Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everybody!

Before we look forward to 2007, of course, it's always nice to look back.

So check out humorist Dave Barry's take on the highlights of the past year.

My Confession

The media is making a big deal out of a letter Stephen Harper wrote back in 2001, while he was still president of the National Citizens Coalition.

That's the letter -- written to help raise funds for a court challenge the NCC was helping to finance -- where Harper described Chief Electoral Officer Jean Pierre Kingsley as a "jackass".

Paul Wells broke this story on his blog and it has been picked up by the Toronto Star and other outlets.

This, of course, is supposed to prove that Harper had some sort of grudge against Kingsley.

Well, here on this blog I would like to make a confession.

Harper did not write that letter -- I did.

Yes it was the very first ever fund raiser I ever wrote for the NCC.

And yes, it was a little over the top, but I think it's pretty effective.

There glad I got that off my chest. Besides why should Harper get all the credit for calling Kingsley a jackass when it was really me!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Glad he's Gone

I am very pleased the anti-democratic bully is finally gone.

And no, I am not talking about Saddam Hussein.

I mean, I am pleased Jean Pierre Kingsley is stepping down as Chief Electoral Officer. In fact, I have a column in today's National Post on the subject, which you can read here.

I am also quoted in today's Toronto Star on this issue.

Friday, December 29, 2006

More Good Riddance Kingsley

I am having a hard time containing my glee at Jean-Pierre Kingsley's resignation as Chief Electoral Officer.

You can read my comments in this Globe and Mail piece and actually see and hear me in this CTV News item and you can read the National Citizens Coalition news release over at National Newswatch.

What a nice post-Christmas present.

Media Update:

Just did an interview on this on the Dave Rutherford Show.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Good Riddance Kingsley

Well Jean Pierre Kingsley has resigned as Chief Electoral officer.

All I can say is --- good riddance.

Kingsley was far from a disinterested bureaucrat. He had an ideological axe to grind and used his power to go after groups he didn't like.

I should know -- he dragged the National Citizens Coalition through a costly and lengthy criminal court proceeding, simply because he hated the NCC.

What's more he actively intervened in our constitutional court challenge to the election gag law against us.

Oh and did I mention he was also incompetent.

Media Update:

Just did an interview on this with CTV National News.

Best Postings of 2006

Everyone is doing their best of 2006 lists, so why should I be any different.

After exhaustive research, I have come up with the top 5 best postings on my blog this year.

Here they are in descending order:

5. My blog on the TTC wildcat strike -- actually made the Toronto Sun's "Blog of the Day" feature.

4. My "Top Ten List of Candidates I would most like to see Lose in the 2006 election." People would actually come up to me at parties and tell me how much they enjoyed that list. Which goes to show you, I need to start going to better parties.

3. The "Is Gerry Nicholls one of the Top Five Political Minds" poll. Yes it was egomaniacal, but hey isn't that what blogging is all about?

2. My blog detailing the effort of some bureaucrat at the Department of National Defence who tried to shut down the National Citizens Coalition "Support our Troops" campaign. Luckily it had a happy ending.

1. Of course, my number one blog has to be the one which broke the "Harper Eats Babies" story. This made news not only across Canada but in the United States as well. I was even interviewed by the New York Times.

I hope 2007 will be as eventful.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Things I learned

Now that Christmas is over the time has come for quiet reflection; and I don't know about you but I hate my reflection.

Anyway here are five things I learned in 2006:

1. Finally accepted the fact that my hair will never grow back.

2. Objects in your car mirror really are closer than they appear.

3. 99 percent of everything on television is junk.

4. Dr. Phil's advice is really overrated.

5. I am a terrible speller

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Adventures in Blogging

Hope everybody had a great Christmas.

Something great was found under our tree -- Comic Book Creator.

It's a great game that allows you to make your own comics.

Here's one I created.

Bet you can't wait to read the rest!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Season's Greetings

Merry Christmas -- Happy Holidays to all who have visited my blog this year.

By the way, that's Christmas Island.

Pretty clever, eh?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Some Lively News

Here's a story from the Sudbury Star, on the National Citizens Coalition effort to help The Lively Seven, women who are battling against being unionized against their will.

