Monday, October 26, 2009

Ian Robinson and the Calgary Sun's attack on women

This is why I consider myself a feminist kiddies:

This article is one of the most regressive things about women in politics I have ever seen written. The article is obviously tounge and cheek and designed to be upsetting, but this crosses a line. I am hard-pressed to think of how one could be more sexist, borderline homophobic and still be printed in a major newspaper. Let's break it down point by point:

Could be our slogan: Come for the culture war ... stay for the chicks.
Right-wing women rock.

Not for us the sturdy, honest calves of the New Democrat/Green Party female, honed on eco-tourist rainforest hikes.

Those legs are often on unfortunate display, extending from a knee-length tweed skirt as hairy as the legs themselves, and end in a pair of Birkenstocks.

Yes, how dare women choose to dress themselves and express their own personal look and style in a way that they choose and that not all women are bikini wearing buxom blondes.

The primary reason our womenfolk are at war with the looming spectre of the nanny state is because you can't buy Jimmy Choos in a socialist paradise.

The only sensible footwear you'll find in a right-wing woman's closet are the Nike cross-trainers that go with her gym membership.

Everything else has a three-inch heel. Minimum.

Yes, the main motivation for conservative women to be involved politically is that they want to be able to buy shoes. Going back to the Birkenstocks, how dare women not wear shoes that appeal to men as opposed to actually being comfortable and functional.

Left-wing drabs recycle. Right-wing women shop -- and the government measures how much they shop every month to find out whether we're still in a recession. Basically, the world economy depends on right-wing women buying shoes.

Yes, the future world economy doesn't at all depend on women working in jobs across the world, or expanding women's rights in the developing world to make them more educated and empowered which with vastly increase the productivity of those nations. It entirely depends on women buying sparkly things.

You never hear a right-wing woman break out statistics pointing out that only 25% of elected offices in Canada are held by women, and then whining about it.
No. A right-wing woman wants to get elected, she runs for office.
If she wins, great. If she loses ... well, there's always more shoe shopping.

Yes, women shouldn't complain that they are grossly underrepresented in the political process, and lobby for change, and if she runs and loses, rather than remaing in politics and advocate for causes she believes in, she should just stick to shopping.

A right-wing woman hits the gym, swings past Sobey's and has dinner on the table by the time you get home ... while her left-wing counterpart is still stuck in traffic listening to Sarah McLachlan on her iPod and feeling morally superior about her carrot choices.

Note the use of the phrase "when you get home." Yes, of course women should do nothing but shop for shoes, hit the gym, and cook dinner for her monogamous heterosexual male partner, who comes home from work as the bread winner and undisputed head of the family.

And when that plate of food is put in front of you by the right-wing hottie you had the good sense to marry, it will be 100% tofu-free. If you're lucky, she just remembered to buy steak and forgot about the carrot entirely.

Right-wing women have traditional families, so they want to raise them themselves ... or at the very least by a nanny they've vetted, rather than abdicating that responsibility to the state.

Yes, how dare women do anything else but have monogamous heterosexual sex for the purposes of procreation, and raise the child while the head of the family is off making the money. How dare a women take a job of her own.

The article goes on, but the point has been made. As a heterosexual male, I will very proudly say that I would rather have a hairy legged, Birkenstock wearing, tofu eating, advocating for social progress woman than a steak buying, gym-going, dinner cooking, high heel wearing girl who doesn't want control of her own reproductive system.

To any of my female conservative friends, this is what your movement thinks of you.

Here is a Facebook group dedicated to letting the Sun and Robinson know how you feel:

Liberal candidate in Skeena-Bulkley Valley, trouble for the Tories in London-Fanshawe

Former local mayor Sharon Hartwell was nominated as the Liberal candidate in Skeena – Bulkley Valley on October 24th. Hartwell has strong local cred (mayor for 12 years, village councillor for 6 years prior, chair of the North West Hospital District, executive in the Union of B.C. Municipalities and then with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities) and is probably a good bet to raise the Liberal vote in the riding above the 5% showing last time around.

The Tories might have a situation on hand in London-Fanshawe, with wannabe nomination candidate Gilles Rancourt quitting the party and jumping ship to the Christian Heritage Party, saying that;

"he left a Conservative party that doesn't embrace ethnic members and cares little for grassroots... he said he has spent years wooing members of the ethnic community to the Conservatives, which he says have "no black, yellow, red or brown faces in attendance at local party events."

