Tuesday, September 30, 2008

All He Needs To Do Now is Try To Duck Out Of The Debates

Harper sounds just like McCain today (and Bush, of course). He wants to spend more time in the debates discussing the economy - which he has spent the past month saying has "strong fundamentals" - a line cherry-picked from every Bush-McCain speech since the American stock market "correction"...

All Harper needs to do now is lift the line about not wanting a debate right now...

But wait... I guess that would mean he would need to believe the "fundamentals of the economy" ARE NOT strong?

Liar, liar, pants-on-fire... A "Republi-Con" if I've ever seen one...

Leadership Means Knowing How To PlagiarizeYour Speeches

Interesting that Mr. Harper talks about "leadership" all the time. Does he even know what that entails? Does he know that real leaders write their own speeches. Real leaders speak "Straight From The Heart" (if you have a heart, that is).

Harper's view:

Take the Bush policy - lock stock and barrel - and take an (obviously) Bush-directed speech, and use it to goad the public into a war that no-one wanted.

Now Harper would like to duck his convictions... to see if the wolf can remain in sheep's clothing just a little longer...

That's leadership. Oh yeah. Stong leadership.

And, like he didn't listen to Howard's speech before his...

What a joke.

From the Conservative "Western Standard"

Here's an excerpt from an editorial in the Conservative Western rag, "The Western Standard".  Long known as the mouthpiece for Harper's Reform movement, this chilling article is just one frightening example of the threat of a Harper majority:

"A Conservative majority government, especially under a strong leader like Prime Minister Harper, offers a chance to transform this country beyond all recognition.  The Liberals have been so successful in this country over the last four decades because they remade it in their own image, right down to the flag.  They put their stamp on every institution in this country – a Maple Leaf-shaped boot stamping down across the Canadian face forever. 

With a strong majority government – one not vulnerable to a confidence vote – the Prime Minister has the power to weather minor storms of public outrage and to use his five years to change this country in ways which will prove both popular and nearly impossible to undo. 

In particular, I recommend that a Conservative government focus on the following:

1) Institutional demolition: The left-wing in this country relies upon government to keep itself running.  The Prime Minister has taken some vital first steps in this area by junking the Court challenges program and cutting funding to radical feminist groups but, with a majority, the best option would be to go much further.

Sell the CBC.  Junk most of the cultural subsides.  Get rid of the human rights Gestapo.  These, in the end, are “stroke of the pen, law of the land” sort of things.  If a Prime Minister with a majority government wishes them, they could be so.

Gut the CRTC.  Indeed, as I recommended before, the Prime Minister should forget his own copyright bill and instead pass the most liberal, progressive, and loose copyright bill in the Western world.  Yeah, that’ll hurt some people – but screw them, they’re not going to vote Tory anyways.

Do too much, rather than too little.  Don’t shift these things around. Burn them down and salt the Earth.  A future Liberal government won’t have the guts, the time, the wherewithal, or the money to recreate them all at once.  Sell the land and the buildings.  Shred the records. Disperse the staff.  It’s easier to destroy than it is to create.  A Tory government on a rampage could destroy in a couple of months what it took four decades to create – and what it would take another forty to recreate."

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Debates: Liberal vs. NDP vs. Green, and Who Stands To Gain From That...

We need to do well in the debates - to make this "recovery" in the polls mean something.

Unfortunately, I think the debates may be watered down like the last time, and with 5 leaders, the exchanges may be ridiculously ambiguous. I hope I'm wrong, but I fear a debate where there isn't a lot of time to ask the important questions. I just hope the opposition leaders are smart enough to ensure all the shots at Harper are taken - and they don't waste unnecessary energy on each other. May, Layton, and Dion - if they know what's good for them, and more importantly, for Canada - need to ensure that they don't waste time on each other.

A little "compromise" may be necessary, to ensure that the Conservatives lose votes. If Harper is under a sustained and organized attack by 4 leaders - who appear genuine and trustworthy - he's in trouble. This strategy will ensure that "Joe Public" doesn't just close eyes and vote for the status quo. Only ONE person stands to gain from the other parties attacking each other: Harper. NDP shots at Liberals - or vice versa - will only help Harper nation-wide, even if the comments are targeted to a certain region... So in "battleground" BC, or Ontario, Layton, May, and Dion need to be careful not to attack one another. On debate night this is particularly important.

Harper MUST be made to look like the "bad guy" that he is on debate night. He cannot sail through untouched, with the usual media comments about it being "typical" that the incumbent is attacked. The attacks need to be sustained and repetitive, and when an answer is not provided, THAT point has to be driven home as well. Harper must wear his decision to make the economy "USA-light"...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Latest CPAC-Nanos Numbers

No analysis... Just the numbers:

CCRAP - 39%
Lib - 25%
NDP - 19%
Green - 9%
Bloc - 8%

CCRAP - 35%
Lib - 39%
NDP - 17%
Green - 8%
The Liberal lead is within the margin of error

CCRAP - 25%
Lib - 19%
NDP - 11%
Green - 7%
Bloc - 37%

CCRAP - 39%
Lib - 34%
NDP - 20%
Green - 7%
The Conservative lead is within the margin of error

CCRAP - 49%
Lib - 17%
NDP - 24%
Green - 11%
*Note: BC is not separated from the mix here, and Alberta numbers are heavily skewed (whether the Cons get 50% of the vote in that province, or 100% doesn't matter because they already own all the ridings)

The real juicy tidbit: Harper's leadership numbers are in TAILSPIN, while Dions are climbing steadily. The "payback's a bitch" ads are starting to pay off. Let's see what another couple of weeks of this will do for us! Harper's "Leadership Index" score has plummeted from 110 to 85 (a drop of 25 points!). Dion's score has climbed to 42. Vision for Canada is Harper's major weakness...

Party Is Harper's Palin...

A note to the Canadian Media: Even your rabidly conservative American cousins have bought into the "Palin factor"... You know, the whole idea that your running mate is dim-witted, decidedly un-worldly, and, yes - quite likely, simply stupid...

So what gives? You've been hammering at one non-story all election - the supposed lack of Liberal leadership. Isn't it time you did your American cousins proud and actually ran with a real story? A real story like the complete lack of talent in the Conservative Party.

The Conservative Party is something Harper is hiding. He knows what lurks beneath: racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and just about every other type of phobia and "ism" there is. When the "dummies" speak, they say "thoughtful" things like how much they dislike people of different cultures (Lee Richardson), or how much they despise great world heroes (Rob Anders). Harper is afraid "the real Conservative "Reform-a-tories will raise their ugly heads.

It is taking everything the Conservative war room can do just to keep Harper from making his own gaffes and expressing his own phobias (xeno or otherwise). They have spent 2 years keeping him away from the media - away from questions. It takes an entire war room to keep him quiet, and inaccessible. Carefully stage-managed appearances aren't just for the election, they've done this since they were first elected - remember their war with the Parliamentary Press Corps? Remember - even recently - how they stage-managed the questioning when the RCMP and Elections Canada raided their HQ??? No fire-wall comments, or comments about "Northern European welfare states", or immigrants "living in ghettos" in Western Canada, or the "culture of defeat" in Atlantic Canada. Not a chance for the media to even ask Harper about his feelings on any of those convictions of his... Heck, the media can't even scrape together the cajones to ask about the potential crime that took place when Harper was preportedly aware of "financial considerations" for Chuck Cadman's vote (which was CONFIRMED BY CADMAN'S WIDOW), lest they lose the chance to cover the "great leader's" campaign...

Still, with an entire party working to cover his blemishes, Harper remains "clean-looking"... He only has to hide the rest of his party... his "Palin", if you will. If he manages to dupe the "dup-able" media for a few more weeks, he could very well win. Let's just hope our media is a little more mature than this. It will have to start with the most objective, more "neutral" media - CBC. Sure they're worried that offending Harper may result in his carrying out his promise to privatize them (remember THAT promise?), but they need to start acting like the objective news-source they used to be. That is what built the CBC into the respectable corporation they are. They need to become more BBC-like, and less NBC-like...

Let's hope the "awakening" occurs, and the media don't continue to stumble through this election like a bunch of zombie Conbots, while Canada's Sarah Palin escapes this election unscathed...

Is This The Best Election Money Will Buy???

Prime Minister Cretien did a LOT of working re-working election financing laws to try to make it fairer for all parties... to get to a better discourse on pure issues, and not just money... Unfortunately, we haven't evolved the system enough to focus on "just the issues" - just yet.

I posted these comments on James Curran's blog previously, but thought they bear repeating...

Unfortunately, when you have tons of money, you can "buy" a lot of votes with a slick media campaign... And you don't have to be honest about it, if you're a Harper Conservative.

