Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Beth Graham brings in the socially conservative reinforcements

Just learned from Twitter that Tory MPP Garfield Dunlop is in town to support Beth Graham for the Ottawa West-Nepean by-election. Ottawa West-Nepean is of course represented federally by Tory MP John Baird, who was outed as gay by Toronto Centre PC candidate Pam Taylor during the recent campaign. Wonder how he feels about Dunlop coming around considering this is his record:

Garfield Dunlop is busy on the hustings, giving the same spiel at every door in his suburban Ontario district.

"I've got some literature here on same-sex marriage," says the avuncular politician, pressing a pamphlet into the palm of a white-haired woman who smiles and motions him into her home. "It's a sin," he continues, climbing into the foyer. "And it could tear apart the fabric of our society."

Beth Graham's hidden agenda indeed.

What are they teaching our kids these days? Beth Graham's hidden agenda

A glance at Facebook shows that the Ontario PC Campus Association shows that they are hosting two "Ideological Training Sessions" this Saturday. The one in Ottawa, which is linked a Beth Graham canvassing blitz that evening, has some "special guests", including Derek Fildebrandt of the Canadian Taxpayer Federation, and
Scott Reid, MP for Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox & Addington.

Apparently the speaker from the CTF will give a talk on economics, while Scott Reid will discuss "Political Rights and Values".

Let's take a look at CTFnomics:

-While the McGuinty government has cut billion dollar green tech deals with India, and the Green Energy Act will create thousands of jobs, the CTF refers to "so-called 'climate change'" (CTF commentary, August 19, 2008)

-Opposed Dalton McGuinty standing up for Ontario and demanding the next redistribution of federal seats fairly represent Ontario (CTF commentary, January 10, 2008)

-Loudly supported the reduction of public health care and a greater role for privatization of health services and delivery (CTF commentaries, November 29, 2007, September 17, 2006)

-Opposed in-vitro fertilization treatments, in particular for "single moms and lesbians" (CTF News, September 09, 2009)

-Described Ontario economic policies as "Soviet Ontario" (CTF News, May 5, 2009)

-Advocated for a regressive flat tax, which they have "long supported" (News release, June 08, 2009)

And let's look at the record of MP Scott Reid

-His talk may be about "rights", but that won't include the right of a woman to choose, Reid is vocally anti-choice and supported Bill C-391, a backdoor attempt to criminalize abortion, and served alongside Cheryl Gallant in the Canadian Alliance PC caucus, who compared a woman's right to choose with terrorism, saying it was "absolutely no different". (Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada Report, August 2007)

-We knew the Beth Graham campaign and the PC's had issues with French, but Scott Reid has a long record of anti-bilingualism activism, saying during the 2004 federal campaign that a Conservative government might change the Official Languages Act and weaken bilingualism requirements. (CTV news, June 1, 2004)

-Supported the extremist Randy Hillier for PC leadership, whose policy positions have been outlined many of a time in this blog.

-Was a founding member of the Lanark Landowners Association. Landowners Associations have opposed everything from environmental legislation and action and climate change (the Glengarry area association had a showing of a climate change denial documentary in August 2008) to government action to ensure the food we eat is safe.

Given the total lack of policy and platform Beth Graham has put forward, is the climate change denying, anti-public health care, anti-choice, anti-French positions put forward by the CTF and Scott Reid given to pump up Tory youth her real agenda?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Did a Red Tory revolt push Greg Medulun out as PC media director?

The PC's sent out a release to the press gallery earlier today that Greg Medulun, the director of media and stakeholder relations, has stepped down and is returning to the director of communications job at Fallsview Casino he held before joining Hudak's office.

As media relations director, Medulun was responsible for much of the messaging and tactics of the Hudak PC's over the last little while, including the hyperfocus on the HST and some of the rougher edged moves such as the QP walkouts and the protest which led to Randy Hillier and Bill Murdoch being removed from the Legislature.

Given the poor results the PC's have had under the Hudak regime so far, (running an angry and unsuccessful campaign in St. Paul's, getting crushed in Toronto Centre, and now looking down the barrel at another defeat in the critical riding of Ottawa West-Nepean) and in particular, the very negative press which emerged following the PC tactics outside, and particularly inside the Legislature during the last sitting. Many in the caucus, particularly those on the Red Tory wing of the party and the more experienced MPP's, including such high profile figures such as Deputy Leader Christine Elliott, Education critic Elizabeth Witmer, and Chief Whip/Finance Critic/longest serving PC MPP, had expressed displeasure with the rough and tumble tactics of the Hudak/Hillier axis within the party, whose strategy was promoted by Medulun. With the Tories looking at a probable loss in an important swing riding of OW-N, could caucus unrest push more Hudakites out of the way as the more moderate wing of the party calls for a re-think of strategy?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Tim Hudak gets it wrong in Ottawa West-Nepean

PC leader Tim Hudak was speaking with an Ottawa-area radio station (interesting that it was him and not Beth Graham doing the talking, I guess they don't want a repeat of this: but it seems like Hudak is just as backwards on the issues as Beth Graham.

