Thursday, January 31, 2013

Liberal fundraising numbers

A fellow blogger asks a question: "Is the LPC Leadership Race Over?"

Hmmm. Do the New York Yankees win the World Series every year? I don't think so. It's not just about money. You have to play the games. So let's keep playing.

Carry on, people.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Last week in Tory patronage

Catching up here! It's hard to keep up with these porkers after all! Let's see..."Natural Resources Ministers Announce Appointments to the Canada–Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board."

You know, I would like to think that appointments to such a board would bring competent, independent judgment with some experience in the field given the important subjects of oversight: "...the board’s key priorities of worker safety and environmental protection while providing robust regulatory oversight for the development of offshore oil and gas. " So who did we get?

Scott Tessier was "the Chief of Staff for the Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency." A ministerial staffer. And other things too, but that's big.

Edward Williams who is the brother of Danny Williams. "Williams has been heavily involved in the PC party, and travelled on Premier Kathy Dunderdale’s campaign bus during the 2011 general election."

Now are these the types of appointments governments should be making in this era? Persons appointed to that kind of board should be able to exercise independent judgment and not be beholden to political interests. Not feelin' it!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Saturday, January 26, 2013

A view on the day's events #olpldr

From a wise politico via the email bag just a little while ago:
In no particular order...
1. Long game works...Wynne been at this for years.
2. Speeches matter.
3. Having a seat more important than sexuality.
4. Media today is very weak...pundits worse.
5. Take nothing for granted...not even the last ballot results...yet.
Very wise indeed.

I would add:

Authenticity combined with substance is a pretty fierce combination.

A poll that will make little difference #olpldr

"Ontario Liberals: No poll bounce for Grits after leadership campaign." This one shows Pupatello and Wynne and Kennedy in the same ballpark percentages, give or take a few more for Kennedy given his profile, going into tomorrow's voting. No gaps that would give any one of them a noticeable advantage. So, not helping.

Besides, it really shouldn't be polling that Liberals look to for this choice. Longer term considerations like personal qualities, vision and policy are likely to and should rank as more important factors in the choice.

Also noted in the report, this quote from Kathleen Wynne addressing the extra scrutiny that has been applied to her in recent days as the crunch vote comes:
“If we have a woman premier, if we have an openly gay premier, there will be a big conversation about that. But the most important conversation … will be about whether this person … has the capacity … to govern the province and to lead the party.”
Agreed.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Dalton McGuinty farewell speech

Well since I'm here on the blog dime, I best say something about the big event of the night. Dalton McGuinty's sign-off speech is what everyone was here for. The main event before everyone piles out of here and heads off to hospitality suites where delegates will be wooed in this last of a kind delegated convention world.

At the beginning of the speech, McGuinty recalled his election as leader here in Maple Leaf Gardens with a joke. His wife leaned over to him and whispered, "I thought you weren't going to win!" Who knew. It's been 16 years. Not many present day Canadian political leaders who can aspire to that or match that tenure. Such impatience for results in this era, as we've seen at the federal level with Liberals - but federal Liberals are going to have to grow with their next leader, whoever it is. All this to say that you have a bit of a feeling in watching Dalton head off that he's of a kind we won't see much anymore.

McGuinty spent some time, of course, speaking of the changes that have transpired over the course of his leadership, global and as well, how Ontario has changed. "Liberals embrace change," he said, "we are relentless reformers" by quoting Laurier, as he did in his federal biennial speech earlier this year. Then, of course, he segued into achievements, as you would expect in a speech like this: education improvements, shutting down coal as part of the green energy plan and the fight against climate change, etc. That's all the tick the box part of the speech.

The heart of the speech though wasn't the words, it was in the emotion that happened when thanking family, Liberals he's worked with, the party, and so on. There was real emotion here and you heard it from people during and afterwards. He really carries a lot of respect and loyalty with him on his way out.

At the end, the secret to Dalton's success that a few budding politicians might want to pay attention to: How we succeed, he said, work hard, work together, be true to ourselves and put Ontarians first. You may have your political problems with him and over events of the last year, but there you go.

