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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Are senior Grits “spinning” out of control

There surely must be a point beyond which politicians should not go in their efforts to “spin” their message to mislead and misinform Canadians. And surely as an MP Dr. Carolyn Bennett has a responsibility to all Canadians and not just to the Liberal Party. As reported elsewhere, Bennett has failed on both counts.

In a recent flyer, Bennett makes several spurious claims without a single scrap of evidence to back up any of them.

False claim number 1:

“As other countries work quickly to vaccinate vulnerable populations against H1N1 epidemic, the Harper Reform-Conservatives failed to secure supplies.”

What a mean bit of callus nonsense. Canada is a world leader in having secured more doses of the vaccine than there are Canadian residents and had them ready and available ahead of schedule. The richest most powerful nation on earth, the United States, has shortages, we don’t.

False claim number 2:

“When First Nations in northern Manitoba asked for help to prepare, the Conservatives’ answer was to ship them body bags. Not the kind of preventive help they had in mind.”

Falsehoods are no less egregious when they are lies of omission. What the Bennett flyer leaves out is that the bags were shipped because they were ordered by the Manitoba First Nations group in question. The government did not initiate the shipment of the bags gratuitously.

False claim number 3:

The flyer clearly implies that the Conservative government is responsible for the listeriosis outbreak that killed 22 people.

This is, of course, not so. Tens of thousands of Canadians died during the governments of Jean Chrétien, Pierre Trudeau and Lester Pearson of all manner of road accidents, wars and diseases. Should we label these former PMs and their governments as being responsible for those deaths? For that matter, hundreds died from all manner of health issues while Bennett was Minister of State for Public Health in the Paul Martin government, was she responsible for those deaths?

As a medical professional, Dr. Bennett knows better. Here’s a person who had not enough compassion to have voted in parliament to compensate the early victims of the tainted blood scandal.

Yes, she may have believed that everyone infected through the tainted blood supply should have been compensated. But when then-prime minister Jean Chrétien declared the vote a question of confidence in the government, she, along with several other Liberal MPs, threw their principles in the trash can and backed their morally bankrupt party while shedding tears. But then that’s what Liberals do.

This flyer is a disgraceful bit of political spin. Crocodile tears are not an adequate substitute for ethics and principle, Dr. Bennett. Shame on you!

EKOS poll quantifies size of Donolo’s job

The latest EKOS research poll brings into sharp focus the size and degree of difficulty of the job in which Peter Donolo now finds himself. Michael Ignatieff and his former chief of staff, Ian Davey, could not have dug the Liberal Party of Canada a deeper hole had they deliberately set out to do so.

Could Davey and Ignatieff have been secret conservatives … no, no, not possible. Still …

The recent poll—last week’s results in brackets—has the Tories at 38.4 per cent (38.3 per cent) of those surveyed, the Liberals at 26.8 per cent (27.1 per cent) and the NDP at 16.7 per cent (14.5 per cent). For the Tories and the Grits, there is little change from last week’s survey, but the NDP are up a couple of points.

EKOS also asked poll participants if any of the leaders “should be removed immediately as the leader of their respective party.” Jack Layton fared best with 51 per cent saying he should remain compared to 45 per cent for Prime Minister Stephen Harper—40 per cent say he should be replaced.

The really bad news is for the Grits: only 31 per cent felt Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff should stay on as leader of their party and a whopping 46 per cent said he should go.

This is the second EKOS poll in a row to show that Canadians are not buying the silliness the Liberals have been feeding the news networks who dutifully pass it on to Canadians at large disguised as real news.

Peter Donolo has got to convince his boss that schoolyard antics and taunts will not convince Canadians to vote for his party. Where is the adult conversation we were told we need to have?

The poll included 3,220 respondents between Oct. 21 and Oct. 27. The margin of error is plus or minus 1.7 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Did Ignatieff have to be convinced to return to Canada?

The view I had of Michael Ignatieff’s path to the leader of the Liberal party was that, after more than three decades in the United Kingdom and the United States, Ignatieff decided to return to live in Canada before he decided to run as a Liberal candidate and contest the leadership of the party.

But, apparently, if a report in the Globe and Mail can be believed, he was recruited to run as a Liberal candidate before his return to Canada, and to do so he obviously had to live here. That is to say, his return to Canada was even more opportunistic than I had thought.

According to the newspaper:

“Mr. [Ian] Davey and Mr. [deputy chief of staff Dan] Brock were instrumental in bringing Mr. Ignatieff back from his Harvard career as an academic and pundit to run for Parliament, and then the leadership.

“Mr. Brock, working in the early 1990s as a producer for CBC radio host Peter Gzowski, met Mr. Ignatieff when he was an on-air guest and was impressed. He and Mr. Davey, son of legendary Liberal strategist Keith Davey, had worked briefly on the short-lived 2003 leadership campaign of former deputy prime minister John Manley, and joined forces to persuade him to return to Canada.”

How do these people look themselves in the mirror every morning?

With a population of about 33 million people, wouldn’t you think the Grits could have found (would have wanted to find) a committed Canadian to lead their party. Instead, two of their operatives fly off to a foreign land to convince a man who had been living broad for virtually all his adult life to return to Canada so he could join their elected caucus and run for leader of the party.

Well, the Grits got what they wished for: an out of touch academic who is unable to connect with the Canadian public, people with whom he barely can identify other than through his birth certificate.

Ignatieff wrote a book talking up his Canadian roots, but few Canadians have been fooled. For years he saw himself British then American and only became Canadian once again when the lure of becoming prime minister was dangled before him.

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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

Liberal payback to CTV for dissing Dion?

The CTV News political show, Power Play, and Tom Clark, its host, got scooped embarrassingly yesterday afternoon. First Clark reported that Ian Davey was out as Michael Ignatieff’s chief of staff, then dutifully reported the denial by the opposition leader’s office. All the while CBC News was reporting the real story that Davey would be replaced by Peter Donolo, a former Jean Chrétien staffer.

During the show, instead of getting at and reporting the truth behind the real political story of the day, Tom Clark settled with speculating about rumours and denials by a Liberal communications officer and showing another of the annoying graphics alleging Tory wrongdoing fed to him by Liberal operatives—he referred to his source as the “Liberal war room.” He didn’t press the new “scandal” too hard this time because his three panelists unanimously agreed it was a silly non-starter.

Here’s a question I have though: how come CBC had the truth about the shake up in Ignatieff’s office from the start—Evan Solomon said his information came from very senior levels within the Liberal organization—while Tom Clark was left with a pathetic graphic and uninformed speculation?

One explanation may be that CTV has not been forgiven by the Grits for its dissing of the former leader, Stéphane Dion, when the network went back on a promise to not air embarrassing footage of an interview it did with Dion during the last federal election.

Yes, CTV has behaved itself since then. Liberal war room sends them stuff, and they report it on their Power Play and Question Period shows as though it was real news. But the Liberal party is renowned for its memory of its enemies. And, like the Mounties, they always get their man—usually with a knife in the back.