This election is quickly becoming a matter of economics... Unfortunately it's not the Canadian economy that is being properly discussed and debated, but the political party economics vis-a-vis WHO has the money to run ads for 2 years straight (I still want to know if that is even legal - thought political ads were only allowed during the writ - that's the way it SHOULD be, if it isn't). We did a horrible job of fundraising, and while efforts have picked up since Spring, it's too little, and Harpo probably knew that when he called the snap election...

Going forward, we need to get everyone more involved in the fundraising part of politics. Unfortunately the Reform system of $5 in a tin cup from every western farmer and oil baron at every rally and stump speech - like a church collection plate - has been able to handle the new campaign financing laws the best...

We have to update our own fund-raising system - to ensure this doesn't happen again. We are on the path - probably only needed a few more months.

Sad reality, but these days parties need a lot of money to run a winning campaign. If Canada TRULY wants a fair system, we need to:

1) set limits that are attainable by ALL parties - during a finite "election period". Would love to bring the Greens and Dippers more into the debate - and have an equal playing field on which to voice their opinions.

2) eliminate 3rd party ads. Period.

3) eliminate government ads thinly veiled as "psa's".

Making these changes will allow parties to stop worrying too much about fancy fund-raising dinners. It will lower the cost of admission to party functions - ensuring a broader swath of the population joins or simply attends... The changes will ensure that parties can display their talents for using the same amount of resources to achieve an end result. Like a real-world test, parties would have to show how "good" they are with money - how well they budget and plan - rather than just who has the most motivated or angry supporters.

Some MPs and candidates already have the fund-raising right: they run "spaggheti dinners", or "hot-dog and a burger" fund-raisers. Fun stuff that allows a LOT of people to participate. Lose the ridiculous $500/plate dinners and other "champaigne fund-raisers". We don't need to "schmooze" those people anymore - because corporate donations have been minimized. What we need to do is reach out to the ordinary voter. A huge barbeque with 1000 guests at $10/pop will raise $10000, with very low levels of organizing, or you can do something that you have to plan and organize for months - with very little more profit... (fancy dinners at fancy venues cost a lot more to run).

A cheaper fund-raiser has the added benefit of attracting youth, and the types of people who will actually work in your future campaigns. Try getting your typical $500/hr Bay St. "executive-type" to work a campaign without a "position-name" attached to it... and do it on a daily basis through-out a campaign. Better yet - try to get them to plant lawn signs... lol... In campaigns I have managed, we would actually MAKE UP POSITIONS to satisfy the bigger egos out there. Of course you will also rarely get volunteers from your corporate donors - unless they have something to gain (perhaps running in a future election, etc.). If people are motivated, and driven by an issue, they will work for you.

If a progressive party is elected to government, we NEED to ensure we do this one thing - to change (once again) the rules as they relate to election financing - even if it takes a coalition to do this... If we fail, the future will be bleak - run by conservative corporate America, drubbing a repetetive message into a "dumbed down" population - fed a constant diet of sensationalized tabloid news, reality-TV, sitcoms, sports, and the associated sponsor advertising for everything from drugs to guns to defense contractors...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Another Harper Conservative Openly Insults Immigrants & Refugees

Had to comment further on this post by "Liberal Arts & Minds" about recent comments (during the election) by Conservative MP, Lee Richardson. This DEFINITELY bears repeating, and I urge all our bloggers to post this until the media grows up and starts reporting on it:

From the FFWD Newspaper in Calgary:
"In light of recent shootings in Calgary, Fast Forward contacted Richardson September 18 to ask how the Conservative approach to crime compares to other parties’ approaches. In reply, Richardson said Canada has been too “soft on crime” by showing too much sympathy towards offenders and their civil rights. “Particularly in big cities, we’ve got people that have grown up in a different culture,” said Richardson, 60. “And they don’t have the same background in terms of the stable communities we had 20, 30 years ago in our cities… and don’t have the same respect for authority or people’s person or property.”

“Canada accepts so many refugees, for example,” he said. “These are people that have had a very difficult life from whence they came. If you’ve been in a refugee camp, then you live day-to-day. And those are troubled people. They come here and, well, it’s easy to take advantage of people that are trying to help.”
Richardson added: “Talk to the police. Look at who’s committing these crimes. They’re not the kid that grew up next door.”

Wow! Tell that to the poor kid who had to sneak over from Somalia, or the recent refugees from Burma, or people trying to get out of the embattled Bosnia, or Serbia, or , or, or...

Not sure what Richardson's "kid next door" looks like, but I have a pretty good idea that it looks something like a younger him.

I grew up "in a different" culture. I guess I don't have the same respect for people or their property. I should be racially profiled, I guess, and watched carefully, as I might cause trouble.

Richardson clearly attacks 2 (two) groups here:

1) First, he attacks people of "a different culture". That takes everything a step beyond some people's complaints about immigrants, because he is actually now challenging those of us WHO WERE BORN here, simply due to our "different culture". I add this emphasis, because there are some opportunist sell-outs - even from my community - who support Conservatives, and will argue that they too are concerned about crime, and they are concerned about crime by refugees from certain lands (yes, I have heard that said - as the single, solitary reason for supporting the Cons). Listen up brothers and sisters: Harper's boy is saying your different culture is reason to make you a "suspect". He means that you look different. No matter how hard you try to pretend you are "mainstream Canada" your "different culture" (as Richardson so aptly puts it) is still written all over your face, and rednecks everywhere have already made up their mind about you before you open your mouth...

2) Secondly, Richardson has attacked a VERY SOLID AND UPSTANDING part of our community: refugee Canadians. This is an insult to everyone, but refugees in particular. I grew up with many Vietnamese refugees in the 70s. I recall hearing horror stories of family members murdered and raped on the high seas as they made their escape from Vietnam - thinking they were safe. All of my Vietnamese friends are successful business people today - all of them. I have friends who escaped the troubles in Lebanon, and they are among the most successful communities in Canada. My own - Punjabi/South Asian - community has seen many refugees as a result of the 1980s "troubles" in Punjab and Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka. No matter "which side" these people were on, they came over here as refugees, and are among Canada's most accomplished citizens. Many are successful in business. I have a cousin in Surrey BC who came over as a refugee in the 80s, and is a successful home builder, AND owns a fleet of semi-trailer trucks.

To add further insult to injury Richardson states that these refugee-Canadians are taking advantage of people trying to help them. What proof does this neanderthal have? I've worked with Somali refugees in Calgary, and with South Asian refugees, and my mother worked with the immigrant aid society. These people were SO grateful for any help we offered. They were among the nicest, warmest, most caring people I have met - because they were so used to making do with so little...

Richardson should resign his seat, and stop pretending he is any less socially conservative than the rest of his party. He is NOT Progressive in any way, shape, or form.

Harper Promises To "Check Pumps" - While We All Get Pumped!

So our anti-Canada PM today made an announcement aimed at chipping into the NDP promise of getting a grip on big oil company gouging... Thing is, he promises NOTHING close to Layton's promise.

Who put Harper up to this? Big Oil, more than likely. The Republi-Cons want to distance themselves from being the "Alberta-centric" party of Big Oil which couldn't care less about the environment - while actually doing NOTHING to impede the profits of Alberta Big Oil Inc. So, what do they promise? This is really precious...


Those were his exact words - more or less...

What a crock. Harper has completely distorted the whole idea of gouging - which has always referred to big oil charging too much PER LITER by price-fixing, etc. It has nothing to do with the measurement of the liter.

I can't believe our "cajone-less" media didn't nail him on that one. What exactly does he intend to do? Our law already has provisions to ensure that merchants are selling what they say they are selling, and that fuel pumps are not "rigged" (we've had several cases of this over the years). No oil company - or more likely independent operator - would "gouge" in this manner - not when they can fix prices with other companies and turn an extra gouged profit on EVERY LITER sold at EVERY PUMP in the land...

Does Harper really think Canadians are stupid? More aptly, ARE WE that easily hoodwinked? To actually believe the putrid toilet residue he is shoving down our throats daily... We might all be just a little easy-to-dupe... That remains to be seen, if we choose to give him the majority he craves to allow him to unleash his agenda of Republi-Conservatism...

Harper Says Economy Is Fine. That's His Story & He's Stickin' To It...

Stephen Harper insists the economy is fine.  The "fundamentals" are fine.  Maybe he's not saying "fundamentals"... maybe he means "fundamentalists" - as in his "base" in Alberta?  Harper insists this is the case, even though Jim "now you see the surplus, now you don't" Flaherty is his Finance Minister.  Harper insists this is the case even though the economy that our nation is most painfully tied to (and that his party has tied even closer) has tanked (yeah, that would be our neighbor to the South).  Harper insists this is the case, even when Canadian experts, real estate numbers, comparisons with other G8 countries, and respected institutions (Merril Lynch) say a resounding, collective "no".  

