Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Media Alert II

I am scheduled to be on the Charles Adler Show (Corus Radio Network) at 4:30 PM to talk about honesty in politics. (We I seem to be an expert on this subject since the National Post picked up on my recent blog posting.)

Media Alert

I am scheduled to be a guest on the Tom Young Show (88.9 News St. John New Brunswick) at approximately 11: 10 AM EST to talk about honesty in politics.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Politics is no place for honesty

Poor Gordon Landon.

He, of course, was the Conservative Party candidate for Markham-Unionville who got dumped because he seemed to openly suggest his riding was missing out on the pork gravy train simply because the voters there had mistakenly voted in a Liberal MP.

Now I suppose Landon deserved to get turfed for making such a major politically incorrect “gaffe”, but let’s face it, his comments as they were perceived reflect a political reality.

The fact is if you want to get dough it helps if your MP is on the government side of the aisle, it helps even more if your MP is in cabinet, it helps even more if your MP is in cabinet and represents a riding in Quebec.

That’s what big government politics is all about.

So shouldn't we actually be praising Landon for his candour? Indeed, maybe we should insist on total, brutal honesty from all our politicians.

But what would such unabashed political sincerity actually sound like?

Well it might just sound something like this:

An honest New Democrat MP
“Look I know we haven’t got a hope of ever forming the government. And that's actually a good thing because, heck the idea of Jack Layton being Prime Minster scares even me! But still Canada needs a strong NDP to do the important job of making the Liberals look good by comparison.”

An honest Liberal MP
“Sure we have no policies, no ideas and no vision. And yes our leader, Michael Ignatieff, has all the pizazz of a pickled kumquat. So what? The important thing is we have been out of government since 2006. And it’s driving us crazy. You don’t know what it’s like. It’s awful. If we don’t get back into power soon, we might lose it altogether and try something desperate. Think we’re kidding? Ever hear of Bob Rae? Yeah, that’s right we are warning you….”

An honest Conservative MP
“Some people say we have a hidden agenda. That’s absolutely preposterous. Our agenda isn’t hidden … it’s lost. I mean it. We can’t find it anywhere. We have looked under the bed, behind the filing cabinet, even in Julie Couillard’s apartment. This is serious. If you see our agenda, please let us know. It’s kind of important.”

An honest Bloc Quebecois MP
“Bonjour. Comment-allez vous? Ca va bien merci. Ooh la, la, la chocolat tante Louise. Au revoir mon ami.” (Sorry I figure an honest Bloc MP wouldn’t speak English, and this is all the French I know.)

An honest Green Party Wannabe MP
“This is not a traditional, quote, unquote party. This is a party that basically serves as a travelling road show for our leader Elizabeth May, who figures the best way to save the environment is to run and lose in a different federal riding each election.”

OK, so maybe it isn’t such a good thing if our politicians are brutally honest.

Future of conservatism in Canada

One of my favorite topics is the future of conservatism in Canada.

So it was lucky that the Young Conservative Forum has invited me to be part of a panel that will address this important issue in Montreal on October 29.

Also scheduled to be on the panel will be such conservative stars as Adam Daifallah, Joseph Ben Ami and John Robson.

Believe me, this is going to be a fun and informative event, that no consevative would want to miss.

I hope to see you there.

Here are the details of where, when and why.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Donuts before Liberals

Somebody is trying to start up a viral campaign based on the theme of "PM puts donuts before planet".

There's a Youtube video, a Facebook page, email messaging, etc.

Anyway, the general thrust of the message is that Prime Minister Stephen Harper hates the planet because he opted to pass on a United Nations assembly meeting on "climate change" so he could hold a news conference at a Tim Horton's.

Well if you ask me the Prime Minister made exactly the right choice.

If the choice is between a tasty, sugary, scrumptious donut and an Al Gore-inspired, global socialist scheme to destroy our industrial economy, well the answer is obvious: take me to Tim Horton's.

In fact, Harper should run the next election campaign on this slogan: "Donuts yes; socialism no."

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Politicians and plans

In a recent speech Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff claimed Canada needed a "plan" for growth.

