Thursday, December 29, 2005

My coffee bet may in trouble

Let me remind the faithful reader of my coffee bet. If, by the end of 2006, both the Conservatives and the Liberals have a new leader I will a coffee (hey big spender). If not, I have to buy the Java.

The assumption was that the Liberals would win a decreased minority, Stephen Harper would step down and the Liberals would force Paul Martin out. I am beginning to think I will be wrong on all three of those assumptions.

On the third one check out Lawrence Martin's column.

In a year-end interview, CTV's Mike Duffy asked Paul Martin whether he would be stepping down as leader of the Liberal Party if he did not win a majority in the coming election.
The Prime Minister parried the question while hunting for the right words. Then he spoke of the great future awaiting Canada and the big challenges of the changing world. Then he said, "I want to be there."
To those who think Mr. Martin will go quietly, his message was clear: Dream on. He is intent on leading the Liberals into a third campaign.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

I have investigated myself

and cleared myself of any wrong doing.

You have to give Peter Mansbridge credit. He tried, three times, to get an answer from Ralph Goodale as to why he is not resigning as Finance Minister. To no ones surprise Mr. Goodale would not answer the question directly. (here is the video of the interview in RealPlayer format, h/t SinisterThoughts)

...know I've examined my own conduct in this matter and I'm confident that conduct is consistent with 30 years of integrity and trust in public life

Shouldn't you know this kind of thing without having to examine it? Either you were involved in a leak or you were not. All that an examination does is show that you are worried that there might some evidence, somewhere, that might implicate you. I am not saying that Ralph Goodale is guilty of anything...well other than bad communication. Because innocent people do not examine their own conduct.

Update: The Conservative Party was kind enough to provide the Ministerial precedent information that Peter Mansbridge was referring to.

Greg Sorbara resigned as Ontario Finance Minister in 2005, after it was revealed that he was named in a warrant as part of an ongoing RCMP investigation. (CP, October 12, 2005)
Judy Sgro resigned as Minister of Citizenship and Immigration in order to clear her name, following additional allegations in January 2004. (Ottawa Citizen, January 15, 2004)
John van Dongen stepped aside as B.C.Â’s Fisheries Minister in January 2003 pending an investigation. The special prosecutor concluded no charges should be laid because there was no evidence of "criminal intent." Van Dongen was reappointed to the cabinet. (Vancouver Sun, January 20, 2004)
Rob Samson stepped aside as OntarioÂ’s Minister of Correction Services during an OPP investigation. When he was cleared of any wrongdoing in the release of information about young offenders at Cobourg's Brookside Youth Centre, Samson was returned to cabinet. (Press Release, Office of the Premier of Ontario, March 8, 2001)
Moe Sihota stepped aside as B.C.'s Education Minister to await the result of two probes into his conduct. (Ottawa Citizen, December 14, 1996)

Update: David Akin takes this post one step further by providing links.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

When will they ever learn

So what do I learn by watching Countdown tonight? That the Liberals are so broke that they are going to send their paid campaign staff back to their government jobs, from which they were on a leave of absense during the Christmas week off.

Yet again they are using taxpayer dollars to fuel their election campaign. As Alexa McDonough said on the panel, it proves they have learned nothing from the Sponsorship Scandal.

Update: All Things Canadian links to the video.

Here is the quote from Mike Duffy

...I've just been getting emails from the Liberal warroom that confirms what we've been hearing - all day long we've been hearing the buzz that Liberal campaign workers who are now on leave of absense from their government jobs are going to go back to work. That's right. When the campaigns shut down between the Christmas and New Years period a number of Liberal campagin workers who are now on leave of absense from government jobs are going back to the office to collect their government pay between Christmas and New Years. A move that will save the Liberal party the cost of paying their salaries over the Christmas period.

When we put that question to the Martin campaign they came back with an email tonight telling us the following:

"If certain people on the campaign do revert back to their government positions or are eligible to take paid vacation time and choose to do so, they are not permitted by our campaign to be engaged in campaign activities during that period.

The crux of the Sponsorship Scandal was that the Liberals confused the best interests of their party with the best interests of the country and used government money to benefit the party. This is no different.