People are impatiently waiting for me so this isn't going to do the man real justice. But it was a very heartfelt, inspirational farewell. Just what the crowd wanted to hear.

I'll leave it at this, with his excerpt from a poem where he asked how he wanted to be remembered: "I was one of us."

See you tomorrow.

Friday night



The Killers remixed and killing it.

Have a good night!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Inside the Gardens #olpldr


The view from the blogging hordes' corner.

Jut add in a few thousand bodies all excited about the political mayhem of speeches, floor shows, ballots and the waiting, oh yes, the waiting.

Technology and batteries willing, I will try to do something a little more off-the-page with this one.

See you there, people!

A blog post that fits the icy weather

News from Greenland from the past day: "Ice core drill gives insight into climate future." An international study into the Greenland ice core is helping scientists predict what a future warmed planet would look like.

Meanwhile, in Canada, the government has put our collection of ice cores at risk. These ice cores were "gathered during the past 40 years from High Arctic glaciers and frozen mountaintops, including Canada's highest peak, Mount Logan, as well as Ellesmere, Baffin and Devon islands," preserving "...up to 80,000 years of Canadian climate history, allowing federal scientists to probe the samples with microscopes and other instruments to reconstruct past temperature, precipitation and contamination patterns." The Harper government has cut funding for scientists who study them and as best as I can tell from more recent items, a future home for the ice cores remains uncertain.

Something that may have flown under your radar this year. Chilling stuff.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Hillary goes out with a bang



The last we will see of Hillary in a public office? It could be. This was classic Hillary here. No one - no one - is going to push her around. That girl should have won in 2008. Yeah, still have a little bit of that regret.

Fave moments from her Secretary of State tenure? This speech. This dress down of the Harper government (that's what it was). This magic testimony. I'll throw in this one too, from back in the day when she was running against Obama at the height of the Democratic primaries. Just one paragraph there. I used to be a much better blogger and can't do that anymore. Just so you new people don't think I'm a slacker. It's a very strange feeling to look back on such posts. OK, tangent over.

She is going to be missed.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

An MP with a video



This is quite the video from MP Chris Alexander. Well produced, covers a real range of issues beyond his portfolio, makes his family part of it. It really is well done. Other than the little bits I would clearly disagree with.

This is what one would call ambition personified.

More from the emails

Thought I'd pass this one along too for the Toronto politics junkies. The Munk School's Institute on Municipal Finance & Governance has a new report out on Toronto's mayoralty power structure. Very topical, to say the least.
The paper, by the IMFG’s André Côté, examines three of the fault lines that are causing friction:

The leadership dynamic in a system in which Council is supreme, and the mayor has fewer formal powers of agenda control and persuasion than his parliamentary counterparts;

How accountability is understood and applied, both through formal laws and policies, and the informal ways citizens hold elected officials to account; and

The role of the Toronto Public Service amid concerns that political pressure, the public dismissal of senior officials, and other forces are “politicizing” staff.
The paper also calls for some perspective in the civic dialogue about Toronto’s government. Over the past decade, the Toronto model has evolved into a unique hybrid, adopting some of the trappings and accountability mechanisms of parliamentary government, while retaining the openness and Council supremacy of the municipal model. Citizens need to recognize the “differentness” of this system. Local democracy can be messy, but it provides the public with access to the decision-making process in a way that opaque, highly centralized, and leader-dominated federal and provincial governments do not. Still, there is urgent need for public debate about municipal governance, and issues such as the relationship between the mayor and Council, and the capacity of residents to engage with City Hall.

From the emails

From the email inbox yesterday, a Liberal reacts to the debate (via blindcopy to me and submitted for publication elsewhere):
Joyce Murray
Justin Trudeau
Leadership candidates, Liberal Party of Canada

c. Elizabeth May, Leader, Green Party of Canada

OPEN LETTER

Dear leadership candidates:

All praise to two western opposition MPs – Joyce Murray and Elizabeth May – for voicing what legions of Canadians are wondering: how and when, if ever, will the political preferences of the majority of citizens be expressed through the Parliament of Canada under the current electoral system?