That led me to send the following letter to the editor to the Globe and Mail:

Dear Sir/Madam:
Beware of politicians bearing “plans.”

Take Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff. He says he has a plan for economic growth. ("Ignatieff pushes ‘good government'and growth instead of tax cuts", Sept 22)

Translation: he wants to subsidize industries, regulate trade and generally pick winners and losers in the economy.

We’ve tried this sort of planning before.

It doesn’t work.

Rather than creating economic growth, it creates big, costly and inefficient government.

That’s why the only thing our politicians should be planning is how they can leave the economy alone

Taxing propaganda

I got quoted in this Canadian Press story about those partisan ads the Conservative Party … oops I mean the Conservative government is running.

You know the ads I mean; the slick ones with all those chipper actors gushing about how much they love the government’s stimulus package because it’s creating jobs, stopping the recession and putting rainbows in the sky.

When I first saw the ad on TV I fully expected the Tory logo to pop up at the end. Instead, of course, the ad offered viewers a website address so they could access yet more material explaining why a $56 billion deficit is a good thing.

Some argue these ads are merely informational, but let's be serious; they are clearly propaganda, designed to put the government and its policies in a positive light. The government is essentially using tax dollars to brag about how many tax dollars they are spending.

This has always been a pet peeve of mine. Simply put, it’s wrong and undemocratic to force citizens to support a political agenda. I don’t like it when union bosses do it with forced dues; I don’t like it when politicians do it with tax dollars.

And yes – the Liberals were just as bad at this sort of thing when they were in power, if not worse.

The problem is this kind of abuse is hard to control. Governments have an overwhelming temptation to use tax dollars to promote themselves in the guise of “informing Canadians.”

Where do you draw the line between providing information (here’s how to sneeze into your arm) and propaganda (thanks to the great and glorious government I now know how to sneeze into my arm)?

Who decides?

The only answer as far as I can see, is get government to spend less and do less.

Maybe if government was doing less it would have less to brag about.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Anti-Car bias

Was surprised this afternoon to see Yonge Street in downtown Toronto closed to traffic.

What happened?

Was there some sort of horrible accident? Had a crime occurred? Were the streets being cleared to practice for a Maple Leaf Stanley Cup parade?

Nope. Turns out it's "Car Free Day."

Or perhaps a better name would be "Anti-Car Propaganda Day."

It seems for lefties, bashing cars is trendy.

But I like cars. They enable us to travel great distances, at great speed in comfort.

And if you don't think comfort is important try riding a horse for three weeks.

What's more cars provide us with freedom, making our lives easier.

So let's hear it for cars!

(This does not mean I endorse bailing out auto makers.)

Media Alert

I am scheduled to be a guest on the Gary Doyle Show today at approximately 1:00 PM EST.

Topic: The Conservative government's taxpayer-funded propaganda ... oops I mean informational ad campaign.

We don't need Ignatieff's plan

Yesterday in his speech Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff declared Canada needed a “plan for growth.”

“Plan” --- one of the scariest words in a politician’s vocabulary.

Show me a politician who thinks he can “plan” economic growth and I’ll show you a politician who has not learned the lessons of the Soviet Union.

Rember the Soviets?

Besides being big on conquering Europe, they were all about planning.

They had massive centralized bureaucracies dedicated to allocating resources, creating industries, funding research and drinking vodka.

Yet despite all the planning and despite the fact they could impose these plans at the point of a bayonet, the Soviet economy still ended up wreck.

That’s because the economy is not like a car, it’s not just something you can “steer” in the right direction. It's more like a force of nature---difficult to predict, hard to control and impossible to direct.

Yet, there are always intellectuals like Ignatieff who think they are smart enough to plan for growth -- a tax here, a subsidy there, maybe a tariff or two and voila the country is rich.

What the Ignatieff’s of the world just don’t understand is their intellect is no match for the wisdom displayed every day by the millions of decision-makers in the market. People who are actually working for a living, in the real world.

It’s these people, when allowed to pursue their interests freely, who create wealth and prosperity.

That's why we don’t need fancy government plans for economic growth.

