Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Abolishing the Long Gun Registry: What is in it for Harper?

One thing I have not been able to figure out about this whole charade is how Harper benefits. The Conservative Party is almost exclusively driven by the need to raise money to perpetuate its party apparatus. The days of being a vehicle for promulgating consistent and coherent public policy are far in the past. Railing against the LGR has long been a sure-fire fundraising shtick for these charlatans. Why give it up? What bogeyman are they going to replace the LGR with?

Are they going through with this for electoral advantage? Hard to see that for three reasons. They can't take credit for it. Explaining after the fact that it was a presented as a private member's bill that was really a government bill doesn't scan as a sound bite; "Vote for me! I lied about the bill while I whipped my caucus to vote for it" That sweater vest don't hunt.

The other thing is that the Conservatives don't have much to gain by removing the LGR. They stand to gain a few seats in rural areas but this might very well be over-compensated by losses in the urban ridings. Never mind a majority. Why mess with the urban/rural cleavage?

The third reason it is an electoral loser is the damage this is doing to the NDP. Harper has been a huge beneficiary of vote splitting amongst the sane demographic. He needs a strong NDP. Why destroy your useful idiots?

I can't figure this one out. That is why I won't be surprised to see a last minute reprieve for the LGR, the NDP and the Conservative gravy train.
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Four year karma's gonna get you

Instant karma’s gonna get you
Gonna knock you right on the head

John Lennon

During the early days of the Harper Regime, when it was just a bad dream rather than the nightmare it has become, the NDP and it's supporters reveled in the Conservative tactic of making every bill a confidence measure. No matter how specious this tactic you could count on seeing Layton cheering on Harper. No matter the consequences to Canada and the NDP's ideals. To heck with the heritage left by Douglas, Lewis and Broadbent. All that Layton cared about was the damage it caused the Liberals. And how it gave him a chance to move into Stornoway.

It's payback time:

NDP Leader Jack Layton has spoken passionately about the need for a federal long-gun registry, but he could end up with its demise as part of his political legacy.

Mr. Layton is head of a largely urban caucus that owes a third of its seats to the rural regions of Canada, where the registry is widely despised. Those party dynamics leave him far more exposed than leaders of the other parties, forcing him to straddle an issue that divides the country along city and country lines.

or how about:

NDP Leader Jack Layton is a good man with a political problem: the long-gun registry that the Conservatives want to abolish.

Usually, the New Democrats spurn with varying degrees of bile anything the Conservatives desire. True, they kept the Conservatives afloat for a while in the minority Parliament, but that tactic reflected the NDP’s instinct for self-preservation, not any warming toward Stephen Harper and his crowd.

The long-gun registry, controversial since its inception under the Liberals, has always been seen by the Harper strategists as a “wedge issue” demarcating their party from the others. Indeed, it has done just that, but the registry has also driven a wedge into the NDP.

I am not enjoying this one bit. But it is a cautionary tale to all of us to forgo the easy partisan advantage and remain focused on the main goal. Getting Harper out of office.

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Monday, August 30, 2010

I'm all for vote splitting

When it is the far-right vote that might be split.

This past weekend hundreds of thousands of Americans flocked to Washington for a rally about taking back their country. They came to hear speakers such as Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, and although not explicitly a Tea Party event, the crowd drew many from the movement that calls for government to get government off the backs of hard working people.

Andrew Lawton wants to bring that spirit to Canada.

Lawton, a conservative-leaning activist from London, Ont., is one of the organizers behind an online attempt to start a Tea Party movement in Canada.

Mr. Lawton, I wish you nothing but the best. Go ahead, tear apart Mr. Angry's tenuous coalition.  The rise of the Reform Party and disillusionment with a Conservative government was a key factor in the collapse of the Progressive Conservative Party.  May history repeat itself.  This time as a farce.

