Friday, October 31, 2008


If you're guessing "trick or treat", it's MOST DEFINITELY "TRICK"... compliments of Scary Stephen Harper... Boo! Verrry Scarrry...


Right-Left Paradigm

Been reading some blog comments today about the "past-it's-prime" nature of the left-right political spectrum. You tend to see more whining about this over on the Conservative side, but it seems some of us are following suit - perhaps reflecting a commonly heard political comment.

Actually the left-right paradigm is quite applicable in current times - and has been reinforced by social scientists everywhere. There is another school that believes that all the "wings" are only looking for "utopia" - which is similar for both communist and fascists. As you go further right from conservatism, to fascism, you get closer to "utopia", and the spectrum just curves (pretty much does a 180). On the left side of the spectrum, you go from "democratic socialism", to socialism, and eventually to communism and on to their "utopia".

I don't recall if it was Durkheim or Weber who championed this view, but they contended that the political "spectrum" was actually a circle, where the communist utopia, was the same as the fascist one - the true worker's utopia - taking the classes out of the equation...

These models are not just based on some "vague theory" from 50 or 100 years ago. They are conclusive results from years of ongoing study. The groups in politics can quite easily be described in these ways. Conservatives tend to have a very particular world-view, as do socialists on the left. Ideologically they will agree on most everything 95% of the time. Sure there are the 5% of detractors (for example Conservatives with a social conscience, or Liberals or New Democrats opposed to abortion), but these are exceptions to the rule, rather than the norm.

Everyone can easily be fit along the spectrum. You have gradations of each "section" of the spectrum as well ("social" conservatives, "progressive" conservatives, etc.).

It is more likely that the people who speak most loudly about the spectrum do so because they realize what they are, but don't want to admit it, or own up to it. Hence, you get the intolerant social conservative, who claims some measure of social conscience within their party - usually the handful of pro-choice members, or the smattering of visible minorities. Don't call them "right wing". They want to be "Joe Populist".

The right is much more apt to decry the political spectrum labeling. Why? Being a party representing basically one thing - tax cuts for the filthy rich - they try to appeal to the masses with the "Joe the Plumber" logic. You know, "We hear ya...", "We're just one of you", etc. If you label them right wing, or "reactionary", it just doesn't fit into their attempts at populism. Just because they spend lots of money, get media backing, etc., to attract the populist vote, it doesn't mean their policies are the best for the working classes, or working poor. They tend to garner the support of people who technically SHOULDN'T vote for them through "hot-button" politics: "the enemy is coming, we will protect you (with more army, police, etc.)", "crime is on the rise (when it is NOT)". Make the people (too busy working to research ideology and platforms themselves) think that basically, "big brother will protect you". Dangerously close to the the old "il duce" framework in Italy. Notice the odes to "the leader", or the "great leader" during the Conservatives recent campaign.

There surely will be "confused" people, who tend to be in parties they shouldn't. They often have other reasons: opportunism, personal conflicts, bad experiences. We ended up with some social conservatives in the Liberal caucus back in 2004, and again in 2006, because they couldn't possibly win as Reform/Alliance/Con members in Ontario. We find a handful of visible minorities, and quite obviously more "liberal" folks in a Conservative caucus because they know they could not get elected where they are under a Liberal banner. This is how you get people like Peter McKay ending up in the Conservative Party, or people like Nina Grewal, or others. Believe me, the party isn't going to change their ideology just because a handful of opportunists got elected in some areas. What does end up happening, however, is that the opportunists can, at times embarrass the party (if they're not whipped) during votes.

Often these opportunists are "tokens" (insert your Grewal, Obhrai, Jaffer here) who get some morsels tossed their way, because of the group they represent, or the region they come from (this could be in the way of private member's bills written for them, being named Parliamentary Secretary, etc.).

Personal conflicts and opportunism are also huge. For example, Gurmant Grewal spent much of his first few years in public life pursuing a Liberal nomination in his Surrey riding. Personal conflicts led him to seek the Reform nomination. He took the nomination with "bussed in instant Reformers", angering a HUGE number of Reformers in the riding. When things calmed, many of those old Reformers just walked away.

Is the "political spectrum" out-dated? Not likely. What we are more likely hearing is the angst of people who feel their philosophy is out-dated, but don't want to wear a label. I'm a moderate centrist, by label. There are times when I espouse an opinion that may be "center-left", and times when I may espouse a "center-right" thought, but I remain a centrist. If you try to sliver the spectrum into tiny blocks, you will find differences, but not if you maintain the definition of left, center, and right.

Edit: If you noticed the "circle" above, note that it is based on the American spectrum, which is more to the right. Canadians can shift to the left a little bit, where the US Democrats would be "dead center", or even "center-right" up here.

The following is from a Conservative Resource Website. It is quite well done:

Elaboration of the Political Spectrum

[10] Everyone disagrees about what the political spectrum should look like. In my own view, if we were to contrast the right wing vs left wing division on a diagram, it would look roughly like this:
[11] Correspondingly, if we were to include government types on a right wing vs left wing diagram, the political spectrum would resemble the following:

[12] The center of the political spectrum is occupied by liberalism, a word used very curiously in American political discourse. Properly understood, liberalism is a temperate philosophy concerned with both freedom and equality. Liberalism generally includes what Americans call "conservatism" as well as modern liberalism. Liberalism as a whole is best seen as a standing argument on 6 fundamental principles.

Even this American commentary highlights the misuse (and abuse) of the term "liberal" in the US. A liberal is a centrist, pure and simple.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Least Diverse Cabinet EVER... Shame

So much for "reaching out to" minorities. Seems like Mr. Harper's version of "diversity" means adding a couple of (4) women to a cabinet - which STILL has less women than the last Liberal cabinet. It was so bad for Harper (a party lacking so-called "experienced" women) that he had to appoint rookies to look good. We'll see if they keep him looking good in the months ahead.

For all the BS platitudes made to minority groups (ethnic, gender-based, and other), this Harper cabinet gets a grade of "F". For Mr. Harper to be taken seriously by any such group, he had to put his money where his mouth is, and actually APPOINT some visible minorities (and MORE women) to cabinet roles. Take a look at THIS PICTURE and comment (below) on what you see. I know what I see, and it DOESN'T EVEN REFLECT THE CANADIAN REALITY.

It is sad to see that many Canadian minorities blindly accepting this man's platitudes on being open and accepting.

A picture speaks a thousand words, and this picture tells no lies. We can now clearly see a Canada the way a NeoConservative Harper government would like to see it.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

"The West" Wants In - So Does Quebec?

I've seen a lot of posts about what we need to do to win, with emphasis from Western bloggers. People keep talking about "Western" specific policies. A couple of things... (and I've lived in the 3 Western-most Provinces all my life... so I can speak to this):

1) What are you calling "the West"? Because we do quite well in the Lower Mainland of BC, and on the island, and in the North, as well as many urban centers.

2) Is this regional, or is it really the beginnings of an urban rural split? Sure the Cons won a few urban seats outside of Calgary, but are they "keepers"? I doubt it. Momentum swung the seats their way, but that momentum is starting to shift already, and "look out" over the next few months... I guarantee there will be more Liberal MPs from Western cities in the next election. Winnipeg, Edmonton, and of course Greater Vancouver are primo candidates for this...

There WILL be an urban-rural split. Conservative MPs were able to split Liberal, NDP, and Green vote to win in those centers. I don't think we split a lot to those groups, but we lost some to the NDP and Greens, and the Greens are a "new alternative" that wasn't always there in such "visible" fashion in the past.

3) People are asking for West-specific policy. What West-specific policy? Does this mean go to the extreme right of the political spectrum, and be "Reform-like"? I mean, besides "hands off our Alberta and Sask. oil", the rest is all about taxes and ideology, isn't it? Should we be anti-abortion, un-controlled free enterprise, strongly for deregulation and against crowns? Should we all joint the NRA? Is this what we want Liberals to become, rather than try to engage so-called "Western" voters with "liberal" ideas? What exactly do WE in the "West" want? It seems that the North part of the West can elect Liberals, and so can urban parts (outside of Calgary)... What does the "West" want???

I say this, because I've been working in elections for years... and since the time of Trudeau have heard "the West wants in". Historically it goes back WAY beyond that. Read political accounts of Canada going back through the past Century.

The question is far more complicated than that. There is no policy or idea, that will appeal to everyone, just like that. We can't just adopt the policies of the Reformers, and cross our fingers.

The "wants in" part, really - of course - means a share in the pot. To be in control. To govern in Ottawa. And this demand isn't from EVERYONE in the West, judging by the fact that close to half (or better in some provinces) still vote NDP, Liberal, or Green, rather than Reform-a-tory. These 4-5 Million Westerners don't see a need to vote conservatively.