The best government can do is get out of the way.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Macleans to Harper: Protect Free Speech

Maclean's magazine has a great editorial urging our politicians to scrap the infamous "Section 13" of the Canada Human Rights Act, which is used to squelch free speech.

Writes Macleans:

Stephen Harper used to have very clear—and colourful—ideas on human rights commissions and what should be done about them.

“Human rights commissions, as they are evolving, are an attack on our fundamental freedoms and the basic existence of a democratic society,” he said in a 1999 interview with Terry O’Neill of BC Report news magazine.“ It is in fact totalitarianism. I find this is very scary stuff.” He went on to complain about the “bastardization” of the entire concept of rights in modern society.

Of course, that was back when Harper was president of the National Citizens Coalition. Today he’s Canada’s 22nd Prime Minister. And he appears to have lost his fear of totalitarianism.

Let's hope the Prime Minister regains, if not his fear of totalitarianism, at least his respect for free expression.

Section 13 has got to go.

The language of freedom

I am currently reading The Mother Tongue: English and how it got that way, by Bill Bryson, a book which explores the English language.

It's a fun, interesting read.

Bryson not only looks at the history and evolution of English, but also highlights some of its quirks.

For instance, English has a large number of negative words for which there is no positive counterpart: inept, disheveled, incorrigible, ruthless, unkempt.

When was the last time praised you somebody for being ept or kempt?

One other interesting point Bryson makes is that there is no national academy or official state agency regulating or governing the language.

English simply evolved in its own way.

There was a movement in the 18th century in both the United Kingdom and the United States to create some sort of language regulatory body similar France’s Acadamie Francaise, but it never took off.

And this is for the best.

As Bryson notes the Acadmie Francaise often regulates French with almost “ayatollah-like conservatism” stultifying the language's growth and development.

English, on the other hand, develops freely.

One scholar noted French was similar to the severe and formal gardens of Louis XIV, whereas English was “laid out seemingly without any definite plan, and in which you were allowed to walk everywhere according to your own fancy without having to fear a stern keeper enforcing rigorous regulations.”

Consequently this is why English has one of the richest vocabularies and is the most adaptable language in the world.

It’s too bad we don’t apply this lesson to other aspects of our society.

A lot less regulating and a lot more freedom in both our economic and political spheres would make Canada a richer place in more ways than one.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Free Advice for Michael Ignatieff

The National Post, probably realizing I was one of the top 5 political minds in the country, asked me to provide free advice to Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff.

The result is posted here.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Cool gimmick

Have you seen the Conservative Party's great new interactive online gimmick?

It's called "Moving Forward: Join the conversation" and features Senator Mike Duffy giving a Tory pitch.

What's cool about it, however, is that you can plug in your name so that Senator Duffy actually sounds like he is talking directly to you.

For instance, for me Duffy says, "Hi Gerry, my man."


And imagine the effort that must have entailed. I mean Senator Duffy must have had to say hundreds of names from Aaron to Zachary.

Who says Senators don't do any real work?

But, of course, he couldn't say every name in existence. When I typed in the name "Hymie", the Senator just looked flustered for a second, then he carried on.

Nevertheless that online appeal is the ultimate in technological outreach.

I just wish the Conservatives spent as much time coming up with ways to reduce the deficit as they do on fancy computer tricks.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Offending Communists is OK

Yesterday's National Post ran this story about the National Capital Commission's recent decision demanding the word "communism" be removed from a proposed "Tribute to Liberty" monument as this might offend communists.

This led me to write the following letter to the editor which appears in today's paper:

Dear Sir/Madam:

So, the NCC is worried a proposed memorial to the victims of totalitarian communism(Is there any other kind?) might offend communists.

I guess it has not occurred to the NCC that communism itself is offensive.

Recall that communists enslaved nearly half the world, denied basic democratic rights to whole nations and murdered untold millions in cold blood.

That's precisely why we need a memorial. It's important to remind ourselves why our freedoms are worth defending.

