Thursday, February 28, 2008

Some pics from the OYL Roots Newfoundland party, with the lovely and amazing Krista and Mary Rose (oh, and Scott Simms too)

So after getting myself all elected as a delegate for Carleton, I went over to the Newfie-themed OYL Roots party, which was a blast. I kissed the cod, drank the screech, everything. A great event put on by the Roots team, and a good example how they use original and fun ideas to liven up Young Liberals. Go Roots Go!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Tory stays on, and some questions

So Tory is staying on with the Joe Clark number. I've got a few questions, and some guessing answers.

1. Is Tory planning to actually re-sign in the long term, and his staying on as leader is simply a way to ensure short term stability?

2. If Tory does resign, would he pull a Clark and run to succeed himself? I think if he did resign he might do this, because there really isn't any other high profile challenger, and in a new leadership race, all Tory would need is 50%+1

3. Something in the Globe and Mail article caught my eye:
One of his staff members confirmed that Mr. Tory dropped in on a party last night held by members of the group seeking to oust him. The party was hosted by Effie Triantafilopoulos, the burned candidate in the riding of Mississauga South who had to step aside for Tim Peterson after he crossed the floor from the Liberals to the Tories.
The evening ended with a large group photo taken with Ms. Triantafilopoulos and Mr. Tory right in the middle smiling, a source said.

Might Effie be in line for an appointment as the federal Conservative candidate? Effie publicly declared that she did hold her nose and vote for Tim, and with Tory definitely making a reach out, the Mississauga South conservative family is probably trying to get back together. I have heard some rumours that the Conservatives have been deliberately stretching out the nomination race (which has been going on since the party bizarrely vetoed Phil Green running again) which is becoming increasingly crowded, in case a star candidate comes along. As Mississauga South (minus the Durham seats, which are at the extreme end of the GTA, as well as Mississauga Streetsville, which will go back to being a Liberal held seat) is the Conservatives best shot at winning in the GTA, they will for sure be focusing tons of resources on it, and you better believe they would want a candidate that would re-motivate the conservative base, and Effie would be one who could do that. A few months back, incumbent Liberal MP Paul Szabo sent out a fundraising letter saying that the need for cash was particularly important, as he felt he would be facing a "well funded, high profile" candidate.

4. If Tory does want to stay on in the long-term, which MPP gives up a seat, or will he remain seatless? If Tory is realistic about staying on, he needs a seat, or else he will become irrelevant. The new MPP for his old seat of Dufferin Caledon has been very adamant about not giving it up, and no rural backbencher has given signs of wanting to give up a seat. It would be interesting if Tory, who made his desire to win over urban centres, and ran in his home riding of Don Valley West in Toronto, were to run in Thornhill, the only Toronto seat gained by the PC's, or relegated himself to being a parachute candidate in a rural riding. I doubt he will be able to convince the PC MPP in Thornhill to give his seat up, (particularly as he won it narrowly) so if Tory does get a seat, expect it to be far from the urban and suburban voters Tory needs to win over.

5. If Tory wants to stay on long-term, how fast, and how far, to the right will he sprint to win over disgruntled grassroots who thought the last PC platform was just a re-wording of the Liberal platform (which it was)? Given that figures on the right of the party are leading the charge against Tory, and have a very large foothold against his leadership, Tory will have to pull some impressive policy flip-flops in order to please them. Watch Tory's next few policy statements closely, if he continues to sound like a Red Tory centrist, then I think he is just staying on in the short term for stability reasons, but if he cuts hard to the right, he is probably aiming to stay on in the long run.

6. If Tory does go down at some point, who would run for the leadership? Jim Flaherty is obviously amongst those opposed to Tory's leadership, but I don't see him jumping from the federal cabinet to the provincial opposition benches. I've heard John Baird tossed around, but I don't see him taking the plunge either, I think it will either be someone already from the provincial ranks, or an outsider. Names commonly tossed around are Tim Hudak, Randy Hillier, Lisa MacLeod, and Christine Elliot. I'm also going to go ahead and toss out Pinball Clemons as outsider candidate, based on nothing but a guess. I don't think the leader of the anti-Tory movement, Rueben Devlin, would give it a run.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

How quickly things change

Already the last post I wrote is outdated, and the link takes you to a totally new article, with a different headline:

I was unaware that internal tracking showed him more comfortably in the 70 per cent range, which probably would have been enough to avert any leadership questions. Now things are getting interesting. Also the article mentions Peter Kormos as the NDP observer and counter-point man, and I'd just like to point out that my man Charles Sousa, Mississauga South MPP, is the Liberal counter-point.

Tory gets Joe Clark number

The Toronto Star headline reads "Conservatives back Tory", but I'm not so sure. As I say, two-thirds support is exactly the number that Joe Clark got in 1983, and Clark resigned to run in a leadership race to succeed himself, as well as below the 75% that Ralph Klein felt he needed, and the 80% that enemies of Tory felt he needed to avoid any more questions.

As Tory has always said he would accept 50%+1 as a mandate to stay on, I highly doubt he will resign and spark a leadership contest, but expect to hear rumblings about Tory's leadership for quite some time.

Sad state of Mississauga Conservatives

I was just reading the Mississauga News website when this: caught my eye. While ultimately whoever wins the nomination is more or less pointless (Mississauga East-Cooksville is a safe Liberal seat and Albina Guarnieri is a very entrenched incumbent) that Conservative HQ is so fast to want to appoint a party switcher to the protest of the grassroots brings to mind every ones favourite floor crossers, Tim Peterson and Wajid Khan. Seriously, can the Conservatives have a home-grown candidate in Mississauga for once rather than an ex Liberal opportunist? Interesting to see if when the election finally does come if any Peterson-style backlash hits the ME-C Conservatives.