Quebec didn't want out. They really "wanted in" - just like the "West", and that is why many vote Bloc. Do you think they really want to separate - every single Bloc voter?

Now you have a Newfoundland separatist movement. Why do you suppose THEY exist?

The thing is, all these groups want more control, yet giving them more control simply makes them hunger for more. The more we devolve power to the provinces, away from the "Center" (not of Canada, but of government), the more the Regions will ask for. If they are a "have not" province, then, not so much, but as soon as they think they're a "have" province - based on the existence of a single finite resource - they want "in", or threaten to "get out".

Harper has built a career around this and his firewall speech. He is single-handedly and surgically destroying Canada's institutions to devolve more power to Provinces. We has a receptive audience to this. Tell anyone you'll give them ultimate control within their provincial boundaries, and you certainly will get some support. But whither Canada? Do we prefer to be 10 independent "nations", or do we love our flag and "one nation, coast to coast, indivisible"?

As Liberals, we need to have the "fundamental Canadian debate" first. Decide if we want to be a union of independent "nations" like the old Greek federation, or a true country. GETTING ELECTED GOVERNMENT SHOULD NOT BE ABOUT WHOEVER HAS THE BIGGEST "FIRE-SALE" TO THE PROVINCES. Who we select as a leader will impact this, and vice-versa.

The federal government is MORE than just an army and a "policer" and jailor. Our federal government has through the decades preserved what it means to be Canadian - our very fabric of being. Our institutions (including health-care, medicare, education, etc.) define who we are, as much as any flag or border.

We need to ask ourselves, as a party, what do the regions (including the so-called "West" region) want. We then have to ask, "is it worth tearing apart our land to give it to them? Do we enter into Constitutional talks to reform the Senate, only to have a challenge in Quebec, or other smaller provinces, just to please Alberta, Sask., and rural BC? Do we allow a Wheat Board to be destroyed to please a few large-scale, semi-truck-owning, well-to-do farmers in AB, SK, and MB, because they are vocal (with lots of money behind their voice), at the expense of hurting thousands of smaller farmers in the West and East, who don't own the trucks to transport their grain to the US? More importantly, do we let farmers "go it alone" on the international market, or do we help them market their grains?

Is it guns? Do we go "back in time", just to please people who are being unreasonable about gun ownership? I mean, seriously, the world is evolving. Yes, gun ownership, but without proper licensing and tracking? You can't even get a CAR without proper registration, yet a 15 year-old can walk into the local Canadian Tire and buy a shotgun. Yeah, that's the sign of a modern progressive nation.

What about oil? Before there was oil, Alberta was one of the biggest "basket-case" provinces in Confederation. Ontario and Quebec money built the railway, built the hotels in Banff, Jasper, and Lake Louise, as well as Edmonton and Calgary (during the Depression more make-work projects came up in the form of building construction in Calgary and Edmonton). The roads and railways were paid for with Eastern money. Now there is oil. All of a sudden, it's "f you Eastern Canada". What if Ontario and Quebec want their investment in Alberta paid back - with interest - in 1905 dollars? If we are truly "one nation", then why is it NOT okay to share? Can't any Canadian simply move to Alberta and take advantage of the piddling oil royalties Alberta charges? What is the difference if those people stay where they are, enhance their own local economies, and still benefit?

Should Alberta recruit it's own soldiers for it's own army? Right now, the Canadian Armed Forces are disproportionately represented by young men and women from Eastern Canada, Quebec, and the Atlantic. Most young Albertan's work in the oil patch. Should we start asking Albertan youth to start "upping their sacrifices"? Of course not. What about Universities. Albertan schools have been woefully inadequate at graduating anything but the core competencies for the oil industry (geologists, engineers, computer scientists, etc.). Where do most of the young executives who work in the gleaming towers of Alberta come from? Try the East. Eastern schools, paid for by Eastern tax-payers.

I'm really tired of the regionalist crap that we incessantly whine about in Canada. We are ONE NATION. We should act like one. Where is the friendly, helpful Canadian image? We all share from each other. We all work together. One Canadian sacrifices his/her life in Afghanistan for his compatriots. Another graduates from one of our "world's best" Eastern Universities (like U of Toronto, or McGill, Dalhousie, etc.), and represents Canada abroad in our foreign service, or teaches students in our North, or comes West to be a dentist in BC. Taxes paid by citizens everywhere have been invested in our past, and in our future. For any one group or province to cry about not getting their "fair share" is a joke. Let them stand on their own. Let them try to drive their industry without outside labor, or outside educated expertise (and the outside taxes that trained them).

We Liberals will need to address these fundamental questions about Canada when we choose our next leader. We will have to do it, because we are the only ones who will. Harper's Conservatives are happy to continue destroying Canada by wholesaling power to the regions (and eventually the US). The NDP shouldn't even talk about power.

We are the party of "nation-builders". It is time that WE stepped back into that mindset, and spell it out for Canadians with the selection of our leader.

WE need to "build our Canada".

WE need to be the leaders in this debate, and make the Conservatives irrelevant in the offing.

Leadership: Don't Forget To Oppose

One thing we cannot forget to do during the leadership campaign, is to ensure we do not forget to be THE opposition.  Throughout our last contest, all we heard in the public/media narrative was, "everyone in the Liberal Party is running for leader - no-one is opposing the government".  Even after Mr. Dion was elected, there were comments about his not being visible enough, spending time fund-raising his way out of leadership debt, and, of course, not opposing and defeating the government on a number of issues.

This time around, let's keep this small, short, sweet, and efficient.  Let's get the whole party to elect a new leader, give him/her a clear mandate, and march on this government with guns loaded, and hammers cocked...

Friday, October 24, 2008

One More Seat In Quebec AND Dosanjh! ... But We Have Work To Do!

Great to hear the news today: we won one more seat in Quebec (congrats to Alexandra Mendes), and Lower Mainland stalwart, Ujjal Dosanjh won his re-count...

Now, we need to find a way to recount about 50 more seats... lol...

"We have WORK to do..." like one great Canadian used to say!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Leadership Convention: Can We Have Referees?

Is it possible to have a "motion from the floor" for constitution change AT the convention?  We could table the changes, vote on them (on day one), and, as part of the changes, have the leadership vote on the final day (Sunday morning)?

We would like to make the changes we need to do, to have the leadership reflect our members' wishes.  Maybe we keep this as a "policy" convention, and vote to have an "electronic" convention a couple of weeks later?

If we can't have an "all members" convention in May, can we adopt a motion to have an electronic convention shortly afterwards?

As far as referees, I think we need some party apparatus to keep leadership hopefuls from making comments that wrongfully harm other candidates, or more importantly, the party's chances of victory.  A healthy back and forth is desired, but you can't have the types of attacks that damage the party's chances of winning the next election.  Honest debate is one thing, and all candidates need to feel some of the "heat" they'll feel on the election trail (Mr. Dion certainly knows that), but we need to ensure that comments aren't made which hurt the party in the long term.  Comments about a convention "hijacked" by special interests (whatever that means) does NOT help us with Canadians.

If someone makes disparaging remarks, or makes comments hurtful of the party, they should be "penalized" some way (maybe banning them from the convention is too strong)...  On the other hand, maybe we just let democracy do it's work.

Well... It's Official.

What we were hoping wouldn't happen, has happened.  

Mr. Dion resigned this morning.

He will stay on as leader until another leader is chosen.  He wants to ensure that the next leader does not suffer from the Conservative propaganda as he did.  He wants to ensure that he champions liberal philosophy in Parliament.

Once again, continuing to show leadership.  He also launched a solid attack on Harper.  

Mr. Dion also made some very good comments on the need for organizational and funraising renewal.  Ensuring the new leader is not vulnerable to "the same kind of politics" is going to be a key item he handles...

Some Ideas On Better Leadership Convention Organization - and Beyond

Well, we're into another leadership convention.  It will be in the "real" West (BC), an area where we need to do a lot of work. This will be good for the party.

Now, with only about 6 months left, we need to level the playing field for all leadership hopefuls. We DO NOT want some great candidate to not run because the "others" are so far ahead with fund-raising. We need to:

1) Control spending on leadership campaigns. Rather than big money ads, get the leaders out to meet the people.

2) See about getting more people to vote. Do we, just this time, go to a one-member, one-vote system - just to save us all on our precious funds we can spend during elections?

We need to handle the fundraising AND at least engaging all voters in every province. Harper established "beachheads" in Liberal territory - the cities, by engaging the "ethnic vote" - something no-one thought the Cons could, or wanted to do. We, on the other hand, took the "ethnics" for-granted (not bus-loading them to conventions, but with REAL policy), gave up on even engaging voters on the Prairies into thinking for themselves, and ended up where we are.  