Friday, December 22, 2006

O Holy Fright

An American friend of mine sent me this link to what has got to be the second worse rendition of O Holy Night ever sung.

I mean it's terrible, you have to listen to the whole thing to truly appreciate the rottenness of it. And apparently it was a serious audition.

So what's the worst rendition of O Holy Night?

That's easy, whenever I sing it.

Comic Make-Over

Not sure I like the much ballyhooed "make over" for Betty and Veronica of the Archie comics.

Kind of like the way, they looked before.

To my mind, the one who really needs a make over is Archie, I mean that glyph-thing on the side of his head has got to go.
And don't even get me started on Jughead's hat.

Gerry Nicholls and the blog of No Ideas

J.K. Rowling has announced the title of the latest Harry Potter book; it's called Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

My first thought when I heard this was, "What's a hallow?" and my second thought was, what if Rowling wrote books on Canadian politics.

Here are some possible titles:

Stephen Harper and the Income Trust of Doom.

Jack Layton and the Party of Irrelevance

Gilles Duceppe and the Separatist's Millstone

Stephane Dion and the Prisoner of Kyoto

Not sure any of these would be bestsellers but I am sure they would all get government funding.

Finally The Media Gets it Right

I could make a cruel joke about this, but in the spirit of the season I will resist.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Dream Team Revisited

As people who read this blog well know, I hate to toot my own horn.

But in this case, I will make an exception, since the National Post has made a letter I wrote to the paper "Letter of the Day".

It's essentially a re-working of a posting I wrote, yesterday, but since I can't think of anything else to post today, I will reprint it here:

Re: Dion Drafts Main Rivals for 'Dream Team,' Dec. 20.

Stephane Dion has supposedly put the federal Liberals on a pre-election footing with the formation of a "dream team." But what are the duties of each member? As far as I can figure, they are as follows:

- Michael Ignatieff: Try not to look like a sore loser.

- Gerard Kennedy: Patiently await the proper moment to undermine Dion's leadership.

- Martha Hall Findlay: Go around the country reminding everybody she is the woman on the dream team.

- Ken Dryden: Give as many speeches as possible so Dion looks charismatic by comparison.

- Scott Brison: Keep everybody else awake during Dryden's speeches.

- Bob Rae: Convince left-wing voters that Liberals can be socialists too.

Sheesh, with a "dream" like that who needs nightmares?

The Jerk Brigade

If you are looking for a laugh check out The Jerk Brigade.

It's definitely one of the top five funniest comedy teams ever to come out of Oakville, Ontario.

Warning: You might find some of the material a little on the edge.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Dion's Dream

Liberal Leader Stephane Dion yesterday announced his “dream team” .

Here is the team and their assigned duties:

Michael Ignatieff: Try and not look like a sore loser.

Gerrard Kennedy: Patiently await the proper moment to stab Dion in the back.

Martha Hall Findlay: Go around the country reminding everybody that she is a “woman” on the dream team.

Ken Dryden: Give as many speeches as possible so that Dion looks charismatic by comparison.

Scott Brison: Keep everybody else awake during Dryden speeches.

Bob Rae: Convince left-wing voters that the Liberals really will destroy Canada’s economy.

Sheesh, with a dream like that who needs nightmares?

Crossposted at the National Citizens Coalition Blog.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Wheat Views

I am going to be on The World Tonight with Rob Breakenridge this evening at approximately 10:05 PM EST to talk about the Wheat Board.

That's pretty late for me -- hope I can stay awake.

Joseph Barbera RIP

Joseph Barbera passed away yesterday aged 95.

Of course, he will largely be remembered for helping to create such classic cartoons as The Flinstones, Scooby-Doo and The Jetsons.

But my favorite Barbera cartoon as a kid was Jonny Quest.

Every week teenager Jonny and his dad Dr. Benton Quest battled cool bad guys, giant robot spiders and monstrous pterodactyls.

Come to think of it, Dr. Quest wasn't much of a father to put his son in the path of bad guys, giant robot spiders and pterodactyls.

Hot News

Nobody tell David Suzuki, but in Italy they are actually trying to make it warmer this winter.

H/T Marni Soupcoff

Ministry of Christmas Miracles

Thanks to "anonymous" for giving me an idea for an op-ed I wrote which appears in today's Vancouver Sun.