And if that offends any crackpot communists still lurking about, we should just consider that a bonus.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Liberals mock outrage

The Liberals are apparently shocked and aghast because Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently called left-wing fringe groups, “left-wing fringe groups.”

Mind you, the Liberals are not really shocked or aghast, it’s more like fabricated outrage.

They are trying to bend, twist and distort the PM’s comments to make the case that by attacking left wing groups he is also attacking women/gays/minorities.

Well here’s a news flash for Liberals: just because you are a woman/gay/minority doesn’t also mean you automatically support left wing causes.

For instance, I am sure there are many women/gays/minorities who fully support the idea that taxpayers should not be forced to support left wing court challenges.

That’s why the Liberal PR offensive on this issue is going to fall flatter than one of Michael Ignatieff’s TV commercials.

The only people who will truly be offended by the Prime Ministers comment on left wing fringe groups, will be left wing fringe groups --- like the NDP.

Talking conservative talk

For years now I have been urging Prime Minister Stephen Harper to sound less like a Red Tory and more like a true conservative.

Whenever I do this, partisan Tories inevitably barrage me with personal slurs and criticisms.

Typical reaction: “Gerry you knucklehead. No one likes your ridiculous radical, right-wing, redneck opinions. You’re too stupid to realize that Harper has to shed his former principles and adopt the guise of a moderate, otherwise we will lose power.”

OK fine.

So you would think these same partisans would have been horrified to hear that famous “behind closed doors speech” where the Prime Minister sounded an awful lot like his old National Citizens Coalition persona blasting as he did “left wing fringe groups”, “socialists” and “separatists.”

Yet such was not the case.

In fact, they heaped praise on the Prime Minister for his right wing sounding rhetoric and even congratulated him for “tricking” the Liberals into leaking a video of the speech to the media as this ensured maximum coverage possible.

So maybe my advice wasn't so bad after all?

Anyway, I just hope the Prime Minister continues to talk like a conservative and that he starts acting more like one too.

That would help the party, the conservative movement and most importantly the country.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Jack and Stephen sitting in a tree..

So it looks like the embryonic Liberal-Socialist-Separatist Coalition is about to suffer a premature death.

That's because the "Socialist" part of the troika, the NDP, seems ready to support the Conservatives thus ensuring the government survives.

This is quite surprising.

Who would have ever thought NDP leader Jack "Remember Me?" Layton and his gang of progressive, "we would rather bike than drive", oh so politically correct, defenders of the proletariat MPs would prop up the left-wing fringe hating, hidden agenda harbouring, Bush-war-supporting, tar -sands-loving, Stephen Harper.

What a world!

I suppose we can next expect to see Hugo Chavez join the "Sarah Palin for President" Facebook page or perhaps Michael Moore's next documentary will be a homage to Ronald Reagan.

Ideology sure aint what it used to be.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Pork Power

Parliament is back in session today, meaning our hard-working politicians are once again performing the important parliamentary task of hurling insults at each other during Question Period.

But this session will be unlike any other.


Because I have it on good authority that a new Parliamentary Coalition of 74 MPs is about to be formed, called the “Parliamentary Coalition of 74 MPs.”

This new coalition will be an alliance of MPs representing all ideological stripes, political persuasions, religious beliefs and hair colors.

In fact, the only thing these politicians will have in common is the shared desire to leap into the MP pension trough.

You see there are 74 MPs who have not yet qualified for the “gold-plated” parliamentary pension plan, a pension plan which could only exist in the fantasy world, otherwise known as government.

In the real world, your typical citizen must work 40 or 50 years to qualify for a pension so small it will barely pay for shuffle board lessons.

MPs, on the other hand, qualify for a pension after only six years of “work”. And what’s more, retired MPs can start collecting wheelbarrows full of pension money the day they hit age 55.

It’s a sweet deal.

Unfortunately, however, 74 MPs currently in the House of Commons have not yet served the full six years, meaning if an election is held this fall, and they lose, that’s it, no pension!

They will have to make due with a paltry severance package worth about $35,000.

Faced with this stark reality the “Parliamentary Coalition of 74 MPs” will band together to thwart any attempt to dissolve the House.