Beth Graham and the Tim Hudak PC's have tried to make hay out of allegations that the Liberals have underfunded the Queensway-Carleton, which is totally false. The McGuinty Liberals have increased funding for Queensway Carleton Hospital by 57.8%—a total increased investment of over $40 million since 2003, which has resulted in better access and lower wait times for local families and seniors. Additionally, the McGuinty Government has already committed to an increase in health care funding in the next provincial budget. Compare this to the record of the Beth Graham and Tim Hudak PC's, which includes slashing health care budgets and attempting to shut down Montfort Hospital, the only francophone hospital in the province.

Hudak also tried to accuse the Champlain Local Health Integration Network of signing an untendered contract with Courtyard Group, despite the fact that the Champlain LHIN informed Hudak last week via letter that the contract he referenced was, in fact, awarded through a competitive bidding process. Facts continuted to be a problem for Hudak when he said that the HST was going to raise taxes, when in fact his party voted against the tax reform package which saw 93% of Ontario taxpayers recieve a tax cut. Hudak is playing pure politics on the tax issue, ignoring the support the PC's have showed for the HST:

"…we understand how that (single sales tax) can help the economy.” —Tim Hudak, MPP (Niagara-West Glanbrook), March 24, 2009

“I agree that there’s little sense in allowing two separate governments to apply two separate taxes and policies and collect two separate groups of sales taxes.” —Tim Hudak, MPP (Niagara-West Glanbrook), April 23, 2009

"In principle, we think it's something that should occur." —Bob Runciman, MPP (Leeds-Grenville), March 25, 2009

"…I am not saying that harmonization ultimately is a bad idea." —Peter Shurman, MPP (Thornhill), March 24, 2009

Beth Graham and the Tim Hudak PC's are offering nothing in the way of policies and solutions for the big issues facing Ontario, only flip-flopping, policy confusion, and fear-mongering. Tim Hudak and Beth Graham are unable—or unwilling—to tell fact from fiction.

Beth Graham et le Parti progressiste-conservateur de l'Ontario ne se font pas de soucie pour les francophones en Ontario

Une décennie après le Parti progressiste conservateur de l'Ontario voulait fermer Montfort, le parti n'a aucun respect pour les centaines de milliers de citoyens de langue française de la province et Beth Graham semble de suivre cette tradition. Quelques chiffres intéressants:

-Ottawa est l'une des communautés les plus bilingues, et Ottawa-Ouest-Nepean, abrite des milliers de citoyens de langue française.

-Le nombre de mots en français sur le site de Beth Graham: 0

-Le nombre de mots en français sur le Parti progressiste conservateur du site Web de l'Ontario: 0

-Le nombre de mots en français sur le site de Peter Shurman, porte-parole aux Affaires francophones PC: 0

Nombre de PC Députés qui ont des sites Web bilingues: 0

Le PC a un héritage de l'hostilité envers la communauté franco-ontarienne.

Ancien chef du Parti progressiste conservateur de l'Ontario et député Bob Runciman :

« Le député provincial de Leeds, Bob Runciman, a écrit [à l’APEC] une lettre de soutien le mois dernier [...] M. Runciman sera le conférencier invité de ce groupe de lutte en faveur de la préservation de l’anglais, à sa réunion mensuelle, le 27 avril, selon Garner. » (Kingston Whig-Standard, le 11 avril 1987)

« Il est extrêmement important que les différents groupes qui s’opposent aux services en français s’organisent, a dit le député provincial progressiste-conservateur de l’Ontario Robert Runciman. » (The Ottawa Citizen, le 6 novembre 1989)

« M. Runciman aurait contribué à soulever l’opinion contre le bilinguisme dans la région ; 1 400 personnes se sont joints à la cause de l’APEC à Brockville et 10 000 autres ailleurs dans la province. » (The Toronto Star, le 16 août 1987)

« ‘La manière dont Peterson présente et met en œuvre les services en français dépasse l’intention de la plupart des députés (qui ont voté pour le projet de loi)’, a dit Runciman. Il a cité des annuaires téléphoniques et des publications de Queen’s Park en français comme des exemples de mesures non nécessaires. » (The Kingston Whig-Standard, le 15 août 1987)