A about two weeks ago, I posted on this blog about how I wishing for a Christmas miracle, in the form of cash, to help me pay some bills I was facing.

Anyway, good old anonymous piped in the comments section with this opinion:

"Hmm, does that mean you want a handout Me thinkest thou should practice what thou preaches. Funny about you conservative types, when its about you, you want freebies or handouts when its the rest of the world you want conservative policies."

This got me thinking about what would happen if Christmas miracles really were government handouts.

This led to the oped "The Ministry of Christmas Miracles" which you can read here.

Thanks again to anonymous and Merry Christmas to you.

Media Update:

I will be discussing this topic Focus 980 on CFPL London at about 11:15 AM EST and on Newsline on CFAX Victoria at about noon EST.

Media Update 2

Will be talking about this on Adler Online on Wednesday at about 2:15 PM EST.

Protecting Which Culture?

It's bad enough our government hands out tons of tax dollars to "protect Canadian culture", but now they are giving tons of tax dollars to American companies to "protect Canadian culture."

Doesn't make sense does it.

See my reaction to all this as reported in a Sun Media story.

Crossposted at the National Citizens Coalition Blog.

How the Government Keeps us Safe

It's easy to lose confidence in our justice system.

After all, the government is allowing a convicted killer to roam around as free as a bird.

Still it isn't all bad.

Don't forget all the hard work our judges are doing to protect us from the dangers of Christmas trees.

Crossposted in the National Citizens Coalition Blog.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Person of the Year

Time Magazine has named Prime Minister Stephen Harper as Canada's "Person of the Year."

That's quite an honour.

But let's face it Harper had a lot of help to achieve his success and it's only fair that we recognize the people who helped make it all possible:

* Buzz Hargrove -- Buzz's inept campaigning skills (in which he actually endorsed the separatist Bloc Quebecois) certainly helped Harper make it where he is today.

* Jean Chretien -- Could Harper have won without the Adscam Sponsorship Scandal which occurred under Chretien's watch?

* Paul Martin -- Great Finance Minister -- terrible Prime Minister -- horrible campaigner.

Crossposted at the National Citizens Coalition Blog

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Poor Honky

One of the charms of Christmas are the lovable characters associated with the season: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer; Frosty the Snowman; the Grinch.

But unfortunately, some never made the cut.

I mean, whatever happened to Honky the Christmas Goose?

Fun Christmas Flicks

I have been getting some flack for dissing It's a Wonderful Life, so to prove I am no Christmas grinch and in the spirit of the season, here are what I consider to be(in no particular order) the top ten Christmas movies of all time.

Miracle on 34th St. (1947 version)
-- My eyes always tear up when they find the cane in the house.

The Bishop’s Wife (1947 version)
-- Angel Cary Grant lusts after Loretta Young.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
- Most realistic depiction of Christmas ever filmed.

A Christmas Story

-- What Kid doesn't want a BB gun for Christmas?

The Santa Clause
-- Best movie ever filmed in Oakville

-Shows that even innocence can be funny

Home Alone
-- Worth watching just to see John Candy

Babes in Toyland
-- Great scene with marching toy soldiers

Die Hard
-- Merry Christmas mother*****

Chronicles of Narnia
-- Not really a Christmas movie, but Santa Claus does show up to pass out deadly weapons to the children.

It's Not a Wonderful Movie

Last night that Christmas classic It's a Wonderful Life was on TV.

I know this movie tops most "Top Ten Christmas Movies" lists, but not mine.

In fact, I don't like it at all.

First off, it's way too hokey and sentimental. Second of all, I hate the way the lead character, George Bailey, is always sacrificing his interests, his dreams and his happiness for the sake of others. (It's no wonder he is completely miserable.) And finally, be honest, wouldn't you rather live in Pottersville?

One Christmas special I do like is the politically incorrect and rarely seen Santa Vs. The Snowman.

Now that's holiday entertainment.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Happy Birthday Ludwig

Today is Ludwig Van Beethoven's birthday!

He is 236 years old young.

To honour him I will present my very own classical musical score: Beethoven beats Mozart 6 to 2.

Laughing at the Revolution

A friend of mine sent me this joke:

"My wife is teaching me Cuban. It's like Spanish but with fewer words for luxury goods.

