Friday, May 29, 2009

Politics of attack ads

I was kind of surprised when Prime Minister Stephen Harper got up in the House of Commons recently and taunted the Liberals about having "tapes" to use against Michael Ignatieff.

The implication, of course, was that he had lots of clips of Ignatieff saying politically embarrassing things which would form the basis of election attack ads.

What surprises me is not that the Tories have such tapes. That's normal. All political parties scour the media seeking ammo to use against their opponents. Journalists do it too. When I worked at the National Citizens Coalition reporters would call me up to see if I had any video of Harper giving speeches. (We didn't.)

What does surprise me, however, is that Harper would associate himself in anyway with attack ads. It was an unusual move.

After all, since these sort of "negative" ads have a stigma most political leaders don't want to be linked to them. That's why they let the "war room" and the spin doctors handle all that stuff.

Or better yet, they seek Third Party allies to run attack ads on their behalf. The famous "Swift Boat" ads attacking Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry in 2004, for instance, were not party ads.

The Republicans enjoyed the benefit of these effective ads without suffering any backlash.

Harper, on the other hand, has now linked himself publically to his party's attack ads -- which ironically might provide a tape for Liberal attack ads.

Election Prediction

Check out my latest posting over at the Women's Post.

I make a fearless prediction -- the next election will be nasty.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Owning GM

According to this Globe and Mail headline "Canadian taxpayers" will soon own shares in General Motors.

I wonder if I can sell mine?

Canadian leadership

What a fine state Parliament is in these days.

We have a Leader of the Opposition who is "just visiting" and a Prime Minister who is "just spending."

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Liberals want more gag laws

Well the federal Liberals are once again declaring war on free election speech.

Recall in 2000 it was Prime Minister Jean Chretien who imposed the infamous election gag law on Canadians -- the law which makes it a crime for citizens to spend their own money to express their own views during federal election.

That was bad enough.

Now Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff wants to extend that gag law so that it also covers the period three months prior to the election.

This is sad but not surprising.

Once you buy into the logic that it's OK to squelch free expression you start heading down a slippery slope; you can always justify further restrictions.

First the gag law was only supposed to be in force during elections; now the Liberals also want to gag Canadians before elections.

Before you know it, it will be illegal for citizens to run political ads at any time.

Checking the President

It looks like Americans might want to slow down the Obama Express a bit.

A recent poll from McLaughlin and Associates indicates a majority of Americans say they would vote for a Republican for Congress to be a check and balance on President Obama.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I didn't say it

“Mr. Harper may have left his balls out West when it comes to taking a principled stand against bailing out this industry like he used believe in.”

That's Kevin Gaudet of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation expressing his disappointment over Prime Minister Harper's decision to use taxpayer cash to top up GM pensions.

Attack ads 101

It's funny because it's true.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Obama Man Can

My friend Rondi Adamson posted this on Facebook and I just had to share.

If only the Tories could be this clever when going after Michael Ignatieff.

The Politics of Star Trek

Check out my latest posting at the Women's Post.

I explain how the new Star Trek movie could impact on Canadian politics.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

American attitudes on terrorism

Given the recent news about terror arrests in New York and Iran’s missile launch, McLaughlin and Associates have released an interesting poll on American attitudes towards terrorism.

According to its results Americans are still plenty worried.

Here are some highlights:

* Nine in ten voters (91%) say that Iran supplying a nuclear umbrella for terrorists is a serious threat to the United States.

* Seven in ten voters (71%) say the United States will not be safe with a nuclear Iran

* Eight in ten voters (80%) say it is likely that Iran will launch a missile attack on Israel

* Three in four voters (77%) say it is likely that Iran will use the threat of nuclear attack to provide a shield for Hezbollah and Hamas terrorists to attack Israel

* The majority of voters approves of taking several specific actions to discourage the proliferation of nuclear weapons in Iran

Read the whole thing here.

