Super-Bonus-Western-Alienation-From-Non-Westerner Post

So the conventional wisdom says this guy can't be Minister of Finance, because he comes from the same province as this guy.

Funny, I don't remember anyone squawking about the whole "same province" issue when this guy was named Minister of Finance in this guy's government, do you?

(Ed. note: I actually won't pitch a fit if Monte gets some other post in cabinet, nor will I object if the Min. of Fin. job goes to some other well-qualified person. I just find the notion of people getting the vapours over 2 guys from the same province having rather important jobs kind of amusing - and a bit depressing. As you were.)

More later.


See? I'm Not The Only One

Not to say that I only feel warm inside when a well-known pundit agrees with me, but John Ibbitson's column in today's Globe and Mail (which can be found here if you're a subscriber … and if you're not, there's some Google-trick you can use to read it, but I don't know what it is, sorry) makes the point that I was trying to make when last I posted. A few excerpts:

Could we please remember something? Stephen Harper actually won this election.

[I]t is ludicrous to presume that this government will be weak, ineffectual and short-lived. Mr. Harper, his caucus and their advisers possess considerable strengths, and will be able to use the levers of power to build on those strengths.

… Mr. Harper must meet the House as soon as he can, and get on with the job. He can do so knowing that his mandate is more robust and his prospects more promising than his critics are willing to concede.

Ibbitson makes some other points, not the least of which is that Conservatives should not fall into the trap of blaming voters in Toronto/Montreal/Vancouver for their poor results in those cities. Instead, he suggests that "Mr. Harper and his supporters must retool the party to appeal to these voters."

To a large extent, I agree. I've always believed that if somebody doesn't vote for us, the first place we should look to assign blame is in the mirror (absent fraud, of course). If the CPC didn't appeal to voters in those cities, the Party should ask itself why.

However, I would not go as far as what is suggested in Ibbitson's column. The CPC should try to make itself more attractive to those mega-urban(*) voters, but it should not do so by twisting itself into nothing more than a Lib-lite pretzel. A thoughtful, detailed policy-development process can, I believe, find ideas that fit inside the tent of small-c conservatism and which appeal to voters in those cities in sufficient numbers to win at least a few seats. More on this policy-development process later.

(* "Mega-urban" is my shorthand for Toronto/Montreal/Vancouver. To say that the Tories didn't win seats in or near "urban Canada" as a whole is demonstrably false: the CPC won seats in or near Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, London (in the areas surrounding it, if not in the city itself), Ottawa (ditto), Quebec City and St. John's, and that's just a list off the top of my head. Despite what some Torontonians may think, none of these places can be defined as "rural".)

The issue of winning in mega-urban Canada is one of the issues that the CPC will have to deal with, and not in the too-distant future. But honestly: I would rather grapple with these issues in the context of figuring out how the Tories can win a majority next time, rather than figuring out why my Party lost again.

More later.

Very Bad News From The Middle East

Anyone with a grain of common sense would, I expect, have to be concerned about this.

I'm no expert in the internal workings (or lack thereof) of the Palestinian power structure, but unless Hamas quickly and convincingly renounces terrorism and recognises Isreal's right to exist, I really have to wonder how anything that remotely resembles an effective peace process can go forward.

More later.


Brief Thoughts - Smile, We Won!

The following is the text of an e-mail I sent to an old friend of mine on election night.  It has been slightly edited to (a) take out some personal stuff, and (b) make it more coherent than it was when I wrote it, at about 2:30 a.m. on 24 January:

Well, look:

It's a win. A win beats the holy hell out of a loss. A few months ago it was quite reasonable to assume, based on the opinion polls (not that we should listen to them …) that we'd lose this thing.

The way some people are carrying on, you'd think Paul Martin was just handed a majority.  On the one hand, that's a good thing: Conservatives (small- and big-"c") shouldn't necessarily be satisfied with the final results, in the sense that there is always room to improve, and always room to do better.  But once again, the (conservative) folks who are glum now should remember that  it is ok to celebrate your victories, even if (a) there's more work to do, and (b) the celebrations shouldn't go overboard.

The Tory win didn't go far enough - not many good things do - but it went further than it could have. The Libs won't be able to freeze us out of the cities forever; and if you think your ol'buddy Jason is being too optimistic on our ability to win in places like Toronto and Vancouver, I suggest we take a look at Quebec: nobody expected us to do that well when this thing started.

So chin up: at the end of the day, you and I can now say that we have, for the first time since reaching the age of majority (ed. note: I realize that doesn't mean much to most of you young whippersnappers on the internet these days, but for me, it's been a bit longer) have been a part of a winning campaign on the national level. And that aint bad.

- Jason.

More comments on the results, locally and nationally, are to follow.  For now, I have some work to catch up on.

More later.


Goldstein - Yes; Blogspot - No

So I spend quite a while writing up a post about my local candidate, Sam Goldstein here in Trinity-Spadina (Toronto).