If we don't follow the American Democrat lead (50 States), lets at least follow Harpers: - win back the ethnic vote - a critical part to our keeping our cities - expand to the greater urban/suburban vote - show our faces and our brand in places like the Prairies Even rallies and public meetings in those centers help. Let's not kid ourselves, though, there are ridings in AB, and SK, which are not going to be anything but Con.  

The bottom line, however, will be the bottom line: we need funds and volunteers. We need to engage members into a monthly donation plan. We need to have a "liberal" (note small "l") policy "skeleton" which reflects liberal policy basics - ways we feel on very general issues - that is available as speaking points AT ALL TIMES so would-be candidates and volunteers have something to go by, when someone asks, "what do Liberals stand for?"

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Just to Piss Off Media "Pundits"

Just to piss off the media pundits, I hope Mr. Dion does not step down on Monday...

Rather, I hope we see Mr. Dion, Mr. Layton, and Mr. Duceppe emerge from a door (watch Duffy choke on his morning triple sausage n' egger), and announce a new center-left alliance to govern the country for the next short while, while we sort out the mess the Harper Cons have created with their Bush-like wide open NeoCon economic system... 

Could you imagine the looks on the media's faces?  Could you imagine Harper coughing up a fur-ball?  An alliance of leaders who CARE about ordinary Canadians - not Big Oil industrialists and the American Lumber Lobby.  With the Bloc dropping their "sovereignist" demands, and focusing instead on the issues that REALLY matter to Canadians: stable economy, jobs, environment, development, infrastructure.  These are issues all 3 parties can agree upon.  One key platform item can be conceded to each party, and a "loose coalition" can be created.

Could the 3 leaders really prove they care about Canadians and the country long enough to do this?  Probably too much to expect from this bunch.  I don't know why... If I really believed in what I was preaching, I could compromise just enough to ensure that a lot of my ideas are adopted.  If the alliance is only temporary, it would still serve as a severe warning to the Conservatives:  If we don't like what you do, the parties representing the majority of Canadians WILL assume control.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

It's About The Benjamins

Okay, maybe it's about "the Bordens".

First of all, I would urge Mr. Dion to stay. The cost and time requirement of a leadership battle right now is not the best (although we have some solid suggestions on how to save costs, and make these more efficient - see my earlier threads)... Mr. Dion also really came on strong in the campaign, and arguably his debate performance overshadowed a horrible campaign run by the party (with inadequate funds, of course - I'm not pointing fingers here).

Secondly, we had a distinct disadvantage in the race - beyond any person, or beyond policy, or beyond platform: the Benjamin factor. That's right, money. We had a leader (who I didn't support in the leadership, by the way - on any of the ballots), who was hammered from day one by the vicious (but timely, for them) attack ads put out by the Cons. We had a really solid Economic/Environmental plan, that was endorsed by Canada's top economists. What we lacked was the money to get our ideas across... We were unable to sell ideas, because we could not pay for the ads to get them out there.

As any marketing expert will tell you, people need to hear about your product. People aren't all like us "blog-geeks" who seem to know too much about every issue. The average "Joe 6-pack" is not really "informed". They need to - at the very least - see our logo. In a positive light is best. We basically were too hamstrung to do this because of our horrible fund raising. There are a lot of us on here, who I guarantee did not donate $100s to the party - let alone the maximum donation and tax credit... I think we did come on pretty strong in the summer with fund raising efforts, but that is when we should have been engaging the public with our ideas - not closed-door fund-raising meetings and dinners.

We need to re-think our fund-raising (I've posted on this before). We need to do away with the lavish dinners and costly affairs. If we want the "Joe-six-pack", student, and Johnny Lunch-pail support, we need to make it easy for them to join the party, AND we need to run events that attract that crowd. Beer and burgers, beer pizza (sense a theme here?), chili contest, bake sales, flea markets, etc. - vs. $500/plate "black tie" dinners.

We also need to make party events cost less. Working on many events in Sask, and Alberta, I've seen a lot of money spent simply securing a venue, renting equipment, and catering, and realizing, that even at $100 a plate (or more) we made less than $10/head. Better to bring in numbers, impress them, and have them continue to donate to the party. If you hit me up for $500 for a dinner, good luck getting me to part with another several thousand dollars a year to attend conventions, go to a leader's dinner, make election contributions, pay to attend meetings in other cities (gas, food, hotel), etc. Now, if I get to see the leader for the price of a $20 BBQ, you might get 1000 more of me in the hall... Now we're getting somewhere. We need to let the "champagne Liberals" out to pasture. The days of the glitzy $500/plate corporate dinners are over.

On a brighter note, I see the Conservatives getting back to the "Mulroney ways" on a lot of these items - and abandoning the old Reform practicality. As they get big and fat (not just talking about our "Sub-Prime" Minister), they are starting to get comfortable with their Hog-town lifestyle...

Leadership campaigns and conventions in general are another issue. We need to ensure that we don't have costly affairs anymore. I've blogged recently about some new ways of running conventions (for example, a regionally distributed convention electronically linked, which would save the party and members costs, be more inclusive, and still create enough of a spectacle that it would drive excitement and media coverage in each of the cities it is held in). We need to get outside the box in this respect. We can also shorten the time it takes for a leadership contest. Anything over 4-6 months is ridiculous.

Money drove Harper's victory. Gobs of it. They had the money to advertise ad nauseum. Even a lie can sink in with that much lead time. We lacked the money for an effective counter-campaign. In order to fix this, we need to act now... Not wait for a policy convention, or the next public embarrassment.

Recount In Vancouver South - Ujjal Dosanjh Up By 33 Votes

I sure hope Ujjal wins this. He shouldn't have trouble, as there is a bit of cushion. We'll have to ensure we have some good lawyers in on the recount...

Not Sure What To Think Of This...

The Star reports that Mr. Dion will announce his stepping down as leader later today.  If this is the case, I would like to thank Mr. Dion for his term as leader, and sincerely hope he stays on as a key part of the team.  Policy is a strong suit for him, and we can certainly use his talent.

I also might ad that Mr. Dion's quick decision (one way or the other) will be best for the party.  Better to know sooner than later.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

If Mr. Dion Were To Resign... New Rules For Leadership

Yes, I said "if".

A lot of people are calling for heads today. We may be a little upset, but we need to look at the positives... And there are some... Harper did NOT get a majority (huge positive). Many were predicting we would do much worse. We had a leader that was slapped around for 2 years, and seemed to grow during the last week of the election...

Still, we hear that this person should quit, or another should run for this, or that... The spin continues, while the machines start warming up...

If our leader - and he is still the leader until a leadership review loss or he resigns - decides to step down, we are faced with some questions. We know Harper's ambition is to "destroy the liberals". Like a "war on terror" it is really interesting how he would try to attack an ideology. Best not to pick fights with things you don't understand, Mr. Harper... He is hoping to weaken the party through a series of leadership battles, and election losses, resulting in a "broke" party, hoping that would cut the electors' ties to us.

What do WE do NOW to avert Harper's resolution to his quest? Here are a few ideas:

1) If Mr. Dion is going to step away, he needs to do it now. We have an election scheduled for this Fall, and we'll need time to "reload". Not every leader needs time to settle in. Many can lead bravely into an election. I would argue that sometimes it is best that we take the popularity imbued by the leadership contest and translate that directly into an election... Don't give the opposition time to "frame you". In the US, the conventions are a mere 3 MONTHS before the election. Why don't they worry about the readiness of their leaders? We change leaders, we should take the convention momentum and jump into an election at the first opportunity.

2) New rules for leadership: Kill the huge spending limits. We don't need leadership candidates to assemble huge debts, then waste time fund raising when they should be engaging the government. We wasted months fund-raising to make up for the expenditures during leadership. Harper's gambit is that we'll do that again. Our simple solution is to eliminate that. If we had set a limit of $1 million on a leadership bid, then let's shrink it down to $500,000, or less. Provide enough funds for the candidate to get around the country - with a limited entourage. I would suggest that "local surrogates" will serve the purpose of saving the campaign money, AND ensure that the local party and riding associations are more involved. If they are more involved, then the general populace will also get more involved.

Hold simultaneous leadership "conventions" in each "region" (one in Ontario, one in Quebec, one in the Atlantic, one in the Prairies, one in BC). It will make it easier to tap all the numbers, and if people want, we would have the ability to join the "main" convention, wherever it may be. Delegates should not be kept from being delegates, or voting, just because they can't afford the time, or cost, to attend a convention at the other end of the land. We would up our attendance numbers, link the conventions electronically - creating a "new wave" convention process. We would bring on new members (it's hard to convince someone to be a delegate in BC, if they have to spend up to $3000 of their own to fly out to Montreal or Toronto).