This non-PhD in Economics - from an average university in Calgary, which espouses one particular school of though (a very Republican/US one) - insists all is well.  He may even believe it.  

What's more disturbing:
1) Harper Conservatives allowed lesser restrictions on mortgages, allowing for US-style 0-down, 40-year mortgages, and lower the GST to help even more Canadians assume debt - in the face of a US economic collapse.
2) Even with overwhelming proof of a slowing economy, and burgeoning Canadian debt, Harper and Flaherty decide to actually induce young home buyers on limited (and shrinking) budgets by offering mortgage relief on new home purchases (see election promises from last week)
3) Yesterday Harper Minister Flaherty admits "we overspent"
4) Yesterday Harper continues paddling down a river in Egypt, with his continued cajoling of Canadians from their hard earned dollars - in the face of a real real estate crisis... while still maintaining there is no problem here.

All this happens, as the media smile and play nice guy, with absolutely no tough questions for "Mr. Fiscal Manager"...

God help us!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Control Freak Harper Uses RCMP To Block Access To Donna Cadman

The "Control Freak in Chief" - in continued attempts to hide his "ugly warts" and scandals is using tax-payer funded police officers of the RCMP for his own political gain. Yesterday in Surrey, at a rally of campaign workers, Harper's "party security" and RCMP blocked reporters from asking any questions of Donna Cadman as she was whisked away. They didn't care about press credentials, or anything that made it painfully obvious that these were reporters. Ridiculous.

Now the Conservatives are telling the media and Canadians what the news should be (as they have been carefully scripting since taking over Parliament)... Here is WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED - ACCORDING TO CBC:

"Reporters following the prime minister's national tour asked to interview Dona Cadman after a campaign rally in Surrey — a request that Harper aides initially laughed off in apparent disbelief that the media would even bother asking.

They later told reporters to go ahead and try speaking with her at the end of the rally, but when the media pack got too close, the prime minister's staff ordered the RCMP to block journalists from the exit door.

"Keep them out," one aide shouted at the guards.

Cadman and other local candidates, meanwhile, were whisked out the door.

Harper spokesman Kory Teneycke later said he didn't see the exchange involving the RCMP. But he insisted there was no need for local candidates to be interviewed.

"Local candidates' priority is campaigning in their local ridings, and not talking to the national media," said Teneycke."

To add to this scandalous affair the CBC interviewed a former Mountie and security "expert" who said the RCMP were most likely just "doing their job" on the security side, while the appearance it gave was bad... So much for "experts". How many retired RCMP officers would say anything that would cast their old force in a bad or "questionable" light? None. Why would the CBC even contact this person?

What does Mr. Harper have to hide - besides the sexism, racism, homophobia, and anti-choice nature of his party? Well, it appears that a certain Ms. Cadman - who seems to be pretty honest - has once again repeated that there WAS A DEAL to secure Mr. Cadman's vote (which was rejected by Cadman). Ms. Cadman continues to be a Conservative candidate through all this, which has more to do with her "one-issue" agenda - the so-called "law and order" issue.

Surrey is scandalized by the Conservative record on "openness" and "integrity". These guys are a bunch of schiesters. When you ad the "false" apology that Harper and Nina Grewal tried to gloss over - to try to win ethnic voters over - you have a Conservative party with no scrupples, no integrity, no honesty, and no chance of winning over key urban ridings.

Time to toss the bums out!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What's Going On??? How To Beat the "Republi-Cons"

Well, according to some pundits, it's still early. I'm one to agree with that sentiment. Compare where we are at "day x" with the last couple of elections. Still, there are concerns...

We've been largely ignored by the media, but we are "getting on track".

The media is in "coronation mode" - which doesn't help.

There are people vocally advocating the "loss is good" theory, hoping for a Con majority so we have a good 4 years (or less) to get our house in order...

Sure, there are those "concerns" above... I still think it's way too early to jump off a tall building or anything like that. Here's what to do:

1) Get out there and ID vote. There are going to be a lot of close ridings.

2) How many "detractors" have actually DONATED to the party? You can bet every Reformer worth his stetson and rifle is donating monthly to the Cons... Make a contribution, so we can use it for last minute ads. The reason we're "waiting" to run more ads is because PEOPLE LIKE YOU didn't donate, or donate enough earlier. Go for the maximum tax credit.

We have no-one to blame but ourselves for these challenges... We can still work hard and make an impact.

Beyond that... It's in the hands of the Leader. Remember: we have some debates coming up. Sure these aren't REAL debates - they're just glorified stump speeches... Still, we BETTER shine in the debates. It's the big national media event that's free. We need to make good use of that airtime.

For the rest of the campaign we need to:
1) Point out our solid record of excellent fiscal management
2) Point out the Con's history of being poor custodians of the national economy
3) Stick to our platform, and REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT, until everyone has heard us (that's what the RepubliCons have been doing).

The RepubliCons have been repeating their message for over a year (since Mr. Dion was elected). They've run national ads. Do we think our 30 days of ads can compete? If messaging is on, and we REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT, we may succeed...

CBC Goes Fox On Us... Oh Suhanna!

It was sensationalism at it's best this morning when the CBC Newsworld anchor (Suhanna Marchand? Not sure if that's spelled right) broke a story about a hostage taking at Luther College High School in Regina. The suspect was apprehended by police, with no incident.

Our wonderful anchor - perhaps bucking for a job with Global after the Conservatives shut down the CBC - kept digging and digging for blood or dirty laundry. She kept talking about how it was not yet confirmed if the gun was real, or if shots were fired, or how many suspects there were... It was disgustingly repetitive - a'la CNN or Fox News.

When a Regina Police Service spokesperson arrived on scene, somehow a CBC microphone found them. Suhanna spent almost 5 minutes drilling the poor officer - basically for info regarding why/who/how, and probably most importantly - if there was any blood. The poor officer kept indicating that she had just arrived, and that her priority was the families and students - and securing the area. Suhanna wouldn't shut up. She kept pestering until the spokesperson finally said, "Like I mentioned, I just got here..." Suhanna finally said, "I'm sure you have lots to do... I'll let you go..." or something like that, and got off the phone.

The whole incident looked a little too "Fox News" for me...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Conservative Elitist Robber-Barons and Their Media Lapdogs

Hope that title caught your attention... lol...

Mound of Sound has a great write-up about the American financial debacle, and the class struggle that has plagued that country for decades...

There was one statement that really stands out - because of the mirror image which is occurring in Canada...

"Another reason is that anyone who talks about this is branded a "liberal" and, to many Americans, liberal = elitist = socialist = revolutionary = traitor. They get fed that nonsense every day."

It is starting to happen here in Canada - the branding of "elitist liberal". What gets me is that this sells well to anyone who has NO KNOWLEDGE of politics or civics. It is economic conservatives - old money Canada - who are the true elitists. Those mega-millionaires who don't think twice about putting on a $100,000 birthday party for their one-year-old. The NeoCon propagandists have completely bastardized the dictionary definition of "conservative" and "elite". How? It's easy:

1) Dumbing down of the population (If you don't know who the true elite are, you can't make them your target). Expanding on #1: A lot of small town Canada and middle America look to their corner store owner, plumber, or local doctor as one of the "elite". Wealth is relative, and we see fairly well-to-do middle classers as the "rich".

2) The real "rich" - the corporate robber-barons - then look for a scapegoat within the population... Who will question us? Who will challenge the means by which we obtain our wealth? Who will expose our system as the farce that it is? It will be the intellectual classes - the lawyers, the teachers, the professors, the educated working classes. The rich go ahead and brand these folks as "liberal, intellectual, elitists".

3) Once the "scapegoat class" is determined, it is easy to unleash the conservative-owned media on them. You can lead with stories on a Fox News, or Global, or in the "National Pest", then watch as other - usually more "balanced" media outlets scramble to pick up on the story, or the editorializing. Big Oil and other mega-advertisers - who make up a bulk of ads in these media sources - then exert their own pressure: "We won't run an ad in a section about being green", "We dislike the take this editorialist took on item x..." Slowly, with pressure from the corporate world, the term "liberal elitist" stands out, and becomes standard nomenclature.

Our politics used to be of a civilized nature. Civilized discourse in an orderly setting run with British Parliamentary protocol. There was respect for the institution, and respect for one another. Conservative theologians preached about the attack on the word "liberal" long ago. The strategy was to constantly use the term in a negative context. Make the very use of the word vulgar, profane, and basically an insult...

