Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Is coffee grounds for divorce?

Were husbands really this jerky in the 1960s?

Tax Funded Propaganda

The Conservative Party's well-publicized legal hassle with Elections Canada has put the spotlight on the role money plays in politics.

And it does play a role. For one thing, political parties use money to buy advertisments so they can sway public opinion.

Nothing wrong with that, so long as they are using their own money.

But when they use my money to buy ads to sway public opinion, that's wrong.

For instance, the federal government has a half-page ad in today's National Post featuring the headline: "Your Family's Safey-- our Government's Priority."

The rest of the ad then goes on to extol the government's "Food and Consumer Safey Action Plan."

Clearly, this ad is nothing less than Conservative Party partisan propaganda masquerading as government information.

No political party should use tax dollars to promote itself. To do so is essentially forcing Canadians, through their taxes, to financially support a political party. That's undemocratic.

Now I don't mean to single out the Conservative Party here. All governments, of all political stripes, engage in this dubious practice.

It's time to put an end to it.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Gerry Shrugged

Paul McKeever provides an interesting Randian/Objectivist counter-analysis of my recent Sun media chain column calling for the scrapping of election gag laws.

I am posting this for people who complain I am too much of an ideological purist.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Getting a taste of their own medicine

Pierre Lemieux over at Liberty in Canada has a different take from mine concerning the Elections Canada -- Stephen Harper brawl.

Unlike me, Lemieux has little sympathy for the Tories: "Let the politicians taste their own medicine by falling prey to the liberticidal powers they have vested in the state!", he writes.

And he also correctly notes, the Tories have done very little when it comes to undoing the very type of bad laws which have ensnared them.

"The Conservatives," he argues "have not only forgotten about repealing the gag law, they have, in fact, reinforced the state’s control of electoral financing by reducing the voluntary contributions individuals are permitted to make to political parties."

Perhaps this little run in will help convince the Tories that our election laws need reform.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The problem with Elections Canada

For more than week now I have been busy exposing the less than stellar record of Elections Canada.

And now some media voices are chiming in on the subject

Licia Corbella of the Calgary Herald, recalls one of her run ins with Elections Canada, while John Robson of the Ottawa Citizen wonders if Elections Canada is part of the executive branch of government or the legislative branch.

Media Alert

Rebecca Walberg, who works as a policy analyst at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, has an excellent column in the Sun media chain today discussing some of the ideas I put forward in my manifesto, The Trudeau Empire Has Fallen and it Can't Get up.

Walberg compares the arguments I make as to how conservatives can win the war of ideas with the arguments put forward in two other works: David Frum's Comeback and Tom Flanagan's Harper's Team.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Media Alert

I will be a guest on The Michael Coren Show tonight on CTS as part of a panel discussing federal politics.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Media Alert

I will be on The World Tonight with Rob Breakenridge (CHQR Calgary) this evening at about 9:05 PM EST to talk about my column on election gag laws which appeared in the Sun media chain today.

I wonder if they will thank me?

As readers of this blog know, I don't like to brag.

But I would be remiss if I didn't point out an interesting fact: I am doing a better job of defending Prime Minister Harper over this Elections Canada mess than is the Junior Kindergarten class now operating the Prime Minister's Office.

Let's face it, the PMO's pathetic attempts at damage control on this issue have only made things worse.

By contrast, I have been in the media on an almost daily basis: in the National Post, in the Globe and Mail, on Newsworld, on Newsnet, on Global TV and on the radio, hammering home the point that Elections Canada might be carrying out a vendetta to hurt Stephen Harper.

And now, thanks to my almost single-handed efforts, the press is beginning to pick up on this theme.

Oh and if you guys at the PMO are reading this, put down your crayons because I have some free advice for you.

Use this battle with Elections Canada to mobilize your base. Shoot out a letter/email to your supporters explaining how unelected, biased bureaucrats are unfairly using their power to undermine the Prime Minister just so they can settle an old score.

If you need help writing it, just let me know.