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How Toronto saved Canada

Do you remember a book from a few years ago called"How the Irish saved civilization". Long story short; while the rest of Europe fell into an abyss following the collapse of the Roman Empire, monks in Ireland preserved the kernel of western civilization. This post is about how Toronto saved the rest of Canada from a Harper majority in 2008 and thereby Canada. She has since paid a heavy price what with the G20 and all but in the long run the gratitude from the ROC will be worth it.

A lot has been made lately about how the Liberals are reliant on the GTA since 32 of their 77 seats reside in the Big Smoke. This would be a bad thing if the Conservatives were still in the ascendancy and this redoubt was the last stand of the Liberal Party. But given the cumulative effects of Conservative ideology and incompetence on Harper's polling numbers combined with the strong performance of Iggy on the Liberal Express, we can look forward with hope to the next election.

When Canadians look back and realize how bad the Harperites really were and how close we came to losing Canada we can all thank Toronto for preserving the Liberal Party from extinction. That doesn't mean the rest of Canada will suddenly love T.O. or stop making fun of the Leafs. But She will deserve some recognition for saving us from seeing Harper get a majority on 2008. Maybe even from Calgarians other than yours truly.Recommend this Post

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Harper's Arctic ODDyssey (aka Harper's jet ski moment)

This entire excursion has been recognized for what it is. A very expensive photo-op deserving of the ridicule it has been receiving.

But this little stunt encapsulates the little man.

According to one reporter awestruck by the audaciousness of our extemporaneous , personality charged PM (MEIB):

To the complete surprise of everyone, including his security detail, Prime Minister Stephen Harper enjoyed an impromptu high-speed joyride in Tuktoyaktuk Thursday afternoon.

Following a day of announcements and photos opportunities Mr. Harper was to have boarded a C130-J Hercules for the trip to Whitehorse, Yukon, where further events awaited.

Instead, to the obvious surprise of the security detail, he got onto a four-wheel all-terrain vehicle and headed at high speed out onto the airport runway, with police cruisers and ATV’s belatedly — and futilely — in pursuit.

The rogue PM eventually returned to the aircraft where he was surrounded by reporters and photographers, one of whom wondered whether he had a licence to operate the vehicle — especially on restricted space such as an air strip?

“I think I make the rules,” the PM quipped

Look at the video. He put a helmet on. If you are going on an "impromtu...joyride" that takes everyone by "complete surprise", you don't stop and put on a helmet. And the cruisers and other ATVs didn't have time to react? Give me a break. They were told to give him a head start. At least he did do it at the NAC. (s/t: SD at truthfool.org)

Like every other aspect of this man's live it is stage managed. It has to be because he is a hollow shell. This is why he is driven to pull apart a complex, energetic and soulful Canada that others have built through decades of hard work. He wants to make it as empty as he is himself.

But back to the reason for the title of the post. With the exception of Mr. Ibbitson's notable bit of hagiographic journalism, the ridicule he has attracted has been extensive and well deserved. I am hopeful the MSM continues to describe these junkets as the expensive photo-ops they are.
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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Harper plays follow the Leader

If there is any questions about the effectiveness of the Liberal Express, here is a qualitative confirmation.  Iggy dances (moderately well, imho).  Soon afterwards a photo-op is desecrated by the sight of Mr. Angry apparently dislocating a hip or dancing.

What is next on the (not so) Hidden Agenda?  Grow busy eyebrows?
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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Uncle Vic knows best

Add another example to the list of the Conservative attempts to turn Canada into North Korea only with better hockey players.

The Conservative government is making no apologies for the delay in releasing a report praising the long-gun registry, even as a vote on a bill to kill it nears in the House of Commons next month.

“Canadians don’t need another report to know that the long-gun registry is very efficient at harassing law-abiding farmers and outdoors enthusiasts, while wasting billions of taxpayer dollars,” a spokesperson for Public Safety Minister Vic Toews told the Star Tuesday.