We need to turn the tables - make "conservative" a bad word. We have more than enough "ammo", with all the scandals, but more importantly the financial mismanagement of Western economies, and the transfer of wealth away from the middle classes to the "uber-riche". But we need our own media help to do this. The MSM (main stream media) will always imitate the neighbors to the South and protect their owners. We also have a deluge of crap programming (for lack of a better word) that emphasizes this ideology, sneaking up through the airwaves - helped by cable and satellite providers who love the cheap programming, and, more importantly, the advertising that comes with it. A group of us are looking to establish a "cooperative" newspaper in the Lower Mainland as an alternative to the big corporate papers. Even the little community papers are owned by conglomerates... so, for now, the "new media" will be the only path.

In the mean time, we need to hammer back at the Conservatives every time they bark about what they'd like people to think of us... We need to go tit for tat, ensuring that if they call us "elitist" we include elitist in every phrase in which we say "conservative". We can throw in a few quips about "terrible Conservative fiscal record", etc.

It's a marketing staple - the repetition of a phrase to enable "buyer recall". Not sure why we aren't feasting on these great available soundbytes right now?

Time for some action.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Staying On (A Simple) Message

What the general public sees, understands, and digests is very different from the average political junkie (such as those who read this site)...

In the last election(s) Stephen Harper incorporated Republican strategists and strategies to "keep on message" and ensure the simple message got out. He used some very basic and often repeated phrases:

1) "Tired". Harper repeated "tired government" repeatedly - at every whistle stop, in an attempt to characterize the government of the day as ready to be replaced.

2) "Let me be very clear ________". Highlighting his words to come with that phrase helped bring emphasis to his statements. It also became a little "tired" hearing that very same phrase 10 times a speech (the "braintrust" obviously did not have the creativity or writing skills to change it up)

3) "Make no mistake". A variation on number 2. The Conservatives really didn't have the oratory skills that would make Obama blush... lol... But, still, it helped to frame the point to come, to get everyone leaning in and listening..

What to take away from this? The public at large has a pretty short attention span when flipping through the paper or the 300-channel universe. You need to make your points quickly, succinctly, and with enough clarity that everyone hears you and retains it (if you repeat yourself enough, they will remember it).

What the Cons have managed to do with the Green Shift is no fluke. They knew what it entailed, but simply framed it as "too hard for Canadians to understand" and stuck to that messaging until the very non-investigative media parroted it. This forced our campaign to continue to have to repeat an explanation - eating up valuable cycles of programming time and advert time. All this for a very simple plan that gave everyone an income tax break, and forced polluters to pay.

We have LOTS of time left to simplify and "go for the jugular"... We need to make the soundbyte the "summary" for our clear and well-planned programs. We need to remember that we have maybe 10 or 15 seconds to have an impact on a crowd, and need to keep bringing them back into the "discussion" with more quick quips and points. We don't need some media hack parsing together their version of our speeches and plans - they will invariably find what they want to use and dump the rest. We don't have to "dumb down" our campaign as the Cons have done - we have more respect for Canadians than that - just need to adhere to the KISS (keep it simple stupid) philosophy...

Go get 'em team!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Conservatives Joke About Canadians Dying Of Lysteria

Conservative Cabinet Minister Gerry Ritz joked about Canadians dying of Lysteria. In a meeting with ministry officials his main concern was about how it would impact the government - rather than the safety of Canadians - he asked if there were any more "bombshells" - to kick off the meeting.

Of the 17 Canadians who died of Lysteriosis (the highest number of any nation in the world this year - that's shocking considering the food conditions in some parts of the world) Ritz joked that it was "death by a thousand cuts, or should I say cold cuts". When he heard of the next death he joked that he hoped it was (Liberal food safety critic) Wayne Easter.

This information is especially troubling considering the "privatize everything party" has been busy taking apart our food inspection system since early 2007. Conservative efforts to cut back on inspections AND more seriously (and idiotically) letting the industry inspect itself are to blame for the outbreak - and more significantly, the deaths.

Letting the industry inspect itself? What the f? What kind of idiot lets an industry regulate itself when money is at stake vs. public health? Talk about letting the fox guard the henhouse. We should just let people at borders inspect themselves when they come in (more people die from food-borne illness in Canada every year than have ever died from a terrorist incident). We should let prisoners in penitentiaries guard themselves. They have no interest in making things easier for themselves do they?

The lysteria outbreak is much worse than the Walkerton eColi debacle. Guess who was in charge of Ontario's healthcare system at that time? You guessed it: Clement, Flaherty, and this same bunch of "privatization-happy" Conservatives.

When you elect a government whose only goal is to make itself obsolete ("less government", more privatization - even essential services), this is the end result. It can only get worse with more Conservative MPs, or - heaven forbid - a majority of Cons. The reason these guys exist is to privatize and basically reduce government's role to the "policeman" for the land.

Time to wake up Canada.

Tough Economic Times - Harper Tries To INCREASE Canadians' Debt Load

Is it just me, or am I the only person taking a sane look at Canada's current political reality? Lord knows the "journalists" aren't being "investigative" these days...

Just look at this lunacy:

At a time when the economy is slowing - maybe even towards the "r-word" - the "great political genious" (Saint Stephen, if you haven't already figured it out) is promising to help Canadians INCREASE their debt burden. That's right. You too can take on a 40 year mortgage, and get a $750 dollar incentive - if you're a first time buyer.

That's right. Take the most vulnerable buyers - first timers - at a time when the real estate market is at an all-time low. Give them an INCENTIVE to get into the biggest purchase of their lives, at a time when it's probably worst to do it. Better yet, (this is the kicker) you actually aim the incentive at helping the realtor - to "help close the deal".

That's Harpernomics. Voodoo economics. Don't help with potential fallout of a poor economy on new home-owners. Don't consider helping people retrofit their homes with more efficient equipment to save a few dollars when heating costs will go up. No... keep fueling the machine. Keep those consumers buying like Daddy Bush says.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

To Old-Fashioned "Journalists" - We, The New Media, Have Simplified Things For You...

Note to "journalists": Since you have abandoned all research and accountability for your messaging, we here at WesternGrit have put together some simple, easy to digest facts to make your news-gathering a little easier. Instead of smiling and reporting the latest Con soundbyte, try a new diet.

Here it is, MADE REAL SIMPLE FOR YOU - THE CANADIAN MEDIA; True facts (check them out yourselves):

1) Conservatives - by any measure are the WORST fiscal managers in both Canada and the USA's past 50 years, and many would say this Century.

1) Conservatives - by any measure are the WORST fiscal managers in both Canada and the USA's past 50 years, and many would say this Century.

1) Conservatives - by any measure are the WORST fiscal managers in both Canada and the USA's past 50 years, and many would say this Century.

1) Conservatives - by any measure are the WORST fiscal managers in both Canada and the USA's past 50 years, and many would say this Century.

2) Stephen Harper's government (or lack of one) has run up the highest spending totals in CANADIAN HISTORY, and is poised to run us into deficits for the first time in a decade...

2) Stephen Harper's government (or lack of one) has run up the highest spending totals in CANADIAN HISTORY, and is poised to run us into deficits for the first time in a decade...

2) Stephen Harper's government (or lack of one) has run up the highest spending totals in CANADIAN HISTORY, and is poised to run us into deficits for the first time in a decade...

3) Harper's inadequate government and short-sighted economic "vision" has cut from the very institutions WE THE PEOPLE will be required to lean on in a global economic slowdown.

3) Harper's inadequate government and short-sighted economic "vision" has cut from the very institutions WE THE PEOPLE will be required to lean on in a global economic slowdown.

3) Harper's inadequate government and short-sighted economic "vision" has cut from the very institutions WE THE PEOPLE will be required to lean on in a global economic slowdown.

4) Harper has "led" Canada to the worst economic performance in the G7. We used to be at the top with Paul Martin and Jean Cretien... Leader indeed. What did your Mom say about jumping off a cliff after your buddies (in this case the American Republicans)?

4) Harper has "led" Canada to the worst economic performance in the G7. We used to be at the top with Paul Martin and Jean Cretien... Leader indeed. What did your Mom say about jumping off a cliff after your buddies (in this case the American Republicans)?

4) Harper has "led" Canada to the worst economic performance in the G7. We used to be at the top with Paul Martin and Jean Cretien... Leader indeed. What did your Mom say about jumping off a cliff after your buddies (in this case the American Republicans)?

Hopefully that was clear enough for our seriously short-sighted media. Don't you clowns remember how Harper knocked you down and pissed all over you in the Parliamentary Press Gallery? Maybe you like that hmmm....??? Well then, looks like WesternGrit will continue to insult and shit all over the "so-called journalists" who claim to report "the straight facts" in this land...

The Most Useless MPs in "The West" - Laurie Hawn

Try as we might, we have had no luck finding info on her. The Wikipedia entry indicates very little. This person does not exist. Supposedly a retired Lt. Colonel in the Canadian Forces. Very quiet. Even as a Parliamentary Secretary for Defense, we really haven't heard anything from Laurie.