Friday, October 16, 2009

More nominations

With Garth Turner out in Dufferin-Caledon, a new possible candidate has emerged for the Liberals, long-time Caledon resident Bill Prout.

I reported on David Delaney looking like he was going to be the only candidate to put his name forward for the federal Liberal nomination in Fundy Royal, and this article shows that he was in fact acclaimed back on the 30th.

The NDP has a whole bunch of nominations coming up, and here is some news for them in Edmonton-Leduc, with Artem Medvedev, a research assisstant at the University of Alberta declaring for the nomination.

Staying with the NDP and Edmonton, 2008 candidate Mike Butler will take another crack at the NDP nomination for Edmonton Millwoods – Beaumont.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Two quick nomination bits

Garth Turner won't be running for the Liberals in Dufferin-Caledon, (reasons why are conflicting) and as the article notes, it is probably a pretty safe bet 2008 candidate Rebecca Finch won't be going for the nomination again, having declared after last election that she was done with party politics, and mused about running as an independent. Rumour has it that a reason for Turner dropping out was the entry of a second candidate into the race, so we'll see who emerges.

My home riding of Mississauga South will have an NDP candidate come friday, as UTM student Farah Kalbouneh will be acclaimed as the candidate for the next election. This will be the second election running in which the NDP will run a student, with 19 year old Matt Turner carrying the NDP banner last time out.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Numbers don't lie: Tories doing pork-barrel politics in Nova Scotia and beyond

It should come as no shock that the Chronicle Herald is reporting that in Nova Scotia, stimulus money is pouring overwhelmingly into Tory held ridings:

More money — $162 million — is being spent in those three Tory ridings than in Nova Scotia’s other eight ridings put together...Defence Minister Peter MacKay’s riding of Central Nova is the big winner, with $87.7 million in stimulus money, 13 times as much as the $6.6 million being spent in Dartmouth, held by a Liberal. In fact, Mr. MacKay’s riding received more money than all five Liberal ridings in the province combined...

If the $322 million in federal stimulus funding so far announced were divided evenly among Nova Scotia’s 11 federal ridings, each riding would get $29 million. Central Nova is receiving about three times that much, while Dartmouth has received only a fourth of that amount...

The metro Halifax ridings — which lacked Conservative representation at either the federal or provincial level — got the smallest amounts of money, except for Halifax, which benefited from university infrastructure spending...

And further down the line:

Two large funding commitments in Tory ridings weren’t added to the list because they were not made under the Economic Action Plan. They are $66 million in funding for CFB Greenwood, including a new recreation centre, in Conservative MP Greg Kerr’s riding of West Nova, and $12 million for a new recreation centre in Pictou County, in Mr. MacKay’s riding...

Several similar projects in opposition-held ridings have been unable to get federal money even though they, unlike the Pictou County centre, have firm funding commitments from the provincial and municipal governments.

One of the Tory talking points when confronted with objective facts that money is flowing more into Tory held ridings is that Tory ridings tend have higher unemployment, so they need more funding.

Of course, the information gathered by the Chronicle Herald and census data clash with this. According to Pundits' Gude, the riding in Nova Scotia with the highest unemployment rate is Syndey-Victoria, a Liberal held riding, yet it has collected barely 1/3rd of the money that Central Nova, the seat of cabinet minister Peter MacKay has, $33 million compared with $83 million, despite having the 8th highest unemployment rate in the country. Going down the list, the riding with the second highest unemployment rate, and thus according to the Tory talking point, the most deserving of funding, is Cape Breton-Casnio, with the 10th highest unemployment rate, yet it has, according to the Chronicle Herald, received a relatively paltry $18 million. West Nova, a Tory held riding with an unemployment rate over 4 points lower than Cape Breton-Casnio, has received $41 million.

Here are some province-wide numbers, again using Pundits' Guide:

Average unemployment rate in Liberal ridings in Nova Scotia: 10.5%

Average unemployment rate in Conservative ridings in Nova Scotia: 10.4%

So as you can see, Liberal and Conservative ridings on average have virtual the same unemployment rate. Lets compare that to the number of projects on average in Liberal vs. Tory ridings, and the amount of spending calculated by the Chronicle Herald:

Average number of projects and spending in Liberal held ridings in Nova Scotia: 18, and $16 million

Average number of projects and spending in Conservative held ridings in Nova Scotia: 38 and $54 million