Particular thanks to Joyce Murray, a Liberal with a plan to attain democratic majority government despite the current rules. She, alone among nine candidates for Liberal leadership, is honestly facing the obvious political conundrum: (a) a struggling third-place Liberal Party, no matter what it does between now and 2015, may not win the 2015 general election and (b) leaving the Harper Conservative minority in continued command of the federal government to 2019, or even beyond, would guarantee irreversible damage to our vision for society.

Justin Trudeau, while resisting Joyce Murray’s call for cross-party electoral cooperation in 2015, was quoted on CBC national radio news this morning. “What values will we be required to jettison?” he asked his fellow Liberals, all declared and potential Liberal supporters, and all Canadians.

Justin, here’s the very short list. (1) Unwarranted partisan arrogance. (2) Unprincipled advocacy of undemocratic electoral systems.

With those two retrograde LPC values abandoned, effective co-operation among the opposition parties to win in 2015 would become a serious possibility.

As a liberal Liberal I would welcome our party’s transformation on those two points, as would many other Canadians.

The rewards, if the opposition parties succeeded in forming a coalition government in 2015, would be enormous.

1. All Canadian citizens would soon achieve, for the first time in the country’s history, equal effective votes, proportional representation, democratic majority rule, and a flexible, accountable and effective Parliament.

2. The Liberal Party would become the institutionalized conscience and advocate of Canadian liberalism. It would acquire a permanent and secure position as the arbiter and regulator of Parliament and a near-permanent presence in government, usually by shaping the terms on which social democrats or conservatives would be allowed to govern the country.

It remains true, as the Hill Times article below suggests, that the commitment of Thomas Mulcair’s NDP to the quick implementation of democratic electoral reform is, to be polite, questionable.

Even so, the Liberal Party should position itself, well prior to 2015, as the unequivocal champion of democratic voting and representative democracy. We could then, as Joyce Murray advocates, publicly invite the Mulcair New Democrats to cooperate with the Liberal Party of Canada to win the next election – or reveal themselves to all Canadians as counterfeit democrats.

Yours for a democratic Canada

John Deverell,
Executive Member, Pickering Scarborough East Federal Liberal Association
Founding Treasurer, Fair Vote Canada

Monday, January 21, 2013

Citizen Obama



That is the ending of Obama's second inauguration speech as delivered today. He was striking a unifying, non-partisan theme with those words, speaking of "you and I, as citizens." Using citizens to make a broad appeal suggesting an in-it-together theme. He speaks of the oath that he took being to country, not party or faction. The speech was laced with repeated references to "we the people," more of his effort to cut through the partisan blockage in Washington. Nicely done.

The rest of the speech is here. It was excellent in content, in addition to the emphasis above, in its ringing appeal to equality of opportunity and in concrete terms what that means: equal pay; meaningful voting rights that aren't hindered by long lines; and, ensuring "gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law" (h/t to Hillary). He will "respond to the threat of climate change." And so on.

Great moment today where he took a moment to savour the crowd on the Mall. Mad respect for the people!

From this northern neighbour, very jealous but very glad to see these themes being broadcast on the world stage. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Supporters in the Liberal leadership race

Noted from the media briefing by National Director Ian McKay yesterday on the leadership race, this tweet from @punditsguide:


Posting it for the first sentence there on a point picked up on by Alice in the briefing.

The supporter category of the party was created at the January 2012 party biennial convention as follows:
Qualification as a supporter

To be eligible to become a supporter of the Party, a person must be either a member of the Party or a person who:
(a) is at least 18 years of age;
(b) supports the purposes of the Party;
(c) is qualified as an elector who may vote in accordance with part 11 of the Canada Elections Act or ordinarily lives in Canada;12 and
(d) is not a member of any other federal political party in Canada.
Note the language "to become a supporter of the Party" and "(b) supports the purposes of the party." Thus, all the sign-ups going on during leadership of supporters are technically supporters of the party. In an informal sense, however, people may be signing up in order to support a particular candidate on the ballot. But they are also affirming that they support the party and constitutionally, it's the party that therefore has all the infrastructure set up to register and process the supporters.

