Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Harper copies Australian Prime Minister John Howard

Congrats to the Liberal staffer who found this.  They earned their pay this week.

What's the difference between a liberal and conservative?

According to this article:
Political conservatives operate out of a fear of chaos and absence of order while political liberals operate out of a fear of emptiness, a new Northwestern University study soon to be published in the Journal of Research in Personality
Now we know.

Friday, September 26, 2008

When the Rock Gets Rich

From Macleans Magazine. . . .

The timing is a bit arbitrary, but at some point in the next year and a half, the province of Newfoundland and Labrador will slip over from being a "have-not" province to a "have."

Just like that.

What a sea change this will represent. The lowest man on the totem pole shooting up past its Atlantic province siblings, past the historic rival (Quebec), past Manitoba to survey the sunny economic uplands of Canada, there to sniff the purer, rarefied air that has been so unquestionably the right for so long of Ontario and the affluent western provinces.

A lighter campaign moment

Time for Some Compaignin'

(turn up your speakers)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Generic political stump speech

From Scott Feschuck:

My fellow Canadians:

Election day approaches. We have as a nation arrived at a juncture near a precipice that is located alongside a crossroads on the edge of the potential of a new horizon. So, please, watch your step.

My friends, I have been traveling our vast country to spread the message that we must bring change to Ottawa. But not just any kind of change. It must be bold change. It must be progressive change. It must be crazy change. I’m talking about change for its own sake – wild, flailing change unburdened by rational thinking.

My opponents talk about change, but what kind of change will they bring? Will it be unthought-through enough? Will they, like me, replace O Canada with Sign of the Gypsy Queen? Because I’ll do it. If it makes you vote for me I swear to God I’ll do it.

In the 21st century, we must move Canada forward, not backward. Upward, not downward. Diagonal, not perpendicular. Also, Barack Obama was on CNN talking about the world becoming more competitive. So we should probably look into that, too.

Now is not the time to retreat to the garrisons of fear or the barracks of prejudice. Now is the time to push ahead toward the huts of progress, the condominiums of hope and that huge castle of unicorns. You see the one I’m talking about? Next to the Arby’s of common purpose? Just hang a left at the forest of metaphor.

Let me say for the record that my rivals in this election are good people. They are decent Canadians who happen to require medication to combat their fetishes and chronic narcolepsy. In their defence, there is nothing in our Constitution that disqualifies a Canadian from seeking public office just because he killed a hooker.

Besides, I want this to be a campaign about the issues. I want my words to serve as eloquent testament to the power and virtue of my ideas. For more on my solemn commitment to elevating our public discourse, please visit my website. Just click on the ostrich that’s taking a leak in my rival’s ear.

My friends: this is the most important election since Canada was formed, since democracy was birthed, since prehistoric man gathered to focus-group the discovery of fire (consensus: too orange). The differences between my positions and those of my rivals are enormous and critical.

I would lower your taxes by a negligible amount. My opponents would lower your taxes by a slightly different negligible amount. I would reduce greenhouse gas emissions eventually. My opponents would reduce greenhouse gas emissions ultimately. I believe children are our future. My opponents told me they think your children are ugly and stupid. (You’re not exactly easy on the eyes yourself, they said.)

People of Canada: I come before you tonight as just a man – a humble, ordinary man wearing a sweater selected for me by a team of stylists and advisors. The sweater is powder blue: feminine enough to appeal to women 35-44, with just enough navy undertones to keep men from actively debating my sexual orientation. Got it at Banana Republic.

At this point, I would like to mention my family in a forced and obligatory manner.

I love my family. My family provides me with strength, spiritual nourishment and heartwarming anecdotes for my television commercials. Basically, I’m just a family man. In fact, I’m such a family man that one family is not enough for me. I must travel the country meeting other families, entering their homes and yards trailed by 50 reporters, pretending to find their children adorable. There may even be a family standing awkwardly behind me right now. There usually is. Hello, Wongs. What’s that? But I asked you if you needed to go before the speech, Grandma Wong. Just hold it, OK?

In conclusion, let me say: Canada is a country whose health care system defines us - as a nation with tremendous patience and a high tolerance for pain. Canada is a country with old people in it, and they must be pandered to, often while using the word “dignity.” To them I say: you deserve to live with dignity!

From the down-home hospitality and fishing villages of the east to the open spaces and soaring mountains of the west, Canada is a land of bounteous clichéd images used by politicians to crudely evoke patriotic sentiment. Also, there are Prairies.

Canada is a great country. In fact, it’s the greatest country in the world. What I’m saying is: Portugal can suck it. Ditto Japan. Those places are holes and we all know it. Don’t even get me started on Greece.

I shall now speak French in a manner that suggests I’m merely repeating what I just said in English – when in fact I’m telling Quebecers they’re my favourites and giving away the farm.

Political interviews

With a federal election on the go, the airwaves are full of interviews with one politician or another. And they all have one thing in common: they are dreary and boring.

So it's refreshing to see an interview like this one with an Australian senator on the issue of a oil tanker mishap.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Online Election Predictor

I know at least 1 purist who denigrates this little election toy (ya, Wally, that's you) but suffice it to say that this software device is not legal for trade.

