Saturday, November 29, 2008

Why We MUST Go Now...

It is imperative we go now. There are several reasons:

1) We need to save Canadians from punitive measures being taken by the Conservatives - which would only benefit the top 5% of Canadians who own 95% of the property in Canada

2) We need to save Parliament from the childish shennanigans of $hithead #1 and his evil henchmen

3) The economy needs a "steady hand" from experienced fiscal managers - this is the Liberal Party. We were the party who saved Canada from Mulroney's record deficits. We won't let another Conservative bury Canada - especially one who so openly hates Canada and all it's institutions that he has put it down on paper and given talks to foreign political groups on the subject

4) Canadians have HAD ENOUGH

5) And finally,the leadership race will be about electing the NEXT PM, which will mean we will sell a LOT more memberships - including Canadians outside the party, who want a say in who the leader will be.

This will be HUGE for fund-raising. HUGE.

Let's pull the plug on Harper and his Henchmen, and watch our party coffers grow...

I Support The Liberal Victory Fund

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Poilievre Calls NDP "Socialists" - Shades of McCain/Palin?

So Today, Conservative $hithead #4 (Pierre Poilievre) is busy calling the NDP "socialists". Hmmm... What DIDN'T the Conservatives take from the "Repug"lican playbook? I'm sure there are a lot of unemployed "repugs" up here helping them out... (as they have in the past).

$hithead #4 also called the Bloc "separatists"? For months the Conservatives haven't used that word. In an affront to Quebecers, they've been playing nice to sovereignists (yes, that would be the correct term), in an attempt to buy votes in that province. My how times have changed. I think they gave up on Quebec all-together after the last election. Somewhere around the time that the attack on the arts blew up in $hithead #1's face.

In case you're not familiar with the $hitheads, here they are:

1) $hithead #1 - Harper

2) $hithead #2 - Flaherty

3) $hithead #3 - Baird

4) $hithead #4 - Poilievre

Feel free to continue down the list of Conservative MPs. Don't forget Rob Anders.

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When Conservatives Attack: Harper's Coming Attack Ads and Attack Dogs...

We all knew the conservative "shocktroops" would be out in number this next week lying to the public - as usual. That's the whole reason we have this one week blockage of Opposition Days by the Harpocrites. Harper's only political policy is all-out blitzkreig. This is why he is not a diplomat, and his party reflects this. He is an angry little man, with passive aggressive tendencies.

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So the lame-duck PM's Chief of Staff has sent a letter to the bloggers, talk-show callers, and other minions - including MPs - to start the rhetoric. Ads will be coming. 10%ers? Of course. Why not continue to use tax-payer funds for partisan use Steve? You're going to get investigated anyway. Might as well go for the gusto, you f@cking piece of $hit (yeah, that's the nicest words we can find for Harper, after what he and Deficit Jim have done to the surplus - and the way they gave the finger to Canadians in need).

Remember, Steve, what happens to pieces of $hit... You all invariably get flushed down the toilet. Go ahead. Sic your dogs on the public. Lie, lie, lie, and lie some more. It's you. You're THAT GUY.

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Harper calls the opposition parties - who are using pure Parliamentary procedure - "undemocratic". Speaking of undemocratic, Harper wants to kill opposition. How "undemocratic" is that? I sense another person with a 6 letter last name starting with "H" coming on... Harper is the one trying to make Canada a totalitarian dictatorship. Who else runs a country in minority (when he does not have the support of 2/3s of it) like a majority? Who else tries to put in place measures which would effectively end opposition?

Are Conservative members (especially the trolls on this blog - but others too) really so stupid that they don't understand that even their great heroes in the USA have a fully funded primary system, which is paid for by tax-payers? That's right... All the battles you watched between Clinton and Obama, and the Repugs were tax-payer paid. And they will continue to be.

Meanwhile Liberal fundraisers are collecting record amounts...

I Support The Liberal Victory Fund

Thank's to Sinestra for posting this letter/email from Guy DiGiourno...

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Friday, November 28, 2008

This Is Precious

Precious, isn't it?  

A Prime Minister who oversaw the dissolution of one political party (The PROGRESSIVE Conservatives) with his chief conspirator (Peter MacKay), to form a coalition (even though MacKay had signed his name to a document saying he wouldn't kill the old PC Party), is crying about a democratic coalition between parties which represent 63% of the electorate. 

Harper is a two-faced, lying, angry, venom-filled, vindictive "little man".  He deserves to go down in flames for the countless games he's played over the past two years.

Time for the Conservative scandals to be made public.  Time for the books to be opened.  Let's see just how "excellent" Canada's financial position is...

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This Is Precious

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The MPs ARE THE PEOPLE, And The People Are Speaking...

This thing can't stop now. If we back off, the Cons will introduce the party funding issue all by itself later on, and we will end up with the opposition having to defeat the government over that issue alone...

It will get ugly, but we need to fight back.

63% of the Country didn't vote Conservative, and now they are ALL uniting together to overthrow Harper who is only a small angry minority. Canadians are speaking through their MPs - which is the way a Parliamentary democracy works.

This is not the American Republic - where the President rules... The elected MPs ARE THE PEOPLE, and they are speaking.

A coalition is THE MOST DEMOCRATIC FORM OF GOVERNMENT, as it shows "mature", diplomatic people coming together to agree to govern a nation.  The world's largest democracy has had coalitions for most of the past 50 years (India).  It has allowed to inclusion of a broad range of peoples with often differing views - people who often trade gunshots, not just words.

A coalition proves people CAN work together - the purest form of democracy.  

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Ralph Goodale For PM In Coalition Government

We need a steady economic hand with strong ties to the NDP in charge in Ottawa. Mr. Goodale fits that bill. He has built working relationships with people of all political persuasions. He is a true diplomat and very politically savvy. Mr. Goodale knows the government intimately - he understands departments and cabinet roles. He has held the "top posts" in Cabinet, and he is a pit bull in Parliament. Believe me, we will need a "pitt bull" in the months to come if we defeat this Conservative government... If we think they're an angry lot now, just see what happens when they're back in the Opposition benches. It will get ugly before it get's "nice". They will curb sharply back to their Neo-Conservative ideological bent, and try to do anything to color all the opposition as a bunch of "left-wing commies" (their words).

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Our only answer will be good governance (as in the time of Mr. Pearson's minorities).

Mr. Goodale is an exceptional manager, extremely intelligent, and yet has the "retail political skills" required to be a shrewd master in the turbulent times to come. He has shown his vast economic skills in working as Finance Minister, and building up a contingency fund for Canadians (which Harper's Cons have squandered).

With a change in government, Harper will also be ousted as leader of his party. A Western Liberal leader, who is familiar with Rural and Urban issues, as well as a strong advocate for the West, will be just the person to steer us through the times where we MAY gain Western seats with a disorganized Conservative Party in disarray.

Ralph Goodale would be the best choice for PM in the months and years ahead - in a coalition government.

I Support The Liberal Victory Fund

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Conservative Back-down Not Good Enough...

The Conservative "fiscal update" is a joke.  While we have to look into whether Harper just wants to "give up" government while the economy tanks (to let the Lib/NDP government wear it), we need to look into a coalition.  We have people like Ralph Goodale in a potential cabinet (maybe even as leader - he has the presence as House Leader), and other seasoned professionals, who actually understand how Canada's economy works.  

Mr. Goodale would be the best choice in Ottawa to steer Canada out of the fiscal crunch.  As former Sask. Liberal Leader, he was the single person responsible for taking on the Grant Devine Conservatives in their spend happy ways (tax cuts, of course) during the recession of the 80s.  He has always been known as a "steady financial hand".  In Ottawa Mr. Goodale proved his mettle as Finance Minister, ably steering the budgetary waters, keeping a growing contingency fund in hand.  

Ralph Goodale will have to be a key part of any process to bail Canada out of "hawk" now...  before the Harper gang has a giant garage sale, and visits the pawn brokers to boot.  Ralph is a "pit bull" in Parliament, and his presence in Ottawa has been immense these past several years.  He has the best cabinet experience of all Liberals currently sitting in Ottawa.  In this time of economic peril, we need a leader, and a PM who understand intimately EVERY major cabinet role, and the workings of each department.  We do not have the time to watch someone like Harper, or someone from another party, have to learn about government and the various departments.  We need a leader who can step in with a working knowledge of government, of departments, and of the world around them (the WHOLE world, not just the USA).