Let's face it, voters are clever

I have a column in the Sun Media chain today examining the election laws which are in the news so much thanks to the Stephen Harper -- Elections Canada vendetta.

My point is that these laws which essentially stifle free speech are bad for democracy and should be scrapped.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Media Alert

I will be on the Steve Madely Show (CFRA Ottawa) to talk about the Elections Canada -- Stephen Harper feud.

It's Wednesday morning at 7:10 AM.

7:10 AM, are you kidding me!!

The PMO needs a retool

Well you got to hand it to the crack team of political geniuses who work in the Prime Minister's Office.

They sure know how to make a terrible situation worse.

I mean, what in the world was that fiasco of a media briefing on the Elections Canada charges all about!!!??


It's a maxim in politics that you never want to look like are a crook or a fool.

Well thanks to the PMO's keystone cops routine, the Tories now look like both.

I guess that's what happens when you hire egghead amateurs whose chief skill is that they will take a bullet for the Prime Minister.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Media Update II

I did an interview with Global TV news on Elections Canada Vs. Harper.

That's supposed to air tonight at 5:30 PM and again at 11 PM.

Note my Newsworld Politics interview is now set for 5:15 PM.

Media Alert

I am scheduled to appear on the Newsworld program Politics with Don Newman to talk about my Globe web edition piece on the "Harper Alliance."

Will be on, I am told, at approximately 5:25 PM EST.

Harper's Red Populist Nationalist Alliance

I have a column published in the "Web Exclusive" comment section of the Globe and Mail today.

In it, I explain how and why Prime Minister Stephen Harper is trying to create a new political coalition, a coalition I like to call the Red Populist Nationalist Alliance.

It's an alliance that has room for everybody, everybody that is except for free market conservatives.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Elections Canada vs Free Speech

Yesterday in a National Post column I suggested revenge was behind that Elections Canada "raid" on Tory Party headquarters.

Today, in the same paper and on the same page, David Frum suggests a more sinister motivation.

Frum argues the raid may have revealed the agency's "deep, sustained and highly ideological hostility to ordinary rights of free speech."

Elections Canada, he writes, is choosing to interpret its mandate in a way that is "indifferent to core freedoms".

I wholeheartedly concur with this analysis.

In all my dealings with Elections Canada bureaucrats (and I had a lot) they never gave the slightest inkling that they understood the importance of free expression. In fact, if anything they saw free speech as nothing but a nuisance.

And when it came to enforcing things like election gag laws, they displayed the close-minded-zealotry of the Spanish Inquisition.

And yes Elections Canada does have an ideological bias. Check this Globe and Mail column I wrote a few years ago for more on this.

How do we defang this monster?

Frum has the answer: "Stop gagging speech. Stop telling the public and the candidates what they can and cannot say."

Friday, April 18, 2008

Revenge of the bureaucrats

I have a column in today's National Post examining the reasons behind that Elections Canada "raid" on Tory Party headquarters.

And if you missed me talking about this on Mike Duffy Live yesterday, you can watch the interview here.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Media Update

I am on the Michael Coren Show tonight at 8:00 PM EST on CTS.

And am also scheduled to be on Mike Duffy Live, this afternoon at about 5:00 PM EST.

Busy day.

Me in the Globe

A lot of people think I'm overly critical of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

But today, the Globe and Mail has a story about me defending Harper in regards to his recent tussle with Elections Canada.

In the story I repeated what I noted yesterday in this blog: the Election Canada "raids" were part of a bureaucratic vendetta against the Prime Minister.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Elections Canada Bullies

All this talk about Elections Canada "raiding" Conservative Party headquarters is giving me a case of deja vu.

Back in the days when we worked for the same advocacy group, Stephen Harper and I were waging a battle against the Elections Canada bureaucrats who were responsible for enforcing election gag laws.

In fact, Harper (in a letter I wrote for him) went so far as to call them "jackasses."

Later on, those jackasses kicked back.

