Thursday, November 30, 2006

Direct Democracy

Here is my first ever blog poll.

Is Gerry Nicholls Among the Top Five Political Minds in the Country?

Don't Know
No but he does have boyish good looks free polls

Cartoon Clinton

Check out The Hillary Show.

My Tribute to Paul

Tonight the Liberal Party of Canada will pay tribute to their former leader Paul Martin.

That’s awfully nice.

But given that Martin was only Prime Minister for a short time, the Liberals might have trouble finding enough material to fill the two hour planned event.

So to help them along, I have come up with ten good things about Paul Martin. Here they are in no particular order:

1. He single-handedly helped to end years of one party rule in this country.

2. His election campaign helped to promote Canada’s Beer and Popcorn industry

3. Never compared a sitting MP to a domesticated animal.

4. Never throttled a single protester.

5. His election ads helped alert us of the dangers posed by armed Canadian soldiers in our streets

6. If nothing else, at least he banished Carolyn Parrish and Alfonso Gagliano.

7. Mr. Dithers is a cute nickname

8. Helped international brotherhood by flying foreign flags on many of his shipping line’s vessels – it had nothing to do with avoiding Canadian taxes.

9. Helped heal the divide between rich corporate bigwigs and the working class when he became bosom buddies with Buzz Hargrove

10. At least he’s better than Bob Rae

Media Update:

I will be appearing on he World Tonight with Rob Breakenridge tonight at approximately 10:05 PM EST to discuss Paul Martin and other issues.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Other Leadership Convention

While most eyes are focused on Montreal for the Liberal leadership convention, there's another interesting political battle taking place in Alberta.

This weekend, Alberta Progressive Conservatives will be choosing a new leader for their party and a new Premier for their province.

It's a three-man race with Jim Dinning and Ted Morton the two front-runners.

Dinning is the Red Tory choice, while Morton is a conservative's conservative.

I had the pleasure of meeting Ted Morton at a National Citizens Coalition luncheon last June and he impressed me as a man of true principles.

So who is going to win?

These guys have a pretty good analysis.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Conservative Class

My friend Tasha Kheiriddin is taking conservatism to a place where it traditionally has been in short supply: the halls of academia.

Tasha is teaching what looks like a fantastic course at McGill University called "The Conservative Movement in Canada" which is probably the first of its kind in the country.

This course will examine the history and current state of the conservative movement in Canada, in three arenas: political, social and economic. It will explore the development of the Conservative party from Confederation until today, with a special focus on the current federal government. It will look at how conservatism in Canada has been shaped by that of the United States and Britain. It will examine where conservatives stand on the issue of national unity and will study the challenges conservatives face in influencing public debate.

Of course, Tasha, who co-authored Rescuing Canada's Right, a Blueprint for a Conservative Revolution, is the perfect person to teach such a course.

It's set to start in the January semester so anybody who would like to enroll should register right away.

I sure wish they had courses like this when I went to university --- maybe I would have graduated with better marks.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Collective Wisdom

The American left-wing group, flush from the recent Democratic electoral victory, is emailing out a survey to find out what it should do next.

The email says:

"We've always believed in the wisdom of crowds—the idea that all of us together are smarter and wiser than any one of us. The survey will only take a few minutes of your time but your answers—along with the answers of all the other MoveOn members—will show the way forward."

Hmmm, all of us together are smarter and wiser than any one of us. Interesting notion.

I guess that's why angry mobs are so wise.

Time for a Free Market Nation

The recent Parliamentary commotion about Quebec’s “nationhood” proves the nationalists in Quebec are winning.

And that’s something all those people praising Prime Minister Stephen Harper for his “masterstroke” resolution seem to be forgetting.

Yes, Harper scored a skillful tactical victory with his “the Québécois form a nation within a united Canada” resolution and yes he did throw the Bloc Quebecois for a loop.

But what about the bigger picture?

Let’s face it, Harper had to introduce his resolution because he was afraid his own caucus members, including cabinet ministers, might support a similar Bloc resolution.

The Prime Minister also feared if his party voted against a resolution calling Quebec a nation they would lose votes in that province.

Also telling is the Prime Minister didn’t dare introduce a resolution saying something like, “Canada is the only nation for Canadians”, a resolution no Quebec politician from any party would have voted for.

What does that say about Quebec’s relationship with the rest of Canada?