“They don’t need another report to know that the registry does nothing to prevent crime,” the spokesperson added, echoing the Conservative government’s staunch opposition to the registry, which costs $4 million a year to run.

And opposition critics say the government is prepared to sit on the Canadian firearms program evaluation report until after the vote so Canadians won’t be able to see the value in keeping the program.

“The government’s position is never let the facts get in the way of ideology,” Liberal MP Mark Holland (Ajax Pickering) told the Star.

Senior deputy RCMP commissioner Bill Sweeney told the Commons’ public safety committee in May that the report “was extremely positive” and should be released, Holland said.

A braver government. One certain of the justness of it's policy. One with the facts on it's side would hurry to release this report. This group of Kim Jong Il wanna-bes? Well you know.

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

I, for one, love Kory's Propaganda Poll

Several top bloggers have pointed out how bad this QMI/Leger Poll is. Whether the derision is expressed as exclamations as to how execrable the "poll" and it's "analysis" is or as somewhat more dignified rebuttals; the tenor is the same. This poll is an embarrassment to pollsters everywhere.

I love it! QMI takes it's orders from Kory Teneycke. Mr. T takes his orders from the PMO. The PMO takes its orders from the Dark Lord himself. And Mr. Angry always follows the Rovian maxim: "Attack your opponents strengths". (go to page 4).

So... If Harper wants to message that, contrary to the evidence of our lying eyes, the Liberal Express is a flop it must have been more successful than we thought. Yes it was a lame attack. But the key point is that the Liberal Express was seen as worthy of vigorously attacking. Which in topsy turvy tory Canada means the Liberal Express was a big success. I think I see blue skies through all that forest fire smoke over Calgary this morning.

That is my poll analysis. It is worth what you paid for it.
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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mass exodus of liberals from U.S.

The Manitoba Herald*

as Reported by Clive Runnels
August 1, 2010

The flood of American liberals sneaking across the border into Canada has intensified in the past week, sparking calls for increased patrols to stop the illegal immigration. The recent actions of the Tea Party are prompting an exodus among left-leaning citizens who fear they'll soon be required to hunt, pray, and to agree with Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck.

Canadian border farmers say it's not uncommon to see dozens of sociology professors, animal-rights activists and Unitarians crossing their fields at night.

"I went out to milk the cows the other day, and there was a Hollywood producer huddled in the barn," said Manitoba farmer Red Greenfield, whose acreage borders North Dakota. The producer was cold, exhausted and hungry. He asked me if I could spare a latte and some free-range chicken. When I said I didn't have any, he left before I even got a chance to show him my screenplay, eh?"

In an effort to stop the illegal aliens, Greenfield erected higher fences, but the liberals scaled them. He then installed loudspeakers that blared Rush Limbaugh across the fields. "Not real effective," he said. "The liberals still got through and Rush annoyed the cows so much that they wouldn't give any milk."

Officials are particularly concerned about smugglers who meet liberals near the Canadian border, pack them into Volvo station wagons and drive them across the border where they are simply left to fend for themselves.

"A lot of these people are not prepared for our rugged conditions," an Ontario border patrolman said. "I found one carload without a single bottle of imported drinking water.”

They did have a nice little Napa Valley Cabernet, though."

When liberals are caught, they're sent back across the border, often wailing loudly that they fear retribution from conservatives. Rumors have been circulating about plans being made to build re-education camps where liberals will be forced to drink domestic beer and watch NASCAR races.

In recent days, liberals have turned to ingenious ways of crossing the border. Some have been disguised as senior citizens taking a bus trip to buy cheap Canadian prescription drugs. After catching a half-dozen young vegans in powdered wig disguises, Canadian immigration authorities began stopping buses and quizzing the supposed senior-citizens about Perry Como and Rosemary Clooney to prove that they were alive in the '50s.

"If they can't identify the accordion player on The Lawrence Welk Show, we become very suspicious about their age," an official said.

