Saturday, September 29, 2007

Conservatives placing ideology above objective facts: Canada does not need a war on drugs

The Conservatives are fully prepared to overlook the positives that out come out of places like the Vancouver's Insite safe injection clinic, and the lesser load on the criminal justice system that comes from liberal drug policies, in the face of kow-towing to social conservatism and American style rhetoric. This is an issue that the Liberals, should pounce on, particularly given the background and experience of a man like Dr. Keith Martin.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

2% Tim!

According to the daily record of Votes and Proceedings, available publicly on the Legislative Assembly of Ontario’s website:

Tim Peterson had the fourth worst voting record in the Legislature.His overall voting attendance – 176 of 470 votes or 37%!

There were 33 days of meetings between the day Tim crossed the floor (March 29) and the last day (June 4). In those 33 days there were 62 votes. Mr. Peterson participated in one vote on the last day of the session (June 4).

You heard correct. As an Independent member, Mr. Peterson participated in one of 62 votes (2%).

2% TIM!

The good people of Mississauga South (myself included) are going to reject Tim Peterson's floor crossing, irresponsible ways on Oct 10.

Because "Leadership" apparently means scoring 8/50 on the Environment

In addition to showing the obvious hostility of the Conservatives to any sort of real environmental legislation or protection, the article raises the interesting point of how although voters have claimed environment is a top priority for them, the environment has played very little role in the campaign, with education being the big headline grabber. At this point even the Green Party themselves are getting more attention from voters not because of their environmental policy, but because of the stand they are taking against public funding of Catholic schools. Interesting to see what the profile of environment will be in the next federal election.

Dalton's Leadership

So far I've been impressed with the tone of the Liberal re-election campaign. Faced with accusations of "broken promises", the Liberals and Dalton McGuinty have responded with openess and honesty, rather than attempt to gloss over percieved weaknesses, which has been the backbone of the John Tory Conservative campaign. When Tory has shifted blame and attacked the media for daring to compare his platform to Mike Harris, Dalton's platform was fully costed out and planned before the election. When Tory has pledged to introduce segregated schools and two-tier heath care, Dalton has stood up and defended our inclusive public education system, and investments in heath care after 4 years of Conservative mismanagement. Now Dalton is calling on John Tory to display some of his supposedly vaunted leadership, and discuss actual policy planks in his platform. Expect either no response at all, or a typical glossy "NegaTory" attack of Dalton. Leadership does matter. Only one of the two men who can possibly be Premier on Oct 10th is displaying any, and it's not the one who puts "Leadership" on his campaign signs.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Because "Leadership" apparently means being ignorant of a star candidate's background

Randy Hillier is the homophobic, global warming denier anti-urban campaigner who also happens to be the Conservative star candidate in Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington. In the above picture, he is shown confronting police during one of his radical rural roadblock protests. Hillier has also been arrested and detained during one of these protests in Cornwall. Today John Tory was asked during a CBC interview about Hillier.

CBC HOST: Let's go to Frontenac County. John is on the line. Hi John.

CALLER: Well, John, I've got this issue. You've got Randy Hillier running here in LFL&A [Lanark-Frontenac- Lennox and Addington] and when he was head of the LLA and that's the Lanark Landowners Association for the rest of the province. He closed down the 401 three times. Once in London, once in Thousand Islands then the QEW when he did his tractor day to Queen's Park there. He gets invited to be candidate for the PC party, Shawn Brant does it once and he's in jail for two months without bail. And I see a degree of hypocrisy there. One rule for the white guy and one rule for the natives. Can you explain that?

JOHN TORY: I, I, I could do my best because I could tell you this much.