Oh wait... this just in: Laurie is a man. That makes more sense - considering Conservatives usually don't like to vote for women...

Seriously though folks, I have knocked doors in this riding. It is quite densely populated and VERY divided. I had an apartment super scream at us (me, another fellow, and a young lady canvassing), open his window, and threaten us with his howling pitbull (very typical conservative hardcore). There are the VERY poor, and the working poor, along with a strong union contingent. There are some posh homes along the South side of the riding - closer to the River and parks, but for the most part, this riding should be NDP - if people voted according to which party would suit them best. Call it a case of "I wanna vote with the prevailing attitude", or perhaps a "tough guy macho vote is a good one", but somehow enough progressives failed to vote for Anne McClellan in the last election to defeat the Con.

The February day we knocked polls in this riding were VERY cold. Terribly cold. We really battled for every vote. We found that the people who had Con lawn signs were typically not a good knock. Usually the women and children were happy to listen to common sense policy, then an angry voice would scream out of the back room, laced with profanity, and the poor wife or kid would embarrassingly shut the door with a frightened look in their eyes...

This riding could be in play again... We'll need to see.

Until Mr. Hawn actually DOES SOMETHING we will have to leave him on our list of most useless MPs in the West... Just another quiet Conservative back-bencher (Quietest Parliamentary Secretary in the House?).

Okay, this may just be getting a little boring. Nothing to talk about with these backbench Prairie Conservative MPs... What we need is another Maxime Bernier/Julie Cuillard story...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I Got A Crush On Harper... Not

So the very "original thinking", "creative" Harper war room team has struck again... Trying to mimic the success of spontaneous American creativity (Obama fans singing songs about him), the Harpocrites have copied a popular song about Obama ("I've got a crush on Obama..."). The site it is located on is hosted by a Conservative...

Simple Con strategy: A blanket swath of pro-Harper advertising and other spurious stuff to basically drown out anything else... It seems to be working so far... but it IS EARLY.

The Republican advisers certainly had some input...
1) Spend years talking about how politicians all lie (when you're in Opposition there's lots of time to do this). At the same time this same message is carried by the media which is owned by right wing ideologues for the most part (you'll have to imagine which political parties "friendly" guys like Rupert Murdoch and His Lordship In Jail support). After a while anyone whom you ask parrots the same line about "all politicians" being liars... The media continues to reinforce this ad nauseum.
2) Once no-one trusts any politicians anymore you know you have a situation where no voter will believe stump speeches or platforms. Time for phase 3...
3) Since you (Republican-Conservatives around the world) control most all of the media, you can begin deluging the electorate with extremely slanted stories. You can force reporters to "edit" their stories if you don't like them. The small, and quite weakly-funded "public" media try to be balanced, but note ratings slip unless they "toe the line", so companies like NPR and CBC follow suit with the reporting that doesn't see any justification or credible back-up, the sensationalism, etc.
4) Now you bombard the public (during, or pre-election) with pro-you ads. You have the money. You have the media cooperation - so no-one calls your bluff on all the blatant lies. Your marketing experts have shown you psychological studies which display what occurs with repeated bombardment of a message on radio, TV, and print. The public may not like your brand. They may not like you. They may not agree with your ideology. BUT: they will have - in the backs of their minds, in their subconscious thoughts - a recollection of something that tells them "vote Conservative/Republican". Like the marketing guys say, "any publicity is good publicity"...

And the band plays on... Time for us to up our ads... get back into the public consciousness... If we don't do it over the next couple of weeks... We don't have an Obama to sell, but we can make him appear to be one. Image, image, image... We need to up the publicity game.

Dion Calls Harper's Lack Of K. Maru Apology Inappropriate

Stephane Dion spoke to a boisterous crowd of between 500 and 1000 in Surrey last night. During several standing ovations Mr. Dion promised a Liberal government would apologize for the Komagata Maru incident on the floor of Parliament... to a rousing ovation from the crowd.

In a purely political stunt Stephen Harper quietly came to Surrey in August and offered a "pseudo-apology" to South Asian Canadians for the Komagata Maru incident (a situation where Canada rejected a shipload of immigrants - who returned to India, with many being imprisoned and killed by British Authorities.). The crowd immediately shouted down Harper and boos echoed through the stadium as Harper quickly left the podium - followed quickly by Nina Grewal (his token brown woman). Community leaders were outraged, and very upset with both Harper and Nina Grewal (who refused to speak or answer questions regarding her feelings on the apology not being given on the floor of the Commons).

Mr. Dion should do well with the South Asian communities - if the press doesn't bury this story, like most others...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Dion Speaks To Packed Banquet Hall In Surrey

York Center, Surrey:

Stephane Dion just hit the stage tonight to a roaring crowd of Surrey residents at the Crystal Banquet Hall at York Center in the heart of the fast-growing city...

Mr. Dion is playing to a packed room, with many more standing outside to see the man, and hear what he has to say. Several NDP supporters were seen in the room, as well as many former Conservatives from the South Asian community. It actually seems like a "Red Shift" is going on... lol...

We will have more updates as time permits. Looks like an amazing kick-off to the Surrey Liberal campaign!

The Worst MPs In The West - Deepak Obhrai... Deepak Who?

As far as trips abroad at taxpayers' expense go... Deepak Obhrai is quite familiar with them. The MP from Calgary East has quite possibly chocked up more Airmiles than many cabinet ministers... The rotund MP hails from Calgary East - by way of East Africa (although he is very hazy about his background).

In his riding of Calgary East, Obhrai is a bit of an enigma. Opponents have run campaigns pointing out Obhrai's complete lack of presence in the riding, and his trips abroad, but with little success. Even a riding like Calgary East - which claims 25% "foreign extraction" in its' voter base, is in the Reform-Conservative heartland of Calgary. Door knocking the riding in the past few years, I come to the conclusion that the riding has about 3 types of demographic groups that stand out: 1) 75% - White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant; 2) 25% - Various recent immigrants (Eastern European, Vietnamese, East African, East Indian, Pakistani, South American, etc.); 3) Young people of the first generation of all these groups. There is also a very distinct breakdown of what they like and don't like: each other. Knocking doors you find either people who "like people", or those who don't... There really wasn't much in-between. People seemed to like to point out minorities as their scapegoat for neighborhood issues. A very polarized neighborhood indeed.

The geography in Calgary East is basically flat... The Bow River loops through the riding on the West, and flat plains run off into the distance (all the way to Ontario) on the East... The West edge of the riding is actually a tall ridge above the banks of the Bow, and arguably has the best views in all of Calgary - both mountain AND the downtown of the city - along with some river. None of the more "exclusive" neighborhoods of the Southwest, West, or Southeast have such great views. Much of the riding was built in the 60s and 70s. There are some newer areas to the far East and in the South of the riding. In one area - Lynnview - Imperial Oil had dumped millions of tons of oil refinery by-products years ago. Homes were built overtop, and when the health problems and poisoned soil became "news" people lost their homes and the associated values... Residents pursued Alberta Environment - without any help from their federal MPs (who would never say anything against Big Oil, would they). Obhrai was never heard from during the crisis...

Calgary East has the bulk of Calgary's warehousing and industrial lands. A large part of the populace works in the industrial areas - versus the gleaming Big Oil office towers of downtown. Some of the biggest challenges in the area include serious drug abuse problems, drug trafficking, youth prostitution (in Calgary wealthy businessmen are routinely caught picking up underaged prostitutes along the underaged stroll around 17th Ave SE)... We had a campaign office on 17 Ave SE, and routinely saw hookers out our back door.

Deepak Obhrai has pretended to represent this riding through the last several elections. While there have been some serious battles for him to get the nomination, he managed to court a huge effort by ethnic communities to get out the vote. South Asian bus and taxi drivers picked up voters throughout the day, and he worked very hard to pack the nomination meeting with people of various ethnic groups - further angering some of the hardcore Reformers, who could only stand by and watch... Attempts have been made - even recently - to dump Obhrai from the riding, but he has become somewhat "entrenched" as a sitting MP - even as far back as he is in the back benches.

As one CBC feedback provider noted: " I am very disappointed to see that no representation is given to the South Asian community in this cabinet. Where are Nina Grewal, Rahim Jaffar, and Deepak Oberoi? All these people have been working hard for the party for many years, still Mr. Harper does not see any fair representation in the South Asian Community. Canada is a multicultural country and South Asian people are playing very active role in building the strong and prosperous Canada."

