Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
I mean those left wingers were going to blow the hinges off the budget with a massive spending spree.
That would have meant monstrous deficits.
Luckily, the more fiscally responsible Conservative government is still in power, meaning it will blow the hinges off the budget with a massive spending spree.
And we all know that monstrous Conservative deficits are better than monstrous Left Wing deficits.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
While attending a Liberty Fund seminar last year I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Don Boudreaux, who teaches economics at George Mason University.
An outspoken libertarian -- he's one of the authors of my favorite blog, Cafe Hayek -- Boudreaux is dead set against offering any kind of government bail out to the auto industry.
You can see him here on CNBC debating this issue.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
First, they tried to change our government without all the fuss and muss of those tiresome and costly elections.
And now, they have shown how easy it is to pick a new leader: No conventions, no delegates, no votes. Just acclaim.
It makes me wonder what other time-saving measures they have in mind.
Monday, December 08, 2008
First, Bob Rae and his left-wing Liberal supporters, angry at getting cut out of their party's leadership sweepstakes, join forces with the NDP and Bloc Quebecois to form a new "Progressive Coalition Party".
Then, the Michael Ignatieff-led Liberals, fearful of becoming a splinter party, decide to join the Conservative Party.
We would then have a two party system, which would certainly make setting up debate formats during elections a lot easier.
Canadian Labour Congress
Federation des travailleurs et travailleuses du Quebec
Service Employees International Union Canada
United Steelworkers Canada
Canadian Union of Public Employees
Canadian Auto Workers
Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada
Canadian Union of Postal Workers
National Union of Public and General Employees
Confederation des syndicates nationaux
Central des syndicates du Quebec
Public Service Alliance of Canada
International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers
What this means is that had the Coalition succeeded in grabbing power, big union bosses, as well as separatists, would have a say in how this country is run.
Now that's a scary thought.
Also I wonder if any union bosses actually consulted their rank and file before they decided to support the Coalition?
I doubt it.
And if national public opinion polls are anything to go by, I bet the majority of unionized employees oppose the Coalition just as the majority of Canadians do.
So much for democracy.
Sunday, December 07, 2008
But we should also remember something else: Stephen Harper, with his "I'm not really a conservative" routine, could not bury this hapless flop of a leader in the last election and win a majority government.
That should tell you something.
Saturday, December 06, 2008
"Either there is some realistic hope that the Conservatives can progress towards restoring our liberties, or there is not. If there is, then the coalition government is not a bad idea.
The reason is simple. There is no way the Conservatives could be re-elected in a few years after the country has been wrecked by the economic crisis. A majority Liberal government would be brought to power and undo anything good the Conservatives might have done as well as make sure to keep everything else bad.
If, on the other hand, there is no hope with the Conservatives, then why should we care if the coalition takes over?"
Read the rest of Lemieux's comments here.
Friday, December 05, 2008
If that's true, then the Liberal leadership race is all but over; Michael Ignatieff has won.
I mean by taking this action and basically pushing Stephane Dion aside (a coup within a coup) Rae is showing incredibly poor political judgement.
Can't he read the polls? Doesn't he understand the vast majority of Canadians don't want the Conservative government toppled by the Bloc-NDP-Liberal Junta?
What the Liberals should do now is basically acclaim Ignatieff as leader as quickly as possible, before the Dion and Rae tandem do any more damage to the party brand.
We talked about the political fallout resulting from the Governor-General's decision to shut down Parliament.
And I came away from that discussion with one firm conclusion: It's hard to do interviews at 7:10 AM.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Her decision today to prorogue Parliament , after all, saved the Liberals from making the biggest mistake in their history.
As I noted a few days ago, it would have been a political disaster for the Liberals to join forces with the separatists and socialists so they could topple the Tories.
Constitutional or not, I said Canadians would not warm up to the idea of a unelected government.
And now the polls are showing I was right. Ipsos Reid reports that 62% of Canadians are angry with the Coalition for trying to take power from the Conservatives.
Luckily the Liberals now have the chance to pull back from the abyss, which they will.
I wonder if the NDP and Bloc will still remain bosom buddies?
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
It's not about principle or ideology or competing values.
What are watching, in other words, is just a turf war between competing gangs determined to wipe each other out.
Like I said, it's sad.
Writes Caldwell: "And now, weeks after spending $300 million on a pointless election, our sheltered and shallow Parliamentarians are creating a trumped-up 'crisis' and have the gall to insist it’s 'historic.' There’s making history, and there’s making noise."