CALLER: Without the double-speak.JOHN TORY: There won't be any double-speak. When Mr. Hillier was the head of the landowners and I was the leader of the PC Party and he had expressed no interest or had not approached us about being a candidate. I can tell you that I telephoned him before his first protest at which time he said he was going to block the highway and encouraged him not to do that, urged him not to do that. I said, look you can have the same protest by the side of the highway and in fact you'll see more people because they'll go by you as opposed to blocking the highway off. And I have said consistently, when it comes to what I've said about the rule of law for people who are obstructing highways or anything else, the law should apply to everyone. And I specifically mentioned the day I first took that position and laid out one rule of law for everybody that it applied to groups of farmers. I mentioned that. Or groups of environmentalists. Or groups of Aboriginal people. And so I've been very very consistent in that and Mr. Hillier would tell you that, I've phoned him and I've communicated with him any time he was going to do any protest of that kind and said don't do that there are other ways to protest without blockading highways. With respect to how he became the candidate, in our Party, the PC party, the candidates are elected democratically at the riding level. So Mr. Hiller came forward and put his name in and I think there were three or four candidates who ran for the nomination and he won.

CALLER: You don't vet these people at all.

JOHN TORY: I'll be very truthful with you about that. No double-speak. They’re all vetted to see if there is anything in their background in terms of brushes with the law or any of those kinds of things that would disqualify them form being a candidate it's done before the nomination process so that you don't, it's not too late and we looked at his entire background and I can tell you this man has had no brushes with the law.

CALLER: Whoa, back up. Back up. He's been incarcerated before.

JOHN TORY: Look at that, if that is true, I'm not familiar with that but I mean I can tell you there was a check on his background. What was he incarcerated for?

CALLER: I believe in the Cornwall incident.JOHN TORY: Well, that's news to me.

CBC HOST: I'm just going to intervene here. We do want to get to some other callers as well. Thank you John for your inquiry.

So is Tory a hypocrite, or ignorant? Some leadership. Big thanks to Patrick over at are you kidding me for hi-lighting this story.

OC Glebe Debate review

Apologies for not having this up early

From sitting left to right:

Richard Eveleigh-Independent: 1/10

I knew nothing about this lone Independent, and his stumbling, mumbling, incoherent performance did not help him. From the very little of his platform I could understand, he seemed to be somewhat of an eco-nut (think Green Party circa 1980's) , talking about green roofs and trees on highways. Other than that I couldn't tell anything about his platform except that he is pro-MMP.

Yasir Naqvi-Liberal: 8/10
Yasir gave another strong performance on the evening, although he was helped by the format of the debate, which was less directly confrontational, and the sheer number of candidates, which made it harder for the other parties and the other candidates to gang up on Yasir and the Liberals. Yasir was quick and often to mention his service to the community, and particularly hammered the faith based schools question out of the park, claiming that he, as an ethnic immigrant to Canada when he was 15, was "a product of the public school system", which got a great cheer from Liberal and non-Liberal supporters alike.

Greg Laxton-Green: 7/10
Greg wins the award for most improved candidate, as where he was sometimes stumbling and quiet at the Bronson Centre debate, here he was more confident, without being arrogant or adopting a "holier than thou" attitude that Greens sometimes have a habit of adopting. His only real drawback was he attempted to drawback towards the MMP question a few too many times at the expense of expanding on policy.

Trina Morissette-Conservative: 4/10
The Glebe is not exactly friendly ground for Conservatives at the best of times, and Trina got started off on exactly the wrong foot, going negative early and often. One crack at Dalton she made, which I'm assuming she was hoping would be a big applause line, which only got stony silence. She looked definitely uncomfortable when the issue of faith based schools came up, helped in no part by the fact that with the exception of the FCP candidate, all the parties and candidates were roundly critical of the plan. About the only cheer she got was when she came out against MMP, but this was countered by the fact that yet again, she was the only candidate to get heckled.

Danny Moran-Family Coalition: 6.5/10
Wins the award for most surprising performance of the evening. I was expecting a barely coherent Jesus freak, and instead I got a fairly competent, decent public speaker with a good sense of timing and humour. While his actually party's policy's are of course unpalatable to myself, as a pure candidate and public speaker, he was pretty good. He also got a good non-partisan applause when he answered a question to which all other candidates had given long winded answers with a simple and terse "No".

Stuart Ryan-Communist: 3.5/10
Ryan, a perenial candidate and familar face to many a Carleton student, is simply not a good public speaker. He stayed on his socialist message at least, but is so uninspiring that even the hardest of Marxist's would have had a wandering mind.