NO, the Conservative back-down on one minor issue is not enough.  Time for parties with a conscience to step up and govern Canada responsibly.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Maybe Harper Doesn't Want To Be PM Right Now?

Just a Thought...

Harper and Flaherty know some dark stuff about our fiscal balance sheets... Maybe we have NO MONEY for bailouts? Maybe he's decided to "stand down" and let someone else "wear" the economic situation?

Perhaps the "situation" is far, far, far worse than Canadians have been led to believe by Harper and his gang? Maybe he WANTS to get defeated, then work at defeating a broke and "fundless" government?

Just a thought...

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Note To MPs: Counter Con Offer With Tight Caps On Election Spending

We can modify this Conservative proposal and save even MORE tax-payer funds:

1) Put a moratorium on non-writ period spending and ads

2) Put a much, much smaller cap on election spending (this will make the field a lot fairer). It will allow smaller parties to compete, and force the politicians to actually TALK TO THE VOTERS, rather than hide behind slick ads... Election spending costs the tax-payers in REBATES. A rich Conservative Party can tap into more REBATES from the tax-payers. Why don't we cut that as well? It's time we consider it.

Let Harper have his way, but let's add the above changes. If these two WesternGrit suggestions are adopted, then there is no way the imbalance between Conservative riches and Lib/NDP/Bloc/Green poverty will mean anything.



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Harper's Special Interest Group Funding...

The Conservative minority government is gunning for the opposition (again). This time they want to end public funding of what are pretty much "public" organizations (the parties).

Conservatives CLAIM they raise their funds from individual donors... What a load of hoey... If the NDP were to get donations from Union Members who are told/implored by their unions to donate and the Conservatives bitch about that, then what right do they have to claim ANY of their donations?



A bulk of Conservative donations come from Church groups who are organized. No different than unions, these "special interest" groups the Conservatives have tapped into are driving the majority of funds raised by the Conservative Party. Are the Conservatives "better" at fund-raising? I think not. They have simply tapped into a special interest lobby that no-one has recognized as one yet. Everyone takes pot-shots at union groups or "big business", but who is speaking out about the bulk of Conservative donations which come from individuals told to do so by their church? I mean, c'mon, I think a "message from God" is far more potent than what your union or boss tells you to do...

The special interest groups the Conservatives tap into are as "wrongly" (or rightly) involved as the ones the NDP and Liberals tap into. Just how much money do groups like the Gun lobby, anti-choice groups, and "crime victims" give to the Conservative Party via the "proxy giving process"? A LOT. The Conservative "base" are these very same groups.



It's time we make some noise about the Conservative's own special interests... but also highlight the hypocracy. Can we stop individuals (that represent their church's wishes) from donating? Of course not. But it is organized behaviour run by organizations that share the Conservative's ideological bent. Perhaps we look at regulation to enforce "equal time for speakers" within all these organizations? Of course we shouldn't. What we need to do instead, is maintain public funding based on votes... in the long run...

What appears to be happening, is that Conservatives are also fearing the next election. They cannot compete with a resurgent Liberal Party, that will have votes from Coast to Coast, and funds from an amazing number of Canadians - translated into funds. This is their pre-election "shot across the bow". Will it pass? Only the Opposition can decide.



I'm in favor of our party focusing on the financial crisis, and letting this thing through. Once we're back in power, we can put it back - if we need to... In the meantime, we can actually REALLY renew the party by bringing a strong focus on fund-raising to the leadership contest.

Let's take the challenge and renew our fundraising process. It will be good for the party in the long run.

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Send Harper A Message - Join The Victory Fund!

Am I pissed off about the childish Conservative proposal to kill funding for political parties?  Sure.  But I'm more pissed off at lazy Liberals who haven't taken the time to sign up for the Victory Fund.  

We know we have a lot of support out there folks.  C'mon... what will it take?  If you simply donate $20/month, that's like a coffee a week, or a few beers down at the pub.  How important is democracy to all of us?  How important is our party?

Send Harper A Message - Join The Liberal Victory Fund!

My thoughts on this challenge?  I think it's good that Harper did it.  He's going to piss off an awful lot of Liberals, and I think he's not going to be happy with the results.  Liberals WERE thinking that a 308 seat strategy was key to rebuilding party funds, and increasing vote totals per riding...  I think that route to financial stability can now be put aside.  I think a pure drive for funds, memberships, and membership in the Victory Fund, will be key now.

Harper may have woken a sleeping giant.  Time to mobilize, fellow Liberals!

Get pissed off Liberals - join the Victory Fund!

Send Harper a message - join the Victory Fund!

Send Harper A Message - Join The Liberal Victory Fund!

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Deplorable Terrorist Attacks On Mumbai

Time to send in the MARCOs (India's elite Marine Commandos)?

Shocking news out of India this morning. It is certainly going to make travel a challenge, and cause people to be more careful in public places. My mother is currently in Northern India, visiting family. Her residence is close to the national Capitol buildings in New Delhi, so I expect to hear much more about security measures on the phone tonight...

I frequented Mumbai many a time when I studied in South Coastal India. I will always remember the city as "Bombay", as it has been in all my visits. I've been to the Taj, and the Obroi... both Bombay landmarks. These hotels are grand beyond what Western standards can fathom for "7 diamond/5 star" hotels. Imagine the National Geographic specials you've seen highlighting hotels in Dubai in the UAE. Luxury hotels in India are very similar. While there are very modern conveniences in the country, the modernity cannot hide the ancient. The ancient which often hides ghettos, ethnic enclaves, and dark alleys that can harbor all sorts of criminal activity and easy access to any type of weapon (typically smuggled into India in exchange for drugs on secluded coastal stretches. As foreign students, we were admonished to stay FAR away from the beaches at night).

The city of Mumbai has been festering for quite some time - despite the modern luster of "Bollywood" and India's trade and finance sector. High incidence of underworld crime, ethnic crime, and ethnic ghetto-ization has led to regular flare-ups, which seem to be getting worse and worse. Not sure who's to blame - it could be one of a variety of groups (Kashmiri separatists, Separatist tribal groups from East India, gangs trying to destabilize local politics, people upset about the economy, etc.).

While Indian democracy rolls along, every now and then it needs to stand up to separatist "balkanizing" challenges from various groups. They will overcome this, as they have other threats in the past. The collective voices of 1 billion + citizens wanting peace, security, and secularism cannot be overlooked.

I pray that religious extremists and rabble-rousers don't take this opportunity to take out their hate on scapegoat groups. Terrorism is a crime, pure and simple. Let the established police agencies handle it, and don't assume that every member of a particular group is a terrorist because of some act that roughly a few one-billionths of the population did.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

One Bald Guy Is A Xenophobic Idiot... (You Decide Who)

I read a little in the blogs today about the Astral Media radio show ("Two Bald Guys with Strong Opinions"), and opinions mouthed off by one of the hosts, Michael Coren. Discussing contract talks between the instructors' union at York University, Coren rips into a caller about her "accent", stating that she should not be teaching if English isn't her first language (something entirely unrelated to the conversation at hand). For many reasons, these comments struck a vein with me. Coren's comments are appalling AND racist. If we were to discriminate against everyone who had "an accent", we wouldn't have anyone teaching... I mean, let's see...

Let's remove teachers who have the following accents:
- UK (England/Scot/Ire/Wales)
- German
- Dutch
- American South (ever try understanding what a Southerner is saying? Good luck)
- Western Canadians (we don't sound like Easterners, and we know it)
- Rural folks (hey, we know there are different inflections in accent from city to country)
- Atlantic Canadians (an obvious one)

See what I mean? Idiocy has no bounds... Racism has no place in our culture.

Do people like Coren have trouble UNDERSTANDING different accents (when most of the population can), or is it that they just DON'T LIKE the accent? Do they prefer to make fun of some sorts of accents, while preferring others? This all reminds me of the movie "Idiocracy", where the clowns running the country had trouble understanding "normal" middle-American accents because all speech was a combination of "Hillbilly", "Urban", and something else I don't recall.

