Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Media Update

I am going to discuss the latest Angus Reid poll, on The World Tonight with Rob Breakenridge, tonight at approx. 10:05 PM EST.

Tory Critic Fired

According to this Globe and Mail story, the outspoken second-in-command in the office of Canada's Information Commissioner has been fired only months after he criticised the Conservative government.

Alan Leadbeater, who worked for the Commissioner's office for 15 years, had been sharply critical of the Conservative government for abandoning promises to strengthen access-to-information laws.

Then just two weeks ago, Leadbeater was told he was no longer needed and was escorted from the building.

I am not sure why, but all this has a familiar ring to it.

Tory Strategy Working?

According to an Angus Reid poll released today over two-in-five Canadians (41%) do not believe any current federal political party truly represents conservatism in Canada.

Even among those intending to vote Conservative in the next election, 44 per cent say this is true.

What does all this prove?

It proves the Tory strategy of moving to the Left is working in one respect: fewer and fewer Canadians view the Conservatives as conservatives.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Media update

I am scheduled to appear on the CHQR Morning News with Stirling Faux Tuesday morning at 8:15 AM EST.

The topic: the 20th anniversary of the Reform Party's founding.

Poker Retraction

My friend Paul Tuns takes me to task for my posting yesterday about the "Top Five Things that Shouldn't be on Sports Television Channels."

He is especially incensed about my claim that TV poker was nothing but a bunch of "fat guys" playing cards.

Apparently I was wrong about that.

Writes Paul:

"I'm a TV poker addict (World Poker Tour, World Series of Poker, High Stakes Poker, and any shows with interesting players). And while I like the play of portly Canadian Gavin Smith, two of my favourite players are definitely not fat: Barry Greenstein, a skinny Jew, and Phil Ivey, a skinny black guy. (The other is Eli Elezra, a fairly average-sized former Israeli army commando.) Regardless of the size of the players, televised poker is quite exciting."

OK Paul I give up.

Sorry about dissing poker.

(Please note, I have to be nice to Paul since his beloved New York Yankees are currently hovering near last place in the American League East.)

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Keep these off the Air

Here are my "Top Five Things Which Should Never Appear on Sports Television Channels":

5. Fishing Programs -- What's more boring than fishing? Watching other people fish. Memo to TV producers - it's time to cut bait.

4. Poker -- Sorry a bunch of fat guys sitting around a table playing cards is not a sport.

3. NASCAR Racing -- What is NASCAR but a bunch of noisy cars going around in endless circles. It reminds me too much of life -- you keep going faster and faster, but you never get anywhere.

2. "Fitness Challenges" -- Do we really need to see muscle-bound babes in bikinis, bouncing around a stage? OK maybe we do.

1. Ultimate Fighting - If I want to watch people stepping on each others necks, I will take the Toronto subway at rush hour.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Gunter on the Tory Drop

Lorne Gunter had an excellent column in the Edmonton Journal a couple of days ago.

It concerned the Conservative Party's recent drop in the polls and what caused it.

And what caused it argues Gunter is that the core support for the Tories is eroding.

Writes Gunter:

"The Conservatives were running a consistent six to 10 points ahead of the Liberals in national opinion polls before their big-spending budget and green plan came out. Now they are effectively tied with Stephane Dion and his crew. Hmm. Do you think there's a connection maybe? When Stephen Harper and his cabinet were acting like Conservatives they had a comfortable lead in the polls, but the moment they started governing like Liberals, their support cooled."

Yes, exactly

Friday, May 25, 2007

Facebook Fracas

Seems the federal Conservative Party is ordering ministerial staff to stay off Facebook, the popular social networking site.

The Tories fear some enterprising reporter might discover embarrassing tidbits on staff members profiles such as "In my spare time, I am an axe murderer" or "I am hording incandescent light bulbs".

Anyway, I happen to be on Facebook myself and I couldn't care less if the world knows about all my shameful vices.

So if you were "friends" with some Tory staff member who is no longer on Facebook, by all means you can become my "friend".