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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

Confusion and bafflegab at Ignatieff’s office

The order of the day was confusion and bafflegab inside the office of the leader of the opposition, Michael Ignatieff, yesterday. For a good part of the day we heard that Ignatieff would be having a new chief of staff to replace Ian Davey, the man who is credited with recruiting Ignatieff out of Harvard University to run as a Liberal candidate.

Then we got the usual denials from the Grits. I say usual as that seems to be the default option for the moral-compass-less Liberal party—when in doubt, lie. Then, after CBC News reported the story, Ignatieff released a statement confirming the staff changes. Flip-flop!

The surprising part of this story is not that Ignatieff would fire his chief of staff, he’s at 25 per cent in the polls and he isn’t going to fire himself, is he? Nor is it surprising that his office would lie about it—that’s what Grits do: scorpions sting, Grits lie.

What’s really surprising though is that even in such a sensitive, important issue as changing his most important political advisor, Ignatieff could not control his staff/caucus and keep a lid on the story. Keeping secrets, even important, necessary ones does not seem to be a Grit forte.

This story also illustrates how deep into the heart of the Liberal party CBC contacts go. Some CBC news staff seem to know more about the goings on at the very senior levels of that party than rank and file Grit caucus members do. CTV News, on the other hand, was left to passively report the rumours, then the denials as fed to them by Liberal agents.

One wonders how healthy it is for Canadian Democracy that our state-owned news service should have so cozy a relationship with one of our major political parties.

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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Wheels falling off the little red Liberal wagon

The wheels seem to be falling off the little red Liberal wagon. Last week Ontario’s Liberal deputy premier George Smitherman’s set the record straight by disputing the federal Liberal claim of favouritism in the distribution of stimulus spending.

On the Weekend, the Governor of the Bank of Canada, Mark Carney, told Canadians in an interview by CTV’s Craig Oliver that the government’s plan to get us out of recession has worked. We are now out of the recession and can expect our economy to grow in 2010—even without Grits at the helm. Go figure.

And, despite all the bleating about Tory misbehaviour—and even with CTV news staff cheering them on from the sidelines—the Liberals continue their slide in the polls.

“The Liberals, these days, just have no traction at all,” said Darrell Bricker, CEO of polling firm Ipsos Reid. Ipsos found 40% of survey respondents said they would vote Conservative. And the Conservatives appear to be surging in Ontario, opening a nine-point lead—41 per cent to 32 percent—over the Liberals. That’s majority territory, folks.

Things look pretty bad for Michael Ignatieff, eh? Well not so bad they couldn’t get worse. We now know that the Liberals have known all along that the Tories are not guilty of unethical behaviour, but still they flooded Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson’s office and other government agencies with dozens of spurious complaints, clogging up the system in a desperate attempt to fool Canadians and discredit PM Stephen Harper and his Tories.

“I don’t think it’s unethical conduct, on top of that there is no provision in the Conflict of Interest Act that would address what happened.”

- Paul Szabo
Liberal MP for
Mississauga South

According to The Hill Times, the Liberals very own House Ethics Committee chair Paul Szabo (Liberal MP for Mississauga South) said it will be difficult to find any breaches of the ethics code. He said:

“It’s certainly a political stunt, probably isn’t in good taste, in good form, but I doubt very much that it’s a breach.

“I don’t think it’s unethical conduct, on top of that there is no provision in the Conflict of Interest Act that would address what happened. It may fall under the guidelines for ministers, ... which lay out ethical conduct, [but] the person to whom people are responsible for those Public Office Holders is the prime minister and the prime minister will determine whether they were ethical or not.”

Stunning. Here we have the Liberals’ own House Ethics Committee chair telling us there is no breach of the ethics code—and how could the Grit MPs not have consulted him… don’t they trust their own House ethics expert? And even so, they convinced Tom Clark and other folks at CTV to spend over a week of network air time demonizing the Conservative government.

This is shameful behaviour and apparently Canadians are not buying what the Liberals are trying to sell.

Time to move on now. Can opposition MPs please stop wasting valuable time and money in this silly spurious witch hunt.

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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

Mark Carney: positive answers to CTV’s negative questions

The Governor of the Bank of Canada, Mark Carney, on Sunday was interviewed by Craig Oliver, CTV’s Chief Political Correspondent and co-host of the CTV program, Question Period. I was very interested to hear Mr. Carney’s take on the current state of affairs in Canada, because he always seems to give us a straight answer to difficult questions—unlike too many elected officials these days.

Unfortunately, Craig Oliver’s approach to the interview was to deliver a screed of anti-Conservative-government tripe formulated as questions. Never has this man’s Liberal party bias been more apparent or less appropriate. I guess the fellow just can’t help himself.

Every question started as a negative comment about the Conservative government’s approach to managing us through this past year of recession. Despite Mr. Carney’s assurances early on in the interview that Canada started from a position of real strength and that there is a “plan to restore confidence and growth, we’re [government and BoC] putting it to work, and it is going to work.”

Oliver pressed on, however, suggesting Mr. Carney might be prone to being a “rosy scenario guy.” Gov. Carney replied that people seemed to want to hear “that things were terrible” and we can’t get out of the recession and end deficit financing.

Craig Oliver tried his best to solicit a negative response from the governor, but failed with every try.

Oliver then lectured Mr. Carney with his supposition that with so huge a proportion of future government budgets going to service the national debt, there’ll be no money left for growth in our country. Fortunately, Mr. Carney quickly reminded Oliver that “real growth” comes from the private sector, and that Canadian balance sheets were in “great shape” and that businesses are positioned “to help create growth.”

Craig Oliver and his Liberal friends are so caught up in Conservative bashing, they sometimes seem to believe their own rhetoric that only governments can do good things. The Communists held that belief for most of the twentieth century and look where central planning got those economies.

Oliver approached the interview from the point of view that Canada is in a hell of a mess and is unlikely to recover for years. At every negative suggestion of his, however, Gov. Carney refuted Oliver’s position and offered quite a positive outlook that should give Canadians hope that the worst is over. There is still much work to be done, but we have a plan, it is being implemented and it is working.

Far from agreeing with Oliver’s doom and gloom, Gov. Carney is forecasting future growth of 3.0 per cent in 2010 and 3.3 per cent in 2011. He says that a recovery in economic activity is already under way in Canada, and I say let’s all give thanks to PM Stephen Harper for his steady hand on the tiller of the ship of state.

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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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Liberal and NDP disingenuousness

The giveaway that the federal Liberal and NDP opposition parties are being disingenuous is when they decry the fairness of the distribution of stimulus money to federal ridings across Canada, but seldom, if ever, question the validity of the projects themselves.

They know only too well that Canadians of every political stripe are being helped and are benefitting from these projects, regardless of the political ridings they are in.

Even despite Ontario’s Liberal deputy premier George Smitherman’s attempt to set the record straight, Ottawa Grits bleat on trying to discredit a government that has so ably charted a difficult course through the troubled waters of this past recession.

Canada’s record on the past recession is second to none. Who can name one country that has done better? Canada stands as a model to the world and all the Grits can do is use half-truths and misinformation to belittle everything Stephen Harper has done. Of course, opposition parties are supposed to oppose—that’s their job. But is it their job to disparage everything good the government does to shake Canadians’ confidence in the country?