“Hey, hey, ho, ho, we won’t go til we get our dough” will likely be the Coalition’s slogan.
Who knows we may never have an election again.

For more on the MP pension payouts check out this Canadian Taxpayers Federation report.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

What's a majority?

According to news reports this is the anniversary of a former prime minister named Brian Mulroney winning something called a "majority government".

What exactly is this strange term "majority government?"

No one really knows for sure as the mysterious phrase's meaning has been lost in the mists of time.

But political historians point to existing archaeological evidence which suggests that at one time these "majority governments" were actually quite common, though certainly one no alive can remember seeing one in action.

Radical theories have emerged of late suggesting the words refer to a government which won a majority of seats in the House of Commons, which meant it could enjoy a lifespan of longer than three months.

Most experts, however, argue it's positively preposterous to suggest any government could possibly survive for such an incredibly long period of time.

A more likely explanation, they say, is that the word "majority" is simply a linguistic corruption of the word "margarita" a cocktail many politicians probably imbibed after an electoral victory.

Anyway, that's enough history.

After all, we have an election this week, which promises to be even more exciting than the one we had last week.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Media Alert

I am scheduled to be on the Roy Green Show today at 4:00 PM EST to discuss election politics.

King "Deficit" Kong

Remember how we all cringed back in December when the Stephane Dion-led Socialist-Separatist Coalition talked about racking up an insane $30 billion deficit?

Fortunately, of course, the Conservatives managed to maintain their grip on power, meaning the deficit ended up being a more manageable $20 billion ... oops no it was actually $30 billion ... sorry make that $50 billion ....wait, the figure is really $56 billion last count.

And here's more good news.

Canada's Finance Minister, Jim "The Drunken Sailor" Flaherty, has promised to balance the budget "roughly around the time Mankind starts to colonize Mars."

How will the budget get balanced?

Well, both the Liberals and Conservatives agree the deficit will just "magically disappear somehow."

Me I don't believe it.

I think the deficit will keep getting bigger and bigger and stronger and stronger, until one day it will break free of its chains and escape.

Then, after a murderous rampage through city streets, the deficit will climb atop the CN Tower, where it will be shot down by fighter planes.

Hey, if politicians can fantasize about how they will kill the deficit, why can't I?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Media Alert II

I am scheduled to be on CBC Newsworld this afternoon at approximately 5:30 PM EST to talk about my c2c Journal column.

Update: make that 5:15 PM EST.

Media Alert

I am scheduled to appear on the Afternoon News with Tom Young, at approximately 11:10 AM EST to talk about my c2c Journal article.

Setting things right

Yesterday's news about the ever-increasing Conservative deficits makes a piece I wrote for the c2c Journal pretty timely.

It's about how those of us who call ourselves conservatives can set things right.

A horrible day

It's hard to believe anyone would ever want to deliberately kill thousands of regular people, leading regular lives.

Yet that's what happened eight years ago today -- 9/11.

I wish I could block the memory of that day from my memory, yet the horrific images still haunt me.

And perhaps that's how it should be.

We should always remember that there are evil forces in the world who would do us harm.

Anyway, I just hope President Barack Obama doesn't mark 9/11 by issuing an apology to Osama Bin Laden

Thursday, September 10, 2009

What the secret speech really is about

The media has pounced on Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s “secret” speech declaring it evidence that the Tories have some sort of “hidden agenda.”

But, as usual, they got it wrong.

That speech had one purpose and only one purpose: to mobilize conservatives unhappy with the government’s left-wing tilt.

What he is saying in that speech is this: "You may not like some of the stuff I have been doing lately but the only alternative to me is the scary and dangerous “Socialist- Separatist- Coalition” party.

Strategically it's a good idea because no two words will push a conservative’s hot buttons like “socialist” and “separatist.” Put them together and you have dynamite.

The drawback of this scheme, of course, is that by embracing such ideologically-tinted language, the Prime Minister is undermining his “Don't be afraid I’m really a Liberal” strategy of the past five years.

Hence the need to deliver this message in secret.

Of course, in this day and age where everybody has a camera in their hip pocket, there is no such thing as a secret speech.