Runciman a défendu la fermeture du radiodiffuseur public de langue française de l’Ontario :
« Le fonctionnement de La Chaîne nous coûte, à nous les contribuables, environ 35 millions de dollars par an [...] Pourquoi ont-ils besoin de ce geste symbolique qui nous coûte des millions et des millions de dollars provenant des contribuables et qui ne donne presque rien ? » (Bob Runciman, le 28 octobre 1993)

« Ils essaient d’attirer à peu près 185 000 Franco-Ontariens. C’est leur public [...] On dépense des sommes considérables de l’argent des contribuables pour une chaîne qui ne répond vraiment pas à un besoin significatif dans la province. » (Bob Runciman, Hansard de l’Ontario, le 30 octobre 1991)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Does Beth Graham want illegal machine guns in Ottawa West-Nepean?

Because her would be caucus mate Randy Hillier does.

Beth Graham served as President of the Leslie Park Community Association and the Nepean Federation of Community Associations, so she must have fairly strong feelings about the safety of her community. So how can she justify running for a Progressive Conservative Party which defends this:

Bruce Montague was convicted of 26 firearms offences last year, including illegal possession of over 200 guns, and such wholesome family activities as altering semiautomatic firearms to fire automatically, removal of serial numbers, manufacture of silencers and disregard of storage regulations regarding loaded weapons. Montague's lawyer in the case was Doug Christie, a far-right political activist most well known for leading the separatist Western Block Party, and acting as a lawyer for a long list of Nazi war criminals, Neo-Nazis, anti-semites, and white supremacists, including Ernst Zündel, Paul Fromm, David Ahenakew, and many others.

So of course it should come as no surprise that PC Labour Critic, Tim Hudak supporter, and PC MPP Randy Hillier has jumped to his defense, speaking at a rally for Montague a couple days ago.
As her interview on CFRA demonstrated ( Graham has a precious lack of policy understanding or platform, and now with her party coming out in support of criminals and jumping in bed with the far-right, it is clear that Ottawa West-Nepean deserves better.

Ottawa West-Nepean Progressive Conservative candidate Beth Graham blows it

I've written extensively recently about the battle for Ottawa West-Nepean, and I happened to come across a recording of the disastorous interview PC candidate Beth Graham gave to CFRA recently, which I whipped up a video for. Graham is asked 4 times a question about Nortel, and each time, she is unable to give a straight answer, dipping around having to committ to a position as well as totally botching the facts when it comes to HST. Have a look:

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Bob Chiarelli Olympic Canvass

Just wanted to promote this event a little:!/event.php?eid=312644508098&index=1

"This Saturday (February 20) join us for an Olympic Canvass Blitz!! From canvassing, to literature drops, to putting signs in the ground; we will be doing it all! We really need your help to make this day a success. Joining us for the day is special guests, Minister Peter Fonseca and MPP Glen Murray. Please join us at 10am at the Campaign Office (Carlingwood Shopping Mall). If you can’t make it for 10am please try to come out for another time during the day, your help is crucial! If you can spare some of your valuable time, we will provide lunch and lots of fun. Please feel free to bring any friends or family that would like to join in."

I'll be around for at least the rally, hope to see lots of Ottawa Liberals come out and support Bob!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Support Bob Chiarelli and strong community leadership for Ottawa West-Nepean

Just got back from doing some door knocking with Bob Chiarelli out in Ottawa West-Nepean, got a great response. With the turbulent times facing the province, many voters expressed gratitude that someone with Chiarelli's experience was stepping up to the plate.

Show your support for Bob Chiarelli on Facebook:

And Twitter:

Beth Graham and the Ontario PC's missing in action on climate change

Beth Graham, the PC's candidate for Ottawa West-Nepean, is a former chair of the Nepean Environmental Advisory Committee, but while she is running, perhaps she should get used to being ignored by the PC Party, since they are proud to ignore the climate change file.

Let's review the recent PC record when it comes to climate change and environmental issues:

First some numbers.