And what about news agencies like the CTV network? Is it their job to parrot every negative charge regardless of its veracity? That network has been all too quick to provide Liberal MPs with a soapbox from which to preach their negativity, while all the while cheering them on.

Don’t TV news services have any responsibility to dig out or verify information themselves? Have they no responsibility to inform Canadians?

On the weekend, one of their “stars” Tom Clark of Power Play was prattling on about how little money the federal government was spending to advertise the H1N1 vaccination information. Why not one of those full-page newspaper ads, he asked on Sunday’s Question Period.

Well, I ask Tom Clark, why not do your job and inform Canadians about the vaccine? The information is available. My family is not confused, we got the information. So can CTV. For heavens sake, CTV, pass on readily available and verified information instead of relying entirely on what political operatives and opposition MPs feed you.

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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ontario’s long rudderless slide to nowhere

The news in the past couple of days about the state of Ontario’s economy had been dismal. And there is no silver lining, at least, none in the next 24 to 36 months. Apparently the province’s economy is in freefall, and we can’t blame it all on the worldwide financial crisis and resulting recession.

While things started going sour for most Western economies about 15 months ago, Ontario’s problems started much earlier. For example, Ontario was headed for “have-not” provincial status for, at least, three years, finally achieving that unenviable distinction about a year ago.

“The challenge of sustaining public services while returning to a firmer fiscal footing is one that we cannot ignore. To be able to continue investing in key priorities while managing down the deficit, we must focus our priorities and make strategic and, yes, sometimes difficult choices.”

- Dwight Duncan

Ontario, which has long been considered Canada’s economic engine, is now considered a “have-not province.” And what is Dalton McGuinty doing about it? Well, nothing actually, except of course to spend and waste more taxpayer money on social programs and to save a few union jobs in the auto sector.

The high Canadian dollar is being blamed by the Grits for the province’s dismal performance. But how much is it really to blame?

The Canadian dollar has a history of being relatively high during good economic times. When I first came to live in Canada in the mid-1950s, the Canadian dollar was about $1.02 to $1 U.S. and reached about $1.06 two years later, yet the Ontario economy was healthy and thriving. And our dollar was worth more than the U.S. dollar for part of the 1970s—not exactly a loosing decade for Ontario. There were also times during the Mulroney years when a high dollar coincided with economic growth in Ontario.

For many years before German reunification, West Germany had both a strong economy—one of the strongest in the world—and a high exchange rate on the Deutsche Mark (DM). The DM rose steadily (against the US$) throughout the pronominal era of growth experienced by West Germany during the last half of the twentieth century.

Of course the higher dollar will somewhat depress Ontario exports, but it cheapens many of the inputs into some of those exports. It also reduces inflation on billions of dollars worth of things we consume that have been imported from elsewhere. And remember that Ontario’s economy is a lot more than just manufacturing. 

What Ontario needs is not a government to manage us out of the mess we are in—as McGuinty and Dwight Duncan will try to do—but a government that will create an environment that will attract investment in Ontario and encourage businesses to create jobs here. We need our government to stop scooping up so much of our income and spending it wastefully.

Think of the billions McGuinty has spent to save a relatively few auto sector jobs. Think of the billion-dollar mess that is eHealth. Think of the mess that must also be in other government agencies—surely eHealth is not unique. Think of the increases Finance Minister Dwight Duncan says he plans in health and education, including a new full-day early-learning program (free/subsidized babysitting), despite our dire financial straights.

Why not stop all increases in spending? We simply cannot afford more at this time.

Why not slash wage rates of civil servants and employees and contractors of crown owned agencies? The “pay premium” for federal employees compared to similar jobs in the private sector is over 50% (wages and all benefits)—I doubt the “pay premium” for Ontario civil servants and crown agencies is less.

Sell off the gambling casinos. Our government-owned casinos lost $94 million last year. Incredible!

Let’s get out of the retail sales of alcohol. Sell off the LCBO. Alcohol will still be taxed. Why are we in the retail business anyway? Old fashioned narrow-mindedness and greed, I guess. Politicians can feel like big-time business men. 

Get out of green energy subsidies. Government-subsidized green energy projects are not needed in the immediate future—next 10 years, if ever.

And, for heavens sake, stop this madness of subsidizing babysitting. Reduce kindergarten to one year only and stop subsidizing child care except for those who can prove they cannot afford it and must go to work to support their families—not to pay for vacations and other non-essentials.

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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Liars can figure, even Liberal liars

There’s an old saying in accounting circles: figures don’t lie, but liars can figure. And that’s exactly what the Liberals are doing when they make claims that stimulus money has gone more to Tory ridings. This false claim is so egregious in its damage to democracy in Canada that Ontario Liberal deputy premier George Smitherman has tried to set the record straight.

Mr. Smitherman countered the false allegations on Thursday outside Queen’s Park:

“The [federal Liberals] draw conclusions based on the analysis that they’ve done.”

The Rinc program was open to not-for-profits and municipalities, Mr. Smitherman explained:

“So the fact that there are 450 municipalities, many of them small, meant that there were more requests in the mix for smaller communities.


“I think that’s why you see it’s a little more distributed towards rural Ontario and by coincidence, that happens to be where Conservatives represent the ridings.”

Toronto scored big when other initiatives were considered, Mr. Smitherman argued:

"The knowledge infrastructure program, which is for post-secondary education, you’ll see that Toronto actually comes out with a higher degree of investment than its proportion of population...I’m pretty confident that there’s going to be a very equitable regional distribution once we’ve completed the allocation of all those dollars.”

Prime Minister Stephen Harper also dismissed allegations made by Toronto MP Gerard Kennedy that stimulus money was unfairly distributed. The PM said that it was the Liberal Ontario government that chose which projects would receive funding.

Four Liberal MPs were using public money to solicit donations

Today I heard the shocking news that several of Michael Ignatieff’s Liberal party caucus members are allegedly using their online offices that offer constituent services to further their private and/or partisan interests. According to Canada.com, Conservative MP Greg Rickford has filed a complaint with the House of Commons ethics commissioner against 18 Liberal MPs for fundraising through their websites.

“The website of Liberal MP Bob Rae, for example, contains a ‘donate’ link with a photo of three $20 bills. Clicking the link leads to instructions for how to donate to either the Liberal party or Rae’s Toronto Centre riding association.”

Can you believe this? The same Grit MPs who are complaining about partisan political antics of the Tories, are themselves allegedly knee deep in a scam. Here’s more from Canada.com:

“[MP] Rickford argues that such practices violate the House of Commons code of conduct for MPs, which states that ‘when performing parliamentary duties and functions, a member shall not act in any way to further his or her private interests’.”

A spokesman for Michael Ignatieff said 14 of the 18 websites in question are paid for by the MP’s riding association or the party. However, the other four MPs have removed the fundraising links. There you have it: four Liberals were, in fact, using a publicly funded Web sites to solicit donations. Shameful!

So, apparently, Bob Rae was telling a lie when he said in an interview:

“This simply strengthens our argument. We use political money to pay for a political website, and they’re using public money to pay for partisan activity. The two things are totally different.”