Happy Hanukkah

Happy Hanukkah!

I would especially like to wish a Happy Hanukkah to a friend who likes to spend the holidays at what he considers the most holy of all places: the race track!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Me Like Meat

This explains a lot.

Maybe I should start eating my vegatables.

Harper's Past

Maybe I am making too big a deal out of this, but something irks me about Prime Minister Stephen Harper's official online bio.

If you read it, you will see there's no mention of the fact that he was president of the National Citizens Coalition from 1998 to 2001.

The closest the bio comes to acknowledging the NCC is the part where it says: "Mr. Harper has spent his political career standing up and speaking out for Canadians who work hard, pay their taxes and play by the rules."

Oh well, at least his enemies on the left keep reminding Canadians he was our president.

Battling Big Government in Quebec

To a lot of conservatives Quebec is a socialist lost cause.

But there are Quebecois conservative/libertarians fighting the good fight and working to resist the statist tendencies of La Belle Province.

One of those is Claire Joly, who has set up an organization called Ligue des contribuables du Quebec or as we anglos would say The League of Quebec Taxpayers.

It's mission is to "keep a vigilant eye on politicians, inform citizens on where their tax dollars go and demand lower taxes."

Now that sounds good in any language.

The Mathematics of Senate Reform II

Yesterday I noted the complexity of the "Single Transferable Vote" system the government wants to use to elect Senators.

So to better understand how this system works I asked the Prime Minister's Office to send me a backgrounder.

It didn't help.

Here's the explanation they sent me:

Under STV, voters will rank their preferred Senate nominees, beginning with their first preference (i.e. by marking the number “1” beside that nominee’s name) and then expressing consecutive preferences up to the number of “vacancies”* available (i.e. by marking the number “2” by their second choice, “3” by their third, and so on).Under the STV counting system, a Senate nominee must receive a number of votes equal to a pre-determined quota in order to be selected. This quota is determined by dividing the number of validly cast ballots in the province by the number of vacancies, plus one; one is added to the dividend; and the result is the quota. In other words, the quota is determined by the following formula:

Valid Votes Cast
------------------------------------- +1
Number of Vacancies +1

Therefore, for example, if there were five potential Senate appointments for a province, the quota for the province would be 1/6 of the total votes, plus 1.

To determine who has met the quota, all first preferences on the ballots are counted. Any nominee receiving enough first preference votes on this count are selected.

If a nominee receives more than the quota, then his or her “surplus votes” (that is, those in excess of the quota) are distributed to the second preferences indicated on those ballots. If on any count, no nominee reaches the quota, then the nominee with the fewest votes is eliminated and his or her votes are distributed to the continuing nominees. This process continues through subsequent preferences until the number of nominees equals the number of vacancies available.


This is what happens when you let government bureaucrats come up with an idea. Anybody else would have said, here's how you vote for a Senator -- put an "X" next to the name of the guy you like.

But for bureaucrats that unnecessarily simple.

Whenever they come up with an idea it's usually determined by the following formula:

Number of needlessly stupid ideas
------------------------------------- +1
Number of bureaucrats +1

Crossposted at the National Citizens Coalition Blog.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Mathematics of Senate Reform

Yesterday I participated in a conference call the government set up to explain the workings of the proposed Senate reform legislation.

Most of it was pretty basic: voters will have a chance to vote in a plebiscite; elections will be administered by Elections Canada; standard spending limits in place, etc.

But when it came time to explain how candidates would win I was completely stumped.

Apparently it’s not just going to be a “first past the post” system but instead it will be STV — Single Transferable Vote.

Now it has something to do with something called “quotients”, but that’s all I got out of it.

Seems to me the only people who will understand the voting system will be physicists.

Here's what a STV ballot will look like:

Crossposted on the National Citizens Coalition Blog.

When Christmas Meets Capitalism

Here is my latest column from Report Magazine.

It's very seasonal.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Putting Down the Upper Chamber

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is introducing legislation today to help make the Senate more accountable and democratic.

Good move.

Having an unelected Senate is like a bald guy with a comb-over: it's an embarrassment that doesn't do any good.

The National Citizens Coalition is preparing a campaign on this issue.