Will Murray-NDP: 5.5/10
Murray was marginally easier to listen to this time around, as the lack of the direct confrontation between candidates forced him to tone down his normal fire breathing dragon rhetoric. His biggest stumble was when one person in the audience asked a very interesting question about what spending each government would cut, and he sort of sputtered out a half-formed answer about Colegate.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Because "leadership" is having a long serving member criticize your central campaign policy

Interesting to see how the Liberals spin this, this could potentiall take a lot of air out of Conservative tires, particularly in rural areas where it is an open secret the Conservative base is unhappy both with the religious schools, and with Tory's percieved drift towards the centre. We could see a good number of Conservative voters simply staying home on election day, particularly if the polls continue to show, as they do now, a Liberal majority.

"NegaTory" and "HoJo" continues lack of leadership, energy edition

So John Tory is continuing his relentlessly negative campaign, and after putting out ads more or less accusing Dalton of murdering every child in Ontario, now he is attacking the Liberals energy record and plans. The Liberal plan for energy supply is one of balance and moderation, which ensures that Ontario has both green and effective power, and that we can remain a net exporter of power. Howard Hampton on the other hand, wants to phase out nuclear power (read: protect his voter base from the Greens) removing 50% of our energy supplies and create a massive make-work program for his home area in the form of a non-profit hydro corporation. The Conservatives, on the other hand, would like to work around federal environmental legislation, and push for more and more nuclear power, while being critical of the Liberal record on the nuclear file. Of course, the real kicker of Tory's power platform comes from 24 Hours this morning:

"Details of the Conservative plan were scant. Tory wouldn't say how much nuclear power the province should have or how we planned to dispose of the radioactive waste."

Par for the course for NegaTory, attack, attack, attack, but pray no one dares to ask policy questions. Of course, he did work on Kim Campbell's campaign, which in addition to airing the most vile political attack ad ever (green lighted by Tory himself), gave us the famous "Elections are no time to discuss policy" quote. Seems Tory hasn't changed gears much since 1993.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

"Action on Environment" = 0/9 for Conservatives

"An Environment Canada body gave a passing grade to zero of nine programs in the Conservative climate-change plan and accused the government of exaggerating its potential impact."

So incompetance, and misleading the people. Apparently after weeks of rhetoric, the true Conservative (lack of) agenda on environment comes out again.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Debate confirms what we all knew

Dalton's opening video, where he honestly and realistically talked about the shortcomings of his government took a lot out of the wind of Hampton's (but particularly Tory's) sails. Dalton presented himself as the best leader to keep moving Ontario forward, while admitting areas in which the Liberal Party well short. Tory, who continues to rely overwhelmingly on negativity and attacking Dalton, was left repeating the same talking points over and over again, with zero mention of his own platform, save having to defend his half baked plans for faith based education and two tier health care. Hampton looked rattled early on, but managed to gain strength as the debate went on, but failed to deliver more than glancing blows on issues he should have owned, such as manufacturing job loss and tuition fees.

Southwestern Ontario Liberal collected some of the best media reaction quotes, and they deserve a re-post here:

“Either way, the Liberals are stronger on education than the Tories, who get stuck with dealing with the faith-based school issue. Call it an early Dalton lead.”- Toronto Sun

“McGuinty's opening video: Admits right off the bat why he broke his tax pledge. Smart.”- Dan Cook, Globe and Mail

“[McGuinty] pointed out quite efficiently that the NDP energy position is insane.”- Adam Radwanski, Globe and Mail

“[I] credit Dalton for bridging back to his message.”- Guy Giorno, former Mike Harris Chief of Staff, National Post

“McGuinty's making a decent case for his government having invested well in [post-secondary education].”- Adam Radwanski, Globe and Mail

Big thanks to her for collecting these!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Ottawa Centre Debate Review

Got back from the OC debate, and overall it was pretty good and even, no candidate landed a killing blow.

Greg Laxton-Green Party: 6.5/10
Calm, relaxed, and laid back, Greg managed to formulate the Greens eco-capitialist platform in a fairly effective way. He was very focused on staying on message, and had a relaxed pitch while speaking. I didn't think though, that he was really agressive enough. I appreciate his approch, but considering the Greens are positioned to greatly improve opon past elections, and that OC has been a good riding for them in the past, I expected him to be more agressive in defending his positions and attacking others.