This extends beyond Nova Scotia obviously. According to the Status of Infrastructure Funding Report by Gerard Kennedy, in Ontario, of 10 ridings which recieved the most funding, 6 were Tory held, and 5 of those 6 were held by either cabinet ministers of the Parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister. Indeed, Carleton-Mississipi Mills, home of cabinet minister Gordon O' Connor recieved more money than the Liberal held Mississauga East-Cooksville, despite Mississauga East-Cooksville having an unemployment rate almost twice as high. Tory arguments that Tory ridings get more funding on average because of they are larger and rural and need more money are also debunked, as the Tory held riding of Oakville, a suburban riding of 83 square km, got $10 million more than Liberal held Guelph a demographically similar riding at 92 square km. It's also worth noting that the different between Guelph's and Oakville's unemployment rate is 0.2%. Additionally, John Baird's suburban Ottawa West-Nepean district of 88 square km got almost as much spending as Guelph, despite OW-N having almost half the unemployment rate as Guelph.

The numbers don't lie: If you don't live in a blue riding, Stephen Harper just doesn't care.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Turkey time nominations

Former Tory MP Paul Forseth, who represented New Westminster-Burnaby/New Westminster-Coquitlam from 1993-2006, is back in politics after missing a chance at being the Tory candidate for the NWC by-election. Forseth was acclaimed for the Tory nomination for the next door riding of Burnaby-New Westminster on the 3rd. The riding saw 3-way fights in 2004 and 2006, like many ridings lower mainland, with the NDP's Peter Julian winning in 2004 very narrowly over the Liberals Mary Pynenburg, who also ran in 2006. The 2008 election saw the Liberal vote slip mostly to the advantage of the NDP and Green's.
More for the Tories in BC, with 3 candidates going after the nomination the BC Southern Interior, another NDP held seat. Meagan Salekin, 2008 candidate Rob Zandee, and Stephen Hill are the candidates, with voting ending on the 14th.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

National Post calls for the legalization of sex work

Many bloggers have written about the need for the Liberals to "get smart" on crime as opposed to the Tories populist but tax dollar wasting and ineffective polices on crime. The decriminalization of sex work (as opposed to legalization, which would treat sex work as a vice to be regulated, and not simply work) would be a good start. As others have said, simply parroting the Tories on crime does no benefit to the Liberals, both practically and politically, as all it results in is bad policies becoming law, and it doesn't help us politically, as the Tories will still drone on on how the Liberals are soft on crime, and voters won't support the Liberals over the Tories for supporting Tory policies.

The Liberals need to develop some policy backbone on social issues, and not be afraid to fight to Tories on the crime issue. The greatest advantage of having Ignatieff as leader is that we have a leader who has a grasp of complex issues, and has an international perspective. The decriminalization of sex work is a policy that would play to these needs and advantages. Ignatieff can rightly say that countries which have decriminalized sex work have seen a drop in violence and crime against sex workers, and by freeing up our hardworking law enforcement officials from simply being a morality squad, they can focus on real crimes and real criminals, similarly to arguments in favour of the decriminalization of marijuana (which is another issue the Liberals need to be more vocal on). Canadians will always associate the Conservatives with being "tough on crime", so we need to sell something different from the Conservatives, get some clear blue water between us on the Conservatives on social policy issues. Calling for the decriminalization of sex work, marijuana, and voting against the proposed random DUI tests would be a good start.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ignatieff: Not a samurai

(Linked for size)

The newest round of attack lit is out for the Tories, and apparently Michael Ignatieff not being a feudal Japanese warrior is grounds to not vote for him. I also like how this piece dips further into the anti-immigrant streak that the whole "Just Visiting" campaign has had as a not so subtle undertone, saying that "Michael Ignatieff has spent more time of his life outside Canada than living in it"; as if such a fact made him or anyone who has worked or lived outside Canada any less Canadian. Sorry recent immigrants who came to Canada looking for a better life and opportunity, you are disloyal cosmopolitans.

Liberal nomination news in 3 ridings

Ran down a decent sized nomination update last time around, but here are some remainders:

Lawyer Scott Simser is the first declared candidate for the Liberal nomination in Carleton-Mississippi Mills.

In another Tory held riding, the Liberals have a new candidate, Chuck Chiasson in Tobique-Mactaquac.

Marcel Catellier has officially been named the Liberal candidate in Montmagny - L'Islet - Kamouraska - Rivière-du-Loup, one of the ridings in which by-elections have been called for.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Post-Quebec nomination news

Following up on the last by-election post, the Liberals might have found a candidate for Montmagny-L'Islet-Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup, with Cap-Saint-Ignace mayor and head of the Montmagny MRC Marcel Catelier submitting his name for the nomination.