I need all the friends I can get.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Spiderbunny

Imagine if the first two Spiderman movies were a combined 30 seconds long.

Now further imagine, if you will, that the actors were all rabbits.

It might look something like this.

Harper flip-flopping on gag laws

One of my biggest disappointments with Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been his failure to scrap Canada's election gag law.

This is a law which denies all Canadians the right to free speech, a law Harper opposed when he was president of the NCC.

Even worse -- he is writing up his own versions of the gag law.

I have an op-ed in today's Toronto Star which explains why Harper is abandoning principle on this important issue.

Check it out.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Conservatism in Canada

Media Alert.

I am going to appear on Mike Duffy Live this afternoon at approximately 5:20 PM EST to talk about the state of conservatism in Canada.

Honesty in Government

Pierre Lemieux, a libertarian friend of mine, has uncovered something interesting.

Turns out, notes Lemieux on his website, there is a department in the Quebec government actually called the "Directorate for the Protection of the State" (Direction de la protection de l'√Čtat).

Defenders of big government say we need a strong state to protect us; turns out the real interest of the state is to protect itself.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Light bulbs and Tories

I am quoted in this article in the Montreal Gazette today which examines how some "die hard" old-stye Reformists feel betrayed by the Conservative Party.

My bit is to chip in on the ridiculous Tory plan to ban light bulbs.

Here's how I put it, "It's nanny state-ism. It's government telling us how to run our lives. The light bulb thing sort of symbolizes everything that's going wrong with the Conservative party right now."

Anyway, happy Victoria Day everybody!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Me in the Interim

Here's a little piece I wrote on the Charter and free speech, which appeared in a recent issue of the Interim.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Me in the Vancouver Sun

Vancouver Sun columnist Barbara Yaffe has an interesting column in today's paper examining unrest among Canada's conservatives.

And I'm not just saying it's interesting because it quotes me.

Yaffe rightly notes all the reasons small "c" conservatives are growing increasingly upset with Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government: the spending, the Emerson affair, pandering to Quebec etc.

But she then argues all this conservative anger is playing into Harper's plans.

He wants conservatives to attack him because, says Yaffe, this makes him more palatable to mainstream voters.

Here's how she puts it:

That those on the right of the party would be fussing about Harper's unconservative record in government serves to assuage prevalent fears more mainstream Canadians have had about Harper being too much a conservative ideologue.

They're bound to see him as more centrist and electorally acceptable now that he is increasingly unacceptable to more doctrinaire segments within his own party.

Maybe Yaffe's right (Although the polls certainly show Harper is not gaining any ground -- despite the fact he is facing a weak opponent in Stephane Dion.)

Maybe the Tory strategy of moving to the left will eventually help boost his poll numbers.

But that would only be a short term success. Over the long term a political party needs a strong base to be successful.

The base is made up of people who contribute money, who hand out brochures, who go canvassing, who put up lawn signs, who help get the vote out on election day, and most importantly who vote.

Who does that kind of stuff? Motivated people. People who believe in what a party stands for, who believe in the vision the party is promoting.

Non-motivated or angry people won't do all these things. They might just stay home.

That's why if the Tories continue to alienate and anger their base it will hurt them, maybe not today or tomorrow, but sooner or later the party will pay a price for betraying its supporters.

Just ask Kim Campbell.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Chip in for Liberty

As readers of this blog know, I am a huge fan of the Liberty Summer Seminar.

It's a one-of-a-kind event that brings together libertarian/conservatives for a weekend so they can share ideas, argue issues and have fun in a beautiful pastoral setting.

And the best thing about the LSS is it's primarily aimed at young people -- the future generations who will keep the cause of freedom alive and vigorous in the years ahead.

I am not sure if socialists have similar events, but if they do, it's almost certain they are funded with government grants.

Not so the Liberty Summer Seminar. It relies on voluntary contributions from people who believe in freedom.

So if that's you (and I am sure it is) please help keep this wonderful LSS going. Please do what you can to keep liberty alive in Canada. Just click on the button below.

Quick Hits

Here's a quick grab bag of commentary on recent events.