Friday, May 15, 2009

How to make government more honest

Here's my lastest posting over at the Women's Post. I look at the age old tale of corruption and government.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

How to run a campaign in one easy video

Before embarking on their campaign attacking Liberal Michael Ignatieff, the Tories should have watched this video.

It teaches you how to really run a campaign.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Media Alert

Scheduled on The Bill Kelly Show CHML Hamilton's 900 radio at 10:45 esp. Topic: Tory attack ad.


Looks like the Single Transferable Vote initiative went down to defeat last night in British Columbia.

In fact, only 39 percent of BC voters supported the idea.

Perhaps STV supporters will now call for it to be implement in 39 percent of the province.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tory TV spot misses the mark

Well the Tories have unleashed their first anti-Michael Ignatieff TV ad and here it is:

I don't like it.

First off, it's the first attack ad I've ever seen which attacks the other guy for using attack ads! Talk about hypocrisy.

Secondly, the ad actually reproduces the Liberal message "Tory times are tough times" in the spot!!! That's like giving the Liberals free advertising.

Thirdly,the overall message -- Michael Ignatieff lived outside the country for 34 years -- is incredibly weak.

So what if Ignatieff lived outside Canada? That doesn't make him a bad person or a bad leader.

What will make him a bad leader are his ideas.

So instead of focusing on simplistic, nationalistic nonsense, the Tories should explain why a Liberal government will be bad government.

H/T Stephen Taylor

Monday, May 11, 2009


Some friends of mine are really gung ho about the Single Transferable Vote proposal that British Columbians will be voting on tomorrow.

I am not too sure about the concept.

The conservative in me doesn't like the idea of radically changing a voting system which already seems to be working just fine.

The libertarian in me says instead of focussing on new ways to elect government we should be concentrating on ways to dismantle it.

The political part of me is worried STV will mean endless socialist/green coalition governments.

And no part of me understands how this convoluted system actually works.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Celebrating the Iron Lady

Check out my latest posting over at the Women's Post.

It's my take on Margaret Thatcher, who this week celebrated the 30th anniversary of her taking office as Prime Minister.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Star Trekmania

In honour of the new Star Trek movie coming out this week, here are my picks for the top five episodes from the original series:

1. Balance of Terror
Yes it was a rip off of Run Silent, Run Deep but it features cool sci-fi-style combat.

2. The Corbomite Maneuver
That freaky alien dummy gave the creeps as a kid.

3. The Doomsday Machine
Captain Kirk must battle a giant bugle and guest star William Windom's overacting.

4. The Trouble with Tribbles
The tribbles were so cute!

5. Arena
Features classic hand-to-hand combat between Captain Kirk and a lizard man.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Sinking the Bismarck in song

The best war song ever.

Union Dues and Politics

When I worked at the National Citizens Coalition, I always made sure to push for the rights of unionized employees who objected to union bosses using their forced dues for political purposes.

I am glad to see the Fraser Institute is picking up the fight.

Monday, May 04, 2009

New site pushes for Senate reform

Check out this new website which has been set up to help promote the idea of an elected federal Senate.

The goal of the people behind the site, Betty Unger, Link Byfield and the Citizens Centre for Freedom and Democracy, is to have Senate elections in all provinces by 2017.

Media Alert

I am scheduled to be a guest on Newsline with Joe Easingwood, (CFAX Victoria) today at 1:30 PM EST.

Topic: Liberals

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Liberal spot hopelessly hokey

The Liberals need to get some better PR guys. I mean seriously, check out this video from the Liberal convention.

It rates a 9.5 out of ten on the Nicholls Puke Meter.

First off it's hopelessly cutesy-wutesy, secondly it suffers from the "how many visible minorities can we squeeze into this spot" syndrome, third off it offers nothing but a bunch of hokey platitudes.

Well that's not true.

It also features an important reason to support Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff: He once had his photo taken standing next to Barack Obama.

Liberal convention survey

Check out my extremely scientific poll on on the Liberal Party convention.