Apparently, until caught, four Liberal MPs were using public money to solicit donations.

Liberals really do not have any shame do they?

Desperate times for Grits

The Liberal Party of Canada is in desperate straights. Late last year, their intrepid leader, Stéphane Dion, fresh from a drubbing in a federal election allowed Jack Layton of the NDP to seduce him into forming a formal coalition with the socialists. To get control of the House, they obtained a written agreement of support from the Bloc, a separatist party committed to the break up of Canada. The new group hoped to defeat the Stephen Harper Tories and form a government—an act almost guaranteed to throw Canada into a constitutional crisis.

Of course, the plot between the Dippers and the Grits was a flop once the latter dumped Stéphane Dion in a panic after it became clear that the Canadian people despised the notion of a Lib-left coalition with Jack Layton in cabinet and the Bloc propping them up.

The next thing we heard from the Grits was they would not, after all, be defeating the Tories over last winter’s budget. This was, of course, after the Liberals had undemocratically appointed Michael Ignatieff as leader in a back room deal.

Then, about a month ago, Michael Ignatieff tells the Canadian public that the Tories must go. He promised to bring down the government at his earliest opportunity. But after a half-hearted try at defeating the government and a slump in poll after poll, Ignatieff started to do some serious backtracking.

At that point, the usual friendly, cheerleading members of Toronto and Ottawa media had begun to say and print unflattering things about Ignatieff, many of which were apparently offered up by party insiders—perhaps including the socialist, Bob Rae.

Panic began to set in big-time. With a total breakdown in leadership and the resulting break in party discipline, the call seemed to have gone out for Liberal political hit men and spinners to come to the aid of the party. They did.

And with their shills in the Toronto and Ottawa media giving them all the ink and airspace they could handle, they have made Tory practices—many of which are very like those routinely used by former Liberal governments, and Dalton McGuinty’s Ontario Liberals—seem like major scandals.

And all this from a party that is responsible for three of the most egregious assaults on the public purse: the Sponsorship Scandal and the Human Resources Development Canada boondoggle earlier this century and the currently unfolding eHealth scandal in Ontario—possibly the worst case of government mismanagement and spending irregularities in the history of that province.

The allegations of Tory wrong doing are now before the ethics commissioner. You’d think the cheerleading media and Liberal MPs would have enough faith in that office to cool it until a ruling is handed down, wouldn’t you? But you’d be wrong.

Instead, the mock outrage, sanctimonious bleating and chest beating continues unabated, and Canada and our political process is the poorer for it. But the Liberals are desperate and need a distraction. And desperation calls for desperate men: political operatives who thrive on dirty tricks and couldn’t give a damn what damage their tactics do.

But the current Grit team really has little choice, they can’t survive using “positive” means, they have neither the leadership or the bench strength to support such a strategy.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

One cheque with the Tory party’s logo on it does not a scandal make

The Conservative-logo-on-a-cheque issue is flogged to death on our national television news and public affairs shows, but the issue does not seem to be gaining much traction among the general population, most of whom see all politicians as crooks or nearly so.

Decades of scandal after scandal on both sides of our border have created a jaundiced view of politicians—not much is expected of them. I hold a somewhat jaded view myself. I especially dislike the hypocrisy of gotcha politics and the building of mountains out of mole hills by rival political parties of all stripes.

And this is especially egregious when our television networks heap scorn on one party while using material they are fed by partisan party insiders. Watching Tom Clark, et al, on CTV’s Power Play these past few days is to see broadcast journalism at its tawdry worst.

Tom was flogging the fact that there is a link on the government’s economic action plan Web site to the prime minister’s recent piano-playing debut at the National Arts Centre. Of course there was a link. There are many links on the site. One link was to a site that happened to be featuring the piano-playing video—and what’s wrong with that?

This is nitpicking at its worst.

By the way, the link “exposé” was sent to the CTV staff by Grit hit man, Warren Kinsella, according to Jane Taber a CTV staffer who is frequently on the show.

Sep. 16, 2009 – Ottawa’s $200 million contribution in infrastructure stimulus funding for Toronto will help get work started on over 500 citywide construction projects valued at nearly $600 million.

The funding is expected to preserve or create close to 7,000 jobs in the city and the federal portion is drawn from Ottawa’s $4 billion infrastructure stimulus fund.

- Daily Commercial News

I noticed also that when one panelist pointed out that Toronto—a Tory MP free zone—has received hundreds of millions in stimulus funds, even before the latest dustup, Tom Clark quickly cut him off to talk about some nonsensical trivial nitpick he’d discovered about signs touting stimulus spending on a government building.

Even on the day the show aired, Stephen Harper was announcing another federal handout to Toronto.

Liberals are supposed to critique actions and policies of governments—we all understand that. But really, should the purpose of public affairs shows be to provide a soapbox for the likes of ultra partisan Warren Kinsella?

To hear Tom Clark and his Grit puppeteers tell the story, no Conservative can ever link his or her name or image to any government action—a ridiculous concept. If the Liberals want credit for government actions, they should dump Michael Ignatieff and get an effective, committed-Canadian to lead their party and force and win an election at the polls.

And listening to Clark, one gets the feeling he can’t wait for Canadians to start dying from H1N1 flu so he can blame the PM for that too. I thought the delivery of health care was a provincial responsibility. How about him directing his “probing” inquiries at the provincial premiers and health ministers?

One cheque with the Tory party’s logo on it does not a scandal make. As to the other dozens of examples offered, “inoffensive” would best sum them up.

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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Is Warren Kinsella part of CTV’s research department?

A big “thank you” goes to Blogging Tories’ Stephen Taylor for reminding us about the great Liberal scams of the Jean Chrétien years in Ottawa. Given the feeding frenzy in the mainstream media over the practice of political parties taking credit for government actions, one might hope some investigative reporter might have done some research into the practice instead of simply providing a Liberal soapbox for the likes of Warren Kinsella.

The National Post reported yesterday [Feb. 19, 2000] that Peter Donolo, the prime minister’s [Liberal Jean Chrétien] former director of communications, created and ran a well-oiled public relations campaign to ensure that Liberals—ministers and MPs—took maximum credit for job creation grants across the country.

Job creation money is at the centre of accusations that Human Resources grants were mismanaged and improperly used as a slush fund to win votes and reward loyalists.

- Stephen Taylor’s blog

Back in 2000, the National Post quoted then PM Chrétien as saying:

“Listen, we are the government … I don’t see why we can’t try to get credit for what we do. I hope we do so. There is nothing to be ashamed in that.”

Wow, Grits, your former leader said MPs should not be ashamed of trying to get the most partisan political benefit from disbursing federal grants. So what’s all the fuss about?

Of course, few if any Canadians would look to Jean Chrétien for advice on ethics or morality. He was wrong then just as the Tory MPs are wrong now for their recent practice of associating the Conservative party logo with public handouts.

