upgrader mentioned by Prentice that Oliver says he did not know very much about, the Northwest Upgrader. Given the centrality of the oil sands to Oliver's file, that raises doubts on his competency. Given how central the pipeline and energy issues are on an ongoing basis for this government, and the pending energy takeover deals, it's an embarrassing revelation. The release of Oliver's comments have the effect of undermining his credibility as minister.

Postmedia obtained these documents through access to information. Instead of offering an explanation and addressing this issue on that level and leaving it at that, the government made this brazen request of Postmedia:
The office at Natural Resources Canada, which processed the request through access to information legislation, said that the content of the emails was released by accident and should have been withheld under provisions of the law that allow the government to protect information under consultation or deliberation.
Postmedia News declined a request from the office to destroy the email records that included Oliver’s comments.
The Access to Information Act requires the government to release public records upon request from someone who pays a $5 fee.
Given that the emails are from late 2011, to argue that they should be withheld as "information under consultation or deliberation" seems to be a very weak argument. The emails themselves can't be credibly characterized as containing information under consultation or deliberation. The advice sought by Oliver is still ongoing is their position? That would be a bizarre stretch.

And to ask, on top of that, for a media outlet to destroy the embarrassing email records shows how sensitive they are to this revelation. It's not very democratic either.

Harper Halloween video



In case you missed it. Unfortunately, there is no sound. Or, fortunately because it looked a little too awkward of a photo-op and likely wasn't too festive.

On the right of Harper there, in the costumes...I think that's Fantino in the blue overalls/red shirt, maybe Diane Finley in the striped get up, and looks like Poilievre in the pink and yellow polka dotted gear. I could be wrong though.

Ignatieff is right

In this excerpt in particular as highlighted by John Ibbitson earlier Wednesday, I agree with Ignatieff:
When you think of your opponent across the aisle as an adversary, “you reject arguments, not persons; question premises, not identities; interrogate interests, not loyalties,” Mr. Ignatieff said.

But when politicians look upon each other as enemies, “legislatures replace relevance with pure partisanship. Party discipline rules supreme, fraternization is frowned upon, negotiation and compromise are rarely practised, and debate within the chamber becomes as venomously personal as it is politically meaningless.”
Well said. And I don't think his comments apply solely to Conservatives either.