And he adds: "The real question is, with the nation at war and a global economic crisis ongoing, should we be focused on the constitutionality of a hackneyed power-grab? As this country and the world face extraordinary challenges, the events of this week remind us that some political cultures are too slow to move beyond the Mickey Mouse, navel-gazing mentality of fatter days. This is a bloodless coup at Disneyland."
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
So we might as well accept our fate.
But what will it mean for our country?
Well here's what we can expect in the next few months:
* To make life easier for Gilles Duceppe the capital of Canada will be transferred from Ottawa to Quebec City.
* Toronto will be renamed Hugo Chavezville.
* Somebody from the Taliban will be appointed to the Senate and made Minister in Charge of the Human Rights Commissions. (Which will likely make it more tolerant.)
* The five dollar bill will feature a picture of Buzz Hargrove.
* Alberta will be converted into one big national park.
But don't worry, this can all be changed whenever the Junta decides to restore democracy.
Monday, December 01, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
It seems the New Liberal Bloc Coalition won zero seats and zero percent of the popular vote in the last election.
But I guess in politics, zero seats plus zero votes equals a viable, legitimate government.
Friday, November 28, 2008
I mean think about it.
* Do they really want Stephane Dion to be the guy leading the government at this time of fiscal crisis?
* Do they really want to be part of a government where the NDP will be calling the shots on fiscal policy?
* Do they think Canadians will really warm to the idea of an unelected government usurping control of the country?
* Do they really want to make some sort of deal with the separatists?
Maybe that's why Prime Minister Harper delayed the non-confidence vote for a week. He wants to give the Liberals time to think this through.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
If true, this would be great news.
Let's face it, this subsidy plan -- which cost taxpayers about $30 million -- is nothing but a welfare plan for politicians.
It's just plain wrong and undemocratic to force taxpayers to finance a political party. Let politicians raise their own money through voluntary contributions.
However, if the subsidy is scrapped and if politicians are forced to raise funds voluntarily, then the government must also do away with current finance contribution laws which severely limit what individuals can contribute to political parties.
These limits are nothing but a limit on free political speech and hamper the ability of political parties to raise funds.
It's time to make the process fair for everybody, politicians and taxpayers.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
It's goal is to promote "government that is representative, accountable, fiscally and socially responsible, and truly democratic."
If ever we needed that kind of government, it's now.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
This is an excellent book that provides a comprehensive catalogue of how the state is crushing our freedoms in the name of political correctness.
As an added bonus it even comes with an introduction by Mark Steyn.
You can order it here.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Boy did that bring back memories.
You see, I created that Rae billboard back in the early 1990s for Ontarians for Responsible Government, a project group of the National Citizens Coalition.
It really captured in a few words the disaster that was Rae.
I think it was one of my more brilliant PR ideas.
Mind you, I also am quite proud of another billboard I crafted to oppose the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly.
Billboards can make for fun advocacy.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
The keynote speaker at the conference was Lawrence Reed of the Foundation for Economic Education, who talked about his favorite American president. And no it wasn't George Bush.
Here's the first part of that talk.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Get that, the Tories are no longer ideological, but pragmatic: The Pragmatic Conservative Party.
I guess this means Prime Minister Stephen Harper is now officially dumping the incrementalism idea, whereby he would introduce conservative values in tiny, slow steps.
Now it looks like he won't be introducing conservative ideas at all.
As Publius over at the Gods of the Copybook Headings writes, "The PM's comments at the policy convention in Winnipeg are worrisome, they suggest that his default policy is not one of incrementalism, but of pragmatism. An essentially correct ideology provides a guide for long-term action. Pragmatism is the expediency of the moment. This crisis too shall pass, the new government programs and regulations born of this crisis may not."
Friday, November 14, 2008
Speakers and topics include:
Peter Holle (Frontier Centre for Public Policy) - Public Choice and Public Policy: Overcoming Self Interest in Government
Yuri Maltsev (Carthage College) - The Fall of Communism and the Rise of 21st Century Socialism
George Bragues (University of Guelph-Humber) - The Panic of 2007-2008: Not the Free Market's Fault.
This is going to be a fascinating conference so if you are in the area, you won't want to miss it.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Sparrow essentially relegated the Party's conservative base to the status of "stakeholders."
In a brilliant column, Ben-Ami says Sparrow's remark "accurately reflect the deep disdain certain key members of the Harper team have for conservative policies and their desire to marginalize and even purge conservatives from positions of influence throughout the party."
Read the rest of it here.