-Nepean-Carleton MPP Lisa MacLeod, who firmly supported Graham for the nomination has been invisible on the issue of climate change. The number of times MacLeod made any reference to climate change in her speeches in the legislature since being elected in 2006: 0

-Number of times the phrase "climate change" shows up on Beth Graham's website: 0

-Number of times the word "environment" appears on Graham's website, aside from direct references to her former chairing of the Advisory Committee: 0

--Number of times Tim Hudak's newsroom on his website has mentioned climate change since becoming leader in July 2009: 0

-Number of "From the Park Bench" articles written by Tim Hudak on his website which have mentioned climate change since he became leader: 0

-Number of times PC MPP's used the phrase "climate change" in Question Period debate concerning the Green Energy Act: 0 (see for yourself at{08A4F8DB-0D09-475C-8721-3B0C8A0CC5B3)

-Number of times climate change has been mentioned in any PC news releases about the Green Energy Act: 0

And now some greater background info:

-The PC stunt of putting forward 500,000 amendments to the HST bill cost Ontario taxpayer a quarter of a million dollars and killed 620 trees worth of paper.

-The PC's voted against the Green Energy Act, which looks set to create thousands of jobs and help move forward the 21st century economy Ontario needs.

-Lisa MacLeod, who Graham used to work for, gave a number of speeches in the Legislature attacking the Green Energy Act. In these speeches she supported unscientific conspiracy theory claims linking wind turbines and health. While the Ontario Liberals create green jobs, the Ontario PC's would put ignorant ideology ahead of fighting climate change and creating new jobs.

-Toby Barrett is the PC environment critic, which is an apt title for him, since he is very quick to be critical of anything that could help the environment. A look at his website shows that he is a cheerleader for climate change denial, with a column on his website entitled "How much is climate change going to cost us?" saying that;

"By the time this column is published, global leaders will be discussing climate change in Copenhagen putting this issue where it belongs - in an international forum".

It is quite remarkable for a provincial party environment spokesperson would totally discount the role that sub-national governments have to play in fighting climate change, particularly considering that in Canada, the provincial governments, and in particular, the governments of Ontario, Quebec, and BC, have played leading roles.

-Barrett's website also includes a whole section dedicated to fighting against the eventual closure of coal fired plants in favour of cleaner energy sources, again, this is the official opposition environment spokesperson.

-Under the Hot Issues heading on his website, Barrett has nothing about climate change, but does have whole sections devoted to coal and tobacco. Again, this coming from the PC environment spokesperson.

-In regards to the government's cap and trade legislation, Barrett said this:

"Barrett warned government of the unwanted impact of provincial tinkering with a worldwide problem.

So the position of the Ontario PC's and Beth Graham is that taking action to help create jobs for Ontario, move the economy forward, and fight climate change is "unwanted tinkering"?

And of course, gotta love those Landowners:

-Randy Hillier, a would be caucus-mate of Graham, told environmental activists to "stop breathing".

-Hillier, who endorsed Hudak for PC leader, and is the labour critic for his party, openly denied climate change while running in the 2007 election;

" Randy Hillier, an Eastern Ontario Conservative candidate, isn't shy about casting doubt on the prevailing scientific theory about global warming...Mr. Hillier made the comments while arguing in favour of keeping Ontario's coal-burning power plants open...As to the greenhouse gases, don't worry about them, Mr. Hillier said."

-The Ontario Landowners association's (of which Hillier used to be the president, and which has declared plans to attempt to win PC nominations in ridings across Ontario for the next election) Glengarry branch sponsored a screening of the trash climate change denial "documentary" The Great Global Warming Swindle in August 2008.

-The Unanimous Declaration of independent Landowners Associations on the 25th day of February, 2006 makes explicit reference to "false environmentalism".

If the PC's can't be trusted to put forward anything resembling a coherent platform regarding the environment, or indeed, take any steps under Tim Hudak to actually acknowledge the issue, they and Beth Graham can't be trusted with the province of Ontario.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Carmichael not running in Leeds-Grenville

Carmichael is out, but we haven't seen the last of him or the OLA...

Carmichael said he will now focus his energies on helping Jack MacLaren, president of the Ontario Landowners Association (OLA), win the Tory nomination in Carleton-Mississippi Mills, the Ottawa riding now held by MPP Norm Sterling, in next year's scheduled provincial election, and to help OLA vice-president Gary Otten win that nomination in his Peterborough riding.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Shawn Carmichael considering independent run for Leeds-Grenville

As I have speculated and reported on this blog quite frequently the last few days, Shawn Carmichael, the Landowner backed candidate for the Leeds-Grenville PC nomination, has confirmed that he is considering an independent run for the seat.

Shawn Carmichael said Monday a run as an independent candidate in the March 4 Leeds-Greville provincial byelection is "a viable option."

"I'm giving it my consideration," said Carmichael.

Carmichael was strongly backed by Randy Hillier and the Landowners movement, which has significant strength in the area, and would have to be taken seriously as a candidate if he were to run.