Media Upate

I just did an interview on French CBC-TV on this issue and will be doing an interview on Adler Online at approximately 4:40 PM EST.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Political Greed Strikes Again

Ontario MPPs have voted to give themselves a whopping 25 per cent hike.

How generous!

And just in time for Christmas too.

Must be nice to be able vote yourself a pay hike.

And what did the MPPs do to deserve such a raise?

Are they working harder? Have they done an excellent job? Do they have more responsibilities?


They were just envious of federal MPs who made more money than they did.

Envious and greedy. Nice combination.

What gets me is that all these MPPs who are crying about how they are so underpaid, are the same MPPs who not too long ago were begging us for votes.

They knew what the pay package was when they ran. If they thought the pay was too low why didn't they say something then?

And then they wonder why voters hold them in such low regard.

Media Update:

I just did an interview on this on the Jim Richards Show (CFRB Radio in Toronto)

Also I am quoted in this Canadian Press story.

Christmas Idea

Hey my friend took this picture of me from his Macbook laptop computer.

Pretty cool eh?

Maybe I will put that gadget on my Christmas wish.

By the way, the men in the picture behind me are Colin M. Brown, the founder of the National Citizens Coalition and David Somerville former president of the NCC.

The Secret to My Success

Had dinner with a friend in Toronto last night and since this guy is a night owl, I didn't get home until 1:30 AM.

The problem is I had to do two radio interviews before 8:00 AM, one on the John Oakley Show, to talk about MPP pay, and one on CHQR's The Morning News with Stirling Faux to discuss the Wheat Board.

Fortunately I have a secret on how to sound articulate while operating on 5 minutes sleep: long showers and gallons of coffee.

That should keep me going until around 3:00 PM when I expect to collapse.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Marketing Me

A while back, I received an email from Ezra Levant urging me to buy a Mark Steyn T-shirt.
Well, this got me to thinking, maybe I should have my own T-Shirt.

What do you think?

They will probably sell like hotcakes.

A Teaspoon of Terror!

What if Mary Poppins was a horror movie?

The trailers might look something like this.

H/T Paul Tuns.

Give him a Chance

Look I know Stephane Dion is not the greatest Liberal leader in history.

But this is ridiculous.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Christmas Blues

Tis the season to be jolly.


Here's a couple of reasons why I am not so jolly these days:
  • Recently had to endure my most hated of experiences: a trip to the dentist. What's worse, the radio station piped into the room was CBC news! Talk about double torture.
  • Took my car into the garage to get it "winterized". Turned out it needed new brakes -- $1,200. Take that Christmas budget.
  • Lost my December GO train pass. So my Christmas gift to some stranger is a month's worth of free rides between Toronto and Oakville.
You know what I need?

I need is a visit from some kindly spirit just like on those corny Christmas movies!

It would especially be nice if that spirit had plenty of cash.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Tolerance Liberal-style

As noted in a previous post, Bob Rae would have been a more formidable opponent for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, than Stephane Dion.

So why didn't Rae win the Liberal leadership race?

Was it because of his disastrous record as Ontario Premier? Was it because he was a big spender and taxer? Was it because he swam naked with Rick Mercer?


It now seems Rae's big drawback with many Liberals was that he married a Jewish woman!

According to media reports: "Bob Rae was apparently the target of anti-Semitic attacks and it may be one of the reasons the front runner failed to win his bid to take over as the party's new boss."

OK will somebody out there please explain to me how it is the Liberals can claim to be the party of tolerance?

Tobin Loves the Fraser Institute

I see where the Fraser Institue has appointed former Liberal MP and Newfoundland Premier, Brian Tobin a senior fellow.

This is the same Tobin who in 1999 called the Fraser Institute "the most right-wing, Looney Tune institute . . . ever set foot on the soil of Canada."

I guess Tobin is changing his looney tune.

My Rating is Now Official

A few days ago I put up a special online blog poll to ask the timeless question: Is Gerry Nicholls really one of the top five political minds in Canada?

Here are the final results of that poll:

Yes 56%

No 19%

Don't Know 5%

No but he does have boyish good looks 19%

What can I say, the people have spoken.

Into the Trough Once More

I see where Ontario's Integrity Commissioner says Ontario MPPs deserve a big raise.

Why do they deserve a pay raise?

Is it because they are doing more work? Is it because they have more responsiblity? Is it because they are doing such a great job?