Monday, November 10, 2008
It was a great event and I had an opportunity to make several new libertarian friends.
My only disappointment was that I didn't bring home a "I party with economic models" T-shirt.
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Friday, November 07, 2008
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Now American conservatives can at long last distance themselves from the cynical policies of the Bush/Rove/McCain crowd.
To understand what I mean, check out Craig Shirley and Tony Fabrizio's brilliant analysis of how George Bush and Karl Rove undermined conservative values in their pursuit of power.
And by the way, much of what they write about Bush, can also be applied to Prime Minister Harper and his Conservative Party.
But no matter what happens, I will always be grateful to him for keeping Hillary Clinton out of the White House.
On a more positive note, my friend Rondi Adamson wrote a column a little while ago explaining why an Obama presidency might be a good thing.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Monday, November 03, 2008
It's part of a Fraser Institute "Student Video Contest."
So check it out and give it a rating.
And as an added bonus, Matt's video includes some shots of my Alma mater, the University of Windsor.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Here's the quote:
"This is a government which is going to be facing some tough economic times ahead, which might necessitate cutting back on some programs or spending initiatives, and I think the message they should be sending is that he's going to cut back as well," said Gerry Nicholls, senior fellow at the Democracy Institute.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Leona Aglukkaq: Minister in Charge of Defending Our Socialist Health Care System.
Jim Prentice: Minister in Charge of Coming up with a Conservative version of a carbon tax, that won't actually be called a carbon tax.
Jason Kenney: Minister in Charge of Wooing Ethnic Votes
Rob Nicholson: Minister in Charge of Justifying the Human Rights Commission.
Peter Kent: Minister in Charge of Being From Toronto
To quote Bill Chuck:
This has been the World Series of bad hitting.
This has also been the World Series of bad fielding.
This has been the World Series of bad umpiring.
This has been the World Series of bad weather.
This has been Bud’s Bad World Series
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
“We don’t need more government in Canada, we need less.”
“Since free speech is the life blood of democracy; it’s time to scrap election gag laws and it’s time to defang Human Rights Commissions.”
“Why is the government in the broadcast business? We should privatize the CBC.”
“The government’s monopoly on health care services must end; Canadians deserve a choice.”
Since becoming Prime Minister, Stephen Harper has never said any of these things; don't you wish he would?
Sunday, October 26, 2008
And let me tell you, if you like books that's the place to be; tons of them of every description and category.
Tons of people too.
Anyway, I ended up buying four books:
Political Numeracy: Mathematical Perspectives on our chaotic constitution, by Michael Myerson. (Sounds a little complicated but what the heck.)
Goldwater, by Barry Goldwater and Jack Casserly. (The guy who turned me on to conservatism in the first place.)
The Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World, by Rupert Smith (Seems topical)
Dennis Miller, The Rants, by Dennis Miller (I need a laugh every once in a while.)
Now I just have to find time to read them.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Especially to blame says Dion was the Conservative Party which had the audacity to actually run an effective attack ad campaign.
Shame on them!
Oh and Dion knows losing the election wasn't his fault because all his friends told him he ran a good campaign.
Man, this guy is living in denial.
If I am Liberal I would want to move up the Liberal leadership convention to next week.
The theme for the conference was "Individual Freedom and the Common Good: Defining Human Rights in a Free Society".
Topics included protecting the environment through property rights; Aboriginal Rights in the 21st century and Judicial Activism in Canada.
The most interesting part of the conference however was a debate between Alan Borovoy of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and Philippe Dufresne of the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
The CCF will be posting that debate on Youtube at a later date and I will link to it when it becomes available.
What I thought was interesting about this debate was that the Human Rights Commission even agreed to participate.
They are probably engaging in a little PR damage control which means all that negative press coverage they are getting is hurting them.
Of course, this might be a signal for the Conservative government to clip their wings.
But that probably won't happen.
Also was glad to see my friend Dr. Roy at the conference and to meet Connie and Mark Fournier of Free Dominon fame.
Friday, October 17, 2008
This led me to send him an email offering a "dissenting" opinion.
He asked if he could post my comment on his blog and I said sure, so check it out.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
"How many plumbers do you know who make a quarter of a million dollars a year?" mocked Obama.
Clearly, Obama has never had to pay a plumber to fix a leaky faucet.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
The Tories strengthened their minority government made gains across the country and even won a few urban seats.
The Liberals, despite having a weak leader, revitalized its brand in Quebec and held onto its core urban support base. It's now well poised to make huge gains in the next election.
The NDP increased its number of seats and made gains in BC, Ontario and in Atlantic Canada.