While I enjoy the camaraderie of our nation-wide meetings, let's reserve that for our Biennials. Leadership conventions should tap into the grass-roots of EVERY region, and bring forth individuals from all over. New faces. New blood. Imagine a leadership convention where every Liberal truly had a chance to voice their opinion.

The regionally dispersed, electronically linked convention would have the benefit of saving the party - and members from spending all their "political donation money" in one place. The party would also get by without having to spend to subsidize all those flights from across Canada. I'm an average middle-class guy, but honestly, I can't keep spending $3000 every year to attend conventions. I do it, but most don't. In doing this, we would also be perceived as being "greener". Hey, we're limiting flights across Canada, and we'll even promote car-pooling to the regionals...
Keeping leadership campaign spending low, will ensure that our future leaders aren't cash-strapped. Another measure has to be taken: limit the time-line. Whose idea was it to run a marathon campaign? It should be a sprint, then a quick transition to election. Look at the time-gap between the US Dem and Rep conventions and the election... mere months. No-one down there has ever said, give our leader time to get used to leading. They dive right into it. Giving candidates a year to fly across Canada meant our candidates SPENT THE YEAR flying across Canada. At what expense? The party's, in the long term. While these "broke-ass" "would-be leaders" then licked their wounds and fund-raised to avoid debts and embarrassment, the world passed us by, and the party suffered. Instead of public events to get ready for the campaign, we were busy with "private" party events to fund-raise.

Speaking of fund-raising, just how stupid is it to alienate your voters and future campaign volunteers by hosting $500/plate fund-raisers? I hope the days of those are long gone. While the corporate crowd needs to hear the message, they aren't the people that we need to reach out to early on, and during leadership races. I've long been the proponent of $5 and $10/head BBQs and pasta dinners. Take a lesson from Preston Manning of the tailgate stump speech and "$5 in a hat from every farmer" campaigning. I have worked with many different people during my campaigns, and the ones who we need most are often the ones who get turned away because they "can't afford us". I'm talking about the youth - who we need to engage - and are tireless volunteers. I'm talking about the seniors. Many seniors will spend hours engaged in managing our campaign offices and phone polls. Their support, opinions, and mentorship are indispensable, and we need to ensure that they can be a part of the process... Pricing events out of their fixed income range is NOT the way to do that.

If we can manage to have a change of leader and a leadership convention within a 4 to 6 month stretch, we can succeed. We need to change with the times. We need to adapt to a flexible campaign process, and a flexible and realistic fund-raising process. A million people giving $5/head is a lot better than $5000/head from 1000 people. It won't be the millionaire tycoon knocking doors or answering phones for us. Keep that in mind. People drive our business. People drive our party, along with the ideas they bring. Accessability is the key to bringing those people in. When you get the "little people" - people like us - then you will get the tycoons and industrialists, because they need to sell products to all us "little people". If 10000 people show up to a leadership event, the media will be there.

If Harper wants perpetual campaigns, let's be ready for it. Let's "tighten up" our party and our party's fund-raising efforts. Let's ensure we are always "ready to go". Short leadership campaigns, raise small amounts of funds from many people versus large amounts from few people.

Harper won't "kill" our party. Not even close - but, we'll need to adapt to the times.

Harper Loses Support To Left, and Loses Base

Instead of giving Harper a majority mandate, Canadians chose to go to the left (completely overlooking the center, so it seems). A LOT LESS CANADIANS VOTED FOR HARPER. Keep in mind, however, that a lot less Canadians voted for us too... Actually, a lot less Canadians voted, period. Someone (a'la Obama) needs to find a way to entrance the youth of this land. Maybe youthful leadership? Just a thought.

While Liberals did not benefit from Harper's lack of strength, the NDP very decisively captured votes. The Greens did what they were expected to do. Certainly the abstentions hurt us. Layton ripped into us in the last few weeks about the abstentions. It was his whole base for his campaign: vote for me, I'm a leader, while Mr. Dion sat on his hands.

Canadians didn't give up on us. We held our urban vote in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver (for the most part, and only losing by small numbers where we lost), and parts of Eastern Canada. Don't forget the Ralph Goodale victory - by a huge margin - in Regina. Considering that we had a 2 year attack campaign aimed at our leader, and an untimely faux pas at the end (c'mon, like CTV or not, it was a blunder - any politician would have quickly cobbled together a platform-esque answer). We had momentum in the week running up to the election, then had that bomb dropped on the campaign.

Harper, meanwhile, has to be a little antsy. He DID NOT GET THE MAJORITY he was hoping for. Hoping for so much that he stopped talking about it in hopes that he wouldn't scare Canadians.

If you are a Reformer today, I laugh at you with glee... Your party will not be able to implement the frightening changes you all hope for. We know that your candidates were talking about killing a woman's right to choose... Not gonna happen. But, please, by all means, do try it. Go ahead, we dare you... Nothing will galvanize Canadians more than such a wedge issue. One of my Reformer friends told me in an email last night (he was managing a campaign in Alberta) that no-one will mess with their government for "at least" 3 years... Well, to be honest, there are a couple of things that may change that:

1) There is a law in the land that requires an election next Fall... lol... Let's see how we all handle that one. Someone needs to follow the law...

2) Start letting your MPs "un-muzzle" (good luck with holding them back another 3 years), and talking "conservative" (abortion, capital pun, etc.), and your sunk.

The biggest winners in this election were the people of Canada - another minority.

The biggest losers in this election were the Conservative base. The hardcore Reformers who - all across Canada (not just in Alberta) want to start another "religious revival Bush-lite" government up here... Sorry suckers... Canadians don't care for your line of right-wing-ism...

Harper Captures Ethnic Vote? Hardly.

Stephen Harper - the "Sub-Prime" Minister, would like to think he scored ethnic votes last night. Not quite, Steve. Going into the election Harper and Jason Kenney were doing all they could - and even doing some things they didn't really do (see Komagata Maru pseudu-apology) - to try to win support in so-called "ethnic" ridings.

Firstly the pretext of "ethnic" ridings is wrong - and I would postulate the terminology almost discriminatory in it's nature. When the Conservatives talk "ethnics" they are really talking about those handful of ridings where VISIBLE minorities hold strength. They don't note Italian, or Greek, or other neighborhoods in Canada - areas where the Liberal Party maintains VERY strong support.

The Liberal Party kept our solid core of supporters, and held our ridings represented by many so-called "ethnics". The Conservatives, on the other hand, lost a couple of key visible minority members: Rahim Jaffer (Radio Rahim), and Wajid Khan (still don't know what happened to his report on the Afghan/Pakistan situation)... They eked out a win in Richmond, where they replaced one minority candidate with a more popular one. Even there, friends tell me it was the popularity of the candidate, and the "head-tax" apology, and not "conservative ideology" which won out.

I was at the massive victory party held for Sukh Dhaliwal in Surrey. Ruby Dhalla's private member's bill (on the Komagata Maru situation) really helped. There is a Liberal commitment to offer an apology in the House, and the party will be pushing for it this session, again. Sukh solidified his support in the riding. Funny, though, that some of the people helping him were the same ones who supported Nina Grewal in her win in Fleetwood Port Kells. You see, for a small part of "our" community, it is the "having one of your own" (an "apna") in Parliament that is more important than ideology to a significant portion of our voters - particularly the less politically informed. Of the ones who are more informed, there is a bulk of supporters for the Liberals. I had a comment from one of the "apnas" that stopped by my business this morning. He is a community leader, and has organized many big events, including fund-raising for local hospitals. He told me this... He is a Liberal and a liberal. He said, what he's seen is that people say, "yeah there are a lot of those rednecks and extremists in the Conservative Party", but we'll throw it in their face... We'll elect one of our's, and change it from the inside...". He said, they "think" that's how it will work, but they don't realize how it actually will work, once inside the party mechanism... Then they sit on their hands as back-benchers, and get the odd scrap tossed their way (a chance to read a private member's bill - most likely written by party operatives, or a public "apology" in a blatant attempt at buying votes)...

We saw a "great" example of a South Asian being "accepted" by Conservatives in Edmonton Sherwood Park yesterday. When members of the Conservative riding association, and members of the party-at-large felt that "this outsider" had "stolen" the nomination from them, they turned and supported an independant "conservative" (who supported Stephen Harper). They were so upset by the change that they almost gave an incumbent Conservative seat to an Independant. How's that for a party supportive of minorities? The leadership may make cheap, vote-buying overtures, but they still hate ya... and the party cadres will turn against you. Lucky for Tim he was able to opportunistically run in an area that has been a Conservative bastion since the beginning of time and just barely eke out a victory... Enough Cons didn't want to offend the party, so stuck with "Tim". Congrats to Tim. You're a smart man. Let's hope you are able to stand up for both your riding and your people (all your people).