More Harper hostility to Science

A day after I wrote about how the Conservatives were placing ideology ahead of science, one of the top scientific journals in the world writes on the sad decline of the role of facts in Conservative policy making. Canadians want more Hawking, less Ian Brodie.

Because "leadership" is rigging your own review

As a Liberal, I really have no strong opinion either way on if Tory stays or goes, but I do think that John Tory and the PC establishment willingness to not just bend, but openly break party rules and ignore the will of party members speaks volumes about the character of Tory. The CTV article has a quote from an anti-Tory delegate from Mississauga:

Roland Willis, a Mississauga lawyer and delegate, said it's time for Tory to step aside.
"Please go away,'' Willis said. "Please don't bother our party anymore ... He's incompetent. He's an incompetent leader.''

I would be shocked if any Mississauga PC supported Tory at this point, given that his election campaign resulted in hammering losses for the the PC's across a city which used to be good ground for them. But Mississauga PC's, particularly in my home riding of Mississauga South, already know all about being ignored and overruled by John Tory and the PC establishment:

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Conservatives place ideology ahead of science

I've written about how American-style hard right, heavy handed, paternalistic social conservatism influences Conservative social policy, as well as INSITE. That the Conservatives would ignore inconvient truths in the face of a need to bend to the hard-right wing of the party should come as no surprise from a government which stands alone on climate change denial.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

PQ shows intolerance again

I love some of the irony of the quotes here:

""If the Parti Québécois entrenches these positions, it would be a catastrophe for us because history has perfectly shown us that when bilingualism is adopted in a minority society, the language of the majority sooner or later becomes everyone's language"

The day all Quebeckers become bilingual is the day Quebeckers will become English, Mr. Michaud said.

"A people that tolerates that 8 per cent of its minority, whose rights I respect, assimilates 50 per cent of immigrants on its territory - well, that people does not deserve to live"

Now lets take a look at some info about that wonderful, Reform Party endorsing group, the Alliance for the Preservation of English in Canada.

"the group was involved in a campaign to have Ontario municipalities declare themselves English-only"

"While the act did not apply to municipal government services, APEC represented it as a slippery slope towards such a requirement to convince municipalities to pass English-only resolutions."

As well, the book Bilingual Today, French tomorrow, written by an APEC member:

"alleged that Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's policy of official bilingualism was a plot to make Canada a unilingually francophone country by instituting reverse discrimination against anglophone Canadians."

"including reversion to having English as the sole official language with Quebec retaining its previous language rights, conversion of Canada in its entirety to English (even Quebec), and secession of Quebec from Canada with the remainder of Canada consequently adopting English as its sole official language"

Conservatives and the Quebec soverigntist movement get along quite naturally, they both have shared interests in cultural protectionist and intolerance. The Liberal Party, both provincially and federally in Quebec must show itself as the modern secular party of multicultual tolerance.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

It's official: Conservatives support the death penalty

"The Liberal Party opposes the death penalty, at home and abroad, and we won’t stand by quietly and watch this minority Conservative government reverse years of Canadian leadership on this issue"

"Why I am an abortion doctor"

In this year, the 20th Anniversary of R. vs. Morgentaler, reading this speech reminds me of why I am firmly pro-choice, and how crucial it is progressives must always win the fight against social conservatives.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Penny Collenette's Community Conversation

This last Thursday, I went to a rather remarkable event right on Carleton's campus. It was one of Penny Collenette's community conversations, with the focus being on Canada's role in aiding foriegn development, and strategies for bettering the future of Canadian aid recieving nations, with a focus on Africa in particular.

The panelists were a good mix of youth activism and experience, and all had differing, but important things to say about developmental aid. Jenna Hoyt, the founder of the Little Voice Foundation, told her stories of being in Ethiopia, and the need to provide long-term housing and support for children on the streets, by joining forces with local communities in developing countries in order to create sustainable projects that are run by the people for the people. Nick Moyer gave an overview of the contemporary history behind current CIDA projects, the successess and failures of them, as well as other international development models which Canada can learn from. Shamin Mohamed Jr, the founder of the Children’s AIDS Health Program, is only 19, in addition to making me motivated for being the same age as myself and doing so much more for the world, gave his personal accounts of his travels to places as diverse as India and South Africa, and the need for foriegn aid projects there to work with, and respect local culture and local sensibilities in order for aid projects to have an effective long term benefit.

Glen Pearson, the Liberal MP for London North Centre, told his remarkable stories of flying into Darfur illegally to try and help the people, his efforts in freeing slaves, the burecratic struggles of getting aid to a region, and his devotion to a cause he believes in. It was extremely profound stuff. I wish I could have brought someone who was a cynical non-voter, who believes that politics is all crooks and deals, and sat him down in front of Mr. Pearson and his passion.

Penny herself commented on how despite some disagreements in the fine details of administering foriegn aid, that we are past an era where developed nations can simply throw money at a developing nation, and that more microeconomic, hands on aid is needed in order for the developing nations to build a solid base for independent growth. Penny fielded a question from yours personally on how to get the private sector more involved with development projects, and smoothly handled it, talking about the need for contact with individuals within companies, as well as the power of good and bad publicity.

Overall, it was a very interesting evening and discussion, and it gave the next MP for Ottawa Centre a good opportunity to communicate her views on developmental aid (which will play a big part of the Liberal platform) with some hands on experts in the field.