Gilles Duceppe flip flops on PQ leadership:

There's two things you don't want to be called in politics: a crook or a fool. Duceppe now fits in the latter category. I mean his candidacy lasted only slighter longer than last year's Oscar telecast!

Tories aim to bring back anti-terror provisions.

Now I don't know enough about crime enforcement to know if these provisions are good laws, but I do know they are good politics. The Liberals looked bad opposing anti-terror legislation the last time this was debated and they will look bad again. Canadians don't care about the niceties of civil rights, they just don't want to get blown up.

Tories to tighten rules for foreign strippers.

What's this all about? I can see keeping terrorists out of the country, but strippers? These are people who literally have nothing to hide.

Dion biography sparks Liberal infighting

Stephane Dion is a disaster. When are the Liberals going to get rid of this stiff?

Harper to hold rare meeting with premiers.

One question: Who is going to keep Premier Danny Williams and Prime Minister Stephen Harper from killing each other?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Me on TV

I am scheduled to appear on the Michael Coren Show tonight at 8:00 PM EST.

I will be part of the "On the Hill" panel which examines issues in federal politics.

Well I suppose that's better than being on the "Over the Hill" panel.

The Coren Show is on a Christian network, so I, of course, will have to watch my language.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Me in the Citizen

I am quoted in this Ottawa Citizen article today on the Conservative Party's campaign finance reforms.

It seems Opposition politicians are howling mad because Prime Minister Harper won't reveal the names of "secret donors" from his 2002 Canadian Alliance leadership campaign.

Haven't they got better things to criticize than five year old issues that nobody outside of Ottawa cares about?

Mind you, Harper has no one to blame for this. All his recent talk about the evils of money in the political process has opened himself up to these charges.

As I say in the Citizen piece: "Conservatives shouldn't be telling people what do with their money."

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Me on the Radio

Media Alert!

I am scheduled to appear on Adler Online this afternoon at approximately 3:15 PM EST.

The topic: conservatism in Canada.

Monday, May 14, 2007

A man more sinned against than sinning

Went to Stratford on the weekend to see a wonderful production of King Lear.

If you have never seen this famous Shakespearean tragedy, I can tell you it's all about deceit, betrayal, ingratitude and cruelty.

And maybe that's why I liked it so much --- it reminded me of my recent life.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

I want my kid to get exercise but this ...

My son is taking Krav Maga lessons, Krav Maga being a martial arts technique developed by the Israeli army.

I did some research on this fighting style and discovered that Krav Maga "generally assumes a no quarter situation; the attacks and defenses are intended to inflict the most pain possible on the opponent in the least amount of time. Groin strikes, headbutts, and other efficient and potentially brutal attacks are emphasized."

Hmm, it's bad enough to have a teenager who sasses back, now I have one who can snap my neck!

Me in the Globe

It seems I am quoted extensively in this Globe and Mail article which appears in today's paper.

It's about a subject I know a little bit about: conservative disillusionment with the Tory Party.

Here's one of my quotes from the piece:

“One thing I know about politics is it abhors a vacuum. And a lot of people right now are sensing that there is no party speaking for them, especially small-c conservatives, fiscal conservatives.”

According to the Globe a bunch of conservatives are meeting to talk about forming a new party.

Seems to me Prime Minister Harper better start tending his own base.

But hey why should he listen to me, I'm only "one of the top five political minds in the country."

Friday, May 11, 2007

Trust Me I know

Ten Reliable Signs That ... the curtain may be coming down on your career:

10. You are no longer invited to office meetings held to discuss your company’s future ... and by future I mean the next five minutes.

9. Somebody has torn six months out of your Day Timer.

8. Your boss sends you a carefully worded written communication about peformance shortfalls ... and it’s written in human blood.

7. Instead of putting cute "smiley faces" on your phone message notes, your receptionist now draws a skull and crossbones.

