Monday, January 28, 2008

Jack Layton's 5th anniversary speech

So I snuck into the NDP's big rally this morning, to listen to the speech Jack would give, and see if it would give any insight into how the NDP is planning for this session of parliament. The NDP website already has a link up about the event/speech: and the points the website discusses were basically the ones covered in the speech, playing up the NDP's history as a progressive party, and the things they have done in the 5 years of Layton's leadership.
What was surprising was that he didn't take many direct shots at the Liberals. Only once did he directly jump on the Liberals for abstaining, the rest of the time he simple made reference to "past governments", and "other parties", painting the Liberals and Conservatives with the same brush. Layton was certainly more willing than in the 2006 election campaign to criticize the Conservatives, probably because he realizes that in an election in which the Conservatives form the incumbent government, soft Liberal/NDP swing voters will be more likely to vote Liberal to keep the Conservatives in check, so attacking the Liberals for votes would be fruitless. Anyway, overall nothing to shocking from Layton and the NDP.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Liberal Bag is for OYL Roots!

As an active and dedicated Young Liberal, it makes me proud to say that I fully endorse the OYL Roots slate at the AGM. A simple look at the numbers shows why the Roots team cannot be topped:

5 Current OYL Executive Members

6 Former or Current OYL Area Coordinators

6 Former or Current OYL Student Club Presidents

8 Former or Current OYL Student Club Executive Members

8 Former or Current OYL Riding Club Presidents

5 Current OYL Riding Club Executive Members

4 Former Campaign Youth Chairs

6 Former or Current Summer Employees at Queen’s Park or Parliament Hill

5 Former or Current Constituency Office Employees

2 OYL Volunteer of the Year Award Winners

1 OYL Club President of the Year Award Winner

2 OYL Student Club of the Year Award Winners

1 Former Campaign Manager

1 Leadership National Youth Director

1 OWLC Executive Member

1 LPCO Organization Committee Representative

11 Campuses Represented

Beyond experience, the Roots team and it's dedicated members can deliver the refreshing change that the OYL wants and needs. The slate is strength followed by strength, and I know the members have both the ideological zest, and the experience, to help the OYL move forward and act as one of the great forces for progressive policy in this country. So I urge Young Liberals across Ontario to come together and join this great force for progress that is the OYL Roots slate!

A closer look at Brian "Undertaker" McGarry

McGarry shown with climate change denier John Baird and failed defense minister Gordon O'Conner.

Brian "Undertaker" McGarry, is the Conservative candidate for Ottawa Centre. He is apparently a "Red Tory", as described by the yahoo's at the Free Dominion board, and I believe he endorsed the openly gay Alex Munter for mayor of Ottawa in the last municipal election. Now Ottawa Centre does tend to be a left leaning riding, so running a Red Tory makes some sense (Keith Fountain, the previous Conservative candidate, was vocally pro-gay marriage).
But what about McGarry's actual experience and positions? Well, he runs a funeral service (thus the name undertaker), and once sued a rival company over an ad he found offensive, was on the Regional Council, is the Montfort Hospital Foundation (which you may remember as the francophone hospital the Mike Harris government hated) he flip flopped on running for mayor because he didn't want to split the right-wing vote, and most interestingly, took part in a Rural Council of Ottawa-Carleton rally at city hall.
The Rural Council is linked to the radical, anti-urban, Randy Hillier-led Lanark Landowners Association. As well, it openly links to sites like Free Dominion, which features an anti-Human Rights Commission splash ad. When McGarry spoke at a city hall rally, he also shared the stage with Tony Walker, an anti-environmental legislation activist, Gerry Kamenz, for Ontario Federation of Agriculture, who delivered a vicious attack on urban Ottawa (of which Ottawa Centre is, and for the record, the OFA opposes animal rights legislation, humane societies, the gun registry, and increasing minimum wage), the radical Rural Revolution (which has at times used near-separatist rhetoric) figure Jack MacLaren, and Bob Broomfield, who compared urban officials to "the KGB or the Gestapo".
So who is the real undertaker? An urbane, pro gay marriage Red Tory, or a rural radical not fit to deal with complex urban issues facing Ottawa Centre? As Ottawa Centre is a two horse race between NDP MP Paul Dewar (or Paul Didn't, as he is called to in circles critical of his lack of interest in real Ottawa Centre issues other than issuing constant press releases in an effort to gain headlines) and the strong and credible Penny Collenette for the Liberals, urban Conservatives should reject the two faced Undertaker, and help Penny move Ottawa Centre forward.