I had a nice little chat at the congres with 2008 candidate (and frequent reader of this blog) William Hogg, who is taking another crack at Compton-Standstead, and he said that at least a couple of Conservatives are organizing for a nomination run, including 2008 candidate Michel Gagne.

And it now looks like Jeanne Le Ber will see a Liberal nomination battle, with 2008 Outremont candidate Sébastien Dhavernas saying he is leaning towards running after a positive reception at the congres. Dhavernas would of course be facing Nathalie Le Prohon, who was Denis Coderre's first pick for Outremont.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

By-election analysis

With 4 by-elections now seemingly coming up, now seems as good a time as any to take a look at each riding.

New Westminster – Coquitlam

Located on the edge of greater Vancouver, the riding is a traditionally a swing riding between the NDP and the PC's/Reform/Alliance/Conservatives, (the Liberals haven't won in the area that makes up the riding since the 1968 Trudeau victory) although the Liberals have occasionally made it a 3 way race when the vote has split since then, finishing close thirds in 1993, 1997 and 2004. The Liberal vote collapsed last election, going from 23.5% and 11,931 votes in 2006 to 11.3% and 5,615 votes in 2008. The riding has been often been a person battle between Dawn Black from the NDP and Paul Forseth from the Conservatives, facing each other in 2006, 1997, and 1993. On paper, this is the Liberals best chance of winning one of the 4 by-elections, although that isn't saying much, a more realistic goal would be lifting the Liberal vote from the lows of the 2008 results into the mid-20% range that the party usually turns in when it is perfoming normally. From all I have heard, Fin Donnelly was a good choice for NDP candidate, as the riding is often split between the more NDP friendly New Westminster and the more Tory Coquitlam, and Donnelly was a fairly popular Coquitlam councilor, so in addition to the normal NW NDP vote that helped Dawn Black, he can probably have a personal vote in Coquitlam. The Liberals should, as I said, focus on simply trying to reach say, 25% to show they are back on their feet in the ridings, and should in particular try to work on getting Green voters to go Liberal.

(I didn't do it deliberately, but this result would basically mirror the 2006 result)

Cumberland – Colchester – Musquodoboit Valley

The NDP has high hopes for this rural Nova Scotia riding, vacated by former Tory Bill Casey. They are still hoping to ride the wave created by the provincial party's victory in the most recent provincial election, in which the NS NDP won 3 of the 5 provincial ridings in CCMV, and if the combined total of all those ridings were combined, it would produce an NDP victory. I think though, that the Tories should hold this one. Conservative candidate Scott Armstrong was a middle-man between Casey and the federal Conservatives, and is respected by both Casey loyalists and Tory diehards, so he should be able to pull out most of the old Tory vote for himself. The riding has a very long Tory history, with Casey's election as an independent, and the 1993 PC wipeout (in which Casey lost the seat) being the only times the riding has voted anything but Conservative since 1957 (and even prior to that, the seat leaned Conservative, going all the way back to Father of Confederation Charles Tupper). I expect a Tory victory with the NDP a strong second, and the Liberals making up some of the ground they lost in 2008.


Montmagny – L'Islet – Kamouraska – Rivière-du-Loup

Held by the BQ since 1993, the Conservatives had hoped that the Mario Dumont effect would deliver this seat to them as part of the Quebec breakthrough that would yield a Tory majority, which ended up falling flat (although the riding was ultimately one of the few in Quebec in which the Conservatives did better in 2008 than in 2006). Prior to 1993, the seat had flipped a couple times between the Liberals and the PC's (and featured the Rhino Party finishing in third ahead of the NDP in 1984). The Tories had hoped to lure Dumont into federal politics and take a run at this seat, but Dumont declined, and the 15% showing of the ADQ in the Riviere-du-Loup by-election that followed Dumont stepping down can't bode well for the Conservatives (in fairness, many Quebec Conservatives were supporting the Quebec Liberal Party candidate in the by-election). The BQ should hold onto the seat, and the real battle will be for second place. If the Liberals can muscle ahead of the Tories, that would show the party is taking root in francophone, rural Quebec, while a Tory hold of second place would allow them to ride the narrative of a Liberal falling in Quebec. I think ultimately the Liberals will finish slightly ahead of the Conservatives.