Friday, December 3, 2004

MP Martin's tight rope

PM Martin is walking a fine line. On Ballistic Missile Defense (or as I call it Escalation of the Constellations) he pretends that the Canadian government is still investigating the issue, meanwhile we have already agreed to include it as part of NORAD and to allow the USA to use our airspace to shoot down incoming Nuclear Missiles. The only thing we have not agreed to (yet) is putting anti-missile missiles in the Canadian Artic.

Also, as of this week, we have signaled to the world, through the UN, that Canada is willing to take a stronger position in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and begin voting on resolutions instead of abstaining. Finally, PM Martin has promoted drastic changes to the UN, the development of an L20 group of leaders and the ignoring of sovereignty to protect to citizens of nations with despotic governments (i.e. Sudan).

At first glance it appears that the Prime Minister is carving out the Blue Grit position that many suspected he would. In a minority government situation this is dangerous to say the least. As time goes on in Parliament PM Martin is increasingly alienating the NDP, BQ and the Red Grits in his own party. In fact, as MP Harper moves the Conservatives further left to attempt gains in Quebec and PM Martin moves the government right, the only coalition to be had is a Liberal-Conservative one.

So the natural question is where is PM Martin going with all of this? Surely he runs the risk of having prominent Chretienites flipping to the NDP in a future election and further jeopardizing his chance at a majority government. Or maybe not.

PM Martin surely sees the writing on the wall at the UN. The UN Oil-for-Food program scandal has been bubbling under the radar for months and could boil over any day. By distancing himself from the UN and promoting the L20 he anesthetizes his party against the position that former PM Chretien took in Iraq. If the UN were to be proven to be in the bag for Saddam Hussein any high road that PM Chretien may have taken would collapse from under him and the Conservatives could have made great political gain in a subsequent campaign. Team Martin will be able to avoid such a charge, if only he can keep is ever loosening coalition of Red and Blue Liberals in tact.

Wednesday, December 1, 2004


(via Andrew Coyne and I will link it once it becomes available)

You see, in Canada we gave up believing years ago, in religion, in ideals, in pretty much of anything, really. Secure as we were under the American defence umbrella, we were infantilized; having no need to defend ourselves, we could not understand why anyone else would have more. Or perhaps it is this: having renounced even the wish to defend ourselves, having absorbed the notion that the country could be destroyed at any moment by a vote of half the population of one province, what was left to believe?
If we cannot even bring ourselves to believe in the country's existence - as a first principle, from which all others follow - how is it possible to take a definitive stance on any other question? And so, by and large, we haven't.

This sentiment has come up frequently over at the Shotgun group blog lately, especially here and here.

Both posts quote a Washington Post article with this money quote:

Part of what's irksome about Canadian anti-Americanism and the obsession with the United States is that it seems so corrosive to Canada. Any country that defines itself through a negative ("Canada: We're not the United States") is doomed to an endless and repetitive cycle of hand-wringing and angst. For example, Canadians often point to their system of universal health care as the best example of what it means to be Canadian (because the United States doesn't provide it), but this means that any effort to adjust or reform that system (which is not perfect) precipitates a national identity crisis: To wit, instituting co-payments or private MRI clinics will make Canada too much like the United States.

This is what I found annoying about the whole "Greatest Canadian" exercise. Over and over it was pounded into our heads that the Canadian values are tolerance and diversity. Douglas was great because of this, Trudeau was great because of this, even MacDonald was great because of this. They disqualify of Cherry is that he is somehow intolerant and undiverse (if that is an actual state of being). I have no problem with the concepts of tolerance and diversity but they are not the bedrocks of a civilization. What about the values of hard-work, responsibility, entrepreneurship? The early settlers came here to make their lives better, yes some were fleeing intolerance but they came to find economic opportunity; a place to raise their families. The early dream of immigrants was to live in an environment where their children could have more opportunities than they had. It was inherently an optimistic belief that drove people here. Without this belief in the future and striving for greatness society crumbles and leaves tolerance and diversity in shambles right along with it.

Canadians are more than heathcare, more than tolerance and diversity. We are a great and courageous and yes kind people. I fear the results if we ignore our legacy of greatness behind for the empty promise of anti-Americanism.