But it’s the gall of the Liberal MPs that I find even more distasteful. These representatives of the very political party that was responsible for two of the most egregious assaults on the public purse: the Sponsorship Scandal and the Human Resources Development Canada boondoggle earlier this century. These weasels, who have been unable to connect with the Canadian public in any meaningful way, heap scorn on the governing party to take the spotlight away from their floundering, inept leader, sometimes-Canadian Michael Ignatieff.

Whenever Liberals slip up, TV shows like CTV’s Question Period and Power Play are all too quick to dig through achieves to find something equivalent that Tories have done. That’s how they condone Liberal misbehaviour.

But when Conservatives slip up, these programs invite the likes of Warren Kinsella to tell us what big bad boys and girls all Tories are. I guess that Warren Kinsella is a fair substitute to original thought and research over at CTV.

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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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Up the Green Shift hump and down the cap-and-trade trough

Apparently, Michael Ignatieff, leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, is slowly morphing into former leader Stéphane Dion—at least, in his style and the substance of his political policy. Unable to sell himself and his “renewed” Liberal Party to Canadians as a viable alternative to the Stephen Harper Conservatives, Ignatieff has now reached into the Grit election grab-bag of platform policies and plucked out Stéphane Dion’s old saw: Green Shift.

Remember how the Grits tried to sell Dion on his “integrity” and on his expertise on the environment—which was basically for Canada to ruin its economy by being a slave to the failed Kyoto Accord. That led to the placing of the Green Shift as the central plank in the LPC’s 2008 election platform. And that led to one of the worst election defeats the Liberals have suffered.

With Ignatieff, the Grits highlighted his vaunted intelligence, his international experience and his supposed Trudeau-like charisma. That had some traction until Canadians got to know the fellow better. So then we were told about the strength of the Liberal team and the downplaying and, at times, undermining of the leader. And when all else failed, we’re back to Green Shift. [Shudder]

Here’s some of what Ignatieff had to say on Tuesday in a speech to the Vancouver Board of Trade:

“Our Liberal strategy begins with one, simple commitment: At the heart of our next platform will be the most significant national investment in clean energy jobs this country has ever seen.” …

“The Conservatives are waiting for recovery, waiting for the private economy to pick up the slack when the public investment winds down. We Liberals believe in a more active vision. We must invest now to make recovery sustainable and enduring.” …

“Forward-looking clean energy investments will give us real credibility in the global fight against climate change. We should back that up with Canadian proposals for a continental cap-and-trade system, with hard caps.” …

“That’s what we have government for. To anticipate. To plan. To look beyond the immediate horizon to grasp the unseen challenge and turn it into an opportunity.”

The last time I heard words like those were when the left tried to sell us on the failed communist economic strategy of “central planning.” Remember those five-year plans? To hear Ignatieff tell it, the only worthwhile things that have happened in Canada were those planned and executed by his Liberal Party. Read his speech, it’s full of that bull.

Individual entrepreneurship, hard work and genius built Canada, not the Liberal Party. But then, how would Ignatieff know, he wasn’t really here to observe it. While he lived and worked in the United Kingdom and the United States, we individual Canadians and corporations were busy building Canada into the powerhouse it is now. The Liberal Party was happy to follow and try to bribe us with our own tax dollars to keep re-electing them.

To the federal Grits, fiscal responsibility in Ottawa meant merely shifting the tax burden onto the provinces so they could balance the federal budget. The real heavy lifting came from governments like Mike Harris’s PCs in Ontario, which had to make up for missing health care and education dollars and at the same time revive an economy left in tatters after successive Liberal and NDP regimes.

Ignatieff faults the the Tories for expecting the private economy to “pick up the slack.” Unlike Ignatieff and his socialist team members like Bob Rae, Gerard Kennedy and Ujjal Dosanjh, most Canadians believe in a free market system, after seeing the complete collapse of the planned economies under communist regimes throughout Eastern Europe.

As we saw with the LPC’s Green Shift, “investing in clean energy” means a massive tax on Canadians so that we can have the money to “invest” in alternative sources of energy. And why do we need this? Because the planet is warming. And will this help slow or reverse the warming? Nope.

No known mitigation strategy will amount to a hill of beans as the planet either warms or cools as it passes through its age-old climate cycles.

So here we go again: up the Green Shift hump and down the cap-and-trade trough to ruination of our rebounding economy. And all because Michael Ignatieff decided he wants to be our prime minister.

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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

And we’ve done it without Elizabeth May

The leader of the Green Party of Canada, Elizabeth May, can relax. There is no need for her to be in a rush to gain a seat in the House of Commons. The Tory government is apparently handling the environment file very well without her.

“If you look at carbon dioxide emissions per capita by member countries Canada is one of the highest. So is Australia. Why? Because you are two big producers. You have to look at the full picture.”

- Jean-Yves Garnier
International Energy Agency

A new International Energy Agency (IEA) report has said Canada is a stellar performer in improving energy efficiency and that Canada shouldn’t be portrayed as derelict in the fight to reduce climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions.

Jean-Yves Garnier, head of the IEA’s statistics division, told Canwest News Service, that the world needs countries like Canada. “One of our best examples, when I make a presentation on energy efficiency indicators, is Canada,” he said. He also dismissed criticisms that Canada’s reputation is questionable because of its failure to honour its Kyoto Protocol commitments, and the growth of the heavily polluting oil sands sector.

Nice that Stephen Harper is managing so well without Liz.

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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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Are global warming fears being driven more by political agendas than by science?

The Michael Coren Show on CTS gave us another treat last night when Coren had as his only guest Lord Christopher Monckton, former policy adviser to British prime minister Margaret Thatcher. Viscount Monckton of Brenchley—a well known critic of the mainstream scientific consensus on man-made or anthropogenic global warming—gave an entertaining and thought-provoking defence of his contention that global warming fears are being driven more by political agendas than by science.

“Al Gore has refused several times [to debate]. Here is a man who is paid $300,000 per speech and has his staff control all of the questions that are asked. People ask why he is so committed. Simple. He was a failed politician worth $2 million; he’s now a famous activist worth $200 million!”

- Christopher Monckton

I am sometimes critical of the guests Mr. Coren has on his show as I find panelists like Marilyn Churley (no longer on the show) and Andrea Calver lightweights who are in over their heads and not capable of offering much more than warmed over left-wing platitudes and talking points. But last night’s sole guest, Christopher Monckton, is no light-weight.

I remain agnostic on the whole global warming issue, although I’m more inclined to believe that the warming of the planet, such as there has been, is a natural climate change cycle that will not be slowed down or stopped by man’s prohibitively costly mitigation strategies as proposed by left-leaning journalists, politicians and false prophets like Al Gore and David Suzuki.

One thing Monckton made very clear: the debate is not over, or if it is, the dissenters have won. According to him, there are more than 700 major scientists who refute the notion that mankind is changing the climate by other than a minor degree. He points to the medieval warm period when Norsemen raised cattle in Greenland as proof there are climate change cycles that come and go regardless of man’s lifestyle.