Edit: Didn't even notice this until someone pointed it out to me:

The situation has led to some speculation Carmichael might run as an independent. A blog, The Liberal Scarf, raised the possibility on Sunday, as did comments left on the Recorder and Times website

Monday, February 8, 2010

Liberal nomination in Carleton-Mississipi Mills to be contested

The only Ottawa area riding without a Liberal candidate looks like it could see a battle for the nomination, with retired Air Force lieutenant-colonel Karen McCrimmon being joined by Stittsville author Bernard Muzeen. If McCrimmon won the nomination, it would certainly be a "battle" with Tory MP, Gordon O' Connor, who is a retired brigider-general.

Leeds-Grenville: The Ontario Landowners Respond

I have been watching the various conservative boards, and I noticed this on FreeDominion, posted by a regional director for the Ontario Landowners:

Shawn Carmichael Stands Tall in Leeds-Grenville

Shawn Carmichael proudly represented himself and and fellow Landowners in the PC Party nomination race to become the PC candidate for the riding of Leeds-Grenville on saturday. He dressed well, spoke well, and presented the OLA's philosophical and policy positions on what government should be in a most professional and articulate manner. He was the most impressive of the three candidates that were in the race.
Alas, Shawn was not the candidate favoured by the Leeds-Grenville PC Riding Association and democracy was not served in spite of his obviously superior qualities. Shawn had the courage to try to seize the opportunity to do what was right. He demonstrated integrity and character and a sincere interest in the betterment of community.
This week the Leeds-Grenville Landowners Association grew a little bit bigger, a little bit better and gained huge credibility.
On behalf of the Ontario Landowners Association, I would like to say thank you to Shawn Carmichael and the Leeds-Grenville Landowners Association. You did us all proud!

Jack MacLaren - president - Ontario Landowners Association 613 832 3201

Make of this what you will. Some speculation says that Carmichael was disqualified on a technicality, and knowing the OLA, they tend not to look so kindly on letting little things like administrative rules get in the way of proving a political point, so talk of them potentially running or backing a run by a like-minded candidate in the by-election at this point seems very much alive.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Shaun Carmichael sounds grumpy

This article touches on some of the controversy potentially developing coming out of the PC nomination battle in Leeds-Grenville, with establishment candidate Steve Clark winning after Shaun Carmichael, the Ontario Landowners backed candidate, was knocked out of the race by HQ. Carmichael says:

'Not to be a sore loser, but … I'm a little perturbed with the process," Carmichael said in an interview. "If they didn't want me to run, they could have told me Tuesday or Wednesday."

Carmichael said the local PC executive told him he could not hand in memberships at the riding office on Friday. He said he was also not informed that voting would begin at noon Saturday and not 2 p.m. as had been stated on an earlier announcement.

While the PC establishment has this to say:

Ken Zeise, president of the PC party of Ontario, denied that Carmichael's application had been rejected. "He withdrew his application before we had made a decision on it."

Considering that Carmichael seemed to have a campaign team in place, the local Landowner movement supported his campaign, the idea that he just withdrew before the PC Party made a decision (and considering they didn't have a problem with green-lighting the runs of Clark and current Brockville mayor David Henderson real quick), something seems rotten in the state of the PCPO.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Trouble brewing for Tories in Leeds-Grenville?

Steve Clark, the former mayor of Brockville has won the PC nomination for the Leeds-Grenville by-election, but not without controversy. Shawn Carmichael, the Vice-President of the Leeds and Grenville Landowners Association, who had been backed by the Randy Hillier wing of the party, had his nomination papers rejected by the party last night. Many have speculated that Carmichael, or one of his kind, could either run as an independent if the party didn't recognize his candidacy, or force Clark, who had been seen as the "establishment" candidate, into tacking to the right, which could hurt the Tories image elsewhere in the province, particularly as they suffered a crushing blow in Toronto Centre finishing a very distant third. The Ontario Landowners Association has already pledged to run "slate" candidates in municipal elections across rural Ontario, so a Landowner camapaign in Leeds-Grenville wouldn't be the most surprising thing in the world. Let's see how things develop.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Toronto Centre analysis, and looking toward OW-N and Leeds-Grenville

Glen Murray continued the Ontario Liberal winning streak last night, rolling to victory in Toronto Centre. Just as in St. Paul's, the Liberal vote held almost exactly at 2007 levels, with Murray holding on to the broad Liberal base across the riding. The NDP had high hopes with Cathy Crowe, but ultimately fell short, although the 33% of the vote pulled by her represents the best showing by the party in that riding since they nearly won St. George-St. David in 1990.