So, is Mr.
Obhrai in the wrong party? Doesn't seem like his party seems to think much of him (or anyone of a similar persuasion - South Asian, that is). Perhaps he's only in it for the notoriety - in India... Yup, that's right, back in South Asia these foreign MPs of South Asian heritage are real celebrities. Doesn't matter that they're not cabinet ministers. Does not matter that a few of them are basically just "window-dressing" to court the minority vote by their party... How else can one explain the 3 MPs of South Asian heritage who sit in the Conservative back benches, keep quiet, and seem to have nothing much to say? I laughed when I saw images on TV of Harper at a "suburban Toronto" rally this week. Behind him on stage was a veritable "rainbow coalition", while the audience looked like the complete opposite... Could they be "planting" these folks up on stage with Harper as "window dressing"? The party that "misinterpreted" the election financing laws wouldn't do THAT, would they?

Obhrai ... our latest "Most Useless MP"... Tomorrow we'll discuss Laurie Hawn.

Canadian Media Turns to Toilet "Tabloidiness" - Unable to Discern Harper's "Truthiness"

Over at Gauntlet.ca today, there is a great post about "attack" ads, and the perception of them.

I'm with him. While there is all this crap in the public domain about "the high road", and "attack" ads or "dirty politics", in reality they work. They also get the idea behind the ad into the public mind.

Sure, if they're over the top personal attacks, then they are "dirty", but something that attacks policy in a truthful way - is really clean... attack ad, or not. I think the crappy (and getting crappier) media in this country does every voter a disservice by just dubbing everything an "attack ad" with the ominous undertones. They need to make a distinction behind the content of the ad.

When a party "attacks" someone on their lies, or failure to keep promises, that should be considered akin to "investigative journalism" (considering the mainstream media has ceased to do anything that can be construed as "investigative journalism"). If we cast disparaging remarks at the way he/she smiles, or talks, or looks, or their social or ethnic background - or imply that in any way - that should be looked down upon. If someone is attacked with lies or false information (such as the Conservatives' ads against Dion), then they should be taken to task for it...

The media in this country (which seems to be getting more and more "tabloidically" American every day) has to do a better job at clarifying the difference between good ads and bad ads. Maybe a daily news story that outlines the "truthiness" of party ads and party lines...?

Like I've indicated before, we need stronger controls over media ownership in this country - especially foreign media ownership...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The West's Most Useless MPs - Today: Rob Anders (Con)

Continuing our series on MPs that equate to pylons on the political highway, today we bring you Rob Anders of Calgary West. Rob is perhaps less of a harmless pylon and more of a wandering porcupine - one which could slice you up, but one whom even the Cons try to keep penned up... (in case he reveal the true nature of the Reform bowel movement)...

Calgary West is a riding nestled in the dry, arid, foothills of the mighty Rocky Mountains. It stretches from the Glenmore Trail on the SW, up to the old town of Bowness just South of the Bow River, and right up to Crowchild Trail, then West into Elbow Valley, and along the Trans Canada Highway. Like most ridings in Calgary it is ethnically/culturally "monotone" with very little diversity. It does house Calgary's first mosque, and first Sikh Temple. Demographically, besides the "majority" community, Calgary West has a significant Greek population, and quite a few families from the Ismaili faith. There are not nearly enough cultural, economic, or social minorities to make a dent in a very blue conservative riding. Next to Calgary SW (Harper's old riding - and mine) Calgary West is the most affluent riding in Calgary. Pretty much anyone with a corner office in Big Oil has a home in the affluent neighborhoods of Elbow Valley, The Slopes, etc.

Rob is revered by the old "Guard" members of the Reform/Alliance/Conservative Party. "The Guard" - the ominous sounding secret society which forms the core of angry, venom-spewing Western Firewall Conservatism (many were former WCC Separatists) - is the only group who could have mustered enough forces to keep Anders around. Even Conservatives within his riding would like to see him out.

Anders is pretty much ONLY known in Parliament for his xenophobic outbursts. Everyone in Canada recalls his strong opposition to Nelson Mandela and Mandela's welcome to Canada. Members of his own party stood by him (Reform or Alliance or Conservative), and he was quite obviously not ejected from a party which probably valued his "keeping the attention" of the hard right in Reform-land.

In his neophytic career Anders has invoked the anger of Canadians and foreigners, and even spurred a website by his own constituents: VoteOutAnders.com...

Here's a little bit from the media on Anders:

""[Honouring Nelson Mendela is a] total political-correctness poster-boy thing... He was a Communist. He was a terrorist... The Liberals always deprive us unanimous consent on all sorts of provisions. They wouldn't allow us to honour the Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen with regard to their wedding anniversary..."
- Calgary West MP Rob Anders, June 2001.

The comments obviously generated a great deal of animosity. So Anders was asked to clarify and generally given plenty of opportunities to back away from his disgraceful statements. He chose a different path.

"I don't think that, you know, anybody would argue that if Nelson Mandela was saying, you know, 30 years ago, that you should go around with matches and necklaces and strangle people or burn them out of their homes, that is not terrorism."
- Anders, 2001

So, then we can assume that his party was incredibly embarassed of him, right? Wrong. "Rob is a true reformer and a true conservative. He has been a faithful supporter of mine and I am grateful for his work." - Stephen Harper

Rob Anders was gleefully accepted by the new unified Conservative Party. Barely a whisper was raised about his disgusting remarks. Today, the Conservatives vehemently deny suggestions that they are racists and suggest those who accuse them of racism are 'fear mongering'.
The newspaper articles, however, are eternal.

"Rob Anders: Incredibly, Anders went one wackier after he trashed honorary Canadian citizen Nelson Mandela as a terrorist and a communist last spring. When the former South African president phoned for a peacekeeping chat in November, Anders refused to take the call because he wasn't granted enough time to outline his many concerns. In a Commons loaded with lightweights, Calgary West's MP almost defies gravity."
- Never a dull moment with magnificent seven. The Calgary Herald. Jan 13, 2002.

"Rob Anders is a callow 29-year-old Canadian Alliance MP for Calgary West, an Opposition cipher of high dudgeon and low intellect, a sadly misguided voice who knows little of history and shamefully less of global politics....
If Anders had limited himself to attacking the Liberals for pushing the citizenship honour through Parliament without a proper debate in the House, he would have been on sturdier procedural ground. Instead, the redneck disgraced himself and his party by describing Mandela, 82, as "a Communist and a terrorist." Despite getting slapped about the head by colleagues and opponents, Anders was defiantly unapologetic, albeit pathetically ill-informed on Mandela's background....
I feel honoured that Nelson Mandela would accept Canadian citizenship.
I feel ashamed that Rob Anders is a Canadian citizen."
- Citizen Mandela triumphs over a callow MP The Toronto Star, June 13, 2001.

Wonder how Conservatives will explain this one... " (BlogsCanada Conservative Quote of the day)

Conservatives are pretty much not at all concerned about explaining anything Rob Anders - or any other "true-to-the-Conservative-name" MP says. They are only concerned if the media roots it out. The media doesn't seem to have the journalistic skills required to expose these Conservatives for what they really are. "The Guard" members of the party must be overjoyed at their success in bringing their hidden agenda fully cloaked this close to a majority. Part of the original plan.

Rob Anders - our Most Useless MP for today...

Conservatives Continue Their Lies About Being "Pro-New Canadian"

Vijay Sappani has a great post on his blog... He lays out Conservative claims about new Canadians and immigration, and what they have actually done. There is a stark contrast:


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The West's Most Useless MPs - Today, Nina Grewal

WesternGrit introduces a new "special feature" on this blog: "The West's Most Useless MPs". On these pages, over the next few weeks, we will look at the most inept, opportunistic, and generally useless MPs in Western Canada. Having resided in Saskatchewan, Alberta, and now BC, I have an interest in politics and politicians across the fabled "West". While many people like to lump all of this part of Canada into one bunch, the "West" is very diverse - culturally, geographically, socially, and economically. You have strong cores of NDP and Liberal support (mostly Northern and urban areas), and the bastions of conservatism - in rural and mostly suburban areas (with the exception of AB and Sask, where the cities have weaker Liberal and NDP numbers.

Today, we will discuss my own riding: Fleetwood-Port Kells, in suburban Surrey BC, and our MP - Ms. Nina Grewal.

Surrey is a fast-growing city (growing much faster than Vancouver) which is projected to be larger than Vancouver within the next 10 years. Fleetwood-Port Kells - along with the Morgan-Creek/White Rock area (in South Surrey) - is one of the most affluent suburbs of the City of Surrey. Dotted with urban farms (yes, we have beautiful farms and market gardens throughout the city) , wineries, rivers, urban forests, and rolling hillsides, Fleetwood, Surrey is very much like it's United Kingdom namesake. Green, sunny (sunnier than Vancouver, believe it or not), and wedged between the Fraser River and the US border, Surrey is one of the largest, most spread out urban areas in Canada.