One very interesting example Monckton gave of when the mainstream scientific community got it terribly wrong is as follows:

“Remember DDT, the pesticide used to kill mosquitoes that carried malaria. Jackie Kennedy read a book saying it was harmful, got her husband the president [John F. Kennedy] to bring pressure to have it banned and in 40 years 40 million people, mainly children, died. Now we’ve come to our senses and re-introduced it but only after the fashionable left did their damage.”

I hope I got his words right for this puts the current stifling of criticism of the mainstream view in perspective. Before governments waste billions in useless mitigation strategies and re-distribute billions of Western wealth to underdeveloped countries, we need sober second thought. And opposing views like Monckton’s are important. Hats off to CTS Television and Michael Coren for bringing those views to our attention.

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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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Grits use “team approach” as substitute for poor leadership from Michael Ignatieff

The inability of Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada to win a majority in the House of Commons has probably hurt the Liberal Party of Canada more than it has the Conservatives.

“Renewal will take many forms. It is my hope the Liberal Party of Canada will be guided by the views of each and every one of its members as we think about our policies, our structures and our methods of engaging with Canadians.”

- Michael Ignatieff
Jan. 2009

Because the Tories were only able to form minority governments, all parties had to be ready to return to the campaign trail at any time, thereby denying the Grits the time to truly renew their party after several years of in-fighting between the Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin factions.

In August 2006, the LPC, fresh from their Jan. 2006 defeat at the polls, published a report from their “Red Ribbon Task Force,” which acknowledged “that our [LPC’s] biggest challenge ahead is to remain competitive as a political body.” The Red Ribbon Task Force, which had been formed in 2005, made a whole slew of recommendations aimed at renewing and rejuvenating the party.

In Jan. 2009, Michael Ignatieff was still talking about “the establishment of a special committee to ensure the Liberal Party is well equipped during this critical period of reform and rejuvenation.” Whoa! Whatever happened to the Red Ribbon report of some two and a half years earlier? It proposed to do just that: reform and rejuvenate.

“Renewal will take many forms,” said Mr. Ignatieff in 2009. “It is my hope the Liberal Party of Canada will be guided by the views of each and every one of its members as we think about our policies, our structures and our methods of engaging with Canadians.” And Mr. Ignatieff said the special committee on party renewal will take into consideration the implementation of the 2006 reforms undertaken by the “Red Ribbon” task force.

Well, better late than never, I suppose.

The Grits live to govern. No other political party in Canada has the same level of expectation and entitlement as the Grits. And so long as there is a hint of a chance to regain office, the “natural ruling party of Canada” will not set aside their quest for power long enough to reform and renew a party which by its own admission faced the challenge of remaining competitive.

So eager were they to regain power, the Liberals set aside the opportunity to have their members select a leader of their own choosing. Instead the party allowed itself to set aside any semblance of democratic practice and be railroaded into a backroom deal by which it appointed a leader. A decent man like Dominic Leblanc never even got the chance to make his case to the membership.

As they have sown, now are the Liberals reaping frustration and discontent from among their ranks. Rumours persist that the supporters of failed leadership hopeful Bob Rae are feeding the media stories that reflect on the ineptness of current leader Michael Ignatieff. Apparently, Mr. Ignatieff has not told Rob Rae that the leadership race is over.

So shopworn has Mr. Ignatieff’s image so quickly become, the Grits are now trying to showcase their “team.”

In the past week we have been treated to the de-emphasizing of the leader and the emphasizing of a team-approach. But isn’t that exactly what happened when Stéphane Dion started to self-destruct… and look where that got them.

The Grits best—perhaps only—hope is that the Tory government self-destructs. The Grits have not the capacity to win power in the next four years or so, and so Liberals must stand helpless on the sidelines hoping the Tories will “lose it” and restore them to their rightful place in Ottawa.

And good luck with that.

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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

No Garth Turner to kick around

Apparently, Garth Turner has decided not to contest the nomination in Dufferin-Caledon for Liberal Party candidate in the next federal elaction. Too bad. I was looking forward to seeing Mr. Turner run in the next election and enjoying the controversy that inevitably follows the man.

Mr Turner’s political career has been in a downward spiral since his return to federal politics in 2006 when, as a Conservative, he beat Liberal Gary Carr in the riding of Halton, Ontario. Since then, he has been a Conservative MP, and independent MP, an almost Green Party MP, a Liberal MP and a losing Liberal candidate.

In Dufferin-Caledon I have been the only nominee for MP candidate since August. I’m interpreting the leader’s failure to allow a nomination meeting as a signal my views are unwelcome.

- Garth Turner

Now we hear that the notorious self-promoter feels miffed that Michael Ignatieff did not see fit to sign off on a nomination meeting in Dufferin-Caledon—a meeting at which Mr. Turner would have been the only candidate and, therefore, assured of victory.

I wonder why he decided to switch ridings in the first place. Did he fear that he would not be able to defeat MP Lisa Raitt? I suppose he must have. But it did seem odd that he’d desert his Halton supporters who stuck with him through his crossing of the floor from Conservative to independent to Liberal. Didn’t he owe them another shot at taking Halton back? Perhaps he thought he’d worn out his welcome there.

In my view, Mr. Turner is little more than an opportunist who wishes to get back into parliament to use an MP-status as a soapbox from which to sell his books and further his own finances. He will not really be missed by other than a few diehard supporters.

Steve Janke over at Angry in the Great White North has been following this story and has some inside stuff on it.

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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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Global cooling set to continue for another three decades

The realization that average temperatures have not increased for over a decade is adding credence to the argument that man’s influence on our climate is overstated, and that there are natural cycles over which we have no control that dictate the planet’s temperature.

The fact is that the warmest year recorded globally was in 1998—11 years ago—and climate models did not forecast it, even though man-made carbon dioxide has continued to rise.

This from BBC News:

According to research conducted by Professor Don Easterbrook from Western Washington University last November, the oceans and global temperatures are correlated.

The oceans, he says, have a cycle in which they warm and cool cyclically. The most important one is the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO).

For much of the 1980s and 1990s, it was in a positive cycle, that means warmer than average. And observations have revealed that global temperatures were warm too.

But in the last few years it has been losing its warmth and has recently started to cool down.

These cycles in the past have lasted for nearly 30 years.

So is this conclusive evidence that the notion that man is primarily responsible for global warming is wrongheaded? Perhaps not, but it does cast doubt on the theory. Enough doubt that our governments should not rush into spending billions on trying to stop/delay something that is probably inevitable.

Professor Easterbrook says: “The PDO cool mode has replaced the warm mode in the Pacific Ocean, virtually assuring us of about 30 years of global cooling.”

Should Professor Easterbrook’s prediction hold for, say, the next ten years, I can foresee the whole issue of manmade global warming being pushed onto a back burner by cash strapped governments struggling to haul their economies out of deficits and their nations out of crippling debt exacerbated by the last year’s financial crisis.

By that time we will have had some twenty years of cool temperatures, and the lib-left will have had to find some other cause célèbre to fund the massive income redistribution they are trying to slip past us.

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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is a very special day, for this is the time of year when we focus on giving thanks for all the blessings and gifts we Canadians are the recipients of. We are so fortunate to have found ourselves living in the most wonderful and unique country in the world.