To me it says the “Quebecois nation” has little or no emotional attachment to the nation-state we call Canada.

Is that a bad thing?

Not necessarily. In fact, in this day and age of multiculturalism and immigration, coupled with the emergence of new communication technology and globalization the nation-state as we know it is becoming less and less relevant.

Let’s not forget many western Canadians are also growing alienated with what’s going on in Ottawa these days.

I suppose we could call “Albertans a nation within a united Canada” or we could try something else.

For instance, why don’t we redefine federalism?

Instead of actively seeking to pander and appease Quebec nationalists with Parliamentary resolutions, let’s instead reduce the size and scope of the federal government.

That means handing over power to the provinces or to the regions or better yet it means privatizing federal operations that could be better run by the private sector – the CBC and the Post Office spring to mind.

Other institutions like the CRTC could simply be scrapped.

Some people might call this radical.

But I would call it creating a nation that could appeal to all Canadians: a free enterprise nation.

Media Update:

I am going to be on the show Richard Cloutier Reports at 12:30 EST to talk about this.

Stop the Fat Police

Western society, goes the lecture we have all heard time and time again, is in the grips of an "obesity epidemic."

Our kids are too fat; we are too fat; our dogs and cats are too fat and only the all-knowing, all-wise state can save us from ourselves.

Only the state, we are told, can whip us all into shape -- perhaps with mandatory exercise regimes; perhaps with state mandated diets; perhaps by banning McDonald's.

Yet are we citizens really eating ourselves into a extra-large coffin? Do we really need to be saved from ourselves?

No says Patrick Basham of the Washington-based Democracy Institute. In fact, Basham contends the obesity epidemic is a "myth manufactured by public health officials in concert with assorted academics and special-interest lobbyists."

Actually he contends there are four myths out there concerning obesity: that we and our children are fat; that being fat is a certain recipe for early death; that our fatness stems from the manufacturing and marketing practices of the food industry.

Read all about it here.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Infinite Cats

Anyone who thinks the Internet isn't being put to good use obviously has never checked out this.

Friends, Romans, Fellow Shareholders

Turns out Shakespeare wasn't just a great playwright, he was also a capitalist.

Flaherty's Economic (Under)Statement

Well I must say Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's economic statement yesterday was a bit of a let down.

Yes, he did outline a prudent fiscal agenda for the next few years, and yes he promised to eliminate the net debt (whatever that means) in 15 years, and yes he promised the interest savings on the lower debt would translate into income tax cuts.

But where was the boldness that this government likes to display when it comes to things like pandering to Quebec nationalists?

I was hoping for some grand announcement on tax cuts or on reductions to government spending.

But there was nothing.

As Terence Corcoran writes in today's Financial Post, "By creating this great smoke machine, Mr. Flaherty appears to be hiding the fact that Canada's New Government has the same old problem -- high taxes and spending levels that will remain high."

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Holy Socialists

Last night I attended an event put on by the Christian-Jewish Dialogue of Toronto.

The topic was "Beyond the Bottom Line:Instilling Values in Leadership".

It was probably good for my soul, as the room was packed with priests, ministers, rabbis and bishops; but not so good for my blood pressure.

In fact, a couple of the speakers, I think, represented the spiritual arm of the NDP in that they were preaching from the Gospel According to Marx.

When it comes to religion I think these guys are closer to the mark.

Silver and Blues

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States, the day when everyone's thoughts turn to turkeys, otherwise known as the Detroit Lions.

Update: Fish 27 -- Turkeys 10

Debase the Nation

OK let's review Prime Minister Stephen Harper's "blockbuster" statement yesterday in the House of Commons:

"Our position is clear. Do the Québécois form a nation within Canada? The answer is yes. Do the Québécois form an independent nation? The answer is no and the answer will always be no."

Now Andrew Coyne makes some interesting observations as to what all this means for Canada and I certainly won't try to top him.

But I do have a few questions of my own.

For instance, does this mean Canada is now officially nine provinces and one nation? Does this mean Quebec can now have a seat in the United Nations? Will Quebec soon have its own national anthem?

And most importantly of all, how in the heck can the House of Commons pass a resolution stating Quebec will never be an "independent nation"?

Never is a long time.

Do our MPs have access to a time machine or something?

And if they do have such a machine, I wish they would let me know when our federal political leaders will stop pandering to Quebec nationalists.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Smug Alert

In today's Globe and Mail, John Ibbitson writes about the latest poll findings from Strategic Counsel. (Sorry it's behind a subscription wall).