A look at Phil Green's website

Phil Green was the Conservative Party candidate in Mississauga South in the last two elections, and on a whim I decided to Google his name and see if his old campaign website was still up. A look at shows just a couple of photos, and a quick standard blurb. However, it is what this blurb says that is interesting:

"In 2006 the Conservative Party ruled that any candidate who had lost in the 2004 and 2006 federal campaigns could not run again without a waiver from Ottawa. It was my strong desire to build on the hard work we have done in Mississauga South over the past years--achieving the best Conservative result in Toronto and Mississauga--and once again have the honour of being a candidate in the next federal election. In the fall of 2006 I applied for this waiver. I was told by a Party official that the party would not allow me to be a candidate for nomination. No reasons were provided."

I was aware of the rule that Conservatives could only run twice and lose, but I didn't know about the waiver rule, or that Green had been denied without reason. I met Green a couple times while working on Szabo's campaign's in 2004 and 2006, and I found him to be a pretty decent guy. He ran a good couple of campaigns, particularly in 2006, when he came within 5% of winning the riding, he is a hard worker, fairly moderate, tri-lingual, and has a good solid background in environmental issues. Had he actually won the riding, he would have probably gone to cabinet, both because of his experience and for being the only Tory MP from the core GTA (Discounting Durham).

The only reasons I can think of vetoing the Conservative who came closest to winning in Mississauga would be because is probably too moderate, and too environmentally aware for the Harperites. Try having climate change deniers in the same cabinet as an environmental consultant and see what happens. The Harperites would probably prefer the anti-public school public school trustee Don Stephens to a moderate like Green. Something else Green adds in his website is also interesting:

"I believe that in this matter the Conservative Party has shown a cavalier attitude towards our political freedoms and its pledge of fair, transparent and democratic nominations."

Mississauga South Conservatives showing a cavalier attitude towards political freedoms and its fair, transparent and democratic nominations? Shocking, I tell you, I can't believe Mississauga South Conservatives would stand for tha...

Oh, right. Ok, everything makes sense now.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Is this what Don Stephens would like for our public schools?

When Don Stephens says he wants more Christianity, in public schools, is this what he has in mind? While Don is a public school trustee, he seems to want to emulate religious school values and morals. Is Don's Conservative Party vision for Mississauga South one where LGBTQ students are rejected? Kathleen Wynne is right to criticize the negative responses.

Harper going from Stalin to Mr. Bean

While the Harper government continues to go from scandal to scandal, the style has distinctly changed. In less than a week, we've gone from midnight firings of independent experts, to backtracking, flip flopping, and about faces. You never know what these guys will do next!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Conservative nomination candidate in Mississauga South attacks secular school system

Don Stephens, Peel District School Board trustee for Mississauga's Ward 2, and candidate for the federal Conservative nomination in Mississauga South (and presumed frontrunner, as the other two candidates don't really have any name recognition) issued an attack on the public and secular education system, saying there is a "total neglect" neglect of Christianity in Peel's public schools.

This article was in the Mississauga News, but can't be found on the website, so I'm taking these quotes directly from the text.

"There is a gap across numerous schools in regard to the major religion of Canada, which is the Christian faith"

"At a number of schools there was minimal, or a total neglect, in representing the Christian faith"

Stephens then asked what steps the administration had taken "to ensure that schools understand and represent Christianity"

Given the multicultural nature of Mississauga South, Stephens comments are likely more an appeal to the base of the Conservatives, rather than an actual policy proposal, but it is still unsettling. When Stevens calls Christianity the "major religion" of Canada, I simply think back to my days at Port Credit Secondary School, a wonderfully diverse place (which would have had its diversity ruined if John Tory and Tim Peterson had had their way) where yes, a balanced and informative Religion class was taught, and students of all faiths intermixed, and where Christianity was by no means the major religion of the school. The Canadian multicultural and multi religious way could be best seen at Port Credit in the way each holiday and season during the year had a student run event for it, so within the same school year you could see and hear Christmas carols, Hindu food and dancing, and Muslim Friday prayers in the drama room. These were all examples of students, as private individuals, displaying faith in a communal setting, and it sets a wonderful example for Canadian multicultural policy being a success. Stephens demands that public, secular institutions formalize Christian supremacy would be a step back.