Surrey has a very large ethnic population. The largest cultural group in Surrey is South Asian. There are also large pockets of East Asian, Middle Eastern, and African immigrants (and their descendants), as well as many newly arrived Eastern Europeans. The visible minority population of Surrey goes back to Chinese and Indian laborors, railway workers, and lumberjacks from the late 1800s and early 1900s.

The riding of Fleetwood is located to the East of Surrey - directly North of Cloverdale (also part of "metro" Surrey), running South of the Fraser River, and East to Langley. Fleetwood is not quite as "diverse" as the rest of Surrey, but still has ethnic populations rivaling some of the most diverse neighborhoods in the rest of Canada. It is also home to some of Surrey's largest groupings of East Asian (Chinese, Vietnamese, Phillipino), Greek, and Italian settlements. More recently affluent South Asians have settled throughout Fleetwood, building some of the most exclusive neighborhoods (for example in the Tynehead area, and further East). The rural/farm population is also very diverse - with many South Asian owned farms in the area.

Fleetwood-Port Kells' MP is Nina Grewal. Who? Yeah, many people do say that. Nina is not exactly a "hyper-active MP" in Parliament. She rarely speaks, and very rarely brings forth new ideas (outside of what might be scripted for her by her party). Within the East Indian community credit for her election goes to a solid core of conservative support in the riding, and her "opportunistic" grab at the riding nomination - angering more than a few life-long Conservative members in the area. Getting help from the Newton-North-Delta supporters of her (since defeated) husband didn't hurt either.

Look up Nina Grewal on the web, and you get some mentions on sites aligned AGAINST a woman's right to choose. There are VERY FEW Hansard entries. As a matter of fact MY last name may have been mentioned more in the House. It's not funny. Seriously... not funny. The other commonly noted mention is stuff like this gem I found:

"Grewal Speaks

Oh my gawd she actually said something. Nina Grewal, the silent partner in the Conservative husband and wife duo of Grewal and Grewal, actually spoke up in the house today and asked a question. For the record this is not thefirst time since she was elected she actually spoke in the house. But she usually was overshadowed by her flamboynt and goofy husband Gurmant.

Nina Grewal was first elected to the House of Commons in 2004 for the new riding of Fleetwood-Port Kells. She and her husband, Gurmant, became the first spouses to simultaneously hold elected seats in Parliament

Yep folks an election is on the way. Cause Nina said something in order to get her name written into Hansard. Just to show here constituents she is still in the house."

You see, she isn't exactly a "star" performer of the calibre that is required to represent the people of a riding as large and diverse as Fleetwood-Port Kells. I'm South Asian, so take the next statement with that in mind... She has done a lot of work getting "help" in immigration cases of people who have been otherwise cast aside or rejected via the "normal" immigration process. The thing is, she hasn't actually done any more (I can argue that she's done FAR less) than someone like Penny Priddy, or Sukh Dhaliwal has. Even with her "inroad" in the government vis-a-vis "ministerial immigration permits" (basically by-passing the system), she still hasn't been able to do much more than any other MP - of any party.

So, the extent of Nina Grewal's usefullness as an MP lies in her "ability" to be a visible minority person of the female gender (and we know how badly the Conservatives need both these demographics), who graciously votes anti-choice, and grants immigration permits (via the ministerial backdoor) to her former countrymen/women. Meanwhile all other matters in Fleetwood-Port Kells get conveniently swept aside. How good is that for my riding? Not very. Further to this, she doesn't live in the riding, AND she doesn't seem to have a map of it either - seeing as her 4x6 signs are showing up curbside (on public property) in the ridings of Newton-North Delta, and South Surrey- White Rock.

To add further to Ms. Grewal's horrible record, her handling of the Komagata Maru affair is reprehensible. The Komagata Maru incident occurred in the early 1900s, when a shipful of South Asians (mostly Punjabis from India) were legally sailing to immigrate to Canada. During their sail - and hearing of it - more conservative voices in Canada raised a storm of fury forcing the government of the day to re-enact exclusion laws. The provincial government of BC was also very much involved in this - and was the driving force with some very vocal local conservatives. The shipful of Indians was sent back to India where many were killed or arrested. For years a South Asian Group has been asking for an apology - IN Parliament. Just an apology, placed in Hansard - the Canadian record of law-making. There is an annual fair in Surrey called the Baba Mela (literally "old guys' fair") where the Komagata Maru incident is remembered. For years all governments were slow in acting. When Mr. Harper thought he could get an "in" into the South Asian votes he needs for a Majority he came up with the most ridiculous fake apology ever. The PMO actually TOLD Sahib Thind and other organizers of the group that they absolutely will not offer an apology in Parliament. The group told Harper that without a formal apology in Hansard (like those offered to other groups), there really is no need to show up. There is documented email evidence of the discussions. Harper used his link to Nina Grewal to show up at the fair anyway. He gave his bogus apology and when the crowd of several thousand looked visibly agitated, he fled the stage... tailed by Ms. Grewal. Mr. Thind implored Ms. Grewal to tell the crowd if she felt an apology in Parliament was in order... She refused to retake the stage. Several South Asian community organizers were visibly very upset, and indicated even though some had supported Nina - just because she was South Asian - they would not do so the next time.

There may be some serious changes in the direction of South Asian votes in this upcoming campaign...

A good option to vote for is Brenda Locke - former Provincial Cabinet Minister, and someone who is very involved in the community at large.

Nina Grewal. Congratulations on being named WesternGrit's first ever "Most Useless Canadian MP". Many more to come... Tomorrow: Rob Anders (Calgary West).

Oh... and Nina... try to get your signs on voter's property (to this day I have yet to see a sign on an actual lawn), and IN your own riding. Geography may not be your strong suit, but there has to be someone on your team who knows North from South. If you want, I can post pictures of the offending signs...

Which Conservatives are Anti-Choice? Pretty Much ALL Of Them

Interesting tidbit of iinformation form the Pro-choice action network based on the period before the last federal election.

Conservatives only defense of their anti-choice (against women's right to choose) stance on abortion is "the Liberals are too". Another false drive-by smear... In true numbers the handful of Liberal MPs (some on this list are no longer in office - supplanted by Conservatives in the last election - in their more socially conservative ridings) is infintessimally small. Most of the Conservative MPs are extremely anti-choice, and their base (the people who will drive their decisions IF they score a majority) is even MORE anti-choice. It is pretty clear that a lot of the Conservative MPs who are supposedly "pro-choice" are often "conveniently" so, because they run in an urban riding where the voters are pro-choice. It's probably similar for the tiny handful of Liberal MPs from (mostly) rural/suburban ridings who are anti-choice. If they weren't quiet about the issue, or hinting at being "anti-choice" their rural voters would have them for lunch...

So, without further ado, here is the list. Enjoy!

Anti-Choice Federal MPs

Before the Election After the Election
83 of 297 MPs (28%) 90 of 308 MPs (29%)
59 of 71 Conservatives (83%) 69 of 99 Conservative MPs (70%)*
20 of 168 Liberals (12%) 20 of 135 Liberal MPs (15%)(even less now)
4 Independents (3 former Conservatives) 1 Independent

* Note: Perhaps 5 to 10 Conservative MPs are pro-choice or likely pro-choice. The stance of the rest is uncertain or unknown, but at least some are anti-choice.

Conservative Party of CanadaAnti-choice Incumbents

An asterisk (*) indicates a previous incumbent; the rest are newly elected.

* Jim Abbott * Gurmant Grewal Pierre Poilievre
* Diane Ablonczy Nina Grewal * James Rajotte
Dean Allison * Art Hanger * Scott Reid
* Rob Anders * Richard Harris * John Reynolds
* David L. Anderson * Loyola Hearn * Gerry Ritz
* Leon Benoit Russ Hiebert Andrew Scheer
* Garry Breitkreuz * Jay Hill * Werner Schmidt
Gordon Brown * Howard Hilstrom * Carol Skelton
Colin Carrie * Dale Johnston Joy Smith
* Bill Casey Guy Lauzon * Monte Solberg
* Rick Casson Tom Lukiwski * Kevin Sorenson
* David Chatters Randy Kamp * Darrel Stinson
* Cheryl Gallant * Jason Kenney * Chuck Strahl
* John Cummins Ed Komarnicki * Greg Thompson
* Stockwell Day * James Lunney * Myron Thompson
* Norman Doyle * Rob Merrifield * Vic Toews
* John Duncan * Bob Mills Brad Trost
* Ken Epp * James Moore * Maurice Vellacott
* Brian Fitzpatrick Rob Moore Mark Warawa
* Paul Forseth Rob Nicholson Jeff Watson
* Peter Goldring * Deepak Obhrai * Randy White
Gary Goodyear * Brian Pallister * John Williams
* Jim Gouk * Charlie Penson * Lynne Yelich

Liberal Party — Anti-choice Incumbents (many lost out to Conservatives)

An asterisk (*) indicates a previous incumbent; the rest are newly elected.