According to the poll 17 per cent of Canadians cite the environment as the issue which most concerns them, the highest its been since 1989.

But the problem for environmentalists, says Allan Gregg of Strategic Counsel, is that "while they (Canadians) see the problem affecting them, they still don't see themselves as part of the solution."

In other words, as Ibbitson writes, "they aren't yet ready to make the environment a ballot question at an election, or to personally sacrifice their standard of living for the sake of the planet."

If all this sounds familiar to readers of this blog, it should.

I said the same thing a few days ago, without benefit of a costly poll.

And some people actually question my claim to being one of the top five political minds in the country!!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

More American Polling Info

Ok I know the U.S. mid-term election is ancient history and that there are a lot more important things going on in the world, such as the debate over O.J. Simpson's "confession" and Michael "Kramer" Richard's racist meltdown.

But I love polling information and when John McLaughlin, head of the polling firm McLaughlin & Associates,provided me with more detailed analysis of a poll I mentioned a few weeks ago I decided to reproduce it here.

Here it is:

The media exit polls had women voting Democrat for Congress 55-43. Men Democrat 50-47. They did national exit polling in their usual fashion with a national sample of 13,251 with extensive state by state weighting. (Some exits were significantly off. I know I saw them while working for CBS radio that day and night.)

However, our election night postelection survey by phone of 1,000 actual voters had a different result Among men Democrats won 56-43. (s=486).While among women it was closer Democrat 52-47. (s=514).

The difference was negligible by party and gender except among Independents. Among Rep men it was Republican 86-13; Rep women 89-10. Among Dem men it was Democrat 94-5; among Dem women 93-6.So party was more important than gender by far.

However, among the Independent men we had (s=89 small) Democrats won big 61-37; among Independent women (s=66 smaller) Democrats won closer 52-46.

Bottom line was not so much gender, but that Republicanss lost BIG among Independents - regardless of gender.This was the real story.

Both our poll and the media poll had the Democrat vote for Congress winning 54-45 which can be tracked through actual vote tallies.

The media polls do not break the vote out by party and gender. However, they ask their party id a little different and they got Democrats 38%, Republicans 36% and Independents 26%. (Our poll asks party "affiliation" and was 42% Democrats, 39% Republicans and 19% Independents/Don't know/refused.). So theirs seems less partisan and more independent. Our poll probably got sorted more voters into a party.)

However, we had Independents voting Democrat for Congress 57-41. They had Independents voting Democrat for Congress 57-39. They must have had a very different gender break within Independents.

Also the media polls probably have a gender bias where the majority of Democrats are women and the majority of Republicans are men. I can't tell because they didn'[t release that. In our poll both parties were slightly more female than male. Independents were more more male. I think this reflects 2 facts that I'm hearing about now in certain race analyses: first, some men who may have been thinking of themselves and voting as Republicans, now think of themselves as Independents and voted Democratic; second, some Republicans, probably men did not vote. This will require further analysis and study.

The real story is the collapse of Republican voting among Independents and the fact that Democrats outnumbered Republicans in the voting sample for the first time since 2000.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Terrorism and International Law

Lots of people are suggesting the War on Terror violates "International Law".

Now I am not a lawyer so I can't comment on the legalities involved, but terrorism expert John Thompson of the Mackenzie Institute recently weighed in on this issue.

In his group's latest newsletter, he says much of international law derives from the efforts of nations to deal with the problems of pirates --- who were much like the terrorists of today.

Indeed the Romans dubbed pirates, Hostis Humani Generis – enemies of all mankind, which also fits terrorists of today.

And 18th Century legalist, Sir William Blackstone, wrote it was the duty of all governments to suppress piracy.

Anyway, here's John's final analysis of how legally we should treat terrorists:

Find them, eliminate them; find their bankrollers, bankrupt them; find their sponsors and punish them. Governments which are not part of the solution, are therefore part of the problem and deserve what they get.

Sounds good to me.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

How many days . . .

Found out I've been alive 17,660 days or to put it another way 423,840 hours 0r 25,430,400 minutes or 1,525,824,000 seconds (as of Sunday night at 10:30 PM) I am of course a few seconds and minutes and hours older by the time you read this.

That's according to the any two dates calculator I found online.