Issues like these and faith based funding show the clear difference between Liberals and Conservatives on our multicultural society. Liberals believe in cultural exchange and co-operation, finding unity in diversity, while Conservative are stuck in the colonial mindset that somehow each group will be happier if they keep to themselves and accept the dominance of superior culture. In an area as diverse as Mississauga, we can't afford to move backwards on multiculturalism.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

NDP, Conservative, and Liberal views towards Ottawa

This article gives a good idea of why the Liberals are the best party for Ottawa, both provincially and federally. My current MP, NDP'er Paul Dewar, sticks his head into city business, disrespecting jurisdictional boundaries in crude attempts to win political support and build his profile in a swing riding as he faces a very strong challenge in Penny Collenette.

Dewar...has got into the habit of firing off news releases in matters where his role as a federal representative has no place.

Of course, being a Dipper, Dewar probably believes the federal government should be involved everywhere.

If Dewar cared so much...where was he during the city's budget deliberations late last year when he could have actually made a difference in lobbying council?

Because this would require actual effort and taking a stand for progressive policy for the people of Ottawa, such as how the NDP propped up the Conservatives on the environment issue with the Clean Air Act, as opposed to Penny Collenette's work on the environment (

"It looks like he's just jumping on a bandwagon," Coun. Rainer Bloess said, adding there's a difference between speaking out as a citizen and "political grandstanding for the sake of publicity."

A Dipper putting grandstanding and rhetoric ahead of actual hands on policy responsibility? Shocking I tell you.

Dewar's interference can be seen as a a companion to Pierre Poilievre, who as a Conservative MP has a negative reflex reaction to any political body making decisions which aren't triple checked by Ian Brodie.

Coun. Steve Desroches:
"We really don't need these 11th-hour antics,"
(Conservative MPP) MacLeod and Poilievre "should stay out of city business."

Coun. Peter Hume:
"Why is the city being criticized for adhering to provincial and federal regulations?"

Coun. Jan Harder:
"Writes off Poilievre's silliness as immaturity."

On the other hand, former Ottawa mayor and current provincial Liberal minister Jim Watson helps Ottawa keep moving forward by acting "Only when it affects the relationship between city and province. His professionalism should be studied and copied."

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Huzzah new GO trains!

Look, even from a non-partisan perspective, these trains are awesome. I grew up less than a minute away from the Port Credit GO station, and take the GO train (when I'm actually in Mississauga) at least once or twice a week, so GO Trains formed a significant role in my life.

Anyway, good on Dalton for getting these things, blah blah blah, good for the environment, blah blah, help the economy and reduce congestion blah blah. Lets not get distracted from the central theme: These trains (and trains in general) are awesome. If Dion makes "Parliament will pass a motion recognizing the awesomeness of trains" plank, the Liberals will win a majority, guaranteed.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Hillary or Cobra Commander?

While some of the rhetoric in this piece is a bit more extreme and leftist than my own personal views, in general this sums up a lot of the reasons why I am not supporting Clinton. (Although I do like her more than Edwards).

Friday, January 11, 2008

Conservatives failing Canadian industry, failing Canadian women

So the Conservatives are trying to curry favour with Conservative-described "small men of Confederation" (the Premiers of the largest and most important provinces in Confederation) by throwing some cash at the struggling industrial sectors of those provinces economies. Now, even though the money is nowhere near the level which would be useful for the provinces, particularly Ontario (which the Conservatives have generally been only too happy to ignore) any sort of support is welcome, so you would expect the federal money for these crucial industries, in the most crucial provinces in Confederation, to start flowing as soon as the announcement was made, with no pre-conditions, right?

Well, if one cared about the economic well being of Central Canada, and the implications for national unity which it has, then you would think yes. If you were the Conservative government, the answer is of course, no. The money is entirely reliant on the passing of the next budget, effectively taking the fate of thousands of unemployed workers in Central Canada hostage and using them as an election issue. Both McGuinty and Charest were quick to jump on this:

"I don't think forestry workers of Quebec deserve to be part of the election campaign (that would ensue should the budget be defeated). They need the help now and we should be moving now"-Charest

" ...In the grand scheme of things, it is not commensurate with the level of need and the sense of urgency...Either the need is urgent or it is not. And if it is urgent then you take all steps to ensure that that money flows unconditionally."-McGuinty

In addition to turning the Canadian economy into a game on the eve of a recession, the Conservatives are also ignoring one of their favourite targets, women, according to a source no higher than Canada's only female Prime Minister, and Conservative, Kim Campbell.