Today we put aside the fact that many want to destroy us, and think about those who have helped to make Canada the best place to be.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Bob Rae doth protest too much

There was a time in the 1980s and 1990s when Bob Rae shied away from the label “socialist” as if it were nuclear waste. Even under direct questioning from journalists, Mr. Rae would perform verbal gymnastics to avoid answering a direct question like: are you a socialist? But, of course, he was and still is a socialist. He was, in fact, the leader of Ontario’s socialist party, after having served in federal parliament as a three-term member of the federal arm of Canada’s socialist party, the NDP.

He’s still trying to fool Canadians. This time he’s trying to convince us that he wholeheartedly supports the leader of his new party, Michael Ignatieff, despite having officially opposed him for leader on two separate occasions. Even when he was voted off the leadership ballot in Montreal in 2006, he refused to endorse Mr. Ignatieff—just couldn’t bring himself to support his former roommate and supposed friend of forty years.

“Michael and I have a very good relationship. We talk regularly, we talk on the phone all the time, we’re sitting next to each other in the House of Commons. We’ve known each other forty years and we know what we have to do.”

- Bob Rae,
Sunday on CTV

Having had his second attempt to gain the leadership of the LPC thwarted by a backroom deal, I can see no way that Bob Rae is sitting back and passively watching as Michael Ignatieff pilots the party into a mountainside. Rae is too much of a partisan for that—too much of a fighter.

Consider the following:

  • Rae opposed Ignatieff’s leadership in 2006 and again in 2008.
  • Rae was co-chairman of the Liberals’ platform development committee leading up to the 2008 election—Ignatieff has discarded virtually every plank in that left-leaning platform.
  • Rae was a prominent negotiator in last year’s Liberal-NDP coalition, and with Stéphane Dion pressured to resign as party leader, Rae took on the role of key coalition spokesman. Ignatieff reluctantly signed on with the vote-losing coalition, and ditched it as quickly as he could after becoming party leader.
  • Rae is rumoured to have long wanted to see the the NDP (or a large portion of it) merge with the Liberal Party—he sees this unite-the-left strategy as key to forming a Liberal government. Ignatieff shows no sign of adopting such a strategy.

In the final analysis though, I believe that Bob Rae knows Michael Ignatieff only too well, and knew that the professor did not have what it takes to lead a major Canadian political party. Rae’s forty-year friendship helped him see through Ignatieff from the beginning. And Rae knows that something has to be done to prevent the LPC from relegating itself to a decade of being in opposition.

The knives are out for Michael Ignatieff. and Bob Rae will be there to have his stab at the leader.

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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Election if necessary, but not necessarily an election?

The leader of the official opposition, Michael Ignatieff, changes the Liberal party line so often it’s really hard to know from one day to another just what he and his Ottawa crew stand for. A month ago in Sudbury, the erstwhile Harvard professor said he had lost confidence in the Stephen Harper government and would try to defeat it at the earliest possible date. “Your time is up,” he warned the prime minister

After a drop in the polls for support of his party and several pieces of good economic news, Mr. Ignatieff seems to have rewound the clock to give the Tories more time. Apparently, he has renewed confidence in Stephen Harper’s minority government—how very Jack Layton of him, don’t you think.

Mr. Ignatieff’s October 9 comment to CBC News is about as complete a capitulation to reality as you’ll find from a Grit leader. Here’s what he said:

“What I’ve said consistently for a month is in those cases where the government brings forth legislation we can support or approve or amend, we’ll do so. My strategy is not to make parliamentary government impossible.”

This is, of course, nothing like what he has said for the past month when he was promising Canadians an early election. Let’s remember the words of his finance critic, John McCallum, who said the following this past September when he admitted that it really didn't matter what was in the government’s economic statement [the then upcoming “economic report card”]:

“We Liberals have made our decision. We’re voting against the government, so in that sense the outcome is foregone.”

At that point, the economic report card had not even been delivered. So much for Mr. Ignatieff’s false claim that “those cases where the government brings forth legislation we can support or approve or amend, we’ll do so.” Contrast that with McCallum’s quote above.

As intellectually dishonest as Mr. Ignatieff has shown himself to be, I have to admire his instinct to avoid political suicide and a quick return to Britain or the United States.

Why should Canadians believe anything this man has to say? For months he has railed against Stephen Harper’s economic policies as being disastrous for the country, while in Europe we have Finance Minister Jim Flaherty being feted by Euromoney Institutional Investor plc. as they presented him with the prestigious Euromoney’s finance minister of the year for 2009 award.

Here, in part, is the citation delivered by Euromoney Institutional Investor’s chairman, Padraic Fallon, at a reception in Istanbul:

“Our winner has earned a reputation for maintaining a sound fiscal policy. His country’s economy has performed remarkably well, especially considering that it is so reliant on its next-door neighbour the US.

“Equally, his government has given the chance to his country’s banks to thrive. And thrive they have. Not one bank in Canada has failed. The World Bank says that Canada has safest financial system of any nation. That’s why it played a key role in the G8’s discussions this time last year. It’s no wonder that countries such as China are keen to learn about Canada’s regulatory system.”

How different this is from the stuff we get from the Liberal Party of Canada’s brain trust, including from their top man in Quebec, MP Marc Garneau who, back in July 2009, published a scathing denouncement of how “[prime minister] Harper has mishandled the recession.” The spaceman argued that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada have not responded properly to the global recession. Unbelievable! Perhaps he has spent too much time in orbit.

Wonder what the Grits’ official position will be next week? I guess they’ll have wait to see the polls before they decide which way to move.

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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Despite the bleats of the Grits, the Tories are obviously doing a great job

The Associated Press reports that, in September, Canada’s unemployment rate fell to 8.4 per cent and the country added 30,600 jobs. This is in sharp contrast to our largest trading partner, the United States, where last week its government said employers cut 263,000 jobs in September and its unemployment rate was at 9.8 percent.

After the 30,000 jobs created here last month, this marks the second consecutive month of growth in employment, and despite our obvious economic dependency on the United States, we have an unemployment rate that’s a point and a half lower.

Naysayers will, of course, question the quality of the jobs that were created. Statistics Canada, however, said 91,600 full-time jobs were added in September, offsetting the 61,000 loss in part-time employment. And September’s full-time increase is the largest since May 2006.

Once again we see tangible evidence that Canada is weathering the worldwide economic storm better than most. But despite the mounting evidence that this is a fact, Michael Ignatieff and his Liberal spin doctors continue to paint a bleak picture of the Canadian situation and promise to replace Stephen Harper and his Tories at their earliest opportunity.

Disingenuousness reigns supreme among moribund Grits. Virtually leaderless, they cling to outdated claims that they are a national party capable of forming an effective government.

One rogue element within the party has offered a private members’ bill that favours newly-arrived seniors (three-year residency) over Canadians who have lived here 10 years or longer, and has defied directives from the ineffectual Michael Ignatieff to not support the bill.

At the same time, the more mainstream socialist arm of the Liberal party is asking Canadians to offer refugee status to Americans and others who cowardly desert their armed services rather than fight for their country as they volunteered to do. These so-called Iraq war resisters could, of course, claim conscientious objector status and face the consequences in their own country. As one TV pundit mused aloud: are there enough jobs at the CBC to employ all these “war resisters?”