It doesn't make me feel any younger.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Can't Wait Until 2050

Yesterday I went to see Dr. Madsen Pirie, president of the UK-based Adam Smith Institute, who was speaking to the Empire Club.

I first met Dr. Pirie nearly 20 years ago when the National Citizens Coalition brought him over to Canada to speak on his specialty at the time -- privatization.

Nowadays he is pushing the idea of a flat tax, a concept he says which has been used quite successfully in Eastern Europe and which he predicts will sweep over the rest of Europe.

Dr. Pirie also praised the wealth-producing effects of freer trade and globalization.

In fact, he says thanks to freer trade, more people were lifted out of poverty last year than any time in human history.

Dr. Pirie also says if global wealth continues to be generated at the current rate by the year 2050 the average Canadian will have the standard of living of today's millionaires.

Also by 2050 the average citizens of India and China will have the standard of living enjoyed by the middle class of North America today.

His point is that you don't help poorer countries achieve prosperity by foreign aid; you do it by buying their stuff.

Listen up Jim

The National Citizens Coalition has some advice for Finance Minister Jim Flaherty the week before his scheduled economic statement.

It takes the form of a large ad in today's National Post.

You can also read it here.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Milton Friedman RIP

Sorry to hear Milton Friedman passed away aged 94.

His books Free to Choose and Capitalism and Freedom were major influences on my world outlook.

He was a leader in the fight for liberty and his ideas helped to change the world for the better.

That's a pretty good epitaph.

Liberal Options

Liberal leadership candidate Michael Ignatieff is playing his trump card against his chief rival Bob Rae.

And that card of course, is Rae's disastrous record as Ontario Premier: "Bob remains," said Ignatieff, "enduringly weak in Ontario."

What's more he charged Rae would move the Liberal Party to the left. "That's fishing in the wrong pond. That's the wrong strategy," says Ignatieff.

Now isn't this the same Ignatieff who also proudly desecribes himself as a "left of centre liberal?"

So it looks like the Liberal Party is going to choose as its next leader either a left-winger or a really left-winger.

That's not much of an offering to Canadian voters.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Sweet Advice

This is very good health news for me; this not so good.

Kyoto's Big Problem

American cynic Ambrose Bierce once described a Christian as "one who follows the teachings of Christ in so far as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin."

I think that description also fits for most people who say they are concerned about the environment --- they believe in environmentalism so long as it's not inconsistent with their lifestyles of fun.

That's why all the pro-Kyoto Accord scientists and politicians and media-types like to downplay the cold hard reality of fighting "climate change": the only way to truly reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to drastically reduce our standard of living.

And nobody really wants that to happen.

Just like developing countries such as China and India won't want to put their plans to improve their standard of living on hold for about 40 years too.

As a story put out by the Reason Foundation puts it, you can't fight poverty and carbon reduction at the same time.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Senate Liberals Go after NCC.

When the Liberals ran the House of Commons they passed an election gag law to stifle the National Citizens Coalition.

Now the Liberals in the Senate think we should register as lobbyists.

It's nice to see our Senators can take time out from taxpayer-funded junkets to Dubai to deal with "pressing" issues like this, but why must Liberals always seek to regulate citizens?

As a friend of mine put it, this latest assault on the NCC is "outrageous yet mundane."

Monday, November 13, 2006

Income Trust Idea

The National Citizens Coalition is urging Finance Minister Jim Flaherty to adjust his proposed Income Trust legislation.

Here's a news release the NCC sent out on Friday:

NCC: Allow Longer Phase In Period for Income Trust Changes

(November 10, 2006)The National Citizens Coalition says the Conservative government should change its proposed Income Trust legislation to allow for a longer phase in period.

“While we support the government’s attempts to fix potential long term problems in the Canadian economy, the proposed income trust changes will have a negative impact on the investment portfolios of seniors and other hard-working Canadians,” says NCC president Peter Coleman.

“That impact could be minimized by increasing the phase in period from four years to ten years, meaning no new taxation on existing income trusts until 2016.”

Coleman says such an increased phase in would not undermine what the government is trying to accomplish with its proposed income trust legislation in terms of preventing tax avoidance, but it would give income trust holders time to make appropriate financial adjustments.

“We hope Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will consider this recommendation before his scheduled November 23rd economic statement,” says Coleman.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Toto Too?

The Wizard of Oz was on TV tonight.