It's because Ontario MPs make more money than they do. Federal backbench MPs make about $147,000 a year, wheras provincial MPPs must make do with "only" $88,000.

And that's how political renumeration works. Your pay isn't decided on how well you do your job, it's based on how much money some other guy is getting.

MPs whined and cried that American Senators made more than they did, to justify giving themselves a pay raise. Then city councillors whined and cried that MPs made more than they did, to justify giving themselves pay raise and now MPPs are whining and crying that everybody gets more than they do, so they should have a raise.

Then, of course, American Senators will whine and cry that they should make more than Canadian MPs and so the vicious circle will continue.

What all these politicians forget is that they work for taxpayers. And since we are their bosses, maybe we should have a say in their pay.

Maybe we should hold a referendum everytime politicians want to give themselves a raise. Or another idea would be to allow politicians to give themselves a raise with the understanding that it will not take effect until after the next election.

That way at least taxpayers will have some say in the matter.

In the meantime, maybe our politicians should try and earn a pay raise.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I'm Not Nerdy Says Quiz

Just took this quiz. Turns out I am more literate than I thought!

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Literate Good Citizen

You read to inform or entertain yourself, but you're not nerdy about it. You've read most major classics (in school) and you have a favorite genre or two.

Book Snob
Dedicated Reader
Fad Reader
Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

H/T Matt Bufton

Dion's First Test

New Liberal leader Stephane Dion will soon face his first real test.

Will he oppose or support Bill C-257, a private member's bill that's making its way through the House of Commons?

This Bill would essentially make it illegal for federally-regulated companies to hire replacement workers during labour disputes.

The Bloc Quebecois and the NDP both support this Bill as have many Liberals.

And if that support continues Bill C-257 could become law, which would be bad news for Canada.

Simply put, such a law would drive away investment, kill jobs and infringe on the freedoms of Canadian employees, who may wish to work during a strike.

Traditionally, the Liberal Party has opposed these kinds of pro-union laws, but will they do so again?

Will Dion stand up for Canada's economy and reject Bill C-257 or will he side with socialists, separatists and big union bosses?

I guess we will find out if Buzz Hargrove is now calling the shots in the Liberal Party.

In the meantime, here's what the National Citizens Coalitions is doing to stop Bill C-257.

Media Update:

I debate David Rappaport of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union on this issue on CH Live at 5:30 PM EST and again at 11:30 PM EST. It gets a little heated.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Taking on the Union Bosses

Lots of unionized employees don't like the socialist dribble their union bosses like to spew out.

Case in point is Brian who calls himself a "grudging CAW member".

Brian believes in things like free enterprise and individual freedom and he doesn't believe union bosses should use his forced dues to promote their propaganda.

Anyway, he recently wrote an essay for the Western Standard writing contest warning of the dangers of CAW boss Buzz Hargrove's radical agenda.

And although Brian didn't win, it's still a good piece. You can read it here.

By the way, I am not just recommending this essay because Brian mentions me in it, but it sure helps.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Backwards Bob

I am going to let you in on a little secret.

Part of me was actually hoping Bob Rae would pull off a victory on the weekend.

And no it's not because I am a closet socialist; it's because the National Citizens Coalition had a great anti-Rae campaign all planned out.

The theme was going to be "Backwards Bob", a man who likes to move things backward -- like economies.

We were going to have cartoons, billboards, newspaper ads.

It would have been fantastic.

Oh well the NCC's loss is Canada's gain.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Dion's Destiny

As predicted, the media is bending itself out of shape fawning over newly elected Liberal leader Stephane Dion.

Columnists and pundits from the leading dailies seem certain Dion will win the next federal election.

Mind you, many of these columnists and pundits were equally certain not so long ago that Stephen Harper would never win a federal election.

Media Update: I will be discussing Stephane Dion's victory tonight on The World Tonight with Michael Smyth on CKNW radio at approximately 10:00 PM EST.

By the way, there's still time to vote on my special online blog poll.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Here's why Harper is Happy

Good for Canada; bad for the Liberal Party.

That's how I would sum up the results of the Liberal leadership contest.

St├ęphane Dion seems like a decent person, but I doubt he is the guy who will help restore the former glory of the Liberal Party.