Will Murray-NDP: 5/10
Dippers tend to be either passive-agressive, or fire breathing dragons in all candidates debates, and Murray leans more towards the former. Long on rhetoric, and short on workable policies, Murray was smart enough to focus mainly on the Liberals, rather than engage in debates on the impact of Conservative governments past. His agressiveness and reliance on rhetoric was probably based more on wanting to preach to the choir, and I doubt he managed to draw in any more undecided voters.

Yasir Naqvi-Liberal: 7.5/10
As the representitive of the incumbant party both in Queens Park and in OC itself, Yasir took most of the heat on the evening, and although he was largely successful in staying on message and telling his story, the cumulative effect of the 3-on-1 was noticable. Did a good job of rebutting NDP and PC criticisms of the Liberal record by pointing out the short comings of those parties governments.

Trina Morissette-PC: 4/10
Trina's performance was basically the cookie cutter PC platform, short on policy, avoiding any references to the Harris days at all cost, painting John Tory to be a god like genius, and Dalton to be basically the devil. She was the only candidate to get outright heckled, as the audidence at one point "reminded" her on the childcare spending record of the PC government. On the plus side for her, she is getting better and telling her story, and her intro and outro pieces were both fairly solid.

Stuart Ryan-Communist: 1/10
Had a table with various propaganda set up at the start out in the lobby, but didn't show up himself until halfway through the debate, when he pretended to not have been invited to go up on stage, and asked a question from the audience about manufacturing job loss. Apparently pulls this sort of stunt often.

Family Coalition Party candidate Danny Moran and Independent candidate Richard Eveleigh I didn't see, unless they pulled a Ryan and I missed them.

Conservatives putting faith in non-existant John Tory "leadership"

"Tory admitted he hadn't put "all the flesh on the bones" of this policy so couldn't say exactly how it would work. But he did say it would do more than the Liberals have done with their Foodland Ontario ads."

Seem familiar?

The entire Conservative election strategy seems to rest on the fact that John Tory is supposed to be some magical figure, with his so-called "leadership" bringing the Conservatives into a promised land. If you read the Conservative platform, the phrase "Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario" shows up maybe twice, but "A John Tory" government is on every single page, plastered to every promise. If you read the literature of the PC candidate in my home riding of Mississauga South, (the floorcrossing Tim Peterson) you wouldn't be able to guess that the PC Party actually exists, as Peterson is apparently "Your John Tory Candidate in Mississauga South". Now aside from Tim, this total reliance on John Tory to be some godly figure is destined to fail.

Aside from his dangerous positions on faith based schools, and today's statement of Tory being open to two-tier health care, the entire Conservative election strategy has been to simply attack Dalton McGuinty (after Tory said he wanted an issues based campaign) and promote the "leadership" of John Tory as the alternative. However, when pressed on the actual issues, the Conservatives and John Tory are remarkably empty. This may be because the platform itself is so vague and filled with watered-down Liberal polices that Tory is uncomfortable attacking Liberal ideas and platforms which are replicated in his own platform, or it may be because the Conservatives are afraid of any discussion of their own platform, which of course will bring people to thinking about the Harris days.

Perhaps the best example was when prior to the start of the official campaign, Tory was critical of the Liberals "pre-election spending binge", but when asked what part of the Liberal spending he would cut, was totally evasive.

John Tory and the Conservatives are simply attempting to hide every flaw in the platform with the cover of "leadership". But is leadership running a one-man campaign? Is leadership taking other parties talking points and rhetoric, changing the wording behind them, and presenting them as a fresh alternative? Is leadership denying the members of the Mississauga South Progressive Conservative riding association a democratic vote, invalidating the hard work of the members who were working on a number of active nomination campaigns? Is leadership not having any answers to questions about policy?

John Tory is right about one thing, Leadership does matter.

Ottawa Centre Debate Tonight!

All Liberals (and all informed citizens, frankly) should make an effort to show up to the Ottawa Centre debate this evening. It's at 211 Bronson, starting at 7:30. Judging by both the polls, number of signs up, and election predictions, we will hold this riding and keep moving forward, but it's still important to make sure Yasir Naqvi has a strong show of support this evening. Hope to see you all there!