The Coren story struck a personal note for me. My father - a first generation immigrant - was a student at IIT (Illinois Institute of Technology), then at Cal Berkeley (as a grad student in Medical Sciences). He and thousands of other students from abroad were openly courted by the Canadian Government and Provincial Education Departments. In the early 60s, he became one of a large number of immigrant teachers on the rural Prairies. He often describes to me how he first arrived at Broadview Sask. on an STC bus at 3am in a snowstorm. The hotel clerk greeted him with a shotgun (seriously). When he showed the clerk his papers, and the job offer from Corning School, he exclaimed, "Oh, you're the new teacher!" and quickly got a bed going. He roused his wife to make Dad dinner... They were eagerly awaiting a new teacher. Turns out Canada had a complete lack of Math and Science teachers. So much so, that they were recruiting students of the sciences in foreign schools.

My father went on to teach for 40 years (including time as a school principal), then added roughly 10 years at the college level, teaching dental hygienists, dental assistants, and dental therapists (he had a strong background in medical sciences). The school division (in rural Sask) that had made him principal had begged him not to go, but he had always wanted to teach college. His years at the college - right next to the Regina General Hospital - were a joy for him. His co-workers were great, and his students were respectful and appreciative of his vast knowledge. I can't walk into a dental office in Sask (even in Alberta, and as far as places in BC) where I don't find one of Dad's students (there are few colleges teaching hygienists in Western Canada, and very few instructors).

When it came time to retire, my father's college also asked him to "please stay". He had put together program manuals, and teaching guides for all the courses, and had put a pretty strong stamp on all the courses at the school. My father wanted to stay, but needed another year in the school system to get a better level of pension. His old director of education was a member of a school board near Regina, and hearing that Dad was looking, quickly hired him as a Sciences and Maths teacher. He even got to teach entry level Computer Science!

My father retired from almost 50 years of teaching at the High School and College levels, including years as an administrator. His students won provincial science fairs. His students won scholarships. His students won Leftenant Governer's awards. His students went on to doctorates, and Medical Schools, and Dental Schools. His students provide dental health throughout Canada. His students also teach: 3 members of one family in one small hamlet in rural Saskatchewan all became teachers, and all were taught by my father... He also tutored many others after school. He even spent time coaching volleyball and badminton.

In the mid-90s my father was put in a book about Saskatchewan immigrants. He and several others like him were celebrated for their pioneering work in small town prairie schools. My father managed all of this as a first generation immigrant. Did he have an accent? A little. Nothing worse than any of the Canadian regional twinges... Could his students understand and appreciate what he had to say? Did his students learn? His record (above) speaks for itself.

Reading my father's story, I think one can appreciate the tremendous positive influence immigrant teachers have had on education in Canada. People like Michael Coren have a long way to grow before they can appreciate the reality of Canada's multicultural heritage. Comments like Coren's highlight why we Canadians have a long way to go before we can claim we're seeing the decline of racism. Racism still exists in the most subtle - and not-so-subtle ways.

Immigrants bring much more to Canada than "slightly funny" accents that "Joe Idiots" can make fun of. They have helped build a nation. If it wasn't for immigrants, we may not have a country (as we know it). Asian laborers were required to build the railways, hew forests, and build ports. Without the rail connection to the West, BC, and perhaps Alberta and Sask. would be part of the US right now.

Immigrants like my father built education systems in rural Prairie and Northern hamlets... in villages where outhouses were still commonplace into the 1970s. My father and immigrant scientists like him helped assemble the first science labs and classrooms in Prairie schools that had not even considered science as a "necessary" discipline (they taught textbook science, but labs were rare in those days). Thousands and thousands of Canadian students today are "turned on" to science because of the influence of people like my father.

There's "free speech", then there's "idiot speech", and we can be confident that Mr. Coren of Astral Media preaches the latter. Yes he has a strong opinion, similar to how a skunk has a strong scent. Belittling people with racist ideas is as harmful as assaulting someone. Only someone who's been on the receiving end can even begin to fathom that. People like Coren give life to whole mob of "hate speechers", and provide fodder for the hate-mongers of Canada. Then they wonder why a tiny sub-community of particularly marginalized immigrant youth organize into groups to stick up for themselves - using force, if necessary. Marginalize people and live with the consequences. Accept people and reap the rewards.

Let them know you care... Contact Astral and give them a piece of your mind:

Astral Media Radio Contact information:

Mr. Ross Davies, Vice President Programming,

Astral Media Radio Phone number: 416-323-5200


The CRTC is Canada’s government agency responsible for regulating Canada’s broadcasting and telecommunications systems. Register a complaint about the conduct of Mr. Coren.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Dominator Said To Attract "Up To 20%" Of Delegates - Only 2 Weeks In...

So recent editorializing says that Dominic Leblanc could take 20% of delegates in our leadership race. I would say, don't count "the Dominator" out - naming him only "King-maker" just yet. Heck, if they're estimating 20%, he may just be looking at 30-40% before this race is up...

Some folks in LiBlog-land are challenged with the assertion by some that only a young candidate can affect change. I don't think only "young" candidates advocate renewal - everyone is. I just think that a young candidate IS renewal. Having a 40 year old at the helm (my age) would bring an entirely new level of world experience and life experience to our leadership.

To be a new party, we need to espouse young ideas. This is what "change" (I promise not to use that word too frequently again this post) is all about. I can guarantee that many of my ideas, and my life outlook are far different than Mr. Rae's or Mr. Ignatieff's.

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While this blog won't endorse any candidate at this point, we will speak out to "clarify" reality as we see it every now and then. Generational change IS real change. There is no way around that... On an extreme, an 18 year old and a 65 year old are going to have very different views of the world too.

If we wish to engage the youth of this nation (as Obama has in the US) we need to be able to relate to them. Young ideas need to be espoused. Prime Minister Trudeau had many youthful ideas, and this is why the young of Canada embraced him in the 60s and 70s. He was a well-traveled, well-educated, worldly person, who knew how to keep Canada young and "fresh".

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

"One person can make a difference and every person should try"

November 22nd, 1963. A day the world mourned the loss of a great man. One of our greatest statesmen - John Fitzgerald Kennedy...

American has been wanting for such a statesman since. Americans have only been able to look north of the border with jealous eyes as Pearson, then Trudeau carried forth diplomacy and statesmanship in a way never seen in this world.

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There are a million great quotes from this great man, but this is one that bears particular importance and relevance to our national situation (and Party situation):

"Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly.'"

Leadership will be - increasingly so, this time - about ideas. Mr. Laurier, Pearson, Trudeau, even Chretien (resolving to stay out of Iraq) ran with ideas which did not necessarily have broad popular support. Perhaps even very little support. They knew they could fail at any given time, but they held their Liberal values close, and in the end, prevailed.

It's time for one man to make a difference... For one to dare to fail miserably - and out of it all, achieve greatly. We have the people. We have the ideology, and we have the drive.

Dare to achieve, fellow Liberals!

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"Make No Mistake", Harper's Arrogance "Is Beyond The Pale"

A couple of phrases Harper loves to regurgitate (in our title). A true "tell" of genius is the ability/capacity to use a variety of terminology when speaking. Harper, quite obviously, isn't quite there yet.

Harper is a drop-out ego-maniac, and certainly not an "economist". He has continually rejected the advice of the country's top (and a vast majority of) experts.

What exactly do we say in private life about a business manager (or head of household) who refuses to take advice, is a "know-it-all", and is a control freak? On-the-way-out. That's what. If you're an overbearing head of household, expect a divorce. If you're an arrogant, know-it-all business manager who never takes the advice of his/her team, consider your days with the company numbered....

It's a wonder the national media continues to sweep this story under the table. I guess advertising revenue from Big Oil, big Canadian companies, and defense contractors is more important than the truth? More important than seniors losing billions in pensions. More important than Canadians being put back decades on their RRSP and mutual fund savings. Remember too, that Harper's Conservatives made it POSSIBLE for Canadians to get 40 year, 0 down mortgages in the first two years of their rule (before changing the rules only a week before the election - when the US market had tanked). They also pushed people to purchase more RRSPs and mutual funds. They based an entire campaign on "buy houses young families!", with Harper preening in front of the cameras on new home sites. Don't even get me started on the income trust lie - which cost seniors billions in life's savings.

When Stephen Harper was elected in 2006, the VERY FIRST thing I felt was a sharp pain in the gut. Then I feared he would take over the massive Liberal surplus and fritter it away via tax cuts which mean nothing for the common man. After all, he and his ilk have been crying about tax cuts since the 80s. They had entire platforms based solely on tax cuts. They talked about little else. Canadians should have known what was coming...