Canadian citizens have complained that the illegal immigrants are creating an organic-broccoli shortage and are renting all the Michael Moore movies. "I really feel sorry for American liberals, but the Canadian economy just can't support them," an Ottawa resident said.

"How many art-history majors does one country need?"

In an effort to ease tensions between the United States and Canada, Vice-President Biden met with the Canadian ambassador and pledged that the administration would take steps to reassure liberals. A source close to President Obama said, "We're going to have some Paul McCartney and Peter, Paul & Mary concerts. And we might even put some endangered species on postage stamps.”

The President is determined to reach out," he said.

The Herald will be interested to see if Obama can actually raise Mary from the dead in time for the concert!

*This has been floating around the 'net for at least four years. But a good satire is worth repeating. A freind emailed it to me and I thought it needed to be shared. It is slightly less funny now that we have had Harper in power for that long. Where do progressives sneak to if he gets his majority?

BTW, I had no luck finding the provenance of the Manitoba Herald.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

When you have lost Jeffery Simpson, you have lost the centre-right

And when Harper has lost the centre-right he is toast.

No one columnist exemplifies that sane side of the conservatism more so than Jeffery Simpson.  He is the main stream establishment personified.  Nothing could be worse for the Conservatives than having him publish a piece that makes the opinions on Progressive Bloggers seem almost kind in comparison.  Just for a taste, consider the following (MEIB):

The Harper government – that is, the Prime Minister and his entourage – tried to slip a fast one past Canadians. It announced the end of the long form in the dead of summer, on a Friday to boot, as a sop to their far-right core constituency.

They must have figured no one would be paying attention, so they could take out their dislike of Statistics Canada when no one was looking – a dislike grounded in their blinkered belief that the agency collects facts that are then used by pressure groups, often of the social activist variety, that want more and bigger government.

Canadian civic society immediately smelled a rat. At last count – the figures are provided by the redoubtable retired professor William Stanbury – more than 200 groups and institutions publicly oppose the Harper policy, while three support it.

The three are fringe, right-wing institutions: the Fraser Institute, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and the National Citizens Coalition, the little organization for which Stephen Harper himself once toiled in a Calgary office of two people (himself and a secretary). There've been a few supportive, far-right media shills, of course. But that's been it. ...

Canadians witnessed the disgusting spectacle of careerist ministers РIndustry's Tony Clement in the lead Рtap dancing to the Prime Minister's tune. Their justification for dispensing with the long form Рthe best chance of getting the most accurate data Рwas a m̩lange of distortions, misrepresentations and exaggerations of so gross a kind that Canadians recoiled in indignation. ...

Such are the consequences of having people in government who live in a world of political spin and who prefer ideology over data – who claim, for example, that statistics showing a decline in crime rates are not reliable because they don't fit the government's "tough on crime" agenda, or who say the situation in Afghanistan is improving despite the fact that the past two months have been the most violent since the war began.

The census debate, so provocative and so needless but for the exigencies of ideology, roused civic society as few decisions have done in recent decades. The census will lodge itself in a corner of the electorate's collective memory as a talisman for what the Harperites might do if given a freer rein and, as such, has ruined what little chance they had of achieving a majority.

Read the whole thing.  He has written a few strongly worded critiques on the Conservatives recently (such as this) but not so full of disdain.  This could very well be catastrophic for Harper.

Why?  Because the margin by which they achieved government is so thin.  It is also the way in which they reached their seat total.  It was not done on the basis of attracting new voters.  It was the result of getting traditional Liberal voters to stay home.  I covered this topic in this series of posts after the 2008 election.  If opinion leaders for the centre-right such as Simpson solidify the image of Harper has a dangerous ideologue and convinces all those stay at homes to vote this time, Mr. Angry is done.