In fact, Elections Canada dispatched the RCMP to lay charges against us, claiming we had violated election laws.

The charge was a sham.

But it was a perfect example of the kind of bully tactics the folks at Elections Canada like to use to intimidate anyone who dares to oppose them.

And believe me, Elections Canada is not some non-partisan government agency. The guys who run it definitely have an ideological axe to grind.

Yesterday's stunt at Tory party headquarters indicates they still like to employ the same tactics.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Monday, April 14, 2008

Next Liberal leader?

Let's face it, Liberal leader Stephane Dion is a dud. But who can the Liberals get to replace him?
Well, after extensive thought I have come up with 10 possible candidates:

Don Cherry
Thanks to Dion’s perceived “wimpiness”, the Liberal Party is losing the support of men. What better way to win back red-blooded male voters than with some “rock’em, sock’em” politics?

Barack Obama’s Pastor
OK Rev. Jeremiah Wright is an American. But consider his positives: He is a fiery speaker, he has tons of charisma and he’s a visible minority. The only drawback? His views might not be quite anti-American enough for Liberals.

David Suzuki
As Liberal leader Suzuki could blunt the growth of the Green Party and more importantly help figure out cost-saving ways to insulate Stornoway.

Rick Mercer
I know Mercer is a comedian. But wouldn’t it be great to have a political leader who when he makes us laugh, does so on purpose?

Jack Layton
Yes, he’s a New Democrat. But Dion has moved his party so far to the left nobody would notice the difference if Layton took over.

Buzz Hargrove
If Americans are ready for a president named “Barack” then Canadians are certainly ready for a Prime Minister named “Buzz”.

Justin Trudeau
Too young, too inexperienced and too many wacky ideas, but he has the right last name which is all that matters to his adoring fans in the media.

Kiefer Sutherland
Wouldn’t it be cool to have “Jack Bauer” as Prime Minister? Plus he could solve all our provincial-federal relationship problems in 24 hours

Dalai Lama
He may not win any elections but at least the Liberals would be more serene about losing.

Patrick Roy
The House of Commons could use a good brawl or two.

Mind you, if the Liberals don’t wish to take any of my admittedly unconventional suggestions, they another way to find a leader who would be more effective than Dion.

It’s called pulling a name out of a hat.

Voting for Bad Teachers

A US group called Center for Union Facts has a great ad campaign in the works drawing public attention to how hard it is to fire union-protected, incompetent teachers.

Here's the gimmick: The Center is going to pay the "ten worst union-protected teachers in America" $10,000 apiece to get out of the classroom- for good. It's using newspaper ads to get nominations.

What a brilliant way to raise public awareness.

It reminds me of the kind of ad campaign I used to write, a long time ago, in a political galaxy far, far away.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Harper: "Hugo Chavez of the North"

My friend Pierre Lemieux has a great commentary on Prime Minister Harper's plans to impose tough new safety recall regulations.

Calling Harper the "Hugo Chavez of the North", (I wish I had thought of that) Lemieux rightly notes "that consumer protection policies have perverse consequences that make the Welfare State even more in demand. The more people believe that the state protects them against everything, the more gullible they become and the more they need their Nanny."

And Lemieux also puts his finger on a point everybody else seems to be missing. Harper's recall legislation excludes foods and cosmetics “manufactured in Canada solely for the purpose of being exported”.

As Lemieux quips: "Let the bad Canadian capitalists kill foreigners!"

I wonder what other new state powers Hugo Harper will have in store for us should he win a majority?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Fighting for Freedom

As I am sure the whole conservative blogosphere knows by now, a war will soon be waged in our court system.

On one side in this legal conflict are Ezra Levant, Kathy Shaidle, Kate McMillan and the Free Dominion; on the other side are those forces who want to strip away our right to free expression.

The stakes in this battle are high.

And although I know we conservatives have our differences, one thing we can all agree on is that we need to protect the free market place of ideas.

