Thursday, January 21, 2010

Some days it is hard to be the Head Harper Hagiographer

While reading this blogpost by Don Martin I was reminded of an old film clip of a triplane bouncing on the ground trying vainly to take off until the wings fell off. Try as he might, Harper's second biggest fan tries to convince us that the anti-prorogue fuss will blow over but can't quite get the words pieced together right.
But is it possible for polls to swing this wildly this quickly on a sleepy issue like Parliament on extended hiatus while the government’s response to the Haitian earthquake crisis has been exemplary?
One of the most confused editorials you will ever read.

This makes Doubtin' Donnie's task all the harder.

To begin, contrary to the view that Facebook is entirely youth driven, just under half of those who completed the survey were 45 years of age or older. Thirty-four per cent were aged 31 to 44 and 16 per cent answered that they were aged 18 to 30. Not a single person who opted to take the survey was aged 12 to 18.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the survey was the fact that 96 per cent of the participants said they voted in the last federal election.

There isn't much dignity in being a cheerleader for Harper. Martin should quit while he still has a shred or two left.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Poetic P2 Phun

Mansfield Press is inviting submissions for a book of poems protesting P2.

This is your big chance to get published. And you might make as much money as most other Canadian authors! So go ahead. Rhymes are better than whines.

I have submitted one already. My daughter,Extreme, and I are brainstorming on some more. If they don't make it I will publish them here.
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Perhaps being an ex-pat Canadian makes you want to protect Home all the more strongly

A shout out tonight to the organizers of the CAPP rallies in London, U.K., NYC and Dallas. They are showing their True Patriot Love. King Stephen, The Hopeful expects to weather the storm and that Canadians will forget about this little dictatorship thingy in a couple of months. Having Americans see that there is something their "Good Grey Neighbour" is getting exercised about will keep this in the news. It can only help if this can get a mention on CNN etc. Same thing goes if it gets brought up on the Beeb. I will even settle for the protests being carried on Canadian networks.

I read an interview of Donald Sutherland in MacLean's years ago. Two responses stand out in my memory. One was in reply as to why he participated in Bethune. He said it was "because I have a maple leaf stuck up my ass" (Or so I remember the reply). I think (and I mean this as a very high compliment) the expatriate organizers must have one or two up there too.

P. S.: The other exchange (prompted by the observation of Sutherland's frequent use of lip balm) was: "Did he have chapped lips?" DS: "No, I have a habit. " That man doesn't need a Canadian passport. Just check his sense of humour.
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Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Liberal youtube ad I would like to see

A young Canadian picking the stitches holding a Canadian flag to his/her backpack while quotes from around the world outlining the reasons why Canada's reputation has fallen so far over the last 4 years.
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Shallow Thought Of The Day

We already know Harper can't take a (rhetorical) punch. And after having watched him flail around from one discredited rationale for P2 to another, it becomes very evident that
he can't ad lib either.

When he can manipulate his caucus, cabinet and media he can convince a minority of Canadians that he is worthy of their vote.  When the plan constructed by his beautiful mind is thrown off the rails he and his minions run around like the orcs after Barad-Dur fell. (My apologies to those unfortunate souls who have neither read or seen the LOTR for that reference).
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Possible implications of CAPP regarding youth voter turn-out

The convention wisdom amongst the Harper Hagiogrpahers seems to have shifted from "The Facebook effect is minor" to "How can the Liberals keep the outrage ramped up till after the Olympics" (Go to the bottom of the article).  I think the conventional is lacking  wisdom and is missing the reason this might be a game changer.

It is my understanding that Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament will be setting up functions to allow the general demographics of it's members to be evaluated.  Aspects such as age, gender and location would be interesting but I have a hunch that we don't need that data to expect the importance of CAPP to be very large.

Facebook is a young person's game.  I have an account but I only go on to join Facebook groups such as CAPP or the Left Wing Fringe Group Called Women.  I just don't use it as a way to keep in touch with my friends.  I would say this is the case with most of the Boomers I know.  But my kids are on Facebook several times a day.  For this reason I suspect that a lot of those members are "young" voters.

The path to exorcising our Conservative demons lies through mobilizing the vote of those most likely to oppose Harper.  Young voters are a large untapped reservoir of such votes.  Awakening them to the danger Harper represents to their future is a part of the process.  And a strong performance by Ignatieff on his campus tour, which is being chronicled on youtube, is a way to show them their is another path.