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Photographic evidence of Cabinet dissension over census fiasco

In this photo John Baird and Tony Clement express their anger about the drop in Conservative popularity due to the census foolishness.In an odd turn of events, this photo was provided by the PMO itself). oops. I really should have read the caption first.
Clowns ham it up with Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Moncton, New Brunswick. July 19, 2010.
You have to admit. It was an easy mistake to make.
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Monday, August 9, 2010

If elections are bad for the economy

How should we interpret the extensive series of bills that the Conservatives presented as Confidence tests?  Was this an attempt to subvert the economy.  Surely the master economist must have realized the horrible effect this would have on the economic performance.

What does this also say about the NDP and their gleeful participation in this economic sabotage?
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Friday, August 6, 2010

Canada's Democracy is too fragile for Harper

Harper compounds his legacy of an economic deficit by increasing the immensity of his democratic one.

Nothing speaks more to his anti-democratic tendencies than this statement (MEIB):

Canada's economic recovery cannot afford to be disrupted by an "unnecessary" election, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said after announcing a minor cabinet shuffle.


Speaking to reporters outside Rideau Hall after the ceremony, the prime minister said the global economic recovery remains fragile and is the "No. 1 priority for Canadians."

"Time is needed to carry out our economic plan," Harper said. "Canada cannot allow a break in its economic recovery plan with an unnecessary election."

The comments come as a new Ekos poll suggests the Conservatives' lead over the Liberals among potential voters appears to have dried up, with both parties virtually tied at the same level of support.

I wasn't around during the Depression but I believe we had elections during that time.  I expect the economy was one of the top priorities then too.  It didn't get in the way of democracy.  We had them during both World Wars.  Leaders are not afraid to face the people during trying times.

Stephen Harper on the other hand.  Not a leader.

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The answer is yes

The question was: "Is it possible for Harper to look any dorkier at the Stampede or even in day to day life?"
(S/T to Impolitical who used the occurrence of the PM's new two eyes to make a more mature and intelligent point)

That post by The All Knowing And All Seeing Political One caused me to grit my teeth and look at the PMO Photo of the Day Page. Always an interesting look at the image the PM wants to project. Remember these photos were selected to enhance his image. So without further ado.

Harper strokes his inner Breshnev
How about the underlying messages in this photo:Could the Queen look any more like she has had enough of her job if it entails talking to this dick one more time? Even Prince Philip can't be bothered to look at him. And this is the image the PMO put up? Not great coat-tails with which to roll into a fall election But maybe it was the best this photo-op provided:
Queen Elizabeth then pulled a face when listening to a speech by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, during a visit to Government House, Winnipeg, she had reserved for use when catching Sarah Ferguson begging the corgis for scraps…
Could it be that the Queen just doesn't like Canda or it's PMs? I present evidence to the contrary.
No. She, like the most of the world that has had the misfortune of experiencing Harper, doesn't like him.Recommend this Post

Why miniority governments on the brink of collapse work for Harper

I followed my own advice and re-read The Shock Doctrine over my vacation.  It got me to thinking that perhaps Mr. Angry is quite happy to govern during a period of constant minority governments.  Especially when they are in danger of collapsing and throwing the country into another unwanted election.  This distraction allows him to impose changes to the federation that would never be possible during more normal circumstances. Even with a majority the popular opposition to the radical changes would likely prevent some of the changes the he is making by baby steps.

Paul Wells has a parallel take.  Only as a political columnist, he takes an, in my view, an inaccurate primarily political tack.  He does seem to have seen a hint of the light through the partially open door.
The assumption behind so much of our political chatter is that Harper's grip on power hangs by a thread. He likes that assumption. It allows him to keep changing the country while everyone waits for him to fall.
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Dan Gardner is a very good columnist

When he is pissed off he is great.

A slim majority of Conservative party members believe homosexuals should be arrested and imprisoned in federal dinner theatres, where they would perform The Sound of Music and other wholesome entertainment for children and seniors. Twenty per cent of the Conservative caucus dropped acid with the Grateful Dead. At least three cabinet ministers have outstanding arrest warrants in Nepal; one is a former member of the Manson family.

