Friday, October 31, 2008

Defending Free Speech

A few postings ago, I promised to post the video of a debate between Alan Borovoy of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and Philippe Dufresne of the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

So here it is:

Cabinet Size Does Matter

I am quoted in this National Post story on Harper's cabinet.

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

Harper's Cabinet

Here's a partial listing of Prime Minister Harper's new cabinet:

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

Bad, bad World Series

I am glad this World Series has finally been put out of its misery.

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

Media Alert

I was a guest on the Al and Mike Show last night where such topics as incrementalism and liberalism were discussed.

You can listen to the show here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Five Quotes I'd Like to Hear

“The free market system is superior to socialism when it comes to generating wealth and prosperity.”

“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

Book Binge

Yesterday I checked out a book sale that's held annually at Trinity College in Toronto.

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

Just Don't Vote

A lot of people are fretting about the low voter turn out in the last federal election.

But not Will Wilkinson of the CATO Institute who says voter apathy can be a good thing.

H/T Paul Tuns

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Worthington on Dion

Toronto Sun columnist Peter Worthington has an interesting comment on Stephane Dion's decision to stick around for a few more months.

And yes, the only reason I am linking to this column is because Worthington says something nice about me.

Obama Vs McCain Dance Contest

OK I'm not sure if this is funny or just weird.

Unbelievable McCain Vs. Obama Dance-Off - Watch more Free Videos

H/T Peter "Jaws" Jaworksi

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Three Wise Guys at the Fraser Institute

Was in Ottawa yesterday to speak at a Fraser Institute "Behind the Spin" event.
Here's a photo of me along with the two other speakers; that's cyberwiz Stephen Taylor on the left, Joel-Denis Bellavance of La Presse in the centre and me on the right, once again defending my "Takes Worst Picture in the World" championship.
It was a fun night, with lots of political discussion.
Thanks to the Fraser Institute's Tasha Kheiriddin who hosted the evening and to Dr. Roy for taking the picture.
Actually Dr. Roy has a write up on the evening here.

Tories and Incrementalism

In case anybody missed it, I had a column yesterday in the National Post.

It's my post-election advice to the Conservative government: Drop the incremental stuff and start acting like real conservatives.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Dion in Denial

According to Stephane Dion the Liberal election loss was everybody's fault except his.

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.

Defining Liberty

I had a great time this weekend at the Canadian Constitution Foundation conference in Toronto.

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

Frum and Me

Recently on his NRO blog, David Frum put a hyper-postive spin on the Conservative Party's electoral victory.

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

Obama Out of Touch

Barack Obama recently took John McCain to task for claiming he spoke for guys like the famous "Joe the Plumber."

"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

Vote for the Penguin

Why can't we have debates like this:

H/T Reason: Hit and Run

Spinning the Election

Every party was a winner last night:

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.

Or ....

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

Jumping the Gun

Who will replace Stephane Dion as Liberal leader?
Justin Trudeau
Bob Rae
Garth Turner
Michael Ignatieff
Margaret Atwood
Danny Williams
Elizabeth May
Stephane Dion's dog Kyoto free polls

My Timid Forecast

Here are my official election seat predictions.

Liberals 88
Tories 130
NDP 34
Bloc 55
Independent 1
Green 0

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

Election Summary

Here is how I would summarize the various political campaigns:

The Conservatives
Never in the field of political endeavours have so few squandered so much.

The Liberals
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.

The Bloc
Get used to us, we are not going away

Friday, October 10, 2008

No Winners, just Losers

Based on the campaign performances of all the parties during this election, I would say they all deserve to lose.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Liberal Lite vs Conservative Lite

Check Joseph Ben-Ami's interesting analysis of the Conservative Party's platform.

Satire Alert

And some people call me cynical!

H/T Kalim

Questions about those Polls

One thing to consider about all those opinion polls floating around are what the pollsters are asking.

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?"

Fair enough.

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

Tory Free Fall

The Conservatives need a little shock therapy to stop their staggering free fall in the polls.

What should they do?

They should raise the awful spectre of a Liberal-NDP minority government.

If that doesn't scare Canadian voters, nothing will.

Spinning at the Fraser Institute

On October 21st, exactly one week after Election Day, I will be speaking at a Fraser Institute "Behind the Spin" event in Ottawa.

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

Puzzling Polls

The latest polls seem to indicate the federal election is tightening up a bit.

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.

CCF Conference Defines Human Rights

When the federal election is over, it will be time once again to start talking about issues.

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

Alas for the North Siders

Let's all spare a few seconds to mourn for the poor people who root for the Chicago Cubs.

The Cubs were eliminated from the play-offs last night meaning their World Series drought has now reached 100 years.

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

Debating conservatism

At least somebody liked my mini-debate review.

Update: Somebody else liked it too.

Media Alert

I will be a guest on the radio program Newsline (CFAX Victoria, BC) at 11:15 AM EST to talk about the federal election.

Post Debate Analysis

Here are some morning-after reflections on last night's English debate.

* 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

Debate Daze

I am thinking of filing an official complaint with Amnesty International.

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.

Biggest disappointment?

No zingers.

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.

CTF Goes Viral

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation has a cool online campaign going on called No Carbon Taxes.

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.

Media Alert

If you are looking for a pre-debate primer, watch the Michael Coren Show tonight at 8:00 PM EST.

I will part of a panel looking at what's going on in this wacky federal election.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Parlez-vous le debate?

I didn't watch the French-language leadership debate tonight.

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.

Harper and Snacks

Infamous biker chick Julie Couillard's much-anticipated and imaginatively titled book, My Story, will be hitting the book shelves this Monday.

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.

Sweater Flop

A couple of postings ago, I lambasted the Conservative Party's famous "sweater" TV ads, the ones designed to remake Prime Minister Harper's image.

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.