The Bloc Quebecois held firm and continues to be the most dominant federal party in Quebec.
The Green enjoyed a breakthrough year, gaining wide attention for its platform and increasing its popular vote.
Every party was a loser last night.
The Tories failed to win a majority government despite facing the weakest Liberal leader in 100 years and its scheme to achieve an electoral breakthrough in Quebec was a major bust.
The Liberals got crushed; they lost seats and declined in the popular vote. Even worse, they now have Justin Trudeau in their caucus.
The NDP failed to leap ahead of the faltering Liberals and will once again settle for third place.
The Bloc failed to dislodge the Tory beachhead in Quebec.
The Greens despite massive publicity and a fawning media failed to win a single seat and their leader may have tainted the brand name with cynical political games.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Please keep in mind my election predictions are wrong 19 out of 20 times.
Anyway, I am going along with the popular consensus of a Tory minority, mainly because that's what all the polls are calling for and I am playing it safe.
But something deep inside my gut says we might end up with an unexpected result. (Of course, that might just be indigestion.)
Monday, October 13, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Never in the field of political endeavours have so few squandered so much.
Why should Stephane Dion be Prime Minister? I don't follow you ... can you repeat the question?
A new kind of strong, but an old kind of socialism.
The Green Party
Official Campaign slogan: For God's sake whatever you do, don't vote for us.
Get used to us, we are not going away
Friday, October 10, 2008
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
For instance, Harris-Decima asks "If a federal election were being held tomorrow, who do you think you would be voting for in your area…the Liberal Party candidate, the Conservative Party
candidate, the NDP Party candidate or the Green Party candidate?"
But I bet you would get a different result if the same pollster asked the question this way: "If a federal election were being held tomorrow, who do you think you would be voting for in your area ... the Stephane Dion Liberals, the Stephen Harper Conservatives, the Jack Layton NDP or the Elizabeth May Green Party?"
The point is most people don't vote for a party anymore, they vote for a leader and if you tied the leader to the party, it might show the Tories doing better than current polls indicate.
Just a theory.
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
The topic is "The first 100 days: What direction should the new government take?"
Also speaking that night will be Stephen Taylor of Blogging Tories fame and Joël-Denis Bellavance, Ottawa bureau chief for La Presse.
Should be an interesting discussion, so if you are in the Ottawa area drop on by and say hello.
You can register here.
Monday, October 06, 2008
This might actually be good news for the Conservatives.
Recall that in the last two elections they went into the final week of the campaign riding high in the polls only to come plummeting down on election day.
Maybe the reverse will happen this time.
Indeed, on the October 17th weekend in Toronto, the Canadian Constitution Foundation is holding what promises to be a fascinating conference called "Individual Freedom and the Common Good: Defining Human Rights in a Free Society."
Topics to be discussed include, Aboriginal rights, the environment and property rights, judicial activism and free expression.
I had the pleasure of speaking at a CCF conference last year and I can tell you they are wonderful, not to be missed events for anybody who cares about individual liberty.
So if you want to learn a lot about some topical issues register for this conference right now!
Sunday, October 05, 2008
The Cubs were eliminated from the play-offs last night meaning their World Series drought has now reached 100 years.
You would think that just by the law of averages they would win at least one championship over that period of time.
I mean for the hapless Toronto Maple Leafs to match that record of futility would mean not winning the Stanley Cup for another 59 years.
Maybe the baseball gods meant it to be this way. Maybe the world needs lovable losers to root for.
In politics the Alberta Liberals serve the same function.
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Friday, October 03, 2008
* Calling it an "English" debate is a bit of a misnomer given that Gilles Duceppe and Stephane Dion were not exactly speaking English.
* At one point Dion called Jack Layton a "socialist" which is a bit like Britney Spears calling Paris Hilton a headline chaser.
* The debate organizers really should have invited George Bush to be part of the debate since it was mainly his policies that were under attack.
* What was the deal with the guy building his shed?
* According to Layton, if the tax cuts to "Exxon" were cancelled the government would have enough money to fund the arts, cure our health care system, save the environment and erect Tommy Douglas statues in every city of the land.
* Now I know why Elizabeth May is at these debates; the Liberals are too embarrassed to cheer for Dion.
* The opposition leaders described Harper with words like, "cold-hearted", "cold and callous", "out of touch" "incompetent", "doesn't care", which just goes to show their debate preparation mainly entailed consulting a thesaurus.