It is sickening for a LOT of Canadians to observe what Harper has wrought with the economy, then observe his attempts to snake out of it. Harper will do everything he can to blame someone else for his problems - and the Canadian economy's problems. He was given a giant surplus, AND a contingency fund for rainy days. Harper's Conservatives CHOSE TO FRITTER AWAY THE SURPLUS and use up the contingency fund. Now we (Canadians) are in what one could call a "rainy day", and we have nothing to fall back on. That's what we call shrewd planning. This man has no principles. What's scary, however, is not Stephen's "beyond the pale" arrogance. No, he's not so frightening, actually. He's the human version of Garfield the cat, with perhaps a little Mussolini thrown in (the egoist part). What's really frightening is what's in the last passage: the media has sat back and watched. Two studies by reputable universities concur that media reporting was very biased towards pro-Harper stories and coverage.


We need to ensure that Canadians are aware of what the Conservatives have wrought. It is our duty as a party. It is our duty as an opposition - as THE Official Opposition. It won't be easy. as Opposition, we will get less media opportunities. We will have to make them ourselves. We need to create events that attract new members, AND attract media. Our Leadership Convention is just one part of it. We need to have more interesting public events BEYOND the convention... Each riding needs to be active. This is where the "renewal" will come in. Better funding for ridings will not only increase the vote count and dollar/vote intake, but it will help hold more interesting riding functions, and better attended ones. This is how we hook the press (that, and having interesting politicians speak about interesting and visionary topics). The media wouldn't ignore a local event attended by 100s or 1000s of the public.

Harper's arrogance will come home to bite him in the backside - eventually - but, we'll need to do our part to ensure that we're ready to supplant him. When we're done, it won't be Harper salivating over the Liberal Party's demise, but us celebrating the rending asunder of Harper's ill-conceived "Frankenstein" party of the right, back to it's Reform roots. I have great hope for this leadership convention. We have 3 marvelous choices - any of which are more capable than Harper... All able to send "Mr. Beyond-The-Pale" back to his lair.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Crime Is Big Business For Conservatives

It's been splashed about the news lately about the private prison system in the US, and key US conservatives' involvement. Dick Cheney, former Attorney General Gonzales, and others are owners in private prison networks throughout the US. Last week indictments were issued by Texas Grand Juries in a case involving funding and abuse at some South Texas prisons.

So let me get this straight... Top conservatives in North America own, control, or are on the Boards of Directors of all the private prison companies, private defense/security firms (like Blackwater), and what I like to call "war leetches" or "war benefits companies" (depending on which perspective you take) - the Halliburtons of the world...

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These same top conservatives are on the boards of private companies/"think-tanks" like the Fraser Institute (Cheney). Some of these very same people sit on the boards of major media chains like CanWest Global, the Murdoch Empire, etc.

These same conservatives (people like Dick Cheney) advocate for more "law and order". What do they prefer for law and order? More prisons! More cops on the street. Now here's the kicker... They prefer NOT to provide funding for these things. Rather, they would let the states/provinces "figure it out". What does that mean? Either cut in key areas like hospitals, roads, public regulatory agencies, etc., OR take the easy, "free enterprise" route - meaning privatize everything.

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Hmmm... Who benefits from the privatization? Oh, I don't know... Let me see... Could it be satan? (whoops, I mean the private "security" and prison companies)....

All I have to say to Canadians is watch out for Harper and his minions up here. A lot of his Canadian "mentors" and corporate "sponsors" sit (or sat) on the same boards as Cheney and his ilk. They are crying for the same things up here (the so-called "law and order" agenda, even more prisons, when we can't afford the ones we have). Along with this, this crew has been selling the usual products they love to sell: fear, insecurity, distrust. They constantly remind us about crime - even when all crime (including violent) is lower than it has been in decades. They constantly talk about "terror" like it is a person, and how they're fighting him (Mr. Terror, that is).

I Support The Liberal Victory Fund

Support their version of "law and order", so you can put money in THEIR pockets... Hmmm... Good plan - if you're a senior conservative somewhere in North America.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Stephen Harper - Trying to Convert Canada Into "Idiocracy"?

Great story over at Far and Wide about Harper and his "economic genius".

It's kinda stupid (okay, completely stupid) how someone who's never worked in the role, and dropped out of his first university where he was studying the subject, can claim to be any kind of "expert" on the subject. At what time - between being a Parliamentary "hack" in the Mulroney government, to a "hack" working for Preston Manning, to a "hack" for the National Citizen's Coaltion - did Harper have time to be "an economist"?

The post at Far and Wide thanks Harper for his "great time to buy stock" advice, and it so completely highlights Harper's idiocy. It also highlights the ignorance of the public who were duped into voting for him - a life-long "back-room hack". Note how he constantly attacks what he calls "ivory tower elitists"? Is there pent-up animosity against the academics who called his bluff and forced him out of the U of T (one of the top universities in the world)? Is he angry about not being accepted into the fraternity of economists? At not ever being accorded employment in his chosen field?

There is more to Harper's dissection of all things "academic". There is the required (for Conservative success) "dumbing down" of the debate. Lower the level of discourse. Make everything an "angry" "I'm not gonna take it anymore" shouting match. The angry individual speaks. Make the debate about nothing. Make it about issues that frighten people. Lowest common denominator issues. Get people more worried about their donut or six-pack, or the hockey game score - or the next episode of reality TV, than about issues that matter. Make them fear the scapegoat (foreigners, terror, crime - even though it's the lowest it's been in decades).

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When an issue that matters comes up, get back into the angry debate mode. Turn it into a shouting match. If you are on the proven wrong side, and 99% of experts are against you, get the 1% of experts, arm them with lots of money and media exposure, and then tirade about how "both sides should be heard equally"...Eventually the media feels guilty about "not giving both sides equal coverage" (even though one side is 90% of the population). We have seen this in the "climate change" debate.

The dumbing down of the debate is part of a larger "lulling to sleep" of the population. Let people be excited about their baubles and "little shiny objects". Sell them on a constant diet of perceived personal freedom (while constantly creating the police state). Sell them on a consumerist mindset - because that is what our "corporate overlords", ad agencies, government members who sit on corporate boards, and shareholders want. Let rampant consumerism rule, then let people spend their lives in the "rat-race" finding ways to get a better job to afford the latest Bimmer, or LCD TV. Then, dismantle the government and all it's services. Give this all to private industry, so your business buddies can profit. Maybe you will too, if you sit on the board of the corporations, or are a shareholder. In the meantime, you can watch the national infrastructure collapse.

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The other factor is the creation of the "Joe the Plumber" mentality. Find people so ill-informed that they will support a party of anger and mis-placed machismo. Create a society where no-one questions the almighty dollar - even if that dollar goes right over your head, and directly into the hands of the "corporate class". There is a fast growing class in this country that suffers from lower education, poorer socio-economic backgrounds, and a desire for self-flagellation. This group of people are convinced by populist and "lowest-common-denominator" politics to support the party least likely to help them in their daily lives. People who should most likely be voting left seek out the angry (but macho) extreme right wing and plant themselves there.

I had the fortune of running across one of these folks in Regina a few years ago, while door-knocking. The young gentleman was a slightly mentally-challenged, unemployed (on welfare) youth (all according to his info), who had 3 Reform Party signs (on his lawn, his front door, and an upstairs window) on his property. The home turned out to be his mother's. We decided to knock the door anyway - because I recognized the name, and because this individual rode the same bus I did to school a few years before. That, and I enjoy a challenge. This young man was adamant about supporting the Reformers. Even after we talked about his special needs, and that Preston Manning (and Harper's old party) were bent upon removing the safety net that supported him, he insisted he would vote Reform. It wasn't a candidate issue - he didn't even know who the guy was. Why was he voting Reform? Because the candidate had told him he didn't have a job because "some immigrant took his job". He was also told that the Liberals were taking his dad's guns away. He figured he would support a party that would keep out the foreigners who kept him from working, and let them keep their guns.

Politics dumbed down? You bet. This poor fellow could not weigh out the benefits to him of voting for someone else, versus a party that would see his conditions worsen. I even implored him to consider the NDP, when he refused to consider us. No dice. He would choose a party that may put him out on the street without any food or shelter, versus considering a party that would (supposedly) take away his "right" to sport hunt. Wow. Give up your daily bed and board for a sport. If someone told me I had a choice between not skating anymore, or having a bed, a home, and 3 squares, I'd certainly choose the latter.