6. Your company president starts dressing in black robes and carrying a sickle.

5. You find the plant in your office murdered, and a little sign around its stem says, "You’re Next!"

4. Instead of reporting to the president you now report to the Portugese cleaning lady.

3. You overhear your boss talking about burning or smoke – or is it fired?

2. Your new office used to be known as "The Broom Closet".

1. Your president starts to laugh uproariously when you mention that you would like a longer vacation this year.

Say no to Pigou

Financial Post editor Terence Corcoran has set up a blog call the "No Pigou Club," that's worth checking out.

And no Pigou is not some cute barnyard character from Winnie the Pooh.

Arthur Pigou, was in fact, a British economist whose chief claim to fame is that he came up with the idea that governments should uses taxes to mold human behaviour.

So it's thanks to Pigou that all the vices we enjoy so much are usually taxed to the hilt.

Anyway, supporters of "Pigonomics" are now clamouring for new taxes on gasoline to help stop "global warming."

Corcoran uses his blog to argue that such a carbon tax will just mean bigger and more costly government.

And that's the way it is with all Pigou-style taxes.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Bye Bye Blair

As the world says goodbye today to Tony Blair -- who after ten years is stepping down as British Prime Minister -- there will be much talk of his legacy.

So let me add my two cents.

In my view, Blair's most lasting legacy will be that he dragged the Labour Party, kicking and screaming, out of its nineteenth century class warfare, pseudo-Marxist funk.

Blair scrapped much of Labour's hard-core socialist agenda; he helped defang the militant union bosses; and he even adopted some of Margaret Thatcher's economic reforms.

And of course, Blair was a loyal ally to the United States in its war against terrorism.

So despite the fact that Blair is a left-winger, with an aggravating penchant for nanny-statism, he helped move the political debate in the right direction.

Canada's left wing politicians could learn a thing or two from him.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Health Monopoly Challenged

Lots of people complain about our faltering government-monopoly health care system, but few are doing anything about it.

But that's about to change.

The Canadian Constitution Foundation is helping retired auto worker Lindsay McCreith launch a legal challenge to Ontario's health care system.

McCreith says, in fact, the health care system almost killed him.

As CCF executive director John Carpay noted in a recent National Post column:

After suffering a seizure in January of 2006, the 66-year-old Newmarket resident was told he had a brain tumour. But he would have to wait four-and-one-half months to obtain an MRI to rule out the possibility that it was cancerous. Unwilling to risk the progression of what might be cancer, Mr. McCreith obtained an MRI in Buffalo, which revealed the brain tumour was malignant. Even with this diagnosis in hand, the Ontario system still refused to provide timely treatment, so Mr. McCreith had surgery in Buffalo to remove the cancerous brain tumour in March of 2006.

In Ontario, Mr. McCreith would have waited eight months for surgery, according to his family doctor. Eight months is quite enough time for a cancer to worsen, spread and progress to an irreversible stage. Had Mr. McCreith not paid $27,600 ($U.S.) for immediate medical care, he might be dead today.


It seems Mr. McCreith has a good case. And if the 2005 Supreme Court of Canada Chaoulli decision is anything to go by he will win.

The court in that case ruled access to a waiting list is not the same as access to health care and that a total ban on private health insurance is not necessary in order to maintain a sound public health system.

This case should build on that precedent.

Anyone wishing to help fund this important and worthy cause can do so here.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Sinking Tories

When the Conservative Party started drifting to the Left, the political geniuses in the Prime Minister's Office said it was all part of a crafty strategy designed to ensure a majority government.

The National Citizens Coalition even backed this reasoning. In its latest newsletter, Freedom Watch, the NCC defends the March budget --- which to many observers was more Liberal than Conservative -- this way:

"This is a budget designed to appeal to voters in suburban Canada, gaining the Tories favour in areas like the vote rich GTA and rural Quebec."

The newsletter also notes, "All in all, this was a `minority' budget, and while it focused far too heavily on spending, we can only hope that it will firm up enough support to form a majority government."

Well it seems it hasn't worked.

In fact, the latest SES poll shows the Tories and the Liberals are in a dead heat.

What makes this all the more astounding is that the Liberals have an extremely weak leader.