Voters in past elections seem to have fallen into camps with parties looking to shift soft voters on the margin.  This is especially true on the left where vote splitting amongst the anti-Conservative vote hands Harper the likelihood of at least a minority government.  Changing this stasis would require either the merging/dissoluion of some of the Opposition parties or the tapping of a new pool of voters.  The addition of an energized cohort youth voters eager to protect the future of Canadian democracy could be just what is needed.

Obama was able to energize lots of first time voters to break a similar log jam amongst American voters.  I won't be surprised in the least if P2 has a similar effect here.
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I have an admission to make

I don't think all pundits are smug sycophants who are so mesmerized by their proximity to the PMO that they are willing to ignore the manifold slights that The Great Prime Minister has inflicted upon our democracy in order to ooh and aah at tactics.  Frances Russell as an example given.  Perhaps, as with music, being at a distance from the "major power centre" allows for a clearer insight.

Here is her excellent closing:

Parliamentary prorogation arises from the mists of British history, when the sovereign enjoyed absolute power to command parliament to convene and to disburse. It's not surprising that an authoritarian like Harper, facing no real threat, feels equally entitled and empowered.

All that's missing are the ermine and purple.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

He is, when all is said and done, still The Eminence Grease

Lots of excitement this evening over the title of this ConTV report :

Gov't not 'credible' on proroguing: ex-Harper advisor

But looking beyond the headline it is obvious that he isn't exactly criticizing P2 itself (MEIB):

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's latest reasoning behind his decision to prorogue Parliament has left many scratching their heads, and a former top Tory advisor says the government hasn't been "credible" in their explanation of the decision.

"I fault the government for not coming forward with a more adult explanation of why this is necessary," Harper's former chief of staff, Tom Flanagan, told CTV News Channel's Power Play on Tuesday.

"I think the government's talking points haven't been entirely credible."

On Monday, Harper told the Business News Network that financial markets are concerned about the stability of a minority government, claiming proroguing avoids instability.

Harper had previously said the government needed to change its agenda as the economy moves into recovery as a reason for proroguing.

Flanagan, a political scientist at the University of Calgary, says he supports the prorogation but thinks Harper's latest justification for it doesn't add up.


Flanagan dismissed the Canadian political scientists' letter, saying there was nothing wrong with proroguing.

"This is part of the discretion of the prime minister . . . there's nothing unconstitutional about it," he said.

Flanagan added that the government's explanation of proroguing was "skirting the real issue -- which is the harm the opposition parties are trying to do to the Canadian Forces" regarding the Afghan detainee issue.

Flanagan served as Harper's chief of staff from 2001 to 2005.

So two hundred political scientists are wrong and the Eminence Grease is right.

Oh, right. And according to Tommy Flanagan, Harper is right to accuse the Opposition of harming the Forces by investigating the detainee issue.

Looking for support from this unrepentant neo-con is wishful thinking. But no worries. There is no lack of support out there from non-loonies.

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There is a good point to P2

It has inspired BCINTO to work up what is, imho, his funniest post ever.
Be on watch, patriotic Canadians! There is a sinister danger lurking in our gentle land, an evil scourge that threatens our economy, our jobs, our economic recovery, even our families and our very way of life. What is this evil plague, you ask? Is it gingivitis? Well, that’s bad too, but no, I’m talking about: Instability!!
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What to do. What to do. How should a Canadian say this.

Paul Wells thinks the Liberals are better off highlighting Harper's incompetence.
I know, I know, the Death of Parliament is serious business, if you think it is. But I still think Harper is quite happy with being portrayed as terrifying. What he really fears is being portrayed as not very good at what he does. These ads don't hit that target.

A journalist is allowed, of course, to change his mind. Today he thinks that Ignatieff is better off mocking Harper.
As if on cue, Michael Ignatieff makes fun of the Prime Minister, calling his prorogation-for-market-stability argument "the funniest thing I've heard in politics for a very, very long time."

Bruce Anderson thinks the Liberals need to highlight Harper's arrogance to make prorogation stick.
For opposition leaders (and other concerned Canadians), the surest way to make this issue stick is to hammer away that this decision is born of a profound arrogance, and chronicle how it fits a troubling pattern. This would create the potential to destabilize partisan lines, and bring into play the one in three Conservative supporters who already feel awkward trying to defend this action to their friends and neighbours.