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There is more afoot here than incompetence in the highest office of the land. Harper the brooding "genius". Sometimes "cerebral-looking people" are simply grasping for an answer, and are actually just plain stupid. Sometimes they are planning a war on common sense, and the dismantling of a just society.

A war has been mounted in this land, and in the US, against "intelligence". It's about time the intelligent strike back.


Monday, November 17, 2008

Hope, Change, and Liberal Leadership

If I hear the "empty" words, "change" and "hope" again during our leadership process, I'm gonna scream. More likely, I'm going to vent on this blog, and indicate how vacuous it is for a "wanna-be" Obama to mime the empty phrases...

Note to leadership contenders:
- You are not Barack Obama... Repeat after me: "I am NOT Barack Obama. I am my own person, with my own ideas, and dammit, I deserve better speech-writers!
- "Change" is not a magic word - with it's own powers. It is a word that comes with a commitment to action (somewhere along the way). Repeatedly uttering this word, without (seemingly) knowing the meaning, makes you look like the 3-year old who just learned a new word...
- "Hope" (see above)
- Be your own man (so far, no women have stepped forward - can someone please help us with this?). Discuss ideas with delegates and Canadians. Try something ground-breaking and "earth-shaking". Maybe a guarantee of 1st and 4th years of university paid for? This would improve our country in miriad ways: smarter people, more skilled workers, more knowledge of the world around us - and the respect for the world that goes with that; Try committing to absolutely fully funded healthcare (no private clinics, etc.) - take on the provinces if you need to (the people will back you); Twin the ENTIRE Trans Canada - slow economic times are ideal for such mega-projects - and it will win a lot of votes in BC, Manitoba, and Western Ontario. Commit to something.
- Get all your supporters to join the "Victory Fund" - this goes without saying
- Come talk to some of us about courting the "ethnic" vote. Oh yeah - have a plan. We don't want to simply be "heard"... we want to see someone who "understands" our issues. This plan will need to be distinct, in order to "recapture" lost ethnic support, since all the party plans are currently too similar to matter. Make clear mention of the Conservatives marginalization of minorities (see my last post about their convention resolutions), but don't just criticize - have your own plan.
- Smile a lot - Seriously. No-one likes the "surly" type. I recall doing a blog-post last election asking Mr. Dion to smile more. Even Steve cracks a smile once in a while - forced as it is... (okay, "smirk-like" is a better description)
- Go door-to-door. I'm not kidding. Preston Manning went door to door selling memberships when he formed his party. HE asked people to take out a membership if they agreed with him. He didn't wait for his "underlings" to sell memberships. It wasn't beneath him to ask for more than just their "support" on e-day... Get out in the community. Hit the local truck stops, malls, and coffee shops. Speak publicly, and win over new members - then sell them on the membership AND the Victory Fund. If you can't sell memberships in "peacetime", how could you pretend to be able to grow the party during "war" (the election)?

Okay... gonna crib from the US election now... Barack Obama reached out to new voters. This was the change, but he did it by going beyond the regional caucuses and existing Democrats. He grew the party and brought in new members. There is no reason the leadership cannot be more public. The excitement of the democratic convention and pre-convention process attracted millions of Americans. We need to do the same. Our would-be leaders need to say something interesting and something that appeals to millions, then keep saying it, and keep it interesting.

Having said all that, please, please, please, don't imitate Barack's words if you don't have substance behind you. If we all need an “Obama” or a “Kennedy” to motivate us, that doesn’t say much about the sad state of democracy in general, and our opinion of our own democracy in particular.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Conservatives Officially Against: Multiculturalism, Minority Rights, Women's Choice, Gender equality,

Well, well, well... Harper couldn't hide the true feelings of his minions... They HAD to have their policy convention. As Liberals, we can only say "yay!"

What do Conservatives - as a party NOT like?

1) Women's right to choose - Almost 60% of Conservatives voted to allow laws that would open the door to challenges to a woman's right to choose!

2) Multiculturalism and Minority Rights - Almost 100% of Conservatives supported a resolution requiring immigrants to adopt "Canadian common values" (whatever that means). Almost unanimous support for auditing Aboriginal Programs (that's a racist move if ever there was one). They OVERWHELMINGLY support a resolution to remove the ability of the Canadian Human Rights Comission to investigate hate speech complaints under Section 13. What a sad day for cultural minorities in Canada.

3) Gender Equality - Over 50% of Conservatives supported a resolution by their own caucus (yes, Conservative MPs in Ottawa) to eliminate support for full Gender equality and pay equity.

Wow. We always knew about the "hidden agenda". Well it's not so hidden anymore. The Reformers are back in full force! Harper could hide behind his "pseudo-platforms", but now opposition leaders and Canadians will need to ask the Conservatives, and themselves, IF Mr. Harper was ever gifted a majority, would he act on the resolutions passed by his party? It's highly likely they would adopt all the resolutions (considering many of them were proposed by the Conservative MPs themselves). Political parties have a habit of following the will of their members - or they cease to be viable parties.

Look for Harper to try to sneak in some of his measures, and pray for his majority so he can act on the the rest:

1) Ending women's right to choose
2) Allowing hate speech to run wild and rampant (under the guise of freedom of speech)
3) Destroying the multi-cultural fabric of this land
4) Attacking human rights

Conservative ideals - all of them. Women and minorities, stand up and take notice! The Conservative Party has spoken. Harper the wolf is exposed!

Hockey Liberals...

Well, we have an Iggy... Now, looks like we have a "Dominator"... What's Bob's nickname?

(Iggy should know)

Friday, November 14, 2008

What If?

What if...

What if the grassroots really wanted to have a bigger say?

What if we could all send a message to the party, that we are done with backroom power-brokers and brokered conventions?

What if we could pi$$ in the cornflakes of all those "hyperachieving ego-maniacs" who try to run leadership campaigns? You know, those self-important folks who lurk in back rooms and shout orders while herding cattle at DSMs and conventions...

What if each of us wanted to be so much more than just a number herded into a meeting for our vote?

What IF?

Dream the impossible. Watch this space for further details....

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Harper Admits Conservative Policy Doesn't Work

From the Conservative "Policy Convention"... Never thought I'd see the day the staunch, hardcore NeoCons would admit their policy doesn't work for Canada! This is a mantra our leadership hopefuls, and the party as a whole needs to keep reminding Canadians of...

Conservatives must put ideology aside as they prepare to weather looming economic challenges facing the country, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Thursday.

It's apparent - even to Stephen Harper - that Conservative ideology just won't help Canada out of the current recession.

Message to Canadians: The Liberal Party is needed to bail us out of the mess the NeoConservatives of the world have created...

Meanwhile - back at the ranch - "Deficit" Jim Flaherty get's ready to sell the CN Tower...

Speaking Of Growing The Party...

Are you a member of the Victory Fund?

If you are a member of the Victory Fund, show it! Join our Facebook Group:

I Support The Liberal Victory Fund

As a party, we have a very large membership base. Imagine what we could do if we all chipped in just $10/month. That's less than a burger and a beer at your local pub (okay, it's not for me to part you from your beer, but think of the party)...

Leadership: Fight Nice Kiddies

I am pleased that we have another entrant into the Liberal Leadership race. I'm looking forward to even more folks standing for the "top job" in the party. We need all the ideas we can, to ensure there is a broad discussion of topics, as long as the group size is not too big... A smaller group will certainly allow us to focus on the issues. Leadership debates are going to be very substantial. Not like the last time around where we lined up 13 "hopefuls" (in Edmonton), and got to hear less than 3min from each.

The smack-talk has already begun.

I admonish fellow Liberals to choose their words WISELY. You can bet YOUR WORDS (yes, you Mr./Ms. Angry Blogger) will be used against YOUR LEADER, and YOUR PARTY when the next federal election occurs. We don't want to suffer from some sort of "electile disfunction" when the REAL campaign begins. Already, in the last night, I watched in awe as "anonymous" commenters on my blog decided to take potshots at someone (who isn't even running yet) who would bring great value to this debate.

I don't know WHAT all the negative commentary will get you. Will it get you a nice cozy job as a OLO staffer? Will it get you notoriety as the blogger that put candidate X over the top (I highly doubt that)? More likely, it will make you the notorious blogger who the Conservatives and the media quote when bashing OUR (yes, our - your's and mine) new leader. Think about that.