* Raymond Bonin * Joe McGuire Alan Tonks
* Joe Comuzzi * Dan McTeague * Rose-Marie Ur
* Mark Eyking * Shawn Murphy Joe Volpe
Albina Guarnieri * Pat O'Brien * Tom Wappel
Jim Karygiannis * Jerry Pickard Borys Wrzesnewskyi
Judi Longfield * Paul Steckle Paul Zed
* Lawrence MacAulay * Paul Szabo

Other — * Chuck Cadman (Independent, formerly Conservative)

***UPDATE: Please check this link for an updated list of MPs:


Leader (Yeah, that means Dion) in Surrey Friday

PM-to-be, Stephane Dion will be on the West Coast this Friday.  We hope to catch a glimpse of him at York Center on Friday, at the Crystal Banquet Hall.  York Center is located on 128th St between 72nd and 80th Ave in Surrey.  

I've been hearing lots of positive feedback on the Green Shift in Surrey, and look forward to hearing more...  

The reception will be a great kick-off for Surrey and Lower Mainland Liberals.  Hope to see everyone there!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Private Media Barons - Election Fixers?

It appears more and more that the consortium that runs the media in this country will do anything it can to snuff out a moderate or left-leaning voice. It used to just be speculation - based on the vastly conservative ownership of media in this country... They used to cover it up well, by using populist rather than blatantly right wing appeals to their readership. They were good at dumbing down stories for the benefit of the beer and donuts crowd... and at the same time making it cool to be one of those people. You know who we're talking about. People who should be voting NDP or Green - maybe Liberal - but certainly NOT Conservative.

For a long time the media snuffed out any discerning voices with waves of populism, racial-profiling nationalism, and the deification of "Joe Average" - that non-existent dream of most right wing politicos. This week the private "old boy's club" went a little too far...

What the private media has done today is really the most undemocratic thing we've seen in this country for years. Keeping a legitimate national party leader out of the leadership debates is a disservice to the people of Canada. It is a shame. It is something that should well be remembered the next time the good guys have a chance to govern: do we allow more "deregulation/Americanization" of the media in Canada? The private media (Rogers, Shaw, BCE, Global, etc.) all have interests linked to American ownership, neoCon nationalist pastimes (like war, big oil, etc.), and conservatism in general.

It's a shame. It's time for Canadians to wake up and start fighting for what we believe in. Time to fight for our nation.

Stephen Harper Cannot Be Tough On Crime When He's Soft On Guns

Stephen Harper cannot be "tough on crime" when he's "soft on guns"... (Stephane Dion).

Perfect... And 100% accurate. While Connies gun-nuts cry about "stolen guns" being the problem, the public needs to be reminded that a lot of these stolen guns are stolen from poorly stored collections because we don't have serious penalties for NOT storing your guns appropriately. If a gun is stolen from your home and used in a crime, YOU should also be charged with criminal negligence (or something akin). If I were to lend my car to my 12 year old nephew and he ran someone down with it, firstly, it would be traced back to me because of the extremely tight controls on car ownership in Canada, and secondly, I would be held accountable as the registered owner as the party partly responsible - due to my own negligence.

Some arguements just don't get past the gun-nuts and NRA. So sad. Sick really...

Conservatives Get Lawnsigns Out First - On Sunday...

Fleetwood Port Kells
Newton North Delta
South Surrey White Rock
Mission Port Moody?
Pitt Meadows Maple Ridge

Driving through these ridings yesterday, I noticed the Conservatives had multiple 4x6 or 4x8? billboards at strategic locations throughout the riding... Interestingly enough, NONE of them were on "private" property - or should I say on the front lawns of homes (where you would typically have "lawn signs").

Just goes to show that appearances are everything. Joe Q Public drives around the city and says, "hey, look at all those Conservative lawn signs... they must be winning". For the average guy who just wants to "follow the trend/be like his neighbors", this is bad news for parties that don't have their signs out earlier, and in huge numbers - even if they only are on public space, ditches, and boulevards.

I must give credit to Sukh Dhaliwal (Newton North Delta), as he did have several of his signs up. Extra credit (or maybe detention - or a move to the "remedial class") goes to Nina Grewal, whose lawn signs appeared in such distant ridings as South Surrey-White Rock, and Newton North Delta...

To Brenda Locke's Liberal team (Fleetwood Port Kells): I have a pickup, and a 4 LB hammer. Give me a few dozen of these signs, and we'll get this party started...

Cheers - and good luck to all moderate, middle of the road candidates who don't believe the "second amendment (of the US Constitution)" applies up here, who don't want to take away a woman's right to choose, and who don't want to kill our public system of health care to make way for their corporate friends - EVEN ONE FOOT IN THE DOOR - ONE "FOR PAY" CLINIC IS TOO DAMNED MUCH.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

It's Go Time!

This may be the most critical campaign in years.  Nothing - nothing in years - can come close to the terror Harper could unleash on unwitting Canadians if he could sneak by with a majority in his "sheep suit".  

Canada is at a vital crossroads.  We have to fear the very real risk of the Americanization of our great land.  Harper, his henchmen, and his Big Oil friends want nothing less than the North American union which would result from the continued weakening of Canadian values and institutions embarked upon by his Neo-Conservative movement.

Whether it is the blind acceptance of American security fear-mongering; the marriage to the American economy (spurring hatred and intolerance of China, and Asia, while focusing on the USA as the sole destination for Canada's foreign trade trips); the "yessir" blanket acceptance of American foreign policy (every time we mirror the US line on some foreign policy issue, we lose the respect of nations worldwide - and more important to some of us - trade and valuable exchanges);  Whichever Conservative initiative it is we look at, the results are the same:  there is a Conservative initiative to destroy our nation as we know it...

Time for Canadians to "stand up" for our land.  Time for a "shift" to a new way of thinking.  A new outlook on life, and a new outlook for this great land.  We need to stand and fight for our healthcare system, our environment, and our sovereignty.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Promises, Promises, Promises, and Fixed Election Date Laws...

From its inception the Reform/Alliance/New Conservative Party has been screaming about "fixed election dates". It is an idea that had pervaded the reform ideology, and any time you engaged a Connie you received a litany of their usual tripe - with the fixed dates being one of their top promises.

The promise goes back beyond Harper. And let's not even call it a promise... it was a demand. Rank and file Reformers spewed this stuff out on Prairie doorsteps from the late 80s - right up to - oh... let's say a few weeks ago? I can still remember both Preston Manning and Stockwell Day screaming about the need for fixed dates.

Is this a major promise broken by Harper? As far as promises go, I would say that all PMs have broke a few. The last governing Liberal Party did set a record by keeping between 70 and 80% of their Red Book promises... This record number of promises kept was never matched by another government. We're talking about multi-paged documents containing 100s of liberal ideas. This number was so hard to match that Harper and his Reform-a-tories knew they had to scale down the promises... hence his "5 pillars". Getting back to whether this was a promise, I would say it is more of a "law" that Harper has broken... Promises that are voted on in Parliament and made into those pesky things called "rules" are usually termed "laws"...

Life's pretty easy when you only have to own up to 5 promises... Forget the fact that you promised millions of seniors not to tax income trusts... and hmmm... weren't there a few other promises there? Sure there were. Still, Harper's Republican strategists had it fairly well-planned out when they decided to narrow down the promises so much. Better odds.

The lesser promises made by the Conservatives probably had one other important reason for being, (or "not" being): The Conservatives are a party devoid of ideas. Being a "small tent", "one wing of the political spectrum" party, they are pretty much a "two or three issue party". They couldn't come up with more than 5 ideas (and some they stole from the Liberals - cutting programs then renaming them) because they are more about taking Ottawa apart, and not about building on the legacies and traditions of our great system.

Conservatives are about destroying the institutions which make up one of the most moderate and successful democracies in the modern world. Canada is a great political and cultural experiment, which has existed (after the initial atrocities committed by the European invaders) pretty much in harmony - pretty much without riots, fire-bombings, or civil wars for over 100 years.

Conservatives don't need ideas to build a nation, because they are NOT "nation builders". That role has always been a Liberal one (after the times of MacDonald's "Liberal Conservatives"). Nation building, first of all, requires that you LIKE your nation. You don't call it a "Northern European Welfare State". You don't go to your neighbor's capital and act like you hate it. Nation-builders love their land, and want to keep it the best place on earth. Nation-builders don't let record surpluses and solid infrastructure growth (called an economic miracle in some quarters) turn into the slowest growth in the G7.

You don't need to make promises, if you don't intend to build a nation... Mr. Harper - we know your game... Times up.