That's why I am urging everyone out there to contribute as generously as you can to the special funds that have been set up to help finance the legal defence for these conservatives who are fighting for our freedom.

Contribute directly to one of these funds or to all of them.

I know it's costly to defend freedom; but not defending freedom is costlier still.

Darth Harper

You know, I was going to take a break from lamenting Prime Minister Harper's leftward drift.

I really was.

But now comes news the Harper government is threatening to block the private sale of Canadian space company MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. to an American firm.

Jim Prentice -- the Super Red Tory Industry Minister -- says such a sale is not in the "net benefit" to Canada.


This is the kind of anti-free market stuff that went on in the bad old Trudeau days, when economic nationalism trumped common sense.

And yeah, I know all arguments the nationalists are using to justify blocking the MDA sale: We have to keep the Canadarm from falling into the wrong arms, the Americans will conquer the Arctic, without MDA space technology we won't be able to complete construction of Harper's Death Star.

Anyone falling for those emotion-laden arguments should read Financial Post editor Terence Corcoran's masterful column today which puts things in perspective.

The bottom line is Harper's actions will hurt Canada's reputation as a place to invest, it will hurt MDA's stockholders and it will likely end up hurting the company's employees.

But on the positve side the Prime Minister is getting praise from Buzz Hargrove, the NDP and the Toronto Star.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Media Alert

I will be a guest on the Al & Mike Show tonight at 7:30 PM EST.

Update: You can hear my interview here.

Free speech battle

Ezra Levant's battle with the Human Rights Commission is now making news south of the border.

Check out this column in the most recent Christian Science Monitor.

Hitler vs Microsoft

If you or your kids have an X-Box you might think this is funny. (Warning strong language)

Harper's Left-Wing Rhetoric

A couple of days ago, I noted the Conservative government was planning sweeping new regulations to recall "unsafe" consumer products.

These regulations are needed, says Prime Minister Harper, to protect us from wicked businessmen "who who care more about the almighty dollar than the safety of their customers."

See here an excellent editorial in today's National Post, which debunks the idea that we need such protection.

But what gets me is Harper's rhetoric. Talking about the "almighty dollar" and suggesting profit-hungry capitalists are out to kill us, smacks of left wing populist pandering at its worst.

Mind you this is the same government which bashed banks for ATM fees.

I wonder has Harper ever praised the free enterprise system since gaining power? Has he ever extolled the virtues of smaller government?

Has he ever said anything like Ronald Reagan who once declared, “The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom”.

Has he ever echoed the sentiments of Margaret Thatcher who once said, "There can be no liberty unless there is economic liberty?"

If he has I sure never heard it.

Maybe he needs new speech writers. Or maybe he should stop calling himself a conservative.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Olympic Boycott Alternative

Some people are calling for a boycott of the Beijing Olympic games to protest China's brutal treatment of Tibet.

But I have a better idea.

Rather than going through all the trouble and hassle of a boycott, we should just set aside a single hour --- we could call it"Tibet Hour" or maybe "Dalai Lama Hour", during which time we would sit down and think nice thoughts about Tibet.

Would that help the Tibetans?

No, but it might make us feel better and isn't that what meaningless, symbolic gestures are really all about?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Stephen meet Jack

Well it looks like socialist NDP leader Jack Layton is calling for yet another increase in state power.

An unrepentant leftist, Layton wants sweeping new legislation giving government the power to recall imported goods it deems dangerous.

Many companies take their responsibilities seriously, said Layton defending his proposed new regulations, but there are a few "who care more about the almighty dollar than the safety of their customers."

Isn't that just typical socialist nonsense.

It makes you want to.... hey wait a minute. Just read that article again. Looks like I made a mistake.

Jack Layton never said that.

It was Stephen Harper!!!

Hope he doesn't try to recall this blog posting.

Harper's Amnesia

I have a commentary in the March issue of The Interim.

It's about Prime Minister Stephen Harper's failure to defend free speech in this country.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Moses RIP

Charlton Heston is dead and that makes me sad.