* Everybody at the table kept trying to convince Harper he was a conservative; he kept reassuring him that he wasn't.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Watching the federal election debate tonight was tantamount to slow torture.
Seriously, it was painful.
First off the debate format has got to change. Right now, the way the Opposition leaders can gang up on the Prime Minister, it's like watching a pack of wolves tearing apart a bear.
And what's worse than listening to Stephane Dion's terrible English? It's listening to Gilles Duceppe's even worse English.
The language may never recover.
Can't these guys hire writers to come up with some good put down lines?
The closest we got to a good line, came when NDP leader Jack Layton asked Prime Minister Harper if he was hiding the Conservative platform under his sweater.
Of course, it's possible there were better lines uttered later on.
It's hard for me to say, since I eventually lapsed into a boredom induced coma.
As the name suggests, the CTF thinks "carbon taxes" along with "cap and trade" schemes are bad economic ideas that won't help the environment but will make us all poorer.
And so to get the message out its using a "viral marketing" strategy.
I like this campaign a lot, not only because I support the message, but because it's an innovative tactic, the kind of tactics conservatives need to use to win the war of ideas.
So check the site; sign the petition; post it on your blog and pass it along to to your friends.
It's a great way to stand up for lower taxes and less government.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
This is mainly because my French language skills are at a grade school level.
So unless the debate topics included going skiing ( je fais du ski) or Tante Louise's chocolates (ooh la la, la chocolates!) I would be pretty much lost.
However, my wife, who speaks fluent Parisian French watched the debate and gave me the lowdown.
She assures me Stephane Dion has the best accent.
But the media is already reviewing its contents.
And according to one CBC review, "'Couillard also contends that (Maxime) Bernier, an active runner, was constantly concerned about his own physical appearance and frequently criticized the physical shape of his boss, complaining that Harper had a paunch, ate badly and constantly drank Pepsi."
As someone who once worked with Harper I can tell you that bit about his eating habits definitely rings true to me.
Back in his National Citizens Coalition days, Harper would always sneak out of the office in the afternoon and return loaded down with chocolate bars, chips, candies and huge cups of Pepsi.
Before long, the NCC staff came up with a secret nickname for Harper: "Fatboy" or "FB" for short.
Maybe I should write my own book.
In that posting I wrote, "Like it or not, Stephen Harper is widely perceived as a cold, calculating, bully. It might not be true, but in politics perception is reality. And airing a bunch of ads with Harper in a sweater talking about motherhood issues, isn't going to change that reality. "
Well it looks like I was right.
According to a recent Nanos-Sun Media poll, 83% of Canadians say their opinion of Harper has either become worse or remained unchanged since the beginning of the election campaign.
The lesson here is, you don't use political ads to change people's minds.
You use them to exploit and intensify already existing perceptions and fears and hopes.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
Let me explain.
This evening I was Mike Duffy Live "Prime Time Edition" debating some lefty-artsy guy about the Conservative government's political strategy of cutting arts funding.
The artsy guy, of course, was all indignant about the cuts.
But I defended the Conservative government, saying cutting arts was good politics because it mobilizes the Tory base and appeals to non-artists Canadians, who would rather see their money spent on something other than giant flying bananas.
OK get that? I was defending the Tories.
So anyway, on the very next segment, Duffy asks Tory spinner Jeff Norquay about my comments.
And how does he respond?
Does Norquay agree with my assessment?
No he attacks me. And then proceeds to explain how the Conservatives are actually spending tons of money on the arts.
In other words, he undid all the good I had done for the Conservatives on national television.
All I can say is, don't blame me if they don't win a majority.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
I'm not buying it.
First off, even with a dud like Stephane Dion leading them, the Liberals still have a strong brand name and deep roots in many parts of the country, meaning coming hell or high water they will hang onto their core support which is enough to guarantee them second place.
Second off, the NDP has little room to grow vote-wise. Simply put, their policies are designed to appeal to union bosses, tweedy professors and left-wing special interest groups.
And such policies -- higher taxes, class warfare, pro-big union measures--just don't resonate with the Middle Class.
In fact, the more Canadians learn about the NDP's socialist agenda, the more nervous they will get.
So, the Liberals can relax -- they will get destroyed on election day, but at least they will keep the keys to Stornoway.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Key paragraph from the editorial:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper was himself a victim of it during his time as president of the National Citizens Coalition.
In those days, he was highly vocal on the subject, and conservatives had great expectations this heavy-handed restriction to free speech would be among the first pieces of legislative nonsense on his hit list.
