Monday, January 24, 2011

Hudak slammed over his non-plan for Ontario Energy

From The Star:

Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak...claiming that provincial investments in green energy will actually cost jobs... this conclusion is based on a flawed Spanish academic study and a subsequent paper from an Italian think-tank. The 2009 study has been widely and thoroughly discredited.

“The primary conclusion made by the authors — policy support of renewable energy results in net job losses — is not supported by their work,” states a white paper produced by an arm of the U.S. Department of Energy.

The critique goes on to note that the study “lacks transparency and supporting statistics and . . . fails to account for important issues.” That could easily be a reference to Hudak’s own energy statements.

He says, “we must create a strong, reliable and affordable energy plan that puts consumers first.” But Hudak has yet to indicate what he means by any of that. He condemns rising hydro bills but has not explained how he would pay to bring new power on-line (or even where it would come from) and upgrade transmission lines.

Instead of recycling discredited studies to launch yet more attacks on McGuinty’s government, Hudak would better serve Ontarians by telling us all how he proposes to keep the lights on.

We saw the Hudak agenda on energy - appoint cronies to important boards, and mismanage the system so badly with major brownouts and blackout, losing 1,800 megawatts of energy, as much as if Niagara Falls ran dry. Hudak's energyless energy plans would cost Ontario families jobs and move our economy and our environment backward.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Nancy Branscombe, new PC candidate in London North Centre, has some interesting ideas about political integrity

Nancy Branscombe was nominated as Tim Hudak's candidate in London North Centre last night, and while Tim Hudak says that she will "fight for the priorities of families", given Nancy's personal record of political games, she has her own priorities.

Here's an article on how Nancy Branscombe does politics:

Calgary Herald Thu Jul 9 1998

She identified herself as Betty from London. But her real name was Nancy, from Peterborough.

A senior Reform Party official has landed in hot water for fibbing about her identity during a telephone call-in program on CBC Newsworld.

Nancy Branscombe, manager of Reform's United Alternative campaign, admits she gave a false name in order to criticize former Tory cabinet minister John Crosbie on the airwaves.
"I thought it was a harmless bit of fun, but obviously, in hindsight, it wasn't," Branscombe said Wednesday.

"I did say I was 'Betty from London.' I wouldn't do it again. I'm sorry it happened, but I don't know what else I can say."

The Betty blooper happened June 27 during CBC Newsworld's On The Line, an hour-long current affairs program which had Crosbie on as a guest.

Branscombe, who lives in Peterborough, Ont., felt she had to publicly challenge Crosbie for his on-air criticism of Reform.

She explained that she didn't feel the news network would let her on the air to talk to Crosbie if producers knew her real name.

Her ruse was exposed when an anonymous caller phoned the local media to tip them off about the real identity of "Betty."

The lie has drawn a rebuke, but no formal discipline from Reform Leader Preston Manning.

"Nancy's actions were clearly unacceptable," said Manning's press secretary Jim Armour.

"She understands that, and we're confident that it will not happen again. No further action will be taken on this matter."

Branscombe's job is among the most senior staff positions within the Reform Party.

She and Calgary Southeast MP Jason Kenney head the party's attempt to create a new political coalition, primarily with Conservatives, to fight the federal Liberals.

Branscombe ran unsuccessfully as a Reform candidate in Peterborough in last year's federal election.

She is a member of the provincial Tory party in Ontario.

An executive with the federal Conservatives in Peterborough said the incident shows Reform is desperate.

"She got caught in an out-and-out lie," Mary Rogers told the Peterborough Examiner.

Ruth-Ellen Soles, a spokeswoman for CBC in Toronto, told the paper Newsworld tries to screen out calls suspected to be "political plants" and said the network "takes these things very seriously."

It's common practice for political strategists to instruct supporters to flood radio or television talk shows with calls in an attempt to demonstrate support for, or against, particular issues.

But Branscombe said she has never lied about her identity in the past.

"No, believe me," she said

I think it's telling that Tim Hudak would want a backroom, Reform Party era backroom politico (and remember some of the values that Branscombe represented when she ran in 1997 - an end to multiculturalism, ending bilingualism, denial of climate change, and Reform MP's during this period made statements that gays and "ethnics" should be able to be fired at will by employers, although given Tim Hudak's promise to end human rights protections, maybe that explains a few things) with a questionable personal view about what is acceptable in politics to represent him and his party in a riding as important as London North Centre.

No Plan

Kevin Page once again shows the truth: That the Harper Conservatives talk on the economy are all transparent politics.

Page's office expected to find out how 10 departments that had reported expected employment reductions were going to maintain service levels with fewer staff.

His office found that only one department — Human Resources and Skills Development Canada — actually had a plan to do so, while RCMP and Correctional Service Canada did not respond to Page's requests.

The report found that planned staff cuts would be offset by an expected increase of more than 4,000 jobs at Correctional Services Canada, leading to an overall reduction of just 1,000 full-time positions in the medium term for all 10 departments. Based on those numbers, the report finds "limited evidence" that the government's current plans will meet the Treasury Board’s public service attrition target.