WesternGrit has promised to keep this blog positive. We will only discuss all the factors which make our contenders better than Harper, and which help make our party machinery better. We hope some of that praise is used by the media. Our TEAM is better. We all know what happens when a candidate's own party colors them a cerain way. Liberals had all christened Mr. Dion as the "nice", "intellectual", "safe second choice", "academic". This was used to paint Mr. Dion as "not a leader" by the Conservatives. WE did that. WE built the campaign against Mr. Dion - just as today, many of us are building the Conservative's (and media's) next campaigns against Mr. Rae, Mr. Ignatieff, etc.

Time for mature minds to prevail. There is greatness in being humble. In being diplomatic.

If you really want to help your party, have a mature discourse about the persons running for our leadership. If you really want to help your party, tone down the rhetoric. In a discussion about ideas, enough is made clear by what is NOT SAID. Liberals are intelligent political beings. If a candidate does not talk about something, or doesn't give focus to one thing, they are saying they don't give importance to it. We can read between the lines and determine who is for what, and against what. We don't need to point out the weakness of someone's poor French (or lack of it), when it would be plain for all to see, for example. Even our American cousins (the Democrats) had a serious debate about the fodder they were providing the Republicans when their discourse took a decidedly downhill turn.

This time around - if people really are serious about change - try campaigning for your leadership choice in a more honest, adult, and diplomatic manner.

Yes it's time for change - time to change the way we campaign for leader.

In the next few months, keep an eye out for WesternGrit's "Leadership Report Cards". We'll have "MidTerm Marks" after the first Leadership contest debates.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Leadership Camps - Go Find A GK Supporter To Hug ... And Hold Onto...

Today, Gerard Kennedy indicated he is not going to run for the leadership this time around. The leadership contest loses something important. Hopefully it can be gained back with the engagement and valiant efforts of the other contenders.

Time for some sage advice to supporters of anyone else hoping to be leader: Go find all your gK-supporting buddies, and give them a big hug. Then... er... don't let them go. Hug them all the way to Vancouver. Be nice to your gK friends. I know I've already adopted a couple. I'll be finding them free places to stay in Vancouver. It's all about the intra-party love, isn't it? My gK buddies will not have to worry about meals, or beds, as long as they are out here in Lotusland. Did I mention my well-stocked bar?

Kennedy fans - with your young, supple Liberal... minds... over here... We got some "huggin'" to do...

Seriously though, Gerard did very well in BC, Alberta, and most of the West. It would be very wise of the various leadership teams to get to know their favorite Kennedy supporters.

Hurry though... Time is running out.

Ruby Dhalla... Say Yes. Please!

As a Liberal blogger who values an inclusive and non-genderically-challenged Liberal Party, I urge Ruby Dhalla to join the leadership race. Ruby's presence would add something that is missing from the race (insert your choice of adjective here: a woman, a minority MP, a young female, a young intellectual female with "retail politician skills").

Ms. Dhalla is an extremely talented MP, and has been a very strong presence for the Liberal Team in Ottawa. She is politically skilled, quick on her feet, able to take on the Reformers (whoops, I mean Cons) step for step.

She would be a very welcome addition to the leadership race, and would bring with her a charm and grace that only Ruby Dhalla can bring.

C'mon Ruby! Give it a chance!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dominic LeBlanc Wows In Vancouver

As part of our continuing Leadership Campaign 09 coverage we will be attempting to interview (or at least ask questions of) all our leadership hopefuls.  Some candidates will be more accessible.  

Tonight we had the opportunity to meet with Dominic LeBlanc, the young, dynamic, and very polished MP from Beausejour.  

Mr. LeBlanc met with a crowd of roughly 150 (perhaps more) Liberals from Greater Vancouver.  The Venue (the Backstage Lounge at the Arts Theatre on Granville Island) was well-suited to the meeting.  It appears a smaller back room was originally selected for the meeting, but the entire venue quickly filled up with Liberals eager to learn more about this interesting young man.  

There were plenty of "pro bueno" libations available, and the mood was upbeat.  Looking around the crowd, I was quite aware of a very eclectic mix of folks - meaning people from a variety of different leadership camps from 06, 04, and even 93.  This type of thing is always good for the party.  One of my table-mates worked for Ignatieff.  The woman at my left was not an active Liberal.  Okay, okay, she was my girlfriend...  Good cross-section of people too - young, old, and older, different cultures.  

Mr. LeBlanc gave a rousing talk about party renewal, the road ahead, what the party needs, etc.  He cracked a pretty good joke about the Metro Toronto book-club.  He was interrupted by applause a few times.  He seemed to have a pretty good feel for the crowd...  and the crowd for him.  He made a point of being "in it for the long-haul" - talking about the next election, and the one after that...

We asked Mr. LeBlanc a couple of pretty straight-up questions:
1) While winning the leadership of the party is one thing, what would he do to win over the "Joe Plumbers" and "Joe Six-packs" of Canada?
2) While it is a complex question requiring a complex question, briefly, what would he focus on to tackle the financial crisis?

Dominic - while intending to meet with everyone in the room - took a moment to carefully address both questions.  He was quick  on his feet, and was able to provide a substantive answer for each question.  In a nut-shell he feels that the party has strayed from our "centrist/moderate" path, and we need to work to reclaim the middle ground from the Harper Conservatives - who are pretending to be "moderate".  Regarding the financial crisis, Mr. LeBlanc feels that we do need to spend money to grow the industries which will get us out of this crisis.  We understood this to mean the "new economy".  

We were quite impressed with Mr. LeBlanc, and we look forward to his future visits to Greater Vancouver.  

We will continue with this line of questioning for our future discussions with leadership hopefuls, as growing the party in Canada with ordinary Canadians is important - as is the economy.  If we are unable to be given the time for a few words, we'll try to piece together their views from their public statements.  We will always report on the number and mood of the room.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Word of The Day: "Electile Disfunction"

"Electile Disfunction" is a hilarious term I heard tonight on the Vancouver local news.  Seems like an elector's group in Abbottsford feels that uninformed voters, and the "undecided" (dubbed the "stupid" by famous American political satirists) need to get informed.

I almost fell out of my chair (and dropped my Drambuie) when I heard this hilarious moniker.

So... from here on in... when we refer to that great pool of "undecideds", which are more than likely the "don't cares", or the "couldn't care lesses" - will be referred to as suffering from ED ("electile disfunction")...


"Electile Disfunction": our word of the day.

This Is How We Do It... Build The Party, That Is...

Yeah, WesternGrit loves T-shirts!

Stolen from a DNC email:

The Democratic National Committee poured all of its resources into building our successful 50-state field program. And they played a crucial role in helping Barack win in unlikely states like North Carolina and Indiana. We even picked up an electoral vote in Nebraska.

The DNC took on considerable debt to make this happen.

Make a donation of $30 or more now to help the DNC pay for these efforts, and you'll get a commemorative 2008 Victory T-shirt.

Help the DNC and get a 2008 Victory T-shirt

The DNC began building a 50-state organization in 2005.

The infrastructure they put in place over the last four years opened up a new batch of battleground states where a Democratic nominee hadn't been competitive for a generation.

In the final few months, the DNC went above and beyond to expand our ground efforts and ensure victory.

We couldn't have won this election without their support.

As we start laying the groundwork for real change, we need to help the DNC recover the resources it took to win. Please make a donation today and get your 2008 Victory T-shirt:

This movement for change is just getting started, and we look forward to working with you to bring the change this country needs.

Thanks for everything you did to elect Barack and Joe,

Obama for America

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Stop The Partisan Crap And F'n Grow Up

I was a Laurier supporter who switched over to St. Laurent. Louis' my guy. Wait a minute? Whatchya mean he's not running for leader?

I keep hearing all this BS about "Chretien supporters" or "Martin supporters" behind this or the other leadership campaign or candidate. This is really getting old. We ALL supported someone in the past. Many of us have changed our minds. Many of us are mature enough to be able to move on to the "next one".

Sure some of the "behind-the-scenes" people (on all sides) were assholes. They often are in it for the whole WIIFM (what's in it for me) thing. You know, they want to be the PMO employee, or the backroom hack on the Hill in some other office. You can read these people a mile away. Yes, they will step on your toes. They've stepped on mine too. Get over it. Assholes are everywhere. Giving them undue attention is not helpful to anyone.