We will assume he was waiting for a majority, as none of the opposition parties are anxious to extend citizen participation and therefore support the law. We will also assume that if he gets it, he will scrap the law.
It would be good to hear him say so, though.
Yes it would be good.
Friday, September 26, 2008
So what should the Harper Tories do about it?
Well maybe it's time to ease off on the Liberal bashing.
As Napoleon once put it, ""Never interfere with the opponent's actions when he is in the process of destroying himself."
A better strategy would be to start ramping up the attacks on Jack Layton and the NDP, specifically targeting the party's "dangerous left-wing agenda."
Such a plan would not only mobilize the Tory party's small "c" conservative base but more importantly it would help gain support for the NDP.
You read that right.
If Harper attacks Layton from the right it will drive up NDP support, because left wingers will rally around their beleaguered champion.
This, of course, will draw support from the Liberals, maybe even hurting them enough for the Tories to win a few extra seats.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Left-wingers and politicians and journalists have been saying all sorts of nasty things about the NCC as a way of attacking Stephen Harper, who led the group from 1998 to 2001.
And their insults have gone unchallenged -- until now.
Check out my column in today's Toronto Sun, in which I defend my old group and Harper's record as its president.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Here from today's Star editorial is how the paper describes Dion's Green Shift plan: "Dion's plan may be complex, but it is credible and modestly energetic. It can't be dismissed out of hand."
"Credible", "modestly energetic", "can't be dismissed out of hand".
High praise indeed.
Monday, September 22, 2008
* The Prime Minister of Canada apologizes for a defecating puffin.
* The Liberal leader who had branded himself a "green" champion doesn't want to talk about his major "green" campaign plank. (Oh wait, it was the media who called it a "major" plank.)
* The Agriculture Minister tries out a little shock jock humour and gets bad reviews.
* The NDP campaign resembles Bill and Ted's Excellent adventure.
* A Conservative candidate resigns, apparently for espousing conservative ideas.
* Bob Rae is using this election to audition for the next Liberal leadership race.
I can't wait to see what happens next.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
And in the process the paper took a swipe at my old organization the National Citizens Coalition.
So I took a swipe back in the form of a letter to the editor, which was published today:
You state that Prime Minister Stephen Harper "staked out quite radical positions" while leading the National Citizens Coalition.
What's radical about pushing for lower taxes, wanting a stronger defence, fighting for free political expression and for the democratic rights of unionized employees?
Those are some of the positions Harper "staked out" during his time at the NCC, positions a lot of Canadians would deem mainstream.
Gerry Nicholls, Former National Citizens Coalition Vice President, Oakville
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
The message seems to be: Vote for the Liberals because they can rhythmically clap their hands.
It makes the Liberal caucus look like some sort of bizarre cult.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
They are asking me if I consider the NCC to be a "business."
My answer is no
The NCC, to my mind at least, is an organization with a mission -- to promote more freedom through less government.
That's not the same as selling widgets.
Monday, September 15, 2008
In its "Reality Check" website, the Liberal Party is spreading misinformation about the National Citizens Coalition and a 1993 campaign to defeat then MP Jim Hawkes.
Here's an excerpt from the Liberal site:
"Instead, he (Harper) served as both president and vice-president of the National Citizens Coalition (NCC), an extreme right advocacy organization that employed Mr. Harper between 1997 and 2001, and also assisted with his 1993 election campaign."
That last bit implies the NCC supported Stephen Harper's election campaign in 1993.
We did not.
We did run a $50,000 multi-media ad campaign urging voters in Calgary Southwest to “Defeat Jim Hawkes”, but this campaign had nothing to do with Harper, but was simply part of larger war the NCC was waging against election gag laws.
Unfortunately for Hawkes, he was the government’s point man and chief public defender of an election gag law the Mulroney government had enacted. That made him, in our mind, a marked man.
We were determined to defeat Hawkes, to send a message to politicians everywhere: any politician who endorsed gag laws would pay a steep political price.
That’s why when the writ was dropped in 1993 we hammered Hawkes with everything in our arsenal: newspaper ads, radio spots, TV commercials --- all of them linking Hawkes with the gag law.
Our message was simple: Hawkes wanted to take away the right to free political speech.
For us, it was not about Harper winning, but about Hawkes losing.
And I should know, I am the one who planned the campaign.
A couple of key quotes:
"Harper is probably the best leader on offer but, as comedian Dennis Miller might opine, that is like being the smartest kid in summer school."
"If Harper does have a hidden agenda, as his detractors claim, it is hidden even from those who would be his supporters."