I believe that the attacks should highlight the truth. He is a small minded vindictive would be tyrant who will stop at nothing to turn Canada into a Straussian dystopia.

To the citizens of our nations it would appear we are at an impasse. But as Canadians could we not strive for a compromise. How about if we point out that it is laughably arrogant for an incompetent boob like Harper to try and become a dictator.

Therein lies the distillation of the genius of the Canadian way.Recommend this Post

How about if we frame it this way?

When discussing prorogation ask your colleagues, friends and neighbours: "Who would you rather see as Prime Minister?"

Someone who is only brave enough to freely express himself in gatherings of sycophants closed to th general public. Such as Stephen Harper.
Or a man who organizes open to all town hall meetings. Such as the ones Bionic Liberal has blogged about here.Recommend this Post

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday morning fun with history

I found this while googling abuses of minority power. Interesting to see how a few names make sit seem very contemporary.

The Rise of Stephen Harper

Stephen Harper, the new Prime Minister of Canada, had no intention of abiding by the rules of democracy. He intended only to use those rules to legally establish himself as dictator as quickly as possible then begin the Neo-Conservative revolution.

... Hitler's plan was to establish a majority of elected Nazis in the Reichstag which would become a rubber stamp, passing whatever laws he desired while making it all perfectly legal.

When faced with losing the confidence of the House, Harper manipulated Jean into proroguing Parliament and calling for the new elections he had wanted - on March 3, 2010.

Governor General Jean had fallen under Harper's spell and was signing just about anything put in front of her.

That is enough. I think you get the point. If you hadn't already.

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The good doctor Mendes speaks. Enhance the vote.

Errol Mendes, Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Ottawa sent a letter into The text is copied below.

Dear fellow citizens fighting for Canadian democracy,

With over 100,000 citizens registering your outrage at the prorogation as I did in the Toronto Star article, it is time to make your numbers felt at the ballot box. There are substantial numbers of Harper’s MPs who won by 2,000 to 5,000 votes in swing ridings. Your members here and on the facebook site should find out where those ridings are, stage major rallies outside the MPs offices and contact the local media to get the message out to citizens in those ridings, especially the thousands of youth who do not vote that they can have a profound impact at the ballot box. This is the time to save their country from one man totalitarian rule. Pass this message on to all those on the facebook page.

My article in the Toronto Star can be found at

Dr. Mendes is spot on. Following the last general election, I outlined the Conservative policy of vote suppression as their critical path to victory. The key to changing governments is to energize the electorate so that they are willing to put aside that episode of "So you think you can dance, Canada" to go to the polling station. This post of the series outlines this pattern.

Dr. Mendes outlines the way to expunge the Harper Horror from Canada. It won't take much of a swing to get rid of him. Keep the momentum going.

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

A question about P2 for the constituents of Calgary West

So MPs will not be working for 2 months. Will the people "represented" by Rob Anders notice any difference?Recommend this Post

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Calling all progressive accountants and programmers

I was thinking that one way to get the dander of Canadians really up with regards P2 would be to figure out the cost of all of the wasted committee work, the overhead of an empty Parliament, (most importantly) the salaries of the MPs, Senators and staffers and any other costs. Perhaps the scale of the other Harper Crises are so large that they haven't been able to grab the attention of the "apathetic demographic".

Having a counter widget like the one for the cost of the Iraq War that we could but on blogs or insert into emails would help get the message across. I have no idea of where one could dig up this data, how to collate it or program a widget, but if someone(s) were to take this on, I would gladly add it to my humble blog.
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And as for Michaelle Jean's role in P2

I was a fan of the G-G.  She brought the necessary flair to the ceremonial portion of the job.  And I liked the obvious sincerity in her support for the Inuit way of life by enthusiastically eating seal meat.

But why did she not show more backbone when the Coward-In Chief called her on the telephone to prorogue?  She is the representative of the Queen.  Should she not have, regardless of the eventual decision, instructed him to come and ask her in person.  What is the point of having an artifact of a by-gone age as Head of State if it won't protect it's prerogatives?  If QE2 was in the country and Harper wanted to hide in his Calgary bungalow till March he would have had to ask the Queen herself.  Do you think she would have let him get by with a phone call?  Bullies can only be stopped when those with the power to push back do so.  The G-G would have been well within her rights to stand-up against this modern form of Lèse majesté.