Oh yeah... and don't just label someone an "asshole" because they supported someone else. They may not be. I recall being called a few names at the Montreal convention. I didn't call any back. Just smiled and went on my way. Remember this little line: "Be nice to people. The asses you kick on the way up, just might be same asses you have to kiss on your way back down."

I recall the past leadership contest. Take a look at the old Saskatchewan "Chretien" machine. They're significantly with Ignatieff. The first people who approached me about the Michael Ignatieff campaign were Chretien supporters from way back in 90, and a Sheila Copps organizer from Hamilton (he approached me at the Martin coronation in 04). I saw a lot of Martin supporters come on board in Alberta, and a lot of former Sask. Martin team members - right there, working alongside their old 1990 and 1993 leadership rivals.

I think we have got to be careful labeling people as "Martin" or "Chretien" "supporters". I don't think it does ANY good bitching about the past. My blog is not going to criticize any of these new leadership hopefuls. They all have some great strengths, and I would take any of them over Harper.

I'm going to talk about what each can offer to "de-throne" Harper. We should all focus on that.

As far as which Laurier or St. Laurent supporters (or Trudeau, or Chretien, or Martin, or Turner supporters), this childish f'n argument does us no good. The conspiracy theories about someone behind someone are just plain stupid. I've been around the party (working campaigns, etc.). There has never been a leader I didn't like, but also never a leader I didn't criticize (with the exception of PET). There were both "Chretien and Martin people" in every leadership team last time. I'm sure there were also some people from the "Laurier cabal". See how stupid that sounds?

Time to grow up and focus on the future.

My choice for leader?
Rudolf the f'n Red-nosed Reindeer

Who cares? THE Leader is going to have my support, and if you're not a petty little child, your's too - NO MATTER WHO THAT LEADER IS.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Vancouver Gets It!

Just as I posted my last post, I get the GREAT news from Jeff!

It's Vancouver! We got it! Woohoo!

This is almost better than getting the Olympics... Almost!

Join us in Vancouver, Canada! This will be the best choice for the party.

Vancouver Deserves The Liberal Leadership Convention - Message To Exec:

A message to our party executive meeting today "somewhere in the East"...

Vancouver DESERVES The Liberal Leadership Convention - Click Here To Join The Facebook Group.

Do not let our party become a "Central/Eastern Canada Rump"...

Be inclusive with your decision - reach out to the rest of Canada. Establish a strong presence OUTSIDE of Toronto... A convention was already "set" for Vancouver. Liberals made PLANS to come to Vancouver. Let's not send a message to the rest of Canadians, that policy takes a "back seat" for us.

Help our party grow in new areas.

Help us grow our membership size.

Help us grow our donation base.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Vancouver Deserves The Liberal Leadership Convention - Nat Exec Decides Tomorrow!

Vancouver deserves the Liberal leadership convention! Join our Facebook group!

The national executive of the LPofC will decide on this matter tomorrow. If the party is really open to making "change we can believe it" (to coin a somewhat popular saying from South of the border), they'll decide to help grow our party in the one region in Canada that could help us win the next election.

We are NOT in full retreat. We are NOT going to back down from Harper in Parliament, and we're NOT going to cower in some urban corner in Metro Toronto while Harper takes apart the country around us.

We are proud Liberals.

We are strong Liberals.

We are capable Liberals.

"Yes we can" establish a beachhead in the West.

"Yes we can" grow our support and our seats in the West.

This Saturday our party needs to make a decision between retreat and advance - between growth and stagnation - between new ideas and old. We hope they decide in favor of progress.

Vancouver Deserves The Liberal Leadership Convention - Join the Facebook Group Today!

ps: Pardon the "liberal" use of Obama catch phrases...

Vancouver Deserves The Liberal Leadership Convention - Part 5

... Because we'd only be deciding to keep it here...

Join the Facebook Group "Vancouver Deserves The Liberal Leadership Convention", if you want to help us grow the party in the West...

Some people have argued "cost" as a factor in "centralizing" a leadership convention... It's funny that we didn't consider that when we decided on Vancouver for the May "Policy" Convention. Are we saying we care less about Policy? Let's not make THAT an issue...

As far as the "cost" factor, it may cost SOME delegates a little more, but they may save that in hotel costs. It may cost the party a little more in rebates, but how much value do you give party growth? How much is each new member worth to us? Coming from a business background, I can tell you that there is a cost to acquiring "new customers", and more costs associated with keeping them, but there IS a cost, and there are the obvious benefits of a bigger pool of members. If we are serious about growing this party, let's put our money where our mouths are, and work towards it...

Let's keep the next Liberal Convention in Vancouver...

Join our Facebook group, and send the "powers that be" a strong message. This party is member-driven, and HAS to be if it is to survive as a viable entity...

Keep the next Federal Liberal Convention in Vancouver!

Vancouver Deserves The Liberal Leadership Convention - Pt. 4

If you support growing the party in the West, join the Facebook group...


Because we've all heard enough Toronto jokes...

Because EVERYONE in the party is sick of being called "Toronto-centric"...

Because the West wants "in"... 

Because Vancouver will be beautiful that time of year (check out our cherry blossoms)...

Because it would look great for Liberals from across Canada to choose to prop up the Vancouver economy (the City just announced a $100,000,000 bailout of the Olympics... Don't let "Montreal 76" happen to us)...  Whatdya mean we don't "support" the West?

Because The "West side is the best side..." according to Tupac and Dre...

Because delegates can go skiing in the morning, whale-watching in the afternoon, and still have time for a BBQ on the beach in the evening...  

Because you might just see Brad and Angelina... (seriously)...

Because some friendly, "down-home", Western Grits might just billet you for the convention, to help you save on hotel costs... (we ain't kiddin')...

Because, here in "Lotus-land", we really know how to partaaaaaaayyy!

Because the Democrats showed us how to "establish beach-heads" in "enemy" territory...

Because, hell, even the Leafs fly out here once in a while...

Because their ain't nothin' like BC salmon and fine BC wine...

Because we need to grow the party...

Because we want to WIN the next election.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Vancouver Deserves The Liberal Leadership Convention - Part 3

Vancouver DESERVES the Liberal Leadership Convention...

Join the Facebook Group here...



Didn't we MAKE money with the last convention? Did the party NOT subsidize flights from remote areas (they did)?

Go to the Facebook Group, "Vancouver Deserves The Liberal Leadership Convention" to express your thoughts!

They make a good point there... Western delegates have paid through the @$$ the past 3 conventions, to fly to Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal. The party DID subsidize those flights though (and STILL made money on the convention).

I argue this:

We can keep exploiting the same folks in the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal corridor (they STILL have to pay convention fees), OR we can grow into a new area, and grow our membership in a metro area (Greater Vancouver) which has close to 3 million voters.

Bringing the convention to the West will grow the party - meaning more donations, more volunteers, and more membership fees. Keeping the convention in the East will mean the same faces, paying into the party, over and over, little growth, and little chance of "new" members becoming delegates.

Time to grow the party!

Vancouver Deserves The Liberal Leadership Convention - Part 2

You know we want it...

Join the Facebook Group:

Vancouver Deserves The Liberal Leadership Convention

Vancouver Deserves The Liberal Leadership Convention - Join the Facebook Group

This weekend the LPC executive is going to decide where the Leadership Convention will be. Let's ensure this decision is made to the benefit of all Liberals - and all Canadians - by growing our proud party.

Liberals across the country need to stand up and support a Liberal Leadership Convention in a region OUTSIDE of the Metro Toronto - Ottawa - Montreal corridor. We Liberals need to stop this ridiculous "siege mentality" which is locking us up in that region. We are a truly national party with members and MPs from all regions. By locking ourselves up in Central Canada, we will become what everyone is saying we are: a party of urban central Canada. We need to take a lesson from the Obama campaign - start working the area the other guys call "their own back-yard".

Vancouver has a convention planned and booked. Vancouver is a beautiful, scenic city on the West Coast, with a liberal population, which would respond well to a strong Liberal presence during a convention. If the Liberal Party is to grow anywhere outside of urban Southern Ontario, we need to show the rest of Canada "we're here" (and here, and there, and over there too...).

We MUST hold the federal Liberal Leadership Convention in Vancouver in May of 2009!

Join this new Facebook group today, and show your support for a Vancouver Convention!

"Vancouver Deserves The Liberal Leadership Convention".