While the Liberals and NDP both went to sleep feeling fairly good for different reasons, the PC's and Green Party both had rough nights. Pamela Taylor finished a distant third, with the PC vote dropping to 15%, and the Green Party vote, which in recent elections had made Toronto Centre one of the better ridings in the country for them, collapsed, going from 10% in 2007 to 3%, with Stefan Premdas finishing with under 1,000 votes.

Although no one was thinking they would win the riding, the 3rd place finish for the PC's has to be demoralizing going into the next round of by-elections, particularly in the leans Liberal but still swing riding of Ottawa West-Nepean. Taylor's campaign was always going to be an awkward one after trying to promote Mike Harris 2.0 in 2010 after declaring that the PC Party she ran under in 2007 "had nothing to do with Mike Harris", and from what I have heard, her status as a very Red Tory didn't do her any favours, both amongst the general population of the riding, and amongst Progressive Conservatives. A friend of mine who was recently elected to the OPCYA executive told me how after the AGM, which was held in Toronto, the staffers tried to take advantage of an influx of PC youth being in the city to go campaign for Taylor, with little to no success, as the Hudakite Youth wanted little to do with the socially liberal Taylor, denying her the same sort of out of riding volunteer support that the Liberal and NDP campaigns had. And while one would think a Red Tory might be more successful in a riding like Toronto Centre, the lack of independence Taylor was given to campaign also hurt (her website contained no local issues, just a news feed from the PC website). The only time the Taylor campaign picked up any press, it was for her outing of John Baird, whose sexual orientation has long been an open secret in political circles, and was hardly a momentum builder.

The other, perhaps more tangible issue one can see from the failure of the PC campaign is a repeat finding from the St. Paul's by-election, that attempting to turn by-elections into referendums on the HST seems to be a losing strategy. Indeed, a non-partisan consensus seems to be building around the by-election results that the HST just wasn't much of a factor in the vote, with the big issues being the battle of personalities between Glen Murray and Cathy Crowe, with Taylor getting almost totally squeezed out of the picture. When I was out door knocking for Glen, I maybe had a couple voters who expressed anything about the HST at all. The mantra that all politics is local seems to perfectly fit this by-election.

Moving back to the idea that Taylor's status as a Red Tory hurt her campaign thanks to internal divisions within the PC Party, this is something that could come back to hurt the PC's in the next round of by-elections. After losing badly in St. Paul's and Toronto Centre running against the HST, and little else in the way of tactics, some grumbling must be building in PC ranks over if Hudak, who has campaigned against the HST since his election as leader across the province and made it a central part of the PC messaging, cannot deliver the goods electorally. In terms of candidate selection, it will be interesting to see how OW-N goes, with 2007 candidate Mike Patton, who has a Red Tory past, going up against former assistant to Lisa MacLeod, Beth Graham, and who seems to tack more to the right. If Patton, former communications director for Larry O'Brien wins the nomination, could he have the same trouble motivating a grumpy and right-wing PC base that Pam Taylor had?

And in Leeds-Grenville, a crowded Tory race could get interesting, with the powers that be seemingly lining up behind Steve Clark, a former mayor of Brockville and EA to Runciman, who seems to be the establishment candidate in a field that includes current Brockville mayor David Henderson and perhaps most interestingly,
Shawn Carmichael, vice-president of the Leeds and Grenville Landowners Association and a close ally of Randy Hillier, who has endorsed him for the nomination. With the PC party having had two socially liberal by-election candidates in a row under Hudak (Sue Ann Levy and Pam Taylor), another one possibly in Mike Patton, some PC's on the right/Randy Hillier flank of the party could rebel against another "establishment" candidate, a theory put forward by Andrew Steele (

It is worth noting that in a 1982 by-election, former newspaper editor Neil Reynolds ran as a Libertarian candidate and finished 3rd, getting 13.4% of vote. If Carmichael, the Landowners candidate, is forced out by the party or loses the nomination, could he run as an independent? Or failing that, will the weight of the Landowners force Clark into taking some further-right positions? If it is the latter, the Liberals could jump on this by framing it as part of a Hudak "secret agenda", and use it to campaign in Ottawa West-Nepean. If the PC's don't win Ottawa West-Nepean, a riding they need to win if they wish to form government, murmurs of discontent could definitely start to surface more.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Cuts to Canadian Federation for Sexual Health show Harper can't be trusted with maternal health

As a Liberal, and a member of the Pro-Choice Coalition of Ottawa, I am very pleased to see Michael Ignatieff take a stand for choice by pressuring the Prime Minister on the issue of maternal health at the G8.

"We want to make sure that women have access to all the contraceptive methods available to control their fertility because we don’t want to have women dying because of botched procedures, we don’t want to have women dying in misery.”