Saturday, September 13, 2008
My topic will be how to market and communicate the ideals of liberty.
And the conference will feature lots of other interesting topics and speakers, including Larry Reed, president of the Foundation for Economic Education.
Should be a fun event.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Key quote: He (Harper) has made the Conservatives into legitimate contenders for power, in short, at the expense of conservatism. In its place he offers . . . himself."
But like it or not, she will be there with all the other guys to make sure an already unwieldy format is even more unwieldy.
But since the ice is broken, why shouldn't other important political figures have a chance to join the debate?
Here's a list of who I think should definitely be invited:
* Stephane Dion’s dog
* A Puffin
* Sarah Palin’s pregnant daughter
* That talking oil stain from the recent Tory attack ads.
* A sweater vest
* Kim Jong Il
* Bob Rae (so he can get some practice being Liberal leader)
* A lipstick wearing pig
Starting in a few weeks John will be taking graduate courses at the London School of Economics, which is pretty darn impressive.
And while I certainly wish John luck with his studies across the pond, his departure also makes me a little sad because the Canadian conservative movement will miss him.
For the six years he led the CTF, John was a consistent and principled champion of freedom who held politicians to account, regardless of their partisan stripes.
We need more of that in this country, not less.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
And while puffins are certainly important, I also believe we need to discuss other matters during the most crucial period of any democracy.
So with that in mind, I wrote a column, which appears in today's National Post, on the Conservative Party's so-called "Hidden Agenda."
Actually, the column discuess what the Conservative Party's "Open Agenda" should be.
It doesn't include puffins.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Why should she be invited?
After all, the Greens are just a fringe party, albeit a fringe party that generates lots of publicity.
And the only reason it gets any publicity is that the Greens are capitalizing on the trendiness of the environment issue right now.
That, however, won't translate into them winning any seats come Election Day.
Besides the only "green" May is focusing on during this election is the kind that fills your wallet.
Thanks to the "Welfare for Political Parties" scheme we have in this country, her party will rake in $1.75 per vote.
Not a bad way to make a living.
Monday, September 08, 2008
I hope this means no more sugary stuff.
Anyway, of the new ads, I like this one the best.
It's funny, it hits all the right buttons, has interesting visuals and as an added bonus subtly takes a poke at one of Dion's biggest weaknesses: His poor English.
Only fault is the ad tries to say too much -- but then again the Dion-led Liberals offer so many juicy targets.
Also interesting is how the Tories are using the same "don't take a risk" strategy as the Liberals used against them in the last election.
And now she's disappointed with other key Liberals for their failure to back up the Liberal leader on the Green Shift scheme, a point she made in a teary column a few days ago.
So I responded with a letter to the editor pointing out the obvious:
Monday, September 08, 2008
Re: Liberals shift down, Sept. 5.
Columnist Susan Riley's impassioned defence of Liberal leader Stéphane Dion and his Green Shift plan completely misses the point.
Mr. Dion's scheme might be good economics, as Ms. Riley believes, but it's terrible politics.
Here's the problem: any political idea you need to explain to voters before they will accept it is by definition a bad idea. In politics you want people to react, not think.
Winning political ideas are the ones which you don't need to explain because they resonate with a voter's emotions: fear, anger, pride, patriotism.
And it's hard to get emotional about a complicated Green Shift plan that's more about tax codes and subsidies than saving the environment.
This is a lesson the Liberals might have to learn the hard way.
Gerry Nicholls, Oakville
Sunday, September 07, 2008
The biggest problem with NDP commercial is that it actually looks like a pro-Harper spot.
I mean it actually reinforces a prime Tory message by calling Stephen Harper a "strong leader" not once, not twice, but three times.
Another problem is that the spot crams way too much information in a 30 second ad. A good ad focuses on just one idea. This one has propaganda overload.
And, the bit about the doctors disappearing has a visual of a nice family visiting a doctor, so the image contradicts the message.
Finally, it's a mistake to have Jack Layton pop in at the end looking all happy.
It destroys the mood.
You cannot mix a negative and positive message in one ad -- it's got to be one or the other.
This is the day when the campaigns finally kick off; the day when we find out who are the true leaders and who are just pretenders.
Of course, I am talking about opening day for the NFL.
Oh yeah, today's also the day an election is going to get called.
Saturday, September 06, 2008
That's not to say positive ads never make sense.
A guy like Ronald Reagan could use them effectively because they reflected his image as a optimistic and likable leader.
But Harper is no Reagan.
Like it or not, Stephen Harper is widely perceived as a cold, calculating, bully.