She has failed her responsibilities to her Monarch and the Canadian people.  Time for her to say "So long and thanks for all the seal".
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The iron is hot

Living in Harper Heaven as I do, I normally pick my spots to verbalize my political views. It can be a frustrating experience running into the willful blindness of my friends and neighbours. That is what this blog is for.

This prorogue furor might be something different. If you are a Progressive who find you get short shrift from politically oblivious types, this might be the crack you need to convince people to pay attention to the many depredations of the Harper Hordes. Time to expose people to the light one at a time. Especially, if you live in a close riding. If you live in a Conservative stronghold, perhaps you can choke off the donations a bit. It all helps.

As an exemplary anecdote, my neighbour who collected our mail while we were away saw the envelope for my Liberal Party membership card and wrote "Junk mail?" on it. Witty, yes. But an invitation to ask her what she thinks of the prorogation. Is she still going to donate money and put a Harper sign up on her lawn?Recommend this Post

I ain't no Professor of Constitutional Law

But Errol Mendes is. So you should read this.Recommend this Post

Monday, January 4, 2010

The other meaning behind the term: "Stephen Harper; The Underminer"

I have often pointed out how Stephen Harper has been undermining Canada's government. Perhaps he is also a bit like the minor villain in The Incredibles. A vindictive self aggrandizing molish creature with an awesome digging machine. As Lawrence Martin outlines in this Metro article (s/t: Impolitical. Oh. And thanks for the blog badge), the Coward in Chief may have been too clever by half with his prorogation sequel (MEIB).
We won’t know for sure until some polls come in, but there are indications the prorogue gambit is backfiring on him. The reaction has been demonstrably negative. Media comment boards have lit up in protest. The Globe and Mail went to the unusual extent of running a front page editorial. Conservative newspapers, normally in the prime minister’s stable, have condemned the move. The Facebook group, Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament, already has 15,000 signed up. ...

This prorogation story, which comes on top of his defying the will of Parliament by refusing to turn over documents on the Afghan detainees affair, is different from some of the other abuse-of-power stories. This one has legs. Every day the Parliament’s doors remain closed will serve as a reminder of what the supreme ruler did.

They say if you find you have dug your self into a hole, quit digging. But the boring machine Harper has unleashed is on auto-pilot until March. Let us hope that by that time he is in a pit so deep that nothing the CTV or the RCMP can do will help him next election.
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The time has come, Vigilance said to talk of many things

Update: Penlan has pointed out in the comments that my information was out of date. The amendments to the Income Tax Act appear to have passed. Too bad.

Of tax time--and apathy--and renovation credits--and tax time--and Parliamentary approval--and (would be) Kings.

There is a feeling that the Coward In Chief is banking on Canadians being apathetic about the the annual Harprorogue. It occurs to me that this apathy will be subdued once tax time rolls around. As the ads on the CRA website point out, this tax credit is still subject to Parliamentary approval. A lot of Canadians have been happily renovating based on this measure. They won't be so apathetic when they look for the line to enter the credit and can't find it. How does he expect to get this approved without answering questions about the Detainee crisis? How does he expect to campaign on a repeal of the stipend paid to political parties when people are riled up about an expected tax credit that isn't there?

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."

Original poem here.Recommend this Post

Prorogation miscellany and a question regarding the Long Parliament precedent

I can take a punch."   — Harper

Apparently, he was referring to the liquid that comes in a bowl around this time of year.  When it comes to honest criticism of his government he runs and hides.  He doesn't even have the courage to face the GG in person.

And as far as slighting the institutions of our government, he gets a twofer with this travesty.  Ignoring the primary forum of the Nation's business is bad enough.  But not even giving the Queen's representative the courtesy of a visit.  Very Harperesque.

If the Opposition MPs showed up for work on the 25, would they be able to nominate surrogates for those that don't?  Would the citizens (such as me) who suffer the indignity of living in Calgary South-West and are thereby, represented by the Coward-in Chief,  be able to represent a Canadian to represent them?  Probably not but it might weaken the resolve of some Con MPs.

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