Minorities - due to the pressures they face in society - tend to stick to liberal values (fical responsibility, social consciousness, support of the middle classes and small business). Even if they happen to carry another flag, they tend to maintain those values. They remain liberal in every sense of the word. New immigrants and minorities have a way of changing the organizations they are involved in for the better... Let's hope the conservative "faithful" are "comfortable" with these changes...

Like my friend said today: "We may not be able to change you by opposing you, but we'll change you from the inside..." It will more likely just cause in-fighting and turmoil (Newbees vs. "establishment"), and these folks will be rendered to the role of "ideological back-benchers" and "tokens". I'm sure that assessment of the party with the conservative ideology is correct.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Best Strategic Votes In Surrey

Best strategic voting choices in Surrey:

Newton North Delta:  Sukh Dhaliwal, Liberal

Fleetwood Port Kells: Brenda Locke, Liberal

North Surrey: Rachid Arab, NDP

South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale: Judy Higginbotham, Liberal

Suggestions are based on current polls and previous election totals.  The progressive vote outnumbers the NeoConservative vote in all these ridings.  If the progressives get together, the only close race would be South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale...

Remember to vote.  Remember to take your ID.  Tell all your friends!

What Comes After E-Day?

What's the best strategy for the next year?  

If there is a (gulp) Conservative minority:  

Perhaps a Conservative minority would help let Harper "wear" the economy a little longer...  When Harper has "worn" the economic slide down into it's depths, it's time for Mr. Dion and Mr. Layton to approach the Governor General and offer to form government - after a vote of non-confidence.  We can - I believe - avoid an election.  We can avoid wasting another $400,000,000 of our money.

If there is a Liberal minority:

We can breathe a sigh of relief.  We can celebrate that our place in the world will be preserved.  Our respectful place on the international scene will be upheld.  Our economy will bounce back, and our environment will be greener.  

A Liberal government will reach out to the world, and bring it's best to Canada.

Why A Liberal Government Would Improve Our Chances In Tough Economic Times...

Beyond the "action plan" and magnificent platform we have, the Liberal Party has several great ways of growing our economy in the troubled times ahead.  

Unlike our Conservative government, Liberals aren't in the habit of pissing off 90% of the world, and leaving only our economically crippled neighbor to the South as a "friend" and trading partner.  

While Conservatives created enemies in South and Central America, Europe, and Asia, Liberal governments build bridges to countries around the world.  While people like Harper and Jason Kenney launched infantile attacks on the Chinese, or the French, or the 90% of the world that supported Kyoto, Liberal governments had "Team Canada Trade Missions" which shored up billions of dollars in new trade for Canadian companies worldwide.  

The Team Canada trade missions alone accounted for a huge part of Canada's economic growth over the past 10 years.  Canadian companies formed new partnerships overseas, sold technologies and resources, and ensured all their "eggs" weren't in the US "basket" (basket-case?).

Liberals have always used their moderate, balanced philosophy to ensure the world had an understanding of Canada, a knowledge of Canada's values, and a RESPECT for Canada, that simply doesn't exist under a Conservative government which hates or mistrusts most of the world; a Conservative government without an independent foreign policy.

Only the wise, balanced, and moderate hand of a Liberal government can rescue Canada from the crisis to come.  Only a party which sits at the center of the political spectrum, and sees a balance of the best ideas of left and right can ensure that the best ideas are adopted in guaranteeing the ascendancy of this great land.  Only a party that is not hung up on one or the other ideological extreme can manage to utilize the "best of both worlds" in ensuring economic success.  Only one party can navigate the right blend of social and developmental programs, economic stimulus packages, and financial policies, that will enable our great land to remain on it's feet.

Only one party - the Liberal Party of Canada!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Door Knocking In Fleetwood Port Kells Today (Greater Vancouver)

Ahhh... What a pleasure knocking an area that is so, so, so much in tune with reality.  Went knocking doors in an upscale part of Fleetwood-Port Kells today (in Surrey).  We were ready to pop corks after the session.  Of the people at home, we had an over 90% "Liberal" ID, and we also had roughly 75% of them agree to a lawn sign.  

We had a couple of "we don't want Nina Grewal to win" comments, and lot's of "we're always Liberal" comments.  When I was placing signs on one street, a young lady waved me over (we had knocked her home earlier, but they weren't home).  She asked for a Brenda Locke lawn sign!  

My Neighborhood is a sea of red.  Looking forward to pulling the vote on Tuesday.  Will post pics in the next few hours.

Hope E-day is as good as today was.  It was certainly a huge confidence boost for our candidate!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Harper Chooses To Spend Weekend Hiding From Serious Allegations

I posted this in response to another blog tonight, but think it bears repeating... all weekend long...

Harper is thinking he will duck the media and their questions this weekend. He is terrified of the ramifications of the Cadman Scandal.

We need to call his bluff, and come out with some statements that he simply MUST answer to... We need to stand up and accuse him of perjury and bribery, or whatever it is that the charges would be with the current allegations.

Mr. Dion has to ask that question every hour, every interview. Make the media SICK of hearing it. If that's all they hear from our guy, SOMEONE WILL HEAR it, and cover it. Harper will either have to come out and speak, or seem to be hiding from the allegations.

Already our narrative should be that Harper is hiding from some very serious charges, and that voters MUST NOT LET HIM HIDE HIS WAY INTO ANOTHER GOVERNMENT...

Harper Will Sell Out Canada - And He's Promising To Do So

"Steve" - Dubya's best buddy has long wanted to dismantle Canada. Our Sub-Prime Minister followed Bush-style NeoConservative policy when he loosened restrictions on "0-down" mortgages, and 40/50 year terms... leading to the weaking of the Canadian financial sector.

There is an election "promise" made by Harper, which may even be MORE INSIDIOUS than what he's already done: Harper has promised to loosen up foreign ownership restrictions so he may - in his words - "stimulate the economy". Hmmm... I guess when your family is in financial hardship you start selling your sofas, beds, TV, kitchen, etc... No talk of stimulating the economy with more green jobs, more infrastructure building (something we badly need in our urban centers). No talk of fixing the safety net for middle and low income Canadians in trying times to come.

Harper will stop at nothing to dismantle Canada as we know it. He's started doing so in an minority situation. He can continue in a minority situation - however, he would really unleash armageddon in a majority.

Here is a guy (and government) who mimed the Bush line of "the fundamentals of our economy are sound" right up to this last week of the campaign. His plan? No plan. Do nothing. Let the storm hit. Support your rich friends and the Oil Patch. Feed the rest of Canada a lot of crap about "having a plan all along" (even though he denied there was a problem).

We can only pray/hope that Harper doesn't even get close to his coveted majority...

PM Allegedly Lied About Courting Cadman With "Financial Considerations"

I don't get it.

Using Harper's own favorite phrase from his limited vocabulary, "let me be very clear": We have a sitting PM, who has obfuscated and lied repeatedly - even gone to court with a frivolous law suit against the Liberal Party - just to try to kill the very real and dangerous (for him) story about the alleged attempted Cadman Bribe by the Conservative Party. From what we are learning today - the tape proves it - Harper was well aware of the bribe attempt.

Are we that morally confused as Canadians, that we would not create uproar over such a heinous scandal (and broken law, to boot) involving the Prime Minister of the Land? After all, it was this very same PM who in the early 2000s spent his life hammering on about a low-level scandal involving (when finally through courts) no-one from the Liberal party? This is the PM who - "let me very clear" again - sat there, cold, while the Cadman Bribe was allegedly going on, and was asking Canadians to support his "accountability"?

There is a real reason to rebuke a sitting Prime Minister, who used such shady tactics to take control (and Mr. Control-freak is all about control):
1) Alleged attempted bribe of an elected official (at least the evidence points that way pretty clearly - it'll have to go to court)
2) Election spending beyond the legal limit (In and Out Scandal) - verified by Elections Canada.
3) Falsely accusing an entire political party of things not nearly as serious as what he and his underlings did to seize control of the country...

Shame. It's a crying shame no-one is asking the serious questions this election. Where is our world-renowned media? Busy making up nothing stories about a born-Quebecer's mastery of the English language? We have a PM who was aware of an alleged (and there is some pretty damning evidence) bribe of another elected official.

Where are the questions?