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Changing Our Campaign Style - Leadership, PayPal, and Lawnsigns

There are a lot of take-aways from the Obama campaign that we liberals/Liberals up here can learn from. Many of us volunteered to help in some way, down South, and the buzz and excitement one could feel was incredible - even by-standers, or "un-political" persons couldn't help but feel involved... It's good to bring some of those great democratic/liberal ideas back North of the border.

Fundraising on the web is something that many of us have spoken about - for years - maybe even decades. We can pursue better ways to do this, and must, in order to survive as a viable election machine. Paypal was the reason I contributed to Garth Turner, and not my own candidate. Why? Well, I was on Garth's site, and it was pretty easy to just do a few "clicks", and donate. I didn't have to pull out my wallet, grab my credit cards, fill out any forms, phone anyone, etc. Paypal is great because it taps you into the huge community that uses eBay and many other dynamic websites. Imagine all those young eBay users being able to quickly click and donate to your campaign?

Dialer messaging and phone polling are not used enough by individual ridings. It is actually very cost effective to have a bold riding presence, with just a few dollars. There are organizations which can help deliver an effective riding presence - with easy to maintain, cost-efficient modes of contact and ID. Messaging is cheap, and doesn't have to come off as a "telemarketer call". There are Liberal-owned political consulting companies which do this... Ask around.

Lawn signs are something one RARELY sees in a leadership campaign. Look South of the border. The GOP and Democrats were using lawnsigns from BEFORE the primaries. How do you build excitement about a new name? See what happens if you post a couple of hundred lawnsigns around your town during a leadership contest. Being one of the few people out there with signs, and the only party, will result in TREMENDOUS publicity. Why keep our leadership candidates hidden from the public, and visible only to the membership? Get a lawnsign on your lawn. Wear your Liberal colors with pride. Who says a new entrant into a race doesn't have a chance to win? We saw many Seattle and Bellingham supporters come from "outside" the Democratic Party. They were often motivated by the "visuals" of the campaign early on (lawnsigns, posters, etc.). We Liberals tend to keep our contests "internal". Let's get them out there! Watch as your neighbors ask, "who is this Leblanc guy?" (note: that was not an endorsement for any candidate). Get your neighborhood talking about your candidate.

Call your leadership choice, and ASK them for a lawnsign to identify you as a supporter. If they don't have one, ask them why?

T-shirts are always an effective communication tool. Swag is well-loved, but under-estimated for it's fund-raising potential. We make up t-shirts, and we hand them out to volunteers for free. We also hand them out to pretty much anyone who asks for one. Why? Why not even take in $5 per shirt? $10? Leadership campaigns take on debts, but why? If you make up 10,000 $15 t-shirts, then just give them away, you are often just burning your cash. Make some money off of it. At a rally, when everyone is excited, it's pretty easy to convince people to toss you $10 for a t-shirt. Just "give" shirts to your key organizers and some "seed" people, then watch the bucks roll in. Hint about t-shirts: If you want one that people will pay for, make it cool. See the Obama shirts out there. Get a catchy slogan, and some nice graphics. Create a recognizable logo. The Ignatieff campaign had a very "Warhol-esque" t-shirt in the last leadership. Many people from other camps wanted them. Iggy COULD have sold these, or bundled a t-shirt for a donation. Ditto the "Dionista" shirts. Very Che' Guevera.

Don't forget to ask for memberships. Set up a membership table BEFORE the even ticket table. Check everyone for current membership. I have been to 4 major Lower Mainland events, and have YET to be asked to renew. I have been a Liberal all my life, have been a member since the 80s, and a member in both Sask. and AB. I am going to continue to go on this way, and see who will be the first group to approach me about renewing. This will be my first sign that the Liberal Party is getting a clue.

Someone call me, quick!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A Man Judged By The Content Of His Character... And Not The Color Of His Skin

All I can say, is "it's about time".

With Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, and looking like Florida, going to Barack, it looks like it's done. McCain's camp just admitted that they don't see any way they can win!


The Dream realized. Change is on it's way. Let's hope Mr. Obama - or should I say PRESIDENT Obama - can realize the change he aspires to.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

A Leadership Campaign About Ideas

I'm glad we're hearing more about a "kinder gentler" leadership campaign this time around. We really want to spend more time focusing on the issues, and even more importantly: How will our new leader put these ideas forward, so the public hears them, knows them, and understands them. We should ALL be considering this as a KEY in this next leadership campaign.

As a party strapped for cash, there will be HUGE focus on our leader, and what he can verbalize in order to have our views heard. A leader who is quick on his/her feet can counter opponents' jabs, and media "mis-reporting" and lack of coverage, with strong speeches, clear ideas, and pure chutzpah. If we are unable to advertise continuously for the next several months/years, and right into the next campaign, our leader will be THE outlet for our ideas and information to the public. They will be the only one the public will hear (and be focused on) when the campaign starts - and before. We will try our "new ideas" of getting the team out there, a stronger web presence, etc., but the leader will be the focus.

What does this mean for us? We need to start looking at some very clear criteria to determine a "report card" type grading system for hopefuls. As a former recruiter for a major national corporation, a business manager in several instances, a union shop steward (yes, really, back in college), AND a business owner for many years, I have done a lot of evaluation of job "candidates". Literally thousands of them. I'm going to put these skills to use here, with a graded "report card" of the hopefuls - once we get a sizeable lineup. You'll see the report cards right here on WG.

Come to think of it, why does the party not have "pre-set" screening/resume forms for all positions? You want to be president of the riding association? Show us what you've done. Let it be public, so all the potential riding voters can see it. Party President? Policy Chair? Same thing. A "standardized" form would help people compare and contrast better than glossy, misleading, and often poorly written campaign literature. If you want to be our leader, you better "look good on paper" when compared to other candidates, THEN wow us during the conventions, and in speeches. If you can do all that, then you can have our support. After all, we tend to elect future Prime Ministers. Let's crank up the requirements a little. Don't get me wrong on that last point - as Liberals, we've have been very picky about all our leaders. We are probably more policy-focused, and less "retail politician" driven than the Conservatives. Just nice to get it all "on paper", that's all (so everyone can compare and contrast - on a public "spreadsheet").

Another aspect of our campaign has to be the warmth and sense of purpose we aspire to build. We can't get there with constant attacks on our opponents - it only provides fodder for the Conservative and NDP war rooms. Let's keep the "negative" to a minimum.

Over the next few months, I too will be commenting on all the hopefuls. I will focus on their strengths and ability to beat Harper and Layton on the stump.

We're hearing a lot lately about one man in particular. We are actually getting "blog-saturated" with comments - both positive and negative - regarding Mr. Rae. Today will be my first post about Mr. Rae.

Anyone who can strip naked on national television and take a skinny-dip with Rick Mercer has moxy. If you can do that, you can weather most any storm. I supported Michael Ignatieff last time around (as most of you know), so I'm being very candid here. I think Rae is the best "retail politician" we currently have. He does have the ability to grow our support - especially on the left.

Question is, do we want to go there right now? I think it was perceived we went a little left this past election, and got caught in the 3 way dog's breakfast that was this campaign. It may be better to grow our base which is the center.

Rae is witty and quick on his feet. He has excellent French. He can slug it out with the best of them.

Ontario? You mean the Ontario of the global recession of the 80s? That Ontario? 30 years ago? Harper says he's "changed" from 5 years back. Heck, Rae doesn't even LOOK the same anymore. He's also left the party of the left to join the party of the center. I think that speaks a lot to his new convictions. If anyone learned anything back in those times, it was that the NDP approach doesn't work in harsh economic times. The extreme conservative approach doesn't work either. A balanced, moderate approach works best. I'm sure Mr. Rae figured this out.

Will Ontario be a major factor - vis-a-vis his past Premiership and hopes to become leader? I think it would only be dogmatic conservatives, and those among us who fear the "Ontario factor" who may pull away from him. Remember, its all about PR, and how well the candidate stands up for themselves. A good retail politician can win over more voters. Remember, Stephen Harper is still the same Steve of the firewall letters, and the anti-Canada speeches in foreign lands. Seems that Canadian voters were okay with that (even though the comments were more recent). More recently, Harper will be the one wearing the current economic recession and associated budget deficits.

I think we have a few solid contenders - with other potentials in the wings. We can easily slug it out with Harper with either of the two presumptive "front-runners"...

Keep watching WG for our further analysis of this and several other Liberal Leadership Candidates.