What's going on here?

Well maybe the voters are picking up on something that has eluded both the NCC and the PMO.

Simply put, Canadians want their leaders to stand for something; to have some sort of values or vision.

The only thing the Tories seem to stand for is winning.

So maybe the Conservatives should try another strategy. Maybe they should actually try sticking by their principles.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Bubbles on Halifax

Attended the Civitas conference this past weekend in Halifax.

As usual, it was a terrific event where I met many old friends, made new friends and had a chance to hear some fascinating discussions on domestic and international issues.

Unfortunately, such discussions are off the record, but what I can tell you about is the wonderful tour I and a couple of friends took of the city.

Our tour guide's name was Bubbles, a Quebecker who had lived in Nova Scotia for 39 years.

Anyway, Bubbles drove us around the city in his cab for two hours pointing out Halifax's sites and filling us in on the local history.

For one thing, he drove us through what he called the city's most "dangerous neighborhood", which turned out to be about half a block long, and actually seemed kind of nice to me.

Bubbles also noted pedestrians have a short life expectancy in Halifax due to the fact that Haligonians seem to wander into traffic with a reckless nonchalance. Indeed, Bubbles himself nearly got run over when we got out of the cab to check the famous Citadel.

The highlight of the tour, however, was our visit to the cemetary containing the graves of 150 poor souls who died on the Titanic.

Bubbles says the site became something of a tourist attraction after the James Cameron movie came out in 1997.

I just hope nobody got hit by a car walking to the cemetary.

Friday, May 04, 2007

NCC Loves Buzz?

Wow things have changed since I worked at the National Citizens Coalition.

Now apparently NCC president Peter Coleman is praising socialist CAW leader Buzz Hargrove.

This is from a column in today's Toronto Sun written by CUPE boss Sid Ryan:

"It's not very often I find myself stuck for a quick rebuttal while engaging with Canada's right-wingers. However, I have to admit I was flummoxed last week on the Michael Coren Show when National Citizens Coalition (NCC) President Peter Coleman began singing the praises of my friend Buzz Hargrove.
Apparently, Buzz, who leads the Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW), had just given a ringing endorsement to Conservative Environment Minister John Baird's so-called Green Plan. Coleman could hardly contain himself, effusively praising "Buzz's sensible approach to the environment." His praise was all the more astonishing given that the NCC is launching a newspaper and radio ad campaign against Hargrove in the run-up to the next federal election.
Their web site claims, "Hargrove wants to destroy the free market system: He wants to destroy our heritage, he wants to transform Canada into a second-rate socialist state." Quite frankly, they haven't thought this one through. I say that because one would have to be a mental gymnast to keep track of the myriad positions Buzz has spun in the past couple of years."

Amazing.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

I didn't say it

Liberty is Good, has some interesting comments about a recent blog posting of a certain unnamed public policy group.

Check it out.

What's Right

A friend sent me a little sign which I now have posted over my computer, because it expresses my core belief.

Here's what it says:

"IT'S NOT WHO IS RIGHT, BUT WHAT IS RIGHT"

That's a maxim we should all remember.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Green Faux Pas

Yesterday I noted that lots of media exposure combined with political inexperience was a bad combination.

I was referring to Justin Trudeau, but the same maxim works for Green Party leader Elizabeth May.

So far, the media has given May more or less a free pass, because a) she is new on the scene and b) she represents a trendy left-wing cause.

But little by little May has shown herself to be something less than an astute politician and sooner or later it's going to cost her.

Her ill-considered alliance with the Liberal Party, the indecisive way she handled the Kevin Potvin affair, for instance, have both take the lustre off her image.

And now she reportedly told a church audience that Stephen Harper's plan to deal with global warming as "worse than Neville Chamberlain's appeasement of the Nazis."

Isn't that just a wee bit over the top?

Yes I know many people think global warming is a threat, but as far as I know it hasn't resulted in the creation of concentration camps dedicated to genocide.

Environmentalists should be looking for a new spokesperson -- someone who actually has a clue would be nice.