Conservative Riding Vice President Brings Hundreds of New Supporters To Liberal Campaign

The arrival of former Conservative Fleetwood-Port Kells Riding VP Gurtej Gill brought several thousand supporters to the Brenda Locke Liberal campaign from the South Asian community in Surrey. Liberal campaign volunteers will be spending the weekend updating voter lists, and consolidating new relationships, as the campaign runs into the last few days...

Desperate Nina Grewal officials indicated in the press that "he takes no-one". Mr. Gill - a prominent member of the South Asian community has been a key contact in the community for Harper Conservatives, and was critical in bringing names and numbers to the national Conservative Party over the past several years. They obviously don't understand how politics tends to work in the South Asian communities. The community network if very important. Key spokespersons tend to draw large groups with them. Having said that, the community, for the most part, does see politics like anyone else: watching the news, reading the papers, worrying about the economy our Sub-Prime Minister has wrought, and hearing about "Cadscam".

Looking forward to an exciting weekend of canvassing and vote consolidation...

Harper Continues To Lie About Cad-Scam Affair

This morning, when asked about the confirmation that the Harper/Zytarrick (sp?) tape unaltered/unedited, Stephen did what was expected - he denied it, and literally changed the question! My ears couldn't believe what they were hearing!

Harper actually made a comment like this: "Like we've been saying all along, there are several versions out there, and they've been altered. The Liberals are in trouble in court..." What??? Did he even HEAR the news??? He probably did, but decided to answer it as if the tapes were proven to be altered (which, of course, they were not)...

Liar, liar, pants on fire!

The sad thing is that no-one in the media actually questioned Harper's answer... Not ONE reporter asked Harper what the hell he was talking about. So "Il Duce" got to completely gloss over this MAJOR SCANDAL, on the 3rd last day of the campaign...


(Photo above shows Jason Kenney preaching the "slightly inaccurate" Conservative "gospel". Bunch of liars).

Friday, October 10, 2008

Great Friday Night For Liberals In North America

First we get this news: The Cadman tapes were NOT altered, meaning it is likely our Sub-Prime Minister was not exactly telling the truth about the attempted bribe of an honest man (whose name the Conservatives tried to drag through the mud...). Cadscam forges ahead...

Secondly, Sarah Palin - like other Conservatives we hear about - gets caught breaking the law in Alaska, by abusing power in firing a state official (who happened to have a relationship with her sister).

It is highly likely that the Republican Party, ahem, "helped" with the investigation - hoping as they have that Palin would step aside to let Mitt Romney take on the VP wanna-be role. We know that any change will generate a little excitement right now, and perhaps give the dead campaign of the Republicans a bit of a boost. The immediate impact of the Palin news, however, will be a big dip in the polls. No-one wants to vote for a would-be felon.

Quite a two-fer tonight. I know I'll sleep well - after watching tape of the rally in Brampton.

Go Team!!!

Nina Grewal & Conservatives Suffer Major Setback In Greater Vancouver Riding

Nina Grewal (MP and wife of disgraced Conservative MP, Gurmant Grewal) has suffered a serious setback in her re-election bid as one of her top riding officials (VP - Gurtej Gill) has defected to Brenda Locke's Liberal Team in the suburban Surrey riding of Fleetwood-Port Kells.

While working "on the ground" in the riding, we had come across several such stories, and have also seen a dearth of Grewal lawnsigns... really signifying a ground-swell change in support. Ms. Grewal was recently booed off the stage at a major South Asian function because of her refusal to work with the community to ask Mr. Harper and the Conservatives for an apology in Parliament for the Komagata Maru incident (a major issue with South Asian voters). Harper's "Multi-culturalism" Minister (Jason Kenney) actually indicated that there would be no apology in the house...

Here's the full story from "Surrey Now" - a paper:

DEFECTION: Tory Grewal loses member to Locke's Liberals
Gurtej Gill says he is disillusioned by Surrey candidate and her party's unfulfilled promises
Ted Colley
Surrey Now

Gurtej Gill tells reporters Friday that he is disillusioned by Nina Grewal and Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper.
CREDIT: Brian Howell/The Now
Gurtej Gill tells reporters Friday that he is disillusioned by Nina Grewal and Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper.

A member of Conservative Nina Grewal's Fleetwood-Port Kells riding association executive has defected to the Liberals.

Gurtej Gill showed up at Liberal Brenda Locke's campaign headquarters Friday morning to tell reporters he is disillusioned by Grewal and Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper.

"People are saying she is doing nothing in Ottawa. She should have been very active and be the voice of Fleetwood-Port Kells and she has failed," Gill said.

"Brenda Locke is the right choice, the right voice."

When the story of Gill's defection hit the air on South Asian radio stations Friday, calls started coming in alleging the move was a scam. Callers claimed Gill was a Liberal Party member during the last federal election in 2006, but a check with the party's B.C. headquarters turned up no record of him being a member then.

Gill, who holds several university degrees, said he joined the Conservative Party three years ago and became a member of a multicultural committee that passed along concerns of the local ethnic community to the party leadership.

"They promised things to the community and that never happened. I and my friends sent an email expressing some concerns. Instead of addressing those concerns, we got email asking for funds."

Gill also said the day after this election was called, he was briefly hospitalized with heart trouble. After he got home, he said, no one from the Grewal campaign called to consult him on the election or to ask how he was.

"Even before that I felt isolated. I thought this party would be inclusive. It is not. There is not a link between the party and the people."

Gill said "a lot" of people will follow him to Locke's camp, something Grewal's campaign manager laughed off.

"Much ado about nothing," said Dane Minor.

"I think this was a set-up. I think he joined us to leave us. We got word this was happening and we checked with every member of our executive and they're all solidly behind Nina."

Minor said he only learned last week that Gill had been ill.

"He talked to me after he got out. Until then, I didn't know he'd been in the hospital. That's when I found out why he hadn't been helping with the campaign for four weeks."

Grewal beat Locke in the 2006 federal election by a scant 828 votes. Locke said Gill's move could swing the balance in her favour this time.

"The public is just beginning to become engaged in the election in the last week or so. This is very important," Locke said.

Minor disagreed.

"Will he take a lot of people over with him? No. As a matter of fact, we think nobody."

Le Devoir Notes How Harper Has Distorted Afghan Mission Costs

The huge cost overrun by the Conservatives in the Afghan mission - more accurately, the deception employed to cover up the costs - is the focus of the main story on the Le Devoir website.

Yes, Canadians are concerned when a "government" tells you something will cost $8.1 Billion, tries to cover up the release of the report indicating what the expenses actually would be ($18 Billion), says the report details aren't clear, then tries to change the channel with cheap shots at another leader...

Oh yeah... and Harper doesn't think this is a "peace-making", or "peace-keeping" mission, rather he calls it an "invasion". Tsk, tsk...

Liberal Plan For Current Slowdown

We've heard lots about the Liberal plan for the current economic crisis. Mr. Dion and Team Liberal have some very solid ideas on IMMEDIATELY managing the crisis. It is true that lots of it depends on seeing the Flaherty books - and we ALL know what Flaherty books can look like (just ask Dalton McGuinty).

The 30 day and 50 day plans will certainly help display economic stewardship LED BY A STRONG GOVERNMENT. This is not any different from what is being done in Europe.

I have also heard we will be resuming the Team Canada Trade Missions. This is a brilliant idea. Flaherty and Harper irresponsibly talked up the Canadian dollar so much that it stopped direct foreign investment in Canada. It hurt Canadian manufacturing and industry. It hurt our exports. When Harper and Flaherty talked up the dollar, they also created a situation in which Canadians - a lot of them the Oil Barons of Alberta - were able to invest further in a troubled US economy. Canadian money went offshore. This was sheer folly. By resuming the trade missions to Asia, Europe, and South America, we will send a clear message that Canada is still strong economically, still burgeoning with highly skilled workers, and still the "king" of resources.

I applaud our leaders for thinking of resuming the Trade Missions. We have a very sellable country - under a moderate Liberal government, which paints Canada with the brush of balance and moderation. We certainly have a less sellable country in a land seen as "Bush-light" (isn't that a beer?) led by the Bush stooly Conservative government... which can't even write a speech without Bush's help...

BC Conservative Campaign Tells Voter To Vote GREEN If She Cares About Environment

Breaking story: This morning - as reported on Rogers AM1130 in Vancouver...

A concerned business-person called a local Vancouver Conservative candidate's office (Debra Meredith's office) asking about the Conservative's environmental plan. The campaign told the voter that she should VOTE GREEN if she was concerned about the environment!

We knew the Conservatives have NO PLAN for the environment, but this just highlights it further!