After 5 years of deficit and division, Harper and the Conservatives have no real plan for helping Canadian families and getting our fiscal spending under control. Canadians deserve better.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right...ONDP joins PC's in party civil wars

We've heard plenty about the ongoing failure of Tim Hudak's leadership to keep a lid on party and factional leadership in his PC caucus (see:, and, and and

But a story that has somewhat flown under the radar is the problems Andrea Horwath has had with maintaining unity in the ONDP under her leadership. The left wing of the party is now in open revolt, and Michael Laxer, a 3 time NDP candidate and son of James Laxer, seems to be following in his fathers footsteps and has been working to set up a "Democratic Socialist alternative" to the ONDP of Horwath. His Ginger Project had previously been working within the offical confines of the ONDP, but now it looks like he is threatening to take the group into a real party, and take on the NDP from the left.

The group will have its first convention this summer, the same time an ONDP convention was expected (and I believe, should have happened under the party rules) but cancelled, in large part due to rumours that Horwath would face weak leadership numbers after some uninspiring election returns for the NDP in Ontario under Horwath (ONDP candidates in the by-elections in Ottawa West-Nepean and Leeds-Grenville actually lost percentages of the vote compared to 2007, and barely moved in St. Paul's, with the strong result in Toronto Centre being much more a function of Cathy Crowe being a star candidate than any Horwathmania. Additionally, the federal NDP candidate in the Vaughan by-election pretty much ran an anti-HST campaign with messaging taken directly from the ONDP, and ended up with 1.7% of the vote) and an organized campaign against her from the party left led by a combination of the Ginger Project and anti-Catholic school activists who were alligned with Michael Prue's leadership campaign.

Laxer and the Ginger Project have taken issue with what they see as Horwath's move to the centre, with her using slogans like "Not your grandfather's NDP" - a common leftist rebuttal to this have been "Unfortunate, because my grandfather's NDP was the party of Tommy Douglas."

Be it Landowners or Ginger Projects, both Tim Hudak and Andrea Horwath are facing some pretty well organized undercurrents within their parties that they haven't had the leadership to confront.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New nomination news

Make sure to check out the Winter Tour kickoff in Ottawa West-Nepean with Michael Ignatieff and Anita Vandenbeld on Jan 12 if you're in the Ottawa-Gatineau area!!/event.php?eid=173291749375363

2004 and 2006 candidate and Esquimalt city councilour Randall Garrisson annouced today he would take another crack at Esquimalt-Juan De Fuca, with incumbant Liberal MP Keith Martin, who narrowly bested Garrisson in both elections not running again. Interestingly, provincial BC president Moe Sihota, who has come under fire at times for getting paid directly by BC unions, and the controversy now brewing over his handling of the potential BC NDP leadership candidacy of marijuana activist Dana Larsen was apparently also considering a run, but decided against it.

Some discussion of the possible upcoming Calgary Centre-North by-election, and if the Liberals can build on an upset victory in Winnipeg North with another suprisingly strong showing in Western Canada. Apparently the party has at least one interested candidate:

Fridhandler (the Alberta federal co-chair) has been courting a promising candidate for the riding -- a professor at the University of Calgary who is a political neophyte but, apparently, interested.

At one point I had heard rumours that outgoing Calgary mayor Dave Bronconnier was a possibility for the Liberal candidacy, so we'll see how that pans out.

The author of the piece also speculates that the Tories awarding the nomination to Michelle Rempel a loyal but lower profile party activist might also backfire.

She may turn out to be a terrific campaigner, but when parties reward faithful members with safe seats it suggests complacency.

The two candidates Naheed Nenshi defeated to win the mayorality, Ric McIver and Barb Higgins had at one point both expressed interest in the Tory nomination, but nothing ultimately came of that.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

How Ontario Universities vote: Eastern Ontario edition

As an experiment, I thought I would take a look at how university campuses vote, and how they compare to the general election results of the ridings they are in. I've combined the on-campus results from the 2007 provincial, and 2008 federal elections, and compared them. This time around, Carleton, U of O, and Queens.

Combining results from 2007 provincial and 2008 federal election

Sources: for federal and for provincial, in addition to and Elections Canada and Elections Ontario

Note: The numbers will not always be perfect, for example, some polls (such as in Ottawa-Vanier) blend residences in with non student housing on campuses such as U of O, so total accuracy cannot be used, but general trends can still be noticed. Additionally, some schools appear not to have had polling stations on campus for the 07 election (or at least that I could find), so only the data from 2008 will be used for those.

Carleton University-Ottawa Centre



Total Votes: 1395


Compared with actual riding results (averaged between the two elections)

NDP-36 (+5)
LIB-31 (-1)
CON-22 (-5)
GRN-11 (+1)

University of Ottawa-Ottawa-Vanier
Note: According to both O’Donnell’s website, and Elections Ontario, no polling station was at U of O in 2007, so this will only feature the federal results. Also note that it appears that U of O res polls are blended in with some of the housing areas nearby, so not every voter in this list would actually be an on-campus student.

Polls: 401


Total votes: 1239


Actual results from 2008:

CON-27 (-9)
GRN-9 (+2)

Queen’s University-Kingston and the Islands
Notes: Can only find federal data, might be mixed in with non-student housing





Actual 2008 results

LIB-39 (-1)
CON-33 (-6)
NDP-18 (-3)
GRN-11 (+9)