I explain why he and his team have run a dedicated, active campaign when the temptation exists, in a riding like Trin-Spad which is notoriously tough on Tories, to simply be a paper candidate. (I, by the way, am honoured to be on that team ... I just wish that work et al. had not prevented me from doing even more.)

I talk about who Sam is, and why any conservative living in Trinity-Spadina should give him their vote, and not try and be cute by voting for Olivia Chow in the hopes of defeating Tony Ianno, the Liberal incumbent (who, make no mistake, does deserve a good ol' fashioned whuppin' at the polls tomorrow).

And I go on to say how important it is to get behind candidates who are running for the CPC in places like Toronto, so that we can remove the stranglehold that the Libs (and perhaps, in some areas after tomorrow, the NDP) have on ridings in Toronto, even if it is a slow and, at times, frustrating process.

I do all of that, and more ....

.... and then the Goddamned Blogspot crashes on my machine. My post is gone and it aint coming back.

So here it is: it may take time. It will take effort. And in the short term, it may not be as "fun" as working for Tory candidates in ridings that are seen as more winable. But even if the Tories are as successful as I hope they are tomorrow night, we need to keep building, and keep working, in this riding and across the "416", until the Libs and NDP are forced to stop taking Toronto for granted.

And in my own corner of Toronto, Trinity-Spadina, that means supporting Sam Goldstein.

More later.


It's Probably Just Me ...

Maybe I'm just too punchy from lack of sleep and/or the mild anxiety I'm feeling when I try and figure out what the heck is going to happen on Monday night ...

But this post from Lorne Gunter, and in particular, his "description" of the telephone call between Liberal Head Office and their now-I'm-quitting, now-I'm-not sacrifical lamb in the Quebec riding of Jonquiere-Alma had me in stiches.

Anyway, go read the whole thing (and read the rest of Gunter's posts as well ... he took some time off during & following the Western Standard cruise, but he's back with a vengeance).

More later.


Gilles Duceppe is Feeling a Buzz

I was at the Stephen Harper rally in Toronto this morning - or I should say, I was in a room off to the side of the rally, where the overflow crowd had to be parked. Not bad at all, having a pretty big crowd out for a Conservative rally in the heart of the "416", with less then a week to go.

Anyway, while I was waiting, I saw Senator Buzz Hargrove and Paul Martin at a campaign event. The sound was off, so I didn't get to hear what Buzz was going on about, but it probably wasn't as interesting as what he had to say in this story:

[Hargorve] said Quebec voters should choose the Bloc Quebecois over the Conservatives.

"Anything to stop the Tories."

It's great to see that Buzz is not only a voice for the working man/woman --- he's a great Canadian patriot, too.

I wonder what the guys on the assembly line in Oshawa or Oakville think of that particular endorsement?

Heck, according to the story, Paul Martin was with Buzz when he did his bit for national unity ... I wonder what he thought of it?

{h/t to the incomperable Andrew Coyne}

More later.


Oh, The Good Ol' Hockey Game ...

... It's the best game you can name.

Wonder what Ken Dryden thinks of all this?

More later.

Our Neighbours Are Noticing ...

The Great Canadian Race has attracted the attention of journalists from the U.K. and the U.S.A. (free registration may be required)

Assuming that current trends continue - and anyone working on a CPC campaign, including me, is hereby reminded, again, not to rely on that assumption, but rather to make it happen - I expect that we'll see more of these reports over the next few days.

I remember on the day of the '84 election, one American network (I can't recall if it was ABC, CBS or NBC) ran a story about how John Turner had just provided a guide on how to lose an election. Here's hoping a 1,000 similar flowers bloom this coming Monday.

{h/t for the Telegraph piece: Warren K.}

More later.


The NDP Turns the Knife ...

This is a brand-new ad from the NDP.

I'm not exactly cheering for more New Democrats in the House after next Monday to say the least, but to give credit where credit is due, this new advert of theirs may help keep their current "soft Liberal" supporters from leaking back ... and it may attract more of them, too.

I can't imagine the Libs will be too thrilled to see it on the air, however.

{h/t to Sinister Thoughts}

More later.


"I Approved Those Ad's..."

I considered myself too partisan to determine whether the Lib attack ad's would work ... After all, I thought they were awful and could quite possibly backfire, but would less partisan Canadian voters see it that way?

So far, so good, although I add - once again - that this campaign is NOT over. Not one CPC MP has been elected as of yet. Please repeat that message as often as you can till the polls close on the 23rd. Thank you.

Now, where was I? Oh, right, the attack ad's. The Tories have posted what appeares to my tired, biased eyes to be one hell of a good counter-punch. You can watch it and judge for yourself here.

I haven't seen it on TV yet, but I'll be watching for it ...


More later.


The Kentucky-Fried Candidate

{Extra-Crispy Update below!}

Just when things couldn't get bad enough for Team Martin, along comes this.