That’s why rather than delivering the “Socialist-Separatists are threatening Armageddon” message himself, he should rely on friendly Third Parties to do to the deed.

This is the kind of thing the National Citizens Coalition used to do so well.

The only other alternative is for Harper to speak like a conservative in public as well as private.

Liberal slogan gets it right

Check out my latest Sun Media column. I examine what is surely Prime Minister Stephen Harper's greatest asset: Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Tim Horton's vs Starbucks

Jeff Jedras aka "A BCer in Toronto" makes a good point about the Conservative Party's communication strategy with its emphasis on populist class warfare.

Writes Jedras: "The Conservatives seem to be against internationalism, against success, against education."

I think he's right, that does seem to be the Tory message: pander to Tim Horton's drinkers; alienate Starbucks patrons.

Simply put, that's a poor strategy.

Now don't get me wrong, I have nothing against "wedge style" politics, but I believe it should be done on an ideological not class basis.

For conservatives that means polarizing voters on issues like tax cuts, smaller government and individual freedom. And yes, some Starbucks drinkers could be won over with such an approach.

Instead the Tories are focused on a populist style approach, reminiscent of what the NDP does with its own version of class war rhetoric.

And populism is not conservatism. See a column I wrote on this topic not too long ago.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Liberals go bland

Wow, just checked out the new Liberal TV ads which will air this week.

What can I say except: Yuck!

Did Warren - "I am an Ass Kicking, Prince of Darkness"- Kinsella really give these bland, boring videos the OK?

If he did, he must be slipping.

These ads are what you would expect the candidate running for high school president to produce, not a guy looking to knock off the Prime Minister.

What's wrong with them?

Well strategically speaking they make no sense. These kind of positive, hokey ads only work if your guy is way out in front. If that's the case then you can afford to take the high road and make cutesy ads, with smiling candidates emitting vague platitudes in a bucolic setting.

These sort of ads also work if your candidate has slightly more charisma than a wet sponge -- which Ignatieff does not.

The fact is, according to the polls, Ignatieff faces a tough uphill fight. Canadians just aren't warming up to the guy.

Now that wouldn't matter if the Liberals could offer voters an exciting policy agenda. But let's face it, when it comes to policy the Liberals have nothing to offer Canadians that's any different from what the Tories are doing.

Basically both parties stand for bigger government and more spending.

Under such circumstances, the Liberals only have one choice when it comes to ads:go negative.

To be blunt, it's much easier for the Liberals to make voters dislike Harper than it is for them to make voters like Ignatieff.

This is not rocket science.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Why Ignatieff should pull the plug

Pundits are saying Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff would be making a big mistake if he forced an election this fall.

I disagree.

In fact, here are five reasons Michael Ignatieff should pull the plug:

* If Canada has 10 elections before 2010, the next one is free.

* Running in the fall will provide the Liberal leader with great anecdotes for his lectures when he returns to University teaching in the winter.

* Improving economy means all the Liberal MPs sure to be defeated will have an easier time finding a job.

* May distract Warren Kinsella enough to keep him suing anybody.

* A federal election in November will help prepare Canadians for the next federal election in December.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Adamson goes to Whole Foods

Rondi Adamson has an interesting column in today's National Post which looks at capitalism, Whole Foods and the mystery that is ideology.

Media Alert

I will be a guest on the Michael Coren Show tonight on CTS.

Topic: A bunch of stuff, mainly associated with federal politics.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Media Alert

My interview on the Gary Doyle Show scheduled for yesterday got bumped to today at 1:30 PM.

Also, even though I was on the road all day yesterday I managed to squeeze in two interviews, one on the Charles Adler Show and one on The Afternoon News with Tom Young.

The topic: What are the Liberals thinking?, which just happened to be the topic of my Sun Media column yesterday.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Media Alert

I am scheduled to be a guest on the Gary Doyle Show (570 News Kitchener) this afternoon at 1:30 PM EST to talk about Senate reform.

Our never-ending election saga

Here's my latest Sun Media column, I examine the Liberal Party and its desire to lose an election.