In the past, I would not have presented these claims as facts because they're not "true," in the narrow sense of an assertion supported by logic and evidence. That stuff mattered to me. I was a "member of the reality-based community," as a Bush administration official famously said about people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality."

But no more. "When we act," that official said, "we create our own reality." That's where I am now. Stephen Harper, the Conservative government, and me. Creating our own reality. And dropping acid with the Dead.

The first stop for Stephen's purple van was the census. Had to be. The census produces numbers that represent reality and people get all bent out of shape if the government's decisions aren't in line with these "facts." Buzz kill. So the reality-creators had to mess it up. Which is pretty easy to do. Just make the mandatory long-form census voluntary and suppress the urge to shout "that's the point, Poindexter!" when statisticians object that the data will be corrupted.

Unfortunately, the reality-based community votes -- for now -- and the Chief Metaphysician had to offer some sort of explanation for why the government is sticking it to StatsCan. So he sent out Milhouse. "It's, um, it's wrong for the state to compel people to divulge private information," Milhouse said, as instructed.

Hilarious stuff. The state compels people to divulge private information in a hundred ways and Stephen's cool with all of them, so this made about as much sense as the gagging noises that came out of George W. Bush's mouth when that pretzel went down wrong. But logic is a reality-based thing. Say something as shamelessly silly as this and people who get the new reality-creation paradigm will smile contentedly while the old-fashioned types will sputter and froth and wear their thumbs out Twittering their outrage.

It's incredibly liberating, this new way of thinking. A little heady, even. It's like being Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty. Say it and it's true! A fella could lose his head.

Which brings me to the barefoot dude playing a sitar at the back of the purple van. I speak, naturally, of Stockwell Day.

At a press conference this week, a reality-based reporter asked the minister to explain why the government is going to spend billions of dollars it doesn't have to build new prisons when crime has been on the decline for many years. Ah, but the decline in crime you cite is merely a statistical figment, Day sagely observed. It's based on crimes reported to police. People don't report crime like they used to and the government is terribly concerned about the surge in unreported crime.

There was a certain truthiness in this because there is indeed a StatsCan survey that asks people if they've been victims of crime and, if so, whether they reported the crime to the police. Most crimes aren't reported. And the last survey shows a decline in the rate of reporting from the one previous. For a guy in the purple van, that's way more than good enough.

The reality-based community might find it a little harder to accept, however. For one thing, the decline in reporting is tiny, from 37 per cent to 34 per cent. More importantly, the survey uses such a literal definition of "crime," and such sweeping questions, that a parent whose 10-year-old had a tantrum and broke a window at home would be considered the "victim" of a "crime" that was not reported to the police. Some of what the survey tallies is more clearly criminal, of course. But it's mostly very minor stuff. And since the only criminals sent to federal penitentiaries are those who get sentences of more than two years -- serious criminals, in other words -- this survey has essentially nothing to do with what Stockwell Day was talking about.

It's also a little odd that Day cited a survey which found that 94 per cent of Canadians believed they were personally safe, up significantly from earlier surveys. And it certainly didn't help that Day made his point with a six-year-old survey shortly after saying the census was useless because it was only conducted every five years. It might also have been awkward if anyone had told the minister that the voluntary survey he was citing was accurate because statisticians had weighted it to reduce response bias using data from the mandatory census -- a procedure which will no longer be possible thanks to the government's decision to screw with the census.

But all that is so reality-based. Facts, evidence, logic. Irony. We're moved beyond that. I might even say we've evolved, but some of the guys in the purple van might not like that. So let's just say we've opened the doors of perception. We make reality, man.

Hey, here's something most people don't know. Stephen Harper has a tattoo. Really. It's a quotation from Friedrich Nietzsche. "There are no facts, only interpretations." He got it one crazy weekend in

Tijuana. It's on his right buttock.

Oh, and the former member of the Manson family? Milhouse, of course.

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