In the face of moves like this, it is crucial to keep the pressure up on the Harper social conservative agenda:
An Interim investigation has found that over the past half decade, the Canadian Federation for Sexual Health has had its federal government grants cut by more than 99 per cent.
The federation, formerly the Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada and still the Canadian member of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, has charitable status, according to the Canada Revenue Agency. The CFSH says on its website that it “promote(s) sexual and reproductive health and rights in Canada and abroad.” It also admits being a “pro-choice organization.”

And just in case Harper's piano-playing ways have made anyone forget his real secret agenda, lets let his caucus speak for him:

October 2009 - Brad Trost, Conservative MP, Saskatoon-Humboldt launches a Petition to Stop Federal Funding of Planned Parenthood:“Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to present in the House today petitions... They are calling upon this House to promote the values they cherish, which are Canadian values in support of pre-born life. They are particularly calling upon the Government of Canada to stop the funding of Planned Parenthood by CIDA, the Canadian International Development Agency, believing that CIDA should be concentrating on dealing with fighting poverty instead of concentrating on destroying human life.” (MP Brad Trost, Hansard, October 5, 2009)

“In Trost's opinion, the government has continued funding IPPF (International Planned Parenthood Federation) because of ‘inertia.’ ‘The bureaucracy's done it before and no one wants to rock the boat,’ he explained. ‘... I'm encouraging people to let their voice be spoken so that the unelected government, i.e. the bureaucrats in CIDA who support Planned Parenthood, don't get to dictate where people's tax dollars go.’ He is encouraging people to write the Prime Minister and CIDA's Minister, Bev Oda. He would like those who write ‘not only to oppose it because abortion is wrong, period, but also because there's other better ways to spend ... Canadian international development aid money.” (, November 2, 2009)

“[Conservative MP Brad Trost] presented a petition in the House calling for CIDA to stop funding IPPF saying it ‘promotes the establishment of abortion as an international human right and lobbies aggressively to impose permissive abortion laws on developing nations.’” (Saskatoon Leader Post, November 4, 2009)

Maurice Vellacott, Conservative MP, Saskatoon – Wanuskewin:“Saskatoon's doctors should be commended for the leadership they are showing by reducing the availability of abortion in our city and for supporting real alternatives for women in need.” (MP Maurice Vellacott, “Outspoken MP Slams Canada’s ‘Abortion Regime,’, November 27, 2009)

“[MP Maurice Vellacott] says pro-life feminists view abortion as ‘part of a male agenda to have women more sexually available,’ and adds abortion has been used to cover up the sexual abuse of young girls.” (Saskatoon Star Phoenix, November 24, 2009)

Stockwell Day, Conservative MP, Okanagan Coquihalla:“The thinking is, if you can cut a child to pieces or burn them alive with salt solution while they're still in the womb, what's wrong with knocking them around a little when they're outside the womb?” (MP Stockwell Day arguing in 1988 that abortion leads to child abuse, Edmonton Journal, March 10, 2000).

Jim Flaherty, Conservative MP , Whitby-Oshawa:“On abortion services he [Jim Flaherty] said, ‘I would not change that status quo. Would I expand it? No. . . . I would not authorize the creation of any more clinics.’” (LifeSite Daily News, February 11, 2002)

Jason Kenney, Conservative MP, Calgary Southeast:“Mr. Harper’s Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has compared abortion to child abuse and slavery, saying that if politicians refuse to take a political stand against abortion, people should ‘ask them if they're personally opposed to child abuse, ask them if they're personally opposed to slavery.’” (Canadian Catholic News, May 24, 2004)

Cheryl Gallant, Conservative MP, Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke:"We saw that young American (in Iraq) have his head literally cut off in front of the cameras, but what's happening down there is absolutely no different!" (MP Cheryl Gallant referring to an abortion clinic, CBC, May 13, 2004)

Garry Breitkreuz, Conservative MP, Yorkton Melville:Mr. Breitkreuz introduced Private Members Bill M-83 in the House of Commons: “That the Standing Committee on Health fully examine, study and report to Parliament on: (a) whether or not abortions are medically necessary for the purpose of maintaining health, preventing disease or diagnosing or treating an injury, illness or disability; and (b) the health risks for women undergoing abortions compared to women carrying their babies to full term.” (Private Member’s Business, voted on October 1, 2003)

“Since sending me to Ottawa in 1993, I’ve been working on two issues vital to the vast majority of my constituents – democratic reform and rights for the unborn.” (MP Garry Breitkreuz News Release, March 31, 2003)