Of course, it's one of those movies everybody, including me, has seen about a trillion times.

But here's one thing I didn't know: Toto the dog wrote an autobiography, I Toto: The Autobiography of Terry, the Dog who was Toto.

Writes Toto: "I don't mean this to sound full of myself but this Wizard of Oz story? It's all about me!!! I'M IN ALMOST EVERY SCENE IN THE PICTURE!!!"

How true.

I wonder if any of the flying monkeys wrote a book?

Box Score Bonanza

This is really cool.

Here's a site where you can find the box score plus the play by play for every major league game from 1957 until 2006!

OK so maybe you have to be a baseball nut to find it really cool.

But check this out, here's the box score of the very first game I ever saw in old Tigers Stadium on July 3, 1972. (Tigers got killed 15-3). Oh and here is the game where Nolan Ryan no-hit the Tigers in 1973.

I will probably waste a lot time with this.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Horror of Hillary

Maybe it's time to Stop Her Now.

Americans Want Smaller Government

Yesterday I posted part of a McLaughlin & Associates poll on the American mid-term election results.

Well, another part of the poll has even more interesting findings. Here's a press release the pollster just released which explains what I mean:

"It appears that the Republicans have lost their advantage on the philosophical issue of the size of government.

Among the people who voted in this past election, 59% favor a smaller government with fewer services, and only 28% favor a larger government with many services.

Among those who voted for a Republican for Congress, they favor smaller government by a 5-to-1 margin. However, the plurality of voters who voted Democratic also supports smaller government. In the past, these voters wouldn’t consider the Democratic Party an option.

Since the majority of voters voted Democrat and almost half of these Democratic voters prefer smaller government, it's crystal clear that the Republican party has lost their foundational message. They may have lost the middle, but it's a modest middle that wants smaller government.

The battleground for the 110th Congress will be among the independent and dissatisfied voters that had such an impact on the 2006 elections.

Majorities of independent voters (68%) and those who think the country is on the wrong track (52%) favor smaller government.

It will be up to the new Democratic leadership to show if they can back the centrist talk with centrist action. On the other hand, the Republican leadership must rediscover its core principles and remind voters which party will give them smaller government."

"In general, would you say you most favor a smaller government with fewer services, or a larger government with many services?"

(Percentages shown in the format "Smaller gov't / Larger gov't / Don't Know or Refused")

Total 59/28/13

Vote GOP 76/12/12

Vote Dem 45/40/14

Right Direction 72/16/12

Wrong Track 52/35/14

Republican 74/13/13

Democrat 41/45/14

Independent 68/20/12

So the lesson from this is clear: the Republicans alienated their own base. The Conservative Party in Canada should take heed.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Frum Had it Right

American author and former George Bush speech writer David Frum basically predicted last night's American election results last March in Montreal.

Check this old posting to see what I mean.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Survey: Why GOP Lost in '06, Who Could Win in '08

The American polling firm McLaughlin and Associates has released some striking numbers gleaned from U.S. midterm election night.

"The American people voted not to create change in Washington", says the pollster, "but to vent their frustration with a Republican leadership that has let them down. Key segments of the Republican coalition that has dominated for the past 6 years have left the party in 2006. Among our results":

-- Giuliani, McCain, Clinton, Obama lead in their parties 2008 primaries.

-- Both Giuliani & McCain beat Clinton in 2008 general match-ups.

-- Independents are more likely to vote like Democrats this year.

-- Congressional Republicans lost among moderates, rural voters and Evangelical men.

-- Congressional Republicans barely won churchgoers, tied in the suburbs.

-- Women are more likely to vote Republican than men.

-- Republicans had momentum in the final weeks, as they won among voters who make decisions in the last two weeks and on Election Day.

-- George W. Bush, Reid, Pelosi all have net-negative opinion ratings.


In a hypothetical 2008 Republican presidential primary, John McCain and Rudy Giuliani led the potential field, with Condoleezza Rice, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich filling out second and third tiers.

In the Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton dominated all others by 12 points, followed by Barack Obama, Al Gore, John Kerry and John Edwards.

When Independents are added to the primary electorate, however, Clinton's lead over Obama is cut to only 6 points.

GOP Primary: John McCain 26%Rudy Giuliani 22%Condoleezza Rice 12%Mitt Romney 4%Newt Gingrich 4%

Dem Primary:Hillary Clinton 27%Barack Obama 21%Al Gore 9%John Kerry 8%John Edwards 7%

The two leading Republican presidential contenders have decisive leads over Hillary Clinton.