See also this tweet which referenced two types of supporters:


What's interesting about Alice's first tweet above is the notion that leadership candidates are signing up party supporters and that information is being kept in house, among the candidates, until March 3. Which, given the constitution and the preferential ballot regime of the contest, is an interesting process.

Alice has more on this today.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Idle No More: Politicians, Stop Talking Start Listening



Alex Himelfarb speaking on the Idle No More movement. That doesn't have a lot of views yet and deserves a few more. Feel free to share.

Paging the Clerk

On this brouhaha of yesterday: "CIDA rapped for partisan letters from cabinet minister appearing on website." The core question in this incident is how these letters came to be posted on a government department's website. And to answer that question, the protocols for posting material, with all that's involved including translation, provide the answer. Then the question is who oversees those processes and should answer for how these protocols failed in this instance. The buck stops with the president of CIDA and the head of communications there.

And then ultimately, it's over to the Clerk of the Privy Council who should be seeking accountability for this incident. If this system is not working, then it should be fixed. The Clerk owes that to the Canadian people to ensure these things are not happening, right?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Worthwhile American initiative

Oh look, another dire warning in a government climate change report, you say. Well, yes and not all government reports are created equal. In the Green blog of the New York Times last night, the new draft National Climate Assessment of the U.S. government is noted. Released on Friday, it is now getting some attention in the U.S. It's a major research report and is very hard-hitting on how climate change is affecting the U.S., speaking directly to the average American's experience.
When it is final, this report will be an official document of the United States government. Let it be noted that this aggressive language about climate change comes two months after the end of a presidential campaign in which the subject was barely mentioned, to the frustration of a great many voters. That climate silence occurred partly because the television reporters moderating the presidential debates did not pose a single question on the topic.
For some reason, the government put out this draft without the usual advance notice to journalists that accompanies major federal reports, so I confess I have not yet had time to read all 1,193 pages. But I did spend Monday trolling through big sections of the report.
If it survives in substantially its current form, the document will be a stark warning to the American people about what has already happened and what is coming.
“Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present,” the draft document says. “Americans are noticing changes all around them. “Summers are longer and hotter, and periods of extreme heat last longer than any living American has ever experienced. Winters are generally shorter and warmer. Rain comes in heavier downpours, though in many regions there are longer dry spells in between.”
The report cites stronger scientific evidence—developed since the last report of this type was published in 2009—that human activities, especially the burning of fossil fuels, are the primary cause of these changes. It warns that if humanity fails to get a handle on emissions, the changes are likely to accelerate. And it cites numerous ways, from health problems to wildfires to extreme weather events, that climate change threatens human welfare – not in some distant land in some far-off time, but here in the United States, and soon.
This is a draft that was put together by over 200 scientists and as noted, will be an official U.S. government report. In Harper's Canada, the group would likely be shut down and de-funded like the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy who had the chutzpah to put out a report or two on the need for climate change action and how that would actually be good for Canada's economy to the tune of hundreds of thousands of jobs and multiplying our economy by various multiples of good fortune in future decades. Anyway, back to the main point. This report has appeared shortly after the election and just before Obama's inauguration. Augurs well if you want the glass half-full perspective. Things like this also help. The post-Sandy hangover is still with people too. Maybe the authors were emboldened.

Someone with a lot of time on their hands should go through that report (link above to government page and all the chapters) and see about the references to Canada. In the exec summary there's a call for a Great Lakes strategy, for starters.

Other adaptation points raised: our infrastructure's going mushy and the insects-are-a-comin'. Sea levels rising, oceans acidifying. All broken down by region and impacts. We saw a smaller scale analysis like this from the Environment Ministry recently.

Maybe someone might ask Kent and Oliver (in for heart repair, best wishes) for a reaction. It's better than a kick in the pants, as some say.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday night



Hey. Cause. We. Are. Young. !! That right there is da shizzle.