It might not be true, but in politics perception is reality.
And airing a bunch of ads with Harper in a sweater talking about motherhood issues, isn't going to change that reality.
The Liberals, if they any political intelligence at all, (which is debatable) will capitalize on this perception and let loose a stream of super-negative attack ads which will portray Harper as a cross between Genghis Khan, Mike Tyson and Simon Cowell.
Since such attack ads will play to an already existing perception they will resonate with voters.
That's why I suspect once the election is truly underway the Tories will drop the Mary Poppins routine and slip on the brass knuckles.
In fact, Liberal leader Stephane Dion is much more vulnerable than Harper when it comes to negative perceptions.
Canadians view him as a wimp.
Why a wimp?
Because Tory attack ads defined him that way.
In other words, both parties have good solid strategic reasons to go negative.
Should be a fun election.
Friday, September 05, 2008
Taking on the Tories like that takes courage as the PMO doesn't take kindly to any sort of criticism.
But that's the kind of courage the conservative movement needs right now.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
And I just have one thing to say: somebody pass me a barf bag.
I mean a guy can take just so much sappy, corny, hokiness before nausea starts to set in.
Yes they are "positive" but this is the kind of maudlin stuff a party runs when poll-wise it's way out in front.
It also helps if the guy in the ad is a sappy, corny sort of person; that's not Stephen Harper.
I suspect the Tories have better ads in the can that will air once an election is officially called.
At least I hope so for my stomach's sake.
I mean to become a US presidential nominee for a major party a candidate must endure a gruelling 18 year primary process, spend a trillion dollars in places like Iowa and show up a couple times on Jay Leno.
But for the Vice Presidential nominee it's totally different; they are plucked out of nowhere.
Take John McCain's running mate Sarah Palin -- the former mayor of Moose Butt, Alaska. Until a week ago, nobody outside of a few polar bears had ever heard of her.
And now she's the "Queen of Hockey Moms."
Still I must say, I thought her speech last night at the Republican convention was excellent, just the right mix of political jabs and folksy charm.
One thing's for sure, the Republicans now have the polar bear vote wrapped up.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
It seems Dion, who is feeling heat from MPs who actually want to have a chance at getting re-elected, is altering his Carbon Tax Plan so that it now offers subsidies to certain people.
So bottom line: a complicated plan, just got more complicated.
Mind you, it's always a Liberal reflex to throw money around when things get tough.
And if this keeps up, by the time Election Day rolls around Dion will be offering motorists special subsidies every time they fill up at the gas station.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Here's the comment: it stinks.
First of all, does anybody really believe regular Canadian voters go around talking in Tory-approved "talking points."
Second of all, this ad is striving to do the impossible: make Stephen Harper look cuddly.
A better and more honest ad would say something like, "My name is Stephen Harper. I know you don't like me very much, but you would like Stephane Dion even less."
Also check out Rondi Adamson's take on this ad.
Actually, I will miss my son when he's away, because he's the only guy around here who knew how to operate a computer.
Friday, August 29, 2008
I bring this up because Rolf Penner, a principled, pro-free market farmer is running for the directorship.
His goal is to end the Wheat Board monopoly and restore economic freedom to farmers.
It's a worthy crusade.
To learn more about Rolf or to donate to his campaign go here.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Reading about life in those days and all the problems people faced -- wars, plagues, famine, lack of deodorant -- makes me glad to be living in this industrial age, even if industry does cause global warming.
Anyway, the book's author, historian Tim Blanning, describes how an enterprising Englishman named William Dockwra created a private postal system to serve London in the 1680s.
Writes Blanning, "Recruiting hundreds of taverns, coffee houses and shops as collecting stations, he was able to provide a service more rapid than anything on offer today, as collections and deliveries were made as often as every hour during the daytime."
Of course, the King soon closed it down because it competed too efficiently with the monopoly he had granted to collect the mail.
The more things change...
Friday, August 22, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
I ask, what do they mean for nationalism, what do they mean for sport, but most of all what do they mean for those of us proud of our Couch Potato heritage?
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Sunday, August 17, 2008
* Pierre Lemieux has an excellent column looking at cultural subsidies. Key quote: “Cultural subsidies are not much different than if each subsidized artist was given a revolver and told to collect the money himself.”
* Grassroots opposition to the Liberal Carbon Tax is growing as evidenced by this cool new site.
* Read the sad tale of Babe Dahlgren, a Major Leaguer from the 1930s and 40s whose career was ruined due to rumours that the used a non-performance-enhancing drug.