In these match-ups, John McCain does better among moderates than Rudy Giuliani.

John McCain 51%Hillary Clinton 35%Undecided 13% Rudy Giuliani 51%Hillary Clinton 37%Undecided 12%

For more detailed information and breakdowns from this interesting survey go here.

Me on TV

I am appearing tonight as part of a panel on the TV show @issue which airs on the Ichannel at 8:00 PM.

Be sure to tune in as the topic discussed is: "Why the State Inflates".

And yes I know the show is on opposite America's Next Top Model, but surely watching me discuss the evils of big government is more enticing then watching a bunch of beautiful models in skimpy outfits.

Democratic Dilemma

Well the dust has settled in the U.S. election and the Democrats are victorious.

No doubt this is a time of great joy for the Michael Moores and the Dixie Chicks of the world.

And I hope they do enjoy themselves over the next few days because I reckon their happiness will soon be replaced by frustration at least when it comes to how to fight the "War on Terror".

Frustration because there is no way in the world the Democratic controlled legislatures will do much to reverse President George Bush's policies, policies which the left hate.

The Democrats won't vote to open the gates of Guantánamo Bay detainment camp, they won't undo Bush's laws on secret surveillance ; they won't call for a softer stance with Iran or North Korea.

After all, the Democrats are not suicidal.

They realize that even though Americans might be getting fed up with the war in Iraq, they stil place a high premium on national security.

Simply put if the Democrats look as though they are pandering to America's enemies or putting Americans at risk through lax security, well then the Republicans will be back into power faster than you can say Newt Gingrich.

David Frum makes this point in an excellent article in today's National Post (which I can't find on their site) and goes further to suggest the crafty Republicans will put the Democrats on the spot time and time again on this issue.

Writes Frum: "Much of the energy and cunning of the Republican party over the next two years will be devoted to thrusting on the Democrats decisions and votes intended to split the more hawkish class of 2006 away from the more traditional liberals in the safe blue-states."

In other words, politics in the U.S. is about to get a lot more interesting.

For more analysis of last night's election check here and here and here.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Lessons from America

Left-wingers on both sides of the border are licking their chops in glee as they anticipate a Republican slaughter in tonight's American mid-term elections.

Here in Canada, the left also sees the impending Republican wipe out as a possibe harbinger of what will happen in the next Canadian federal election.

Michael Byers, for instance, has a piece in today's Toronto Star suggesting tonight's election will sound a death knell for Prime Minister Stephen Harper's own "neo-con" agenda.

Writes Byers:

Here in Canada, Harper, nostalgic for the past successes of Ronald Reagan and Bush, is still looking backwards. Today, as he glances south, will he see the early signs of his own political rip tide?

Or will ideology prevail over good sense, prompting our neo-conservative Prime Minister to maintain his grip on a failed president, whose only escape from a hostile Congress lies in his constitutionally unfettered capacity to use armed force abroad?

Sounds pretty serious, doesn't it?

Using Byer's logic, Harper's only hope would be to sign an anti-U.S. miltary pact with North Korea, endorse a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, call for the destruction of Israel and implement a environmental policy that would ban the internal combustion engine.

Oh wait, those are NDP policies.

So maybe Harper should try to do something else to avoid the mistakes of the GOP. And one of their mistakes is they didn't govern like true conservatives.

Did the Republicans work to cut back spending? Did they make cutting taxes a major priority? Did they reduce the size and scope of government?


By governing like Democrats when it comes to fiscal domestic policies the Republicans have essentially made the unpopular war in Iraq the key issue in 2006.

That's the lesson for Harper. To win the next election, he has to push a truly conservative vision for Canada, one that will distinguish his party from the increasingly left-wing Liberal party and the socialist NDP/Bloc Quebecois.


Here's a good analysis of what went wrong for the Republicans.

H/T Adam Daifallah

Monday, November 06, 2006

Income Mistrust III

Lorne Gunter makes an excellent point about the Income Trust Issue. (Sorry it’s behind a subscription wall).

Essentially, Gunter makes the point that raising the tax on trusts was not the government’s only option.

“Equity could have been achieved,” writes Gunter, “by lowering the taxes on corporations rather than raising the taxes on trusts . . . rather than slashing billions from the value of trusts, it would have added billions to the value of corporations.”