Wow! A campaign actually telling a voter to vote for someone else. That just show's how much negativity there is in the Conservative camp on anything to do with environmental issues.

The kicker? This voter was actually considering voting for Meredith.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Harper Gaffe: Calls "Afghanis-nam" Mission an "Invasion"

Speaking in Richmond BC this morning, Stephen Harper put his foot in his mouth...  He called the Afghan mission/policing action an "invasion".  

An invasion is the last think the Arab world, the Middle East, and the new South Asian reality needs to hear right now.  The terrorists are jumping up and down with glee.  One of their enemies just admitted - to a large audience - that the military action there is an invasion.  Wow!

How does the world view military adventurism?  How do families of soldiers feel, when they learn their child's life was put at risk to "invade" another country?  This statement is purely disrespectful of soldiers and their families...

Meanwhile, while Harper's shock troops try to smear Mr. Dion with the type of attack the Mr. Cretien faced in 1993, the economy tanks...

Harper Continues To Lie To Canadians About Liberal Intentions

Stephen Harper continues to ramble his bs about a "spend happy" Liberal government. This from a man who has led the highest spending government in Canadian history. A man who has flushed our hard-earned dollars down the toilet, in an attempt to shore up support for Big Oil and his rich friends.

Mr. Dion needs to run a tag-line over these last few days of the election telling Canadians:
1) The Harper government is the biggest spending (wasting) in Canadian history
2) Liberals have always bailed out Canada financially, ethically, and socially
3) Harper and Flaherty are the reasons behind the sub-prime challenges in Canada; we HAD strong laws, until these two opened the doors to US-style "0-down" mortgages with super long terms...

According to the CTF (Canadian Taxpayer's Federation - Quoted from an Edmonton Journal article): "As the CTF's Williamson points out, the Tories' record is actually worse than that of the Martin Liberals. "Mr. Martin's fiscal recklessness grew the size of government by 14 per cent over two years," he says. After the Tories' first two years in office, "Ottawa had grown another 14.8 per cent. This is higher than Mr. Martin's appalling record, making Mr. Harper a bigger- spending Conservative."
"The Calgary Stampede received nearly half a million so it could throw Quebec City -- its twin city -- a big party on the occasion of its 400th anniversary".

We've chipped away at Harper's credibility, and his leadership. Mr. Dion has repeated the "telling the truth better in both languages" line a lot. It's a good line - let's move it to later in the speeches.

We've created the small "toe-hold in the door" by casting doubt on the Conservative economic skillset... Now we need to shove our foot through, by repeating the above points at the start of every speech. It needs to be the regular soundbyte that Canadians hear. It also needs to be what they see on TV... Like during hockey on NHL opening weekend. Viewership is going to be high this weekend, with the first games of the season, baseball playoffs, and Thanksgiving.

Oh yeah... one other thing: It IS okay to campaign on Sunday and Monday. I intend to do it. It will be prime time to get people at home and talking to family... People will be sitting with their families, and they will talk. Let's hope there is a good discussion about the future of Canada.

Harper Minority As Dangerous As Majority

A Stephen Harper minority government would be as dangerous for Canada as a majority. Experts believe the election is now "up in the air" - and I agree with them, BUT any result with a Harper government will be extremely bad for Canada...


We have all seen how Harper ruled with his current minority. For two years he bullied and lied and rammed through enough rightist ideas. In another minority situation, Harper would ram his agenda down everyone's throats. He KNOWS that Canadians would be extremely unhappy with yet another election. In tough times, who wants to spend another $300,000,000 on an election? The issue that would force an election would have to be HUGE (capital punishment, abortion, anything constitutional). Many smaller issues - of equal importance to millions of Canadians - would be left by the wayside.

Trends are showing a "statistical tie" in the polls. The trends continue to advance the Liberals at the expense of the Conservatives and NDP. We know that by "E day" - barring any rabbits popping out of hats - there may even be a slight Liberal lead.

Liberals need to ensure we are ALL working hard to ID and pull the vote - and to speak passionately with NDP and Green voters, asking them if they really want another 4 years like the past 2.

Let's all get out there and ensure we have at least a minority Liberal government on Oct. 14th. I think over 2/3s of Canadians want to see Harper sneer his concession speech...

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Harper And The "October Elitist Uprising"

Stephen Harper - our "Sub-Prime" Minister - was able to spend his years in Parliament (and well before) calling various groups elitist. As a matter of fact all neoCons when trying to be "populist" and appealing to the beer-drinking, "average Joe" crowd, try to label anyone else as an "elitist". If you're creative, if you're intellectual, if you've been to University, or College, you may be an "elitist", in the eyes of a Conservative.

To attract the "MidWest", "Middle-America" "lunch box" types, Conservatives have used the "elitist" label. Stolen it right out of the Karl Marx lexicon, and turned it on the very socialists who used to use it on them. You see, those "hard-working" "lunch-box" types were typically card-carrying union members - who should rightly have voted for the party of the left (typically NDP). They would typically have referred to the "old money", business owning, corporate Conservative types as the elitists... You know, the Conrad Blacks and Rupert Murdochs of the world - who hobnobbed with the rich and famous, and cross the world in private jets. These elitists (true to the definition) were the "better than us" bunch who were always at odds with the unions who operated their shops, newspapers, factories, etc.

Conservatives knew they had to do something about this left-wing block of votes. They began to erode it with a macho image of "hard decisions", "tough thinking", and using the military as the "common bond" between the poor (who are the cannon-fodder) and rich (who sell the weapons to both sides). They dubbed the leading thinkers of the Western Liberal Democracies as "elitists". They claimed that these teachers, professors, lawyers/adjudicators, and artists were "elite". Never mind the true definition of elite, these guys used it like a dirty word.

You see, Conservatives know that if anyone questions them and their neoCon principles, it won't be the 12-14 hr/day laborer, or the equally hard-working business owner (corporate denizens won't either - they're part of the philosophy - the real elitists). No, it will be the teachers, professors, scientists, and artists who will question conservatives and Conservative ideology. It will be these groups who have done the research to know the differing realities. It will be these groups who study the repurcussions of different policies and ideologies.

So Conservatives have spent lifetimes bashing innocent, hard-working, intelligent citizens, who want nothing better than to advance society - to see progression in our institutions, and in our nation.

In a nation controlled by a corporate media - flooding the average citizen with "anti-liberal" sentiment, this strategy would work. In the US, the word "liberal" has become a dirty word. Anyone more liberal than that is labeled a "communist". The military/industrial/media complex controls US "group-think" completely. Only outside - world - influences will change America. The collapse of their economy, and their reliance on foreign capital will cause internal change. In Canada, we are still lucky to have an active social consciousness, active unions, and some free media (meaning not corporate controlled). Journalists in Canada seem to still have some scrupples left.

What we've seen in the past two years has been Harper and the Canadian Reform movement's attempts to weaken our nation, make way for North American Union, and basically become a "branch office" for Washington, and US "Big Oil/Big Industry".

In the past couple of weeks we have seen the wheels fall off Harper's plan. He has called people "liberal elitists" once too often. When you call people something they aren't, they might just get angry. When you call struggling artists "elitists who go to tax-payer funded galas" you really start to piss people off. When you call Canada's top scientists and economists "ivory tower elitists", you HAVE to know it is going to come back and bite you in the ass.

The fact is Harper has been hoodwinking Canadians by scapegoating an entire section of Canadian society as "ivory tower elitists" - when they are the farthest thing from elitists. Sure, some of us like a glass of wine over beer. Sure some of us have university degrees or better. Sure some of us attend fund-raising dinners. And certainly, some of us prefer Cafe Artegianno over "Tim's"... But we're all still "regular" people. Not the "ivory tower elitists" that people like Harper take their marching orders from. You know THOSE elitists. They control the media: people like Conrad Black. They control Big Oil. They run companies like Enron (into the ground), or Halliburton, or NBC/GE, or ABC/Disney, etc.

This week the "elitists" came home to roost. Artists held concerts across Canada to combat the Conservative attack on their livelihoods. Scientists spoke out about the Harper government's failures in the Lysteriosis outbreak. Scientists spoke out about the benefits of a carbon tax. Lastly, but not least, ECONOMISTS - 230 of Canada's TOP economists - spoke in FAVOR OF a carbon tax in combatting climate change, and how it is better for the economy.

Harper has woken a hornet's nest, and now he will pay. Let's just hope there is a change in government, or we'll be back to the bullying tactics of the past two years - and another $300000000 to change it!

The Conservative scapegoating mentality is dangerous for democracy, and Harper's abuse of it has proven that... Allowing Canada to go down the US path (something the Harper Reformers tried to do here) will mean control of our country handed to MNCs, mega-media, and Big Oil (primarily), with other bit-player ideologues taking their piece - until nothing is left but the 51st state.