“In 1996, Breitkreuz called for a national referendum on tax-funding for abortions.” (MP Garry Breitkreuz News Release, March 14, 1996)

Gary Goodyear, Conservative MP, Cambridge:“‘I always have hope, I'll never give up hope,’ Goodyear added after calling on anti-abortion groups to continue striving for a new law.” (The Standard, May 12, 2006)

"I'm pro-life and that's the answer to the question." (MP Gary Goodyear, Cambridge Times Friday, June 11, 2004)

Rob Nicholson, Conservative MP, Niagara Falls:“When this issue was before the House the last time I voted against the bill. I could not in good conscience give approval to something that I have always fought against in my life. I have fought for the protection of unborn children and I fought against the abortion law that was in place in Canada for many years.” (MP Rob Nicholson, Hansard, May 23, 1990)

Vic Toews, Conservative MP, Provencher:“Vic Toews told the National Pro-Life Conference on Sept. 8, 2004, in a speech entitled ‘Abuse of the Charter by the Supreme Court,’ that the right to abortion is a result of ‘activist judges’ abusing the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to develop and implement their own social policy... ‘Do not look at the issue of abortion as an issue that stands alone... this issue has a much broader significance in areas related to the policy of government concerning marriage, the family, and the response of government to social problems generally.’ (Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada,

With a government that has vocal anti-choicers in the critical positions of the Minister of Justice, Minister of State for Science, Minister of Finance, Minister of Immigration, President of Treasury Board, Minister of Public Safety and others, I applaud Michael Ignatieff for standing up for choice.

NDP infighting in Toronto Centre?

While I was out canvassing for Glen Murray on the weekend, I saw an interesting piece of NDP lit a few times. It was standard anti-HST rhetoric, claiming that with the costs of living rising, the HST was bad for lower income voters (never mind the historic lower income tax cuts the NDP voted against), and one of the things it claimed was going up, which would be hurting lower income voters? TTC fare hikes. Never mind that the province has no responsibility over the price of TTC fares, so Crowe is shamelessly hoping to fool voters with base populism, but just who would be responsible for said TTC fair hikes? Former federal NDP president, current TTC chair, and newly declared Toronto mayoral candidate Adam Giambrone. With Giambrone looking to beat former Toronto Centre MPP George Smitherman for mayor, getting attacked from the left for making life harder for lower income voters can't help, and shows that the Team Orange supporters in downtown Toronto don't seem to be working all on the same page right now.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Prentice and Tories have head in the sand on climate issues

With reports coming out of the Davos conference that Canada's voice at the meeting is being widely ignored after the Conservative government's shameful performance at the Copenhagen climate talks, news that Environment Minister Jim Prentice has shut environmental groups out of the process come as no surprise. When Prentice replaced political pitbull John Baird as Environment Minister, some in the environmental movement hoped that the appointment of Prentice, generally seen as one of the Harper governments more skilled and less partisan ministers was a sign that after the days of Baird being used to "neutralize" the issue of climate change, and that the government was serious about the issue. However, this is not a sign of a government that takes the issue seriously:

A search of Canada's Lobbyists Registry revealed that Environment Minister Jim Prentice met with some nine times as often with lobbyists from the oil, energy and other industry sectors than with environmental interest groups.

Energy producers are obviously important stakeholders in discussions on environmental policy, and they play a vital role in our economy, but to let one side of the issue shape the policy agenda so totally is an abdication of responsibility on the part of Jim Prentice. Perhaps this section gets more to the root of the issue:

"The dirty little secret about this government is that its relations with the bureaucracy are very, very poor, and particularly with the policy side of the bureaucracy. It doesn't trust it, and it doesn't trust the options and the policy prescriptions its being given," he said. "There really is an imperative for them to reach out to players in the private sector for expertise, for policy help, for analysis because of the fundamental distrust it has with the bureaucracy."

In other words, confirming once again that this government views the public service not as a non-partisan tool to help implement policy and agenda set, but as a group of villains, to be distrusted as long as they don't hold a Tory membership card. The Conservative government is letting Canadians down once again with this abuse of power and willful ignorance of the crucial role fighting climate change will play in the 21st century.

Contested Tory nomination for Ottawa West-Nepean

While Bob Chiarelli secured the Grit nomination for the upcoming by-election this weekend, the Tories will have a contested nomination, with Beth Graham entering the race. Graham was President Leslie Park Community Association and the Nepean Federation of Community Associations and worked for Lisa MacLeod, MPP for the next door riding of Nepean-Carleton, for almost three years. We'll see if Beth can be the third consecutive female by-election candidate for the PC's.