It is kinda cool tho. With the latest Nanos numbers, it predicts a Con minority with more seats for them, the Libs and big losses for BQ (C:139, L:113, N:27, BQ:28).

Williams Government intimidation

Nothing could be further from the truth?

Time will tell.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A public service message


Fratricidal politics

From CTV News on 2008.09.14

SANDIE RINALDO: Well in Newfoundland it's not just Conservatives going after the NDP but provincial Conservatives going after federal Conservatives. Is this going to hurt?

ROBERT FIFE (Reporter): It is going to hurt. The Liberals expect they can win, think they can possibly win all seven seats here. The Conservatives had held three, or currently hold three of those seats, and that's because Danny Williams is on the warpath. He's bound and determined to defeat all the Conservative candidates. In fact federal Conservatives are saying he's using intimidation tactics to scare Conservatives away from voting for federal Conservatives. Danny Williams says that isn't true.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Saturday, September 13, 2008

"You may know them as transcripts, ma'am"

A little more Ryan Cleary.

The wisdom of Rex

Danny boy has gone too far 

It's too bad Loyola Hearn, who was the Newfoundland minister in the Harper government, is not running again. After a long career in politics, he has decided to leave the game. 

Mr. Hearn is a very decent man, a product of the great coastal stretch outside St. John's we call the Southern Shore. He is an "outport" man, just as Danny Williams is a "townie." The health of Newfoundland has always, by some peculiar chemistry, depended on a dynamic equilibrium of its outport and townie components. 

Today, after the collapse of the cod fishery and with the near co-incidental explosion of offshore oil, the outport dimension of Newfoundland is almost in ruins, while St. John's and its suburbs are rich and active as never before. There are two Newfoundlands. 

The capital city and environs are in a fever of development, while vast stretches of coastal communities are inert and underpopulated, mere phantoms of what once they were. 

Mr. Hearn's retirement deprives Newfoundland politics of a necessary voice, one suited by temperament and background to speak on the overwhelming subject of the accelerating extinction of Newfoundland's quintessential outport heritage. 

This is not the only unhealthy imbalance in the province. There are 48 seats in the House of Assembly, and Mr. Williams owns 44 of them. The Liberals, with three, are the rump of a rump, and the NDP, with one, is a vapour. The numbers tell it: Mr. Williams is king of the Rock, the most powerful politician since Joey Smallwood. 

Newfoundland politics has shrunk to oil and Danny Williams. 

There are only two ways of doing politics now: Mr. Williams's way, or no way at all. Those who cross him, in what he sees as "Newfoundland's interests," are given short shrift, and none too subtly derided as working against Newfoundland. This was a Smallwood turn, and the least attractive aspect of his quite mixed political qualities. 

In his last and bitter days, he turned Newfoundland politics into a one-man show incarnate. 

That's why it was so very unfortunate that when Mr. Hearn - who, while he may not be as good a politician as Mr. Williams, is at least as honourable a Newfoundlander - said he was retiring, Mr. Williams issued this statement: "The one thing that my cabinet ministers have done throughout is stood up for their constituents, for the electorate and the people they were elected to represent and they have done that. 
And it's unfortunate in the last few years that Loyola hasn't done the same thing. "Oh, cut it out. This "standing up for Newfoundland" palaver is best administered in small doses, if at all. And it never fits the mouth of the person doing the "standing up." Furthermore, a difference of opinion, a clash of party interests, should never be categorized as a clash of patriotism. There is a jingoism of small places as well as of large. And Newfoundland is more susceptible to it than most. Newfoundlanders are ferociously fond of Newfoundland, but that very affection can play havoc with our judgment and our politics. 

The idea that Mr. Hearn, because he disagreed with Mr. Williams, acted with less than honourable intent toward Newfoundland is ludicrous. 

Mr. Williams, in fact, is a much better man than his own statement would have you believe. 

And now that the federal election is on, Mr. Williams has thrown himself with gale force into the campaign. He sent an e-mail to his entire caucus to determine whether they were on-side in his campaign against "Steve." And out of the 44, there was only one spine. It belongs to Elizabeth Marshall, who earlier - this is the distilled version - quit her cabinet job because she wasn't going to put up with the Premier running it for her. Only Ms. Marshall didn't respond with the ovine bleat, Yes, sir, yes sir, three bags full. The others signed on. 

It's not Mr. Williams's quarrel with Stephen Harper that's at question. It's hauling into that quarrel all the rhetoric of "disloyalty" to Newfoundland, stirring the jingoistic fevers, and characterizing those on the other side as unworthy. Newfoundlanders have been lucky in past decades that, when we had strong premiers, we had strong ministers in Ottawa. 

Danny Williams has reached such supremacy, however, that he has effectively become the only voice in Newfoundland politics. Mr. Hearn is gone. John Crosbie is in honorific heaven. And now there's only Danny. That's bad for us. It's bad for him, too, should he care to think about it. 

He should look over history's shoulder and take in what happened to Joey Smallwood, a great premier who subtracted from his own legacy by succumbing to the vanity of power, the great corrosive self-flattery of believing that being in charge is the same thing as always being right.

Friday, September 12, 2008