Heston was what you might call my last "favorite actor".

I liked Heston because for one thing, he made the kind of movies I liked such as historical dramas - Ben Hur, Khartoum, El Cid-- and sience fiction adventures -Planet of the Apes, Soylent Green, Omega Man. (I forgave him for all those hokey disaster movies he made in the 1970s.)

And it didn't hurt that Heston was also that rarest of Hollywood breeds: a conservative.

So his passing is like the end of an era.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Blast from Billboards Past

While doing some "research" on the Internet I came across a column I wrote ten years ago for Campaigns and Elections magazine, a trade journal for political consultants.

It's kind of a "how to" column providing pointers on how to get out a political message using billboards (one of my specialties) and it's one of the first articles I ever had published under my name.

At the time it appeared, I worked for Stephen Harper and I remember he was pretty ticked at me for writing it, because he feared I was giving away trade secrets.

But I guess he won't care now, so go ahead and read it.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Flanagan's Secret Plan

I have a column in this week's Ottawa Hill Times reacting to some comments Tom Flanagan made about me a few weeks ago.

Unfortunately, it's behind a subscription wall.

Fortunately, my friends at the Canada Free Press have put it up on their site and you can read it here.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Deconstructing Kinsella

When he is not threatening to sue people, Warren Kinsella has been known to offer astute political commentary.

Just recently, in fact, he posted on his blog ten reasons why people should not count Liberal leader Stephan Dion out.

Here they are, with my commentary on his commentary in italics:

1. After many months of crappy headlines and no shortage of bad luck, the polls reveal that Dion's Liberals and Harper's Tories are still... tied, mostly. It's a fair question to ask: if all of Dion's critics are right, then why is Dion still competitive? Because voters - particularly female voters - still have a lot of a reluctance about penciling an "X" beside the Conservative candidates' name. In politics, it's always good to be underestimated by your opponent. The polls say [the Tory] team is underestimating Dion. Big time.

Kinsella is right here. The polls do show the Tories and Liberals are neck and neck. But this says more about Prime Minister Harper than it does about Dion. Harper can't put Dion away for one simple reason: He isn't being true to himself. Rather than offering Canadians a true conservative alternative to Dion, Harper is offering competent but wishy-washy government. That's not the way to inspire voters.

2. The Liberal Party of Canada is the most successful political machine in Western democracy. Its brand and its organizational strength are formidable. In a country that is still Liberally-inclined, it is always foolhardy to count the Grits out.

Can't argue with Kinsella on this point either. The Liberal brand is still strong and the party has deep roots. That's why if the Liberals do win the next election it will be despite Dion, not because of him.

3. Dion is no dummy. He knows the Tories want to run a campaign about "leadership" - they've been telegraphing that for months. So Dion need only do what Chrétien did in similar circumstances in 1993: step back a bit and emphasize plan and team. And he's got a Hell of team: Hall-Finlay, Rae, Dryden, Ignatieff, Kennedy, and so many others. It is a powerful front bench, one with a lot of name recognition. Can the Tories say the same thing?

Yes Rae, Dryden, Ignatieff and the others do represent a "powerful front bench." But the only reason they are standing behind Dion is so they can stick a knife in his back.

4. The Tories have a message deficit. They can't run an "outsider" campaign - they're the incumbents. They can't run a "scandal" campaign, thanks to Mr. Mulroney. So they will run a campaign about "leadership" - but leadership is an exceedingly woolly concept. Voters like meat and potatoes platforms (which is why Harper won in 2006, by the way). If I were Dion, I'd do a campaign on government services - making 'em better, and not just eliminating them, the way Tories always do. Mix in some environment, some fiscal federalism, and voilà!

American political consultant Dick Morris likes to say elections are narratives. And if the Tories can successfully make the next federal election a narrative about leadership they will win. Voters don't like wimps running their country; I don't care how many meat and potatoes they have in their platform.