Makes sense to me.

In fact, it made sense to Stephen Harper before he became Prime Minister.

Here’s what he wrote in a National Post op-ed on October 5, 2005, when the Liberals were thinking about taxing income trusts:

“The government claims that income trusts enjoy an unfair tax advantage over corporate dividends. If they believe this, then the answer is not to shut down a valuable investment vehicle, but to cut the double taxation of dividends. In short, level the playing field and let the market decide between income trusts and dividend-paying companies.”

Anyway, the Conservatives will now have to bear the consequences of their actions.

And among those consequences are blogs like this one.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Hail to the Chef

Here's a story from today's news that caused me to lose my appetite:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has flown his chef to Egypt to "share recipes" and discuss culinary protocol with the chief cooks of 16 other national leaders at a meeting of what has been called "the most exclusive gastronomic club in the world.

"The precedent has been for the last 10 years that the prime ministers have sent their chefs," said a spokesperson with the Prime Minister's Office. It is a form of "professional development," the spokesperson added.

I think the Prime Minister's PR department is in need of some professional development too.

(Thanks to Steve and Marnee)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Kyoto Komix

This cartoon is clipped from a federal government propaganda piece called Superkids.

Note the scare tactics employed. If we don't stop "wasting" oil there won't be enough left to drive a car in ten years.

Well, here's the kicker. This particular Superkids comic was published way back in 1976! Now, I'm no math genius but by my calculation that means we must have run out of gas in 1986.

So much for government predictions.

Makes you wonder what all those doom and gloom predictions about global warming will look like 30 years from now.

H/T Janet Neilson

Income Mistrust II

OK, I am sure there are lots of reasons why it made fiscal sense for the Conservative government to break its promise not to tax income trusts.

So why is Finance Minister Jim Flaherty justifying the government's move with weak left wing arguments that could have come straight out of the NDP or Liberal playbook?

Here's a couple Flaherty quotes to illustrate my point:

* "After all, someone has to pay the taxes for health care and education, all the good things we love as Canadians."

* "If corporations don't pay their fair share of taxes, this tax burden will shift ... This is simply not fair.''

Huh? I thought the Tories were about making taxes lower not fairer.

Sure the editorial board of the Toronto Star might applaud this approach, but when election day comes around they sure as heck won't be voting Tory.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A Brief History of the Universe

Have you ever wondered about the 10th dimension?

No me neither.

In fact, I thought it only went up to the Fifth Dimension.

But check out this cool site, which tries to explain the wonky concepts of quantum physics. (Click the link "Imagining the 10th dimension" on the left hand side of the screen.)

Full confession: I got completely lost after the ant and the newspaper analogy.

Kerry's Gaffe

One of the reasons Senator John Kerry's gaffe, where he seemed to suggest American soldiers in Iraq were uneducated rubes, is that it reminds voters of something, the Democrats would like to keep under the rug: left-wingers generally hold the military in disdain.

It's like that here in Canada too.

Recall during the last federal election those anti-military TV ads the Liberals put together "Soldiers in our streets . . . Soldiers with guns!"

And just as those ads ended up hurting the Liberals, Kerry's idiotic "joke" will end up hurting the Democrats.

But it probably won't be enough to head off what seems to be an impending Republican Götterdämmerung.

Income Mistrusts

Well we are about find out how good the Tories are when it comes to communicating their policies.

Because after their decision to tax income trusts, the Conservatives are going to need all the communicating skills they can muster.

The Liberals, of course, will have a field day accusing the Conservatives of breaking a key election promise and of flip-flopping on an issue that’s extremely important to seniors and Bay Street companies.

The challenge for the Tories will go beyond just convincing voters their change of heart makes fiscal sense, they will also have to work hard to explain why they changed their minds.

It’s what you might call the Dalton McGuinty Syndrome.

Kids and Work

My 14 year old son is at work with me today.

That’s because today is Take Our Kids to Work™ day, a national program which allows “students to job shadow a parent, relative or volunteer host and to experience first hand some of the career options that will be available to them.”

“Job shadow” of course really means your poor kid will be bored out of his skull sitting in some empty boardroom folding company reports into paper airplanes.

As far as I can tell the only benefit of this program is that it will give high school teachers a day off.

Now if you will excuse me I have to go teach my son some valuable workplace lessons – such as how to write cynical blog entries.