Have a good night out there kids! Be nice, play safe, call your mother.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Late night



Andrew Sullivan posted this today as people have been having fun riffing off Chuck Hagel's name. Video is a brilliant bit from Monty Python.

Note to self: Ensure I subscribe to that Sullivan guy.

Noted from the U.S.: Remaking politics

"Revealed: The Massive New Liberal Plan to Remake American Politics."
A month after President Barack Obama won reelection, top brass from three dozen of the most powerful groups in liberal politics met at the headquarters of the National Education Association (NEA), a few blocks north of the White House. Brought together by the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Communication Workers of America (CWA), and the NAACP, the meeting was invite-only and off-the-record. Despite all the Democratic wins in November, a sense of outrage filled the room as labor officials, environmentalists, civil rights activists, immigration reformers, and a panoply of other progressive leaders discussed the challenges facing the left and what to do to beat back the deep-pocketed conservative movement.
At the end of the day, many of the attendees closed with a pledge of money and staff resources to build a national, coordinated campaign around three goals: getting big money out of politics, expanding the voting rolls while fighting voter ID laws, and rewriting Senate rules to curb the use of the filibuster to block legislation. The groups in attendance pledged a total of millions of dollars and dozens of organizers to form a united front on these issues—potentially, a coalition of a kind rarely seen in liberal politics, where squabbling is common and a stay-in-your-lane attitude often prevails. "It was so exciting," says Michael Brune, the Sierra Club's executive director. "We weren't just wringing our hands about the Koch brothers. We were saying, 'I'll put in this amount of dollars and this many organizers.'"
This is exactly what is needed in Canada in advance of 2015.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Late night #IdleNoMore



Great moment at 1:45 mark where an eagle flying overhead an #Idlenomore rally in Vancouver is captured on film. Also, check out the 2:20 mark, but of course.

When Liberals do well

This is a solid op-ed in many ways on the Liberal party, the leadership race, the necessity for big ideas and the moment we find ourselves in as a country. A few lines that stood out:
The Liberals need to get beyond their internal naval-gazing and political beauty contests and focus on the redefinition of a modern, progressive role of government to confront these domestic and international new world orders. This should be the Liberal project that animates its leadership contest.
And:
...Liberals do well when they are truly pan-Canadian in orientation, when they believe in and sell vision, values, and an ethic about the country and our citizenship.
A reinvigorated Liberal brand should have at its core something no other political party is willing to do. Namely, tell Canadians the truth about what ails the country, what its strength are, and what it needs a progressive federal government to do over the next generation to ensure prosperity in the context of these new domestic and international orders, and to maintain if not strengthen the cohesion and hallmarks of citizenship that define Canada.
...
Telling Canadians the hard truths — such as the necessity to improve productivity to maintain our standard of living, and the moral as well as environmental imperative to reduce our carbon consumption for future generations. Being bold and principled, rejecting the impulse to pander, and refusing to aim for “the centre” should eventually prevail with a public that knows something big is going on both in this country and in the world that they aren’t being told much about by their political leaders.
...
It should be a contest less about the party and their candidates or bashing the other parties (the traditional stuff of political leaderships) and more about Canada and this country’s future. That would truly surprise and impress Canadians. And it would help convince people that the Liberal party of today is much more than a vehicle for people’s ambitions. This is the first big step on the road back to relevance for the Liberal Party of Canada. (emphasis added)
No to retail politics and yes to big, bold principled pan-Canadian values and ideas. Could not agree more.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Friday night



I go with Skrillex doing Summit since it was a good song released this past year and he's in the news again with a new release which prompted a new video for Summit. Caution: Don't set your hair on fire as they do in the video, those crazy kids. I'm sure you won't but I thought I'd be responsible and say something.

Have a good night!

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Joyce Murray on Sun News


And she lived to tell the tale! Nicely done. Speaking about her presence today at an Idle No More event in Vancouver, calling out Stephen Harper for his patriarchal and possibly illegal approach in failing to consult aboriginal peoples in enacting the C-45 omnibus legislation and finally some thoughts on the Liberal party's future and the issue of cooperation. A good show of heart and instincts.