The October "Elitist Uprising" may just have staved off the first serious effort to destroy Canada since the 1812 War.

Nina Grewal & "Sub-Prime Minister" Continue To Say "No" To South Asians...

Harper's non-apology to the South Asian community and Jason Kenney's comments about "hot-headed Sikhs", as well as his blunt "no" to South Asians (regarding an apology for the Komagata Maru issue in Parliament), is continuing to trouble the South Asian community across Canada.

Here is an excerpt from the South Asian Link (large circulation South Asian paper). A description of the Maru incident is also included:

Indo-Canadian Organization Makes Komagata Maru Apology An Election Issue

Liberal leader Stephane Dion promised to apologize for the racist Komagata Maru incident in parliament during a campaign stop in Surrey last weekend.
By R. Paul Dhillon
SURREY – The Professor Manmohan Singh Memorial Foundation (Canada) has brought the Komagata Maru apology front and centre by taking out full page ads in Indo-Canadian newspapers, including the LINK with this message:
“South Asian Community Is Asking - Hon. Prime Minister Stephen Harper – WHY NOT KOMAGATA MARU APOLOGY IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS?”
The advertisement is signed Sahib Thind and Jasbir Sandhu – the heads of the Professor Manmohan Singh Memorial Foundation (Canada), which has long been championing the apology and recognition of this wrong.
Thind and Sandhu made national headlines in July when Prime Minister came to their annual Gadhri Babeyan Da Mela to presumably announce when the apology will be given in the House of Commons instead the Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered the apology to the gathered community members at Bear Creek park prompting criticism from the community which once again felt like being treated as second class citizen.
Thind and Sandhu also lashed out at the PM and his minion Jason Kenney saying the two had used the organization for their own purposes despite promises that Harper and Kenney were going to only announce the date of the apology.
In a brief interview with the LINK, Thind said it is important that we keep this message of the apology front and centre at election time because it is very important to the community that we get recognition for this historical wrong at the right place which is in parliament.
“We’ve decided to do this to make sure our voices are heard by all parties and that the Komagata Maru apology is the single most important thing for our community’s long and shining history in Canada,” Thind said.
Liberal leader Stephane Dion, who has previously supported the apology in the House, confirmed that his government will apologize for the racist Komagata Maru incident in parliament during a campaign stop in Surrey last weekend.
"I committed to an apology for the Komogata Maru tragedy in the House of Commons more than a year and a half ago," said Dion. "Prime Minister Stephen Harper's decision to address this in a political stump speech to avoid recognizing this injustice in Parliament is disrespectful."

Dion was speaking to an enthusiastic crowd of more than a thousand supporters in Surrey, British Columbia when he renewed his commitment to apologize on behalf of all Canadians in the House of Commons.

"The South Asian community deserves more. They deserve an official and respectful apology delivered in the House of Commons to provide closure on this issue," he said.

In 1914, the Komagata Maru steamliner arrived in Vancouver, British Columbia carrying 376 passengers from Punjab, India. The ship was kept in Vancouver Harbour for two months while the Conservative government of the day evoked the Continuous Passage rule to prevent its passengers from landing in Canada. With the passengers on the ship on the brink of starvation, the Komagata Maru returned home under the guns of a Canadian naval vessel.
Dion went on to pay tribute to the community organizations who have worked for acknowledgment of this important issue and of Liberal caucus members who have been so supportive.

"South Asian community organizations have been fighting for recognition of this injustice for years and feel betrayed by Mr. Harper's indifference," he said. "And I also want to recognize MP Sukh Dhaliwal for working so closely with these organizations for so many years and MP Ruby Dhalla for successfully passing her Private Member's Bill requiring an apology in the House of Commons."

Dion closed by noting that comments from the Conservative's Multicultural Minister Jason Kenney about this issue and the community in general underscore that the Conservatives are insensitive.
"Mr. Kenney's response that, 'the apology has been given and it won't be repeated' is nothing short of insulting," he said.
22 Sep 2008 by editor

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

In Last Ditch Effort To Shore Up Core Supporters, Harper Talks Senate Reform

** When he thought a slim majority was in reach Slick Steve our "Sub-Prime Minister" was very careful not to rock the boat on sensitive issues that required the Constitution to be "re-opened". Now, with a week to go in the election campaign, and Conservative hopes fading all over (yes, even in Alberta they are taking a hit), Harper has reintroduced his talk of Senate reform.

Why now? Harper needs to ensure his "base" of right-wing reformers show up at the polls. He needs them to have a reason to come out. This is what he says:

"Speaking on Monday in Ottawa, Harper said his plans to reform the Senate are full of "common sense" and that he will proceed with the proposals if his Conservatives are re-elected next week."

More details can be found here (including Quebec's immediate response)...

But... there is probably more to this than simply a desperate attempt to "shore up the core". Harper has always been bent on the break-up of the nation, and delivering more power to Alberta and his right wing cohorts who seem to "rule" rural Canada. Seeing his chances to govern (let alone a majority) disappear, Harper is now playing what he thinks is a "hail Mary" in an attempt to muddy the waters, get his core out to vote, and put Quebec into play.

What should any true Canadian think of all this? Well, it's simply Harper reverting back to "Firewall Steve" when desperate times arrive. He wants to change the Canadian discussion to one of constitution, rather than one of economy.

Beware Canada. Mr. Hidden Agenda - our "Sub-Prime Minister" is out of the bag... Remember too, that this is all coming from a "PM" whose very first "Prime Ministerial" task was to appoint an unelected Senator - a Conservative hack - into the Senate.

How's THAT for lacking any shame?

**Credit for the image goes to the artist - MacKay Editorial Cartoons***

Trudeau Visits Fleetwood Port Kells in Surrey

Justin Trudeau campaigned in Fleetwood Port Kells in Greater Vancouver Tuesday night. After a couple of hours knocking doors Mr. Trudeau attended a standing room only reception at the campaign office of Liberal candidate Brenda Locke. Apparently some NDP campaign workers crossed the street from their office to catch a glimpse of the young dynamo.

Mr. Trudeau was very well-received, and his immense popularity was quite evident. Justin had a good discussion with residents, and spoke eloquently on what it means to be Canadian.

The Trudeau name lives on in Canadian politics

Sub-Prime Minister Harper Moves Against Youth Downloading Music & Movies

The Sub-Prime Minister intends to re-introduce Bill c-61. This is the controversial bill to make MP3 downloads illegal. Combine that with Harper's desire to jail 14 year olds, and it's a recipe for disaster. Imagine a prison system packed full of 14 year old "MP3 felons"... Wow. Talk about punitive!

What Mr. Harper fails to understand is that there WAS a deal established by the previous Liberal government and the Recording Industry Association, which levied a small amount on every single blank CDR/RW, DVDR/RW, and all other blank media. This "deal" put the collected tax/levy directly into the hands of the recording industry. End of story.

Now, with lobbying and pressure from the big industry - as well as the Conservative's "monkey-see-monkey-do" attitude towards policy in the US, Harper has attempted (once already in the last session) to give the recording industry even more.

Nowhere has Harper indicated he would cut the initial levy. So, we will suffer twice (once when we buy the blank media, and once when we pay for the policing required to charge anyone who downloads movies and music). As far as any Canadian should be concerned, any music or video download is completely legal.

Time for young people all over Canada to wake up to this new reality...

Remember: Harper intends to put 14 year-olds in adult prison, and NOW, he's going to make your MP3 downloads "illegal". Put those two together, and you can see what most sane people see: Harper is unleashing an unprecedented attack on Canada's youth.

Economic Experts: Carbon Tax Is Correct Way To Go

That's right, "economic" experts - not just environmental experts - are completely supporting the carbon tax as the best thing for the economy. Today 220 of Canada's top economists (note: Stephen Harper our "Sub-Prime Minster" is NOT one of them) stood together in firm support of the carbon tax.

It appears that Canada's top economists are very concerned about continued neoConservative government! Here is the complete story from the Ottawa Citizen (and obviously in other CanWest Papers today). These are economists who "wrote the book" on economics in Canada. Quite literally: the head of the group is responsible for "Economics" a text book used throughout Canadian universities...

Oh yeah... and these experts aren't even considering the income tax cuts the Liberals are proposing to offset the carbon tax... Wow! an economists approved plan that ALSO gives us all a tax break? It's what we've been saying for months - while all Harper had was Puffin poop.

Meanwhile, all our Sub-Prime Minister can do is suggests Canadians are in a "good time to buy stock". Yeah right Steve, with what money? Should we sell our homes for less than we bought them?