5. The campaign matters; campaigns always matter. With the parties effectively tied, the Grits need only run a tough, disciplined, focused campaign. Unlike the pre-writ, the two main parties will have the same amount to spend, so the Tories have no particular advantage there. Campaigns, you see, are great big job interviews. Here’s the Grit interview pitch: “Hi, I’m [Stéphane, Martha, Michael, Bob, Gerard, whomever]. We’ve got a great team and a great plan – to protect the environment, to improve government services, and to get us through tough economic times. The other guys don’t have a team, and they don’t have a plan.”

Campaigns do matter. And that's good news for the Tories. Prime Minister Harper is a tough, smart, battle-tested leader who, all things being equal, should make mincemeat out of Dion on the campaign trail. Will anybody even understand Dion during the English language debates?

6. Mark my words: Jim Flaherty’s anti-Dalton McGuinty campaign will go down in the political history books as one of the dumbest, most self-destructive campaigns ever. It is hurting the Conservatives in Ontario. The worst came late last week when pipsqueak Tory MP Pierre Poilievre said: "All Dalton McGuinty has ever done on immigration is run a sponsorship-style slush fund that cost him his citizenship minister." That kind of rhetorical overkill is idiotic - coming, as it does, from a government that last year established a multi-million dollar sponsorship program of its own. Memo to Pierre: McGuinty just got re-elected with a bigger majority than the one he had when the election was called, sonny boy; he's popular and doing a great job. You, meanwhile, would get asked for I.D. at a gathering of those unfortunate enough to be your immediate family.

This seems to be more of a paid political announcement for McGuinty than it does an defense of Dion. I guess even Kinsella couldn't come up with a full ten reasons defending Dion.

7. Flaherty’s attacks on McGuinty may well result in Team McGuinty getting much more involved in the federal campaign than anyone had expected. Given that Mr. McGuinty is considered to have a pretty solid team behind him, that can’t possibly be good news for the federal Tories. Who are they going to rely on? John Tory? Uh-huh.

See above.

8. In Quebec, things aren’t so hot for les bleus, either. The Charest-Harper relationship is distinctly cooler, and the federal Tories’ ardour for Mario Dumont is only likely to make things worse. When Charest is getting very popular again, is that a good strategy? Um, no.

Dion seems to be in melt down mode in Quebec. And no matter how you spin it, that's bad news for the "most successful political machine in Western democracy."

9.The media remain distinctly less-than-friendly with the Harper folks. They may not love Stéphane Dion, but – during the campaign – you can expect to see them cuddling with him more than once, if only to get back at Harper’s PMO. It’ll be ugly, as love triangles always are. But Dion will benefit.

Wow the media might be against the Conservative candidate. That's never, ever happened in the history of the world! Come on. The media always hates the conservative candidate. They hated Reagan, they hated Thatcher, they hated Harris. Does that mean they lost? Um, no.

10. Stéphane Dion is a decent, hard-working guy. Canada is full of decent, hard-working guys and gals. The more they get to know him, the more they will like him. Just watch.

Whenever a political spin doctor says the more people get to know their candidate the more they will like him, it's a sure sign the guy is a loser.

Overall, you got to give Kinsella credit for standing up for his guy. But trying to depict Dion as a viable leader is like trying to sell Eliot Spitzer as "Husband of the Year."

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Remembering Stephen

It looks like Prime Minister Stephen Harper is prepared to betray conservatives once again.

Not content with Liberal-lite fiscal polices, the Conservative government is now talking about re-opening constitutional talks to "give more meaning" to the recognition of Quebecois as a nation.


I remember a time when Stephen Harper believed all Canadians should be treated equally no matter which province they lived in.

I remember a time when Stephen Harper believed it was wrong to bestow special status upon Quebec.

I remember a time when Stephen Harper believed it was wrong to pander to Quebec nationalist sentiment.

And I remember a time when conservatives spoke out against this type of cynical tribal politics.

I wonder if they will now?

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

April 1

April Fool's Day, is a day when you can't believe anything reported in the news -- in other words, it's just like every other day.