Pierre Trudeau he aint.

I mean most Canadians are likely saying "Stephane who?"

And he isn't exactly a fiery campaigner.

What it all adds up to is he will probably not help the Liberals grow in the West nor I suspect will he help them break out much beyond their Ontario and Montreal strongholds.

So why did the Liberals pick him?

Simply because he was acceptable to both the Chretien and Martin factions, who fought each other to a standstill in this race.

They decided to call a truce and elect Dion as a kind of a place holder leader until they can resume their combat after the next election.

In my view, the candidate Harper should have feared the most was Bob Rae.

Yes he was a disaster as Ontario Premier, but he is an excellent campaigner, articulate, media savvy and experienced.

And politicians who have experienced both victory and defeat usually make the toughest opponents.

Fortunately for the country, the Liberals didn't figure this out.

Finally, there's poor Michael Ignatieff, who a friend of mine once described as a "prodigal, self-nominated matinee idol."

Remember how the media gushed over this ex-Harvard professor?

Well they forgot one thing: eggheads don't make good politicians. You don't win elections with appeals to the intellect; you win them with appeals to emotion.

Of course, over the next few months the Liberal-friendly media will try and convince us that by shunning the two front-runners and electing Dion, the Liberals have pulled off a masterstroke.

Don't buy it.

I expect Stephen Harper is pretty happy right now.

Gairdner on the "Nation" Situation

I would like to interrupt all the political convention coverage to draw attention to an essay William Gairdner has written on the whole "nation" debate.

Gairdner, who was the former chairman of the National Citizens Coalition, examines the whole question of what federalism is supposed to mean.

He begins with an fascinating recounting of how Americans and Canadians tried to deal with the seeming paradoxical notion of "two sovereign authorities in the same state".

The Americans tried to check the power of the central government through a series of balances while Canadians opted to strictly outline the provincial powers in the BNA Act.

Neither approach worked.

As Gairdner writes: "the trend over time is always that the superior power will find ways, however devious, to slowly gobble up the subordinate ones."

And in both the U.S. and Canada the central power has, in fact, gobbled up the state/provincial powers.

Gairdner says this must change:

There must be a rebalancing, devolution, and restoration of assigned constitutional powers; a restoring of states rights, so to speak. Canada must be returned to something resembling its original constitutional framework by withdrawing federal powers from all places where they have never by right or by law belonged.

This is where the "nation" issue comes into play.

Gairdner argues Prime Minister Harper is taking the first step in restoring true federalism in Canada:

Harper is keenly aware that no one will now dare to deny Quebec its new “nation” status. He is also aware that Quebec will now likely support him for a majority government in the next election. And he knows that Quebec will continue to push for the powers appropriate for a nation. But he will hold them to what he said: Quebec will be considered a nation “within a united Canada.” And he will then slowly apply that condition to all other provinces that want it, because under our Constitution provinces were intended to have provincial sovereignty over their own list, and the feds were to meant to keep their hands off. To respect provincial sovereignty in a united Canada. Of course, the other provinces not so dominated by a single ethnic and linguistic group will not care if they are called a “nation,” but it will have to be by some label just as chummy. What they will insist upon is “equal” provincial rights and sovereignty. Thus, through a long process of reversing the workings of the monster – to include reducing taxes wherever possible, eliminating the national debt, removing nanny-state federal tentacles from all places in which they have never by right belonged, and of course by removing transfer payments – he will undertake to restore provincial constitutional rights. Harper has just commenced the deconstruction of our rusty welfare state.

I hope he is right.

This was an argument I made much less articulately a few days ago.

If Harper is in fact, using the "nation" strategy to give more power to all the provinces, then Canadians should support it.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Tewksbury Flop

Did anybody catch the Paul Martin "tribute" last night?

Whose idea was it to make former Olympic swimming star Mark Tewksbury the emcee?

It must have been a Chretien supporter, because Tewksbury was awful. I was actually embarrassed for him. Somebody should have thrown him a life preserver!

And to think he is actually supposed to be a professional public speaker.

But then on second thought maybe Tewksbury was actually an inspired choice.

A friend of mine emailed me after it was over and wrote:

"I see Tewksbury as a metaphor for the Martin years -- the impressive resume, the high expectations, the bitter reality."