Probably the easiest seat to analyze, this is a safe BQ East Montreal riding. Real Menard never won less than 45% of the vote, and with the BQ lining up probable star candidate Daniel Paillé (although he must win a contested nomination first), this should be a fairly easy BQ hold. The Liberals won a respectable share of the vote last time around, and the NDP is hoping to maintain the relatively strong performance they had last time around, running 2008 candidate Jean-Claude Rocheleau. I've heard no word on potential Liberal or Conservative candidates.

BQ: 47%
Liberal: 25%
NDP: 15%
Conservative: 9%
Green: 4%

Can someone tell me what Lisa Raitt can do right?

First we had the awful "sexy" isotopes comments, then we had the illegal use of Toronto Port Authority materials to promote a partisan event, and now we have this:

The Conservatives and Lisa Raitt as Natural Resources minister have wasted millions of taxpayer dollars trying in vain to promote high-ethanol vehicles that have none nothing to actually help either the Canadian auto industry or the environment:

...government officials have warned Raitt that giving automakers credits toward new fuel efficiency standards by making cars that can use environmentally friendly E85 fuel will not actually reduce emissions because those cars will never actually use the "green" fuel and will continue to use regular gasoline.

"The point the document is making is fairly straightforward - promoting E85 has no environmental benefits," said Matthew Bramley, climate change director for the advocacy group Pembina Institute....

The Conservative government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars subsidizing the production of ethanol or offering rebates to consumers to buy E85 vehicles.
"The chance for reducing emissions through changing fuels is very limited at best," said Bramley.

The federal government has spent millions of dollars on rebates to consumers who buy FFVs and are allowing carmakers to earn special "green" credits for manufacturing FFVs - even though there are just four gas stations in the country that sell the special E85 blend

Of course, the Conservatives could have actually invested in cleaner, greener auto manufacturing and new technologies to both help Canada build a more environmentally sustainable manufacturing sector and give us a leg up in the restructuring of the global economy, but why do that when you can throw money at Tory friends in the ethanol lobby and twiddle your thumbs? Can anyone tell me why Lisa Raitt is still in cabinet other than Harper wanting a token female voice from the GTA?

Pre-Quebec nomination news

This article, and many others, are quoting Coderre's statement that the Liberals had candidates in 68 of 75 ridings. As I have written before, this "68" number is probably a combination of a few things; of actual legal nominated candidates, which Pundits' Guide numbers at 31, incumbant MP's who have yet to be formally nominated, ridings in which candidates have been identified but not nominated, and probably some good old fashioned spin.

We could see more Outremont-Jeanne Le Ber movement with the Liberals, with 2008 Outremont candidate and Quebec actor Sébastien Dhavernas having been asked by members of the association to take a run in his home riding.

And thanks to Facebook, I know a few more Alberta Liberal candidates:

2008 candidate Marlene LaMontagne will challenge a little-known Conservative MP named Stephen Harper again in Calgary Southwest, and 2008 candidate Donna Lynn Smith will again take on James Rajotte in Edmton-Leduc.

This article says for Ottawa Centre Conservatives "four people seriously considering running", which fits into previous rumours I have heard about the local riding association attempt to find other candidates than Bruce, who to my knowledge is the only candidate who has publically declared, and has the backing of the national party but not the riding association executive.

After previous indications that she would run again, former MP Paddy Torsney will not take a crack at the Liberal nomination for Burlington. Businessman Bruce Bowser now looks set to be the Liberal candidate. And in another reversal, the article also says that popular Ward 2 Councillor Bob Bratina will indeed go for the Liberal nomination in Hamilton Centre, despite previously declining to August.
Despite some rumours that she would follow Denis Coderre's lead, his preferred candidate for Outremont, Nathalie Le Prohon, confirms she will be running for the nomination in Jeanne Le Ber, where it looks like she might face previous the Outemont candidate as mentioned above.
Former Vancouver Island North NDP MP Catherine Bell was nominated a couple days ago, trying to take back her old seat from Tory John Duncan. The riding has seen tight battles between Duncan and Bell the last 3 elections, with Duncan narrowly winning in 2004, Bell knocking him off in 2006, and Duncan reclaiming the seat in 2008.


Just found this one, making reference to two possible Quebec City area Liberal star candidates, former provincial Liberal minister Jean Leclerc who apparently is still considering a bid, and radio host Martin Pouliot of FM 93, with the later running in Beauport – Limoilou.