"...The small number of women in Stephen Harper's Conservative cabinet signals the issue is a low priority for his government."

"it is important because the only way you open up doors for women is by giving them an opportunity to hold these positions to make it seem like a natural thing"

"Women such as Immigration Minister Diane Finley, Bev Oda at International Development and Heritage Minister Josee Verner have few speaking opportunities during question period, and are almost never available to speak to reporters either after question period or caucus meetings. They very rarely chosen by government strategists to appear on political news programs to field questions."

We've seen obvious Conservative hostility towards "uppity" women in moves such as funding cuts and the destruction of the Charter Challenges program, but to my knowledge this is the first time someone as high as an Conservative ex-PM has been openly critical of the Conservative government on this issue. Contrast this with the Liberal Pink Book, and Dion's bold (and so far kept) promise of 1/3rd women candidates, and it is no surprise that women flock towards the Liberals as fast as they are almost deliberately repelled from the Conservatives. To go beyond federal scene, and look at the provincial, people of Mississauga South will remember what happened when the Conservatives ignored a well qualified, hard working, politically active woman in Effie Triantafilopoulos. The result was a massive Liberal victory.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Ottawa-Area Liberals & Hill Staffers for Martha

Just giving this some added publicity, any Ottawa area Liberals looking to help out Martha in Willowdale this weekend, just follow the link for directions, we are trying to get as many people out as we can.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Uneven night, prediction wise

I was accurate about the Republicans, but blindsided by the Democrats.

-Obama wins by around 8-9% over Clinton
-Edwards finishes a relatively distant third, not breaking 20%
-Richardson performs poorly, but manages to hang on to 4th spot, as Dennis Kucinich has a minor bounce
-No one will drop out"

Obviously I got the most important prediction wrong, although to my credit most polls and pundits had Obama winning. Clinton managed to win support with women that she didn't get in Iowa, probably due in large part to the large turn out of older women, who tend to be Clinton loyalists. Age and experience beat youth and change, for now, at least. I was right about Edwards doing poorly, but Richardson failed to really collapse, and Kucinich had no real bounce.

-McCain wins by 4-5% over Romney
-Huckabee finishes in third in the low teens, which for him is ok, as he didn't really focus on this state as it lacks the same kind of evangelical social conservatives that Iowa has
-Ron Paul and Rudy Giuliani battle for 4th, with Giuliani looking to avoid another embarrassingly low result like in Iowa, just to give his "ignore the early states" plan some credibility
-Fred Thompson stays in the low single digits, as does Duncan Hunter
-No one drops out"

I at least managed to get the Republicans basically all right, although I thought Huckabee would do slightly better than 11%.

This result further muddles the waters of the races, and I don't think either party has a clear frontrunner at this point.

New Hampshire Predictions

After my relatively successful Iowa predictions, I'm going to take a crack at New Hampshire. I'm kinda depressed that New Hampshire looks to be pretty much decided, Iowa was so much fun because you didn't know how things will break down
-Obama wins by around 8-9% over Clinton
-Edwards finishes a relatively distant third, not breaking 20%
-Richardson performs poorly, but manages to hang on to 4th spot, as Dennis Kucinich has a minor bounce
-No one will drop out
-McCain wins by 4-5% over Romney
-Huckabee finishes in third in the low teens, which for him is ok, as he didn't really focus on this state as it lacks the same kind of evangelical social conservatives that Iowa has
-Ron Paul and Rudy Giuliani battle for 4th, with Giuliani looking to avoid another embarrassingly low result like in Iowa, just to give his "ignore the early states" plan some credibility
-Fred Thompson stays in the low single digits, as does Duncan Hunter
-No one drops out
We'll see how right I am later.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

MacKay's Iran fear mongering doesn't hold up to facts

Peter MacKay dropped a lovely Christmas present on Canadians when on Christmas day he said that:

""We're very concerned that weapons are coming in from Iran, we're very concerned these weapons are going to the insurgents and keeping this issue alive."
This attempt to link the Taliban to the Iranian government surprised many, as anyone who knows anything about the religious geo-politics (and one would hope a Foreign Affairs Minister turned Defense Minister during wartime would) that the Taliban and the Iranian government have a very poor relationship, almost going to war before 9/11. MacKay was both trying to help out his buddy the American ambassador, whose government was quite embarrassed by the intel report showing Iran had halted its nuke program years ago, and score some points on the domestic front, as most uninvolved Canadians would readily believe that two particularly nasty groups of Islamic fundamentalists would work together.
However, MacKay's beating of the war drum is somewhat out of tune with reality:
"There is no evidence the Iranian government is behind the export of weapons that end up in the hands of Taliban fighters"
While the article rightly points out that weapons are coming from Iran, and all parties involved have a vested interest in a secure Iranian-Afghan border, this shows that MacKay and the Conservatives have little real interest in the troops and the Afghan mission beyond how useful they can be used to score points at home or curry favour with the Bush administration. We as Liberals, who believe in a progressive and independent foreign policy can never forget to remind Canadians that the Conservatives would prefer Canada had taken part in the Iraq quagmire, and if the Bush administration in its dying months does anything as foolish as attack Iran, that you can expect Harper, Bernier, and MacKay to be ready to say "Aye, Ready, Aye".
I'll be canvassing for Bob Rae today, so hopefully I can get a reminder of what clear-viewed foreign policy looks like.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Reviewing my Iowa predictions

Overall, I think I did decently.

-Overall, Huckabee wins by about 2-3% over Romney

I was right about Huckabee winning with Romney in 2nd, but the predicted razor-thin race failed to materialize, with Huckabee winning by a more comfortable 9%.

-McCain finishes a fairly strong third, given he is more focused on New Hampshire right now. I'd peg him in the mid-teens, anywhere from 14-17%

McCain ended up finishing in 4th, with 13%, just a little bit behind Thompson. I very slightly overestimated his support, but I'll say I was accurate enough on this one.

-Fred Thompson crashes and burns, barely breaking 10%

I was sorta wrong on this one, his supporters managed to get him the bronze medal, which should keep him relevant enough to still be a potential factor in New Hampshire.

-Duncan Hunter drops out after getting less than 2-3%

Hunter only got 1%, so I got that right, but says he has no plans to drop out

-Ron Paul gets higher support than polls indicate, finishing above Rudy and possibly Thompson

Overall a very decent night for Ron Paul, getting 10% of the vote, well above Rudy, who only got 4% (I had him pegged slightly higher) but although he failed to pull off the real upset of finishing in 3rd, should give him momentum going into New Hampshire, where Republican voters have somewhat of a libertarian, anti-establishment streak, and could play serious spoiler by drawing votes from other camps.


-Obama wins by 4-5% over Clinton, who barely beats Edwards into 2nd

I was right about Obama winning, and my margin of victory wasn't too far off, but I was pretty surprised at Clinton finishing in third place, which is a major body blow to her campaign.

-Bill Richardson does slightly better than expected, but still a distant 4th

Richardson performed very poorly, with 2% of the vote. I got the 4th place right, but this is a big blow to a guy who deserves to poll better.

-Chris Dodd drops out

I was right about this one, as Dodd had his whole campaign in Iowa, even moving his family, but I didn't predict Biden, who I think was more running for Secretary of State. Interesting to see who they endorse, if anyone.

Because obviously my blog is critical to the process

If for some bizarre reason Iowa voters stumble across my blog in the next hour, I urge them to support Barack Obama. I believe that he would be the most electable, and the candidate with the best policies. I have long described myself as a "centrist progressive", and Obama is the best candidate for people of my viewpoint, discarding the cold, calculating "establishment" supported Clinton, and the overly union friendly, worryingly populist John Edwards, who has re-dressed himself as the candidate of the left of the Democrats.
Obama's emphasis on progressive change with workable, pragmatic policies, as well as his relative popularity among Republicans, makes him the best candidate for the Democratic Party in 2008.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Iowa caucus

Well, voters in Iowa today will play a crucial role in determining who will be the next Presidential nomines for each party, with both races within the margin of error. I will boldly make some predictions for how things turn out:
-Overall, Huckabee wins by about 2-3% over Romney
-McCain finishes a fairly strong third, given he is more focused on New Hampshire right now. I'd peg him in the mid-teens, anywhere from 14-17%
-Fred Thompson crashes and burns, barely breaking 10%
-Duncan Hunter drops out after scoring below 2-3%
-Ron Paul has an increase in support from the polls and finishes ahead of Giuliani, and possibly Thompson
-Obama wins by 4-5% over Clinton, who barely beats Edwards into 2nd
-Bill Richardson does slightly better than expected, but still a distant 4th
-Chris Dodd drops out
I'll post tomorrow and see how right/wrong I was