According to the NDP - and please, keep the fact that this is our source in mind - their candidate in Abbotsford, Jeffrey Hansen-Carlson, was offered two things one night at the campaign office of Liberal candidate Dave Oliver:

1. A KFC dinner (hence the title above), and

2. Lots of help in winning a bid for town council.

And in return? According to Mr. H-C, he was asked to issue a "directive to suport the Liberals out of fear of what the Conservatives will do to our community and our country, based on the assumption that the NDP is not a big player in this riding."

Now, let me say that I am usually reluctant to take NDP press releases at face value ... and that reluctance applies here. In fact, I find it nigh-on impossible to believe that any candidate or campaign manager for any political party would be that out-and-out stupid.

Indeed, I was initially reluctant to even mention this, as it sounds so damn bizarre. But the fact is, as the link above indicates, the NDP has gone more than public with this, and has asked Elections Canada to step in.

Of course, a complaint to EC does not equal "proven". But if - if - the Libs in Abbotsford were dumb and/or desperate enough to pull a stunt like this ... well, honestly, there are no words.

Update: Good Lord, looks like I was too cautious. Check this release from the LPC out. The Libs are pulling a "Zeisman-plus" on this one. Not only will David Oliver not be allowed to sit with the Lib caucus if elected (fat chance - ed.), the Libs are going to act as if they had 307 candidates, return whatever money they get from the $1.75-per-vote in that riding, etc. Considering that's what they demanded of the Tories, it's the least they could do.

More later.


See The Idiot(s) Walk ...

Keith Martin, who may just be re-considering his career-advancing hop across the aisle a little while back, has weighed in with his $0.02 on the Liberal attack ad's:

"Some idiot went and sent it out with the other 11 ads, and it was never sanctioned by the party, never approved, and we are completely appalled that this went out. We apologize to the men and women in the uniform," [K. Martin] said.

As a public service, herewith, the identity of said idiot:

In an interview Thursday morning on CTV's Canada AM, [Paul] Martin [not Keith] said he approved every one of the harshly critical ads -- including one that suggested the Tory Leader would use the military to occupy Canadian cities.

Keith, other folks may be bitter, but as far as your old friend (whom you've never met) Jason is concerned, there's a light in the window for you if you want to come home ... well, maybe after you give the appropriate apologies.

On another front, Angry in the GWN advises that Keith M. isn't the only Liberal candidate ducking for cover from the Lib ad's.

Not to date myself, but I remember the '93 campaign (despite years of therapy), and you know when I really knew, for sure, that the wheels were off the PC wagon that year? Not when the infamous Chretien ad came on; not even when it was pulled - I was younger and dumber/more optimistic back then. No, it was when PC candidates openly dumped all over the ad, and ran for the hills.

Now, let me repeat what I said below - THIS ELECTION IS NOT OVER. Until the polls close on the 23rd, we haven't won one lousy seat. I swear, I'll keep saying that till then as often as I have to, to anyone I have to.

But when you've got your own teammates saying your ad campaign sucks (in so many words), trust me - it aint going well for you.

More later.

Smuggler's Blues

I was initially a bit concerned when I heard about one Derek Zeisman, a CPC candidate in British Columbia. Mr Zeisman is in a spot of trouble with the law, standing accused of smuggling a car (!?!) and a few bottles of liquor across the border.

Initially, I was curious as to how the Party would respond, and I was concerned that the CPC would try to "lawyer" its way out of this one (and I say that as a lawyer m'self): "innocent till proven guilty", and all that, which is true, but which kind of takes the shine off of the Tories' strong stand on political accountability.

Thankfully, Harper & Co. dealt with this about as best as they could by announcing that Zeisman will not be allowed to sit in the Tory caucus if he wins (which appears to be a pretty remote prospect from where I sit), unless and until his charges are favourably resolved.

It is, apparently, too late to take Zeisman's name off of the ballot and/or to officially remove him as the CPC candidate. So Harper did the next best thing. And he did it within 24 hours.

The race is NOT over. Things can and will go wrong. Any Tory reading this who is distracted by thoughts of getting invited to the swearing-in ceremony at Rideau Hall better give his/her head a good hard shake. There are 11 more days, and we haven't won a single seat yet - and we won't until the polls close.

But I've got to admit, when the Party deals with things like this quickly & decisively, it helps - a lot.

More later.



Just flew in from Newfoundland, and gee, my arms are tired. More blogging to follow.

Rather than re-hash the debate, I thought I would show you how the Liberals are responding to the current polling numbers.

Go here and look at the 10 January ad's ... but don't do it on a full stomach. "Cos they are UGLY. They say more about the Liberals' desperation than anything else, and I doubt that raising "issues" which were dealt with literally weeks ago in the campaign (Harper's '97 speech, the Washington Times column, & c.) but I am anxiously awaiting the Tory counter-punch.

(h/t to Adam Daifallah)

More later.