Thursday’s EKOS poll offers more confirmation that not only is Stephen Harper and the Grits doing a great job, but Canadians across our country recognize that fact in increasing numbers. The Tories are ahead of the Grits in every region of the country and in all major cities except Montreal. They also lead among women, the university-educated and Canadians born abroad, all former strongholds of the Liberals.

I shudder to think where this country would now be had Stéphane Dion and his socialist and separatist buddies taken over the reins of power last fall. And on this Thanksgiving weekend, I give thanks for Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada—long may they remain in office.

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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Tories lead Grits by 14 points

The news keeps getting better for the Tories and correspondingly worse for the Grits—and especially for Michael Ignatieff. A new EKOS poll confirms earlier reports that Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have edged up to majority territory while Michael Ignatieff has led his Liberals down into the land of look-behind, a place the Grits last inhabited under Stéphane Dion’s leadership.

In the land of look-behind, fear, uncertainty and apprehension stalk the footsteps of Liberal leaders like Michael Ignatieff and Dalton McGuinty, who this week seem in full retreat.

The EKOS poll—full report here—shows the CPC at nearly 40 per cent and the LPC at just above 25 per cent. Not since the departure of Stéphane Dion has the LPC sunk so low. Here are the national results:

Conservatives: 39.7 (+3.7)
Liberals: 25.7 (-4.0)
NDP: 15.2 (+1.3)
Green: 9.7 (-0.8)
Bloc Quebecois (in Quebec): 38.7 (-0.9)

And here are the results for Ontario:

Conservatives: 43.8 (+3.8)
Liberals: 32.5 (-3.2)
NDP: 13.9 (+0.5)
Green: 9.7 (-1.1)

Even in Quebec, where Michael Ignatieff was expected to break through and rival the Bloc, the outlook is gloomy. The Conservatives have now taken a slight lead over the Grits. And wonder of wonders, the Conservatives lead the Liberals by over 9 per cent in the city of Toronto.

The Tories are ahead of the Grits in every region of the country and in all major cities except Montreal. They also lead among women, the university-educated and Canadians born abroad, all former strongholds of the Liberals.

In less than a year, Michael Ignatieff, who has spent almost all his adult life outside Canada, has managed to alienate Canadians in every region. His lack of natural leadership skill and basic misunderstanding of Canadians’ wants and needs are sinking his party—and there is no bench strength to pick up the slack.

Waiting not so patiently in the wings are leadership hopefuls Gerard Kennedy and Bob Rae, both dyed in the wool socialists, and Denis Coderre and Martin Cauchon, two light-weights from Quebec. There are other stalkers in the land of look-behind, who are more likely to grease Ignatieff’s skids than give him a hand up.

And he needn’t look to John McCallum who does not even know what make of car he drives (or lies about it), or to the totally ineffectual ex-Tory Scott Brison. And he can’t look to Ujjal Dosanjh—he is so left-wing he makes Bob Rae seen almost conservative.

One of the few bright lights of the Liberal Party, Dominic Leblanc, was rudely shunted aside in the rush to anoint Ignatieff as leader and may be too gun-shy to stick up his head again.

In politics, as with life in general, fortunes ebb and flow. I know that. But for now I’m loving the new poll.

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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Kurt Westergaard and the Danish Cartoons

When one watches the Michael Coren Show on CTS TV, one must bear with the banalities of panelists like Andrea Calver and Marilyn Churley. You do so so that you don’t miss one of the many gems the show produces. Tuesday night produced just one of those gems—Kurt Westergaard was a guest on the show.

Kurt Westergaard is the Danish cartoonist responsible for the now infamous cartoon showing an image of Mohammed with a bomb instead of a turban.

Readers may remember the outrage and violence in the storm of protest in Muslim countries—dozens were murdered—that followed the publishing of the so-called “Danish Cartoons” in a Danish newspaper a couple of years ago.

Fallout from the cartoons could be felt here in Canada as Ezra Levant can attest—he spent a reported $100,000 to depend himself against Section 13 charges by the Alberta Human Rights Commission. The charges were later dropped, but the controversy continues.

Looking at the most offensive cartoon of the series—Mr. Westergaard’s work—which is pictured above, it’s hard to imagine that so many people were killed and that its creator is forced to live in fear for his life to this day.

Kurt Westergaard is soft-spoken and seems a gentle soul. He seems not to be a bigot in any sense. He quietly explained how much his life has changed since he penned the cartoon. Now he moves from house to house on a regular basis and uses 10 different cars to help ensure his safety—three men have been arrested in Denmark for plotting to kill him.

Apparently, Imams from Denmark took his cartoon along with others about a year after publication and used them to whip up a violent reaction in the Muslim world. Destruction of Danish Embassies, threats to the physical safety of Danish personnel and acts of violence against indigenous Christian populations quickly followed. All because of a cartoon, for goodness sake.

So irrational was the response, that anger was directed at Danes and other Christians who were not even vaguely connected to Mr. Westergaard or any of the other cartoonists or even to the newspapers that published the cartoons. Just mindless rage.

I am mindful of and grateful for the fact that courageous men like Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant have fought for free expression in this country and have forced our human rights apparatus to pull back from their path to destroy the right of Canadians to express themselves in a reasonable way. This makes it possible for Michael Coren to have Kurt Westergaard on his show and for me to show the cartoon on this page.

Now, if only our politicians will do their jobs and dismantle the egregious human rights apparatus as it currently exists.

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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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Time for housecleaning at Queen’s Park

The Ontario government’s Auditor General Jim McCarter released his much anticipated report into the eHealth Ontario spending  scandal, and the situation at eHealth and in the Ministry of Health is far worse than even a cynic like me had imagined. The bottom line is, according to the audit report:

“Ontario taxpayers have not received value for money for this $1-billion investment.”

Perhaps as troubling is Mr. McCarter’s claim that senior health bureaucrats tried to delay access by his investigators into eHealth for an audit in the summer of 2008. That audit was not performed until February 2009.

For many weeks now the opposition parties have been pleading with Premier Dalton McGuinty to do the right thing and fire the minister of health. But Premier McGuinty refused. Finally, on the eve of the release of this scathing report, Health Minister David Caplan announced that he is stepping down. Shortly thereafter, Premier McGuinty announced that Children and Youth Services Minister Deb Matthews will take over Caplan’s portfolio.

And what about Deputy Premier George Smitherman? Shouldn’t he resign also? After all, he served as health minister for five years, and Mr. Caplan only took over from him about a year ago. Rumours have been circulating that George Smitherman plans to run for mayor of Toronto—just what the citizens of Toronto need.

The lack of financial oversight by Premier McGuinty is shocking. And let’s not kid ourselves, these practices are not limited to the health ministry. The only way the people of Ontario will have any confidence that the root of the corruption has been dug out is for there to be a full public inquiry. As expensive as these inquiries can be, there are apparently billions of misspent taxpayers’ money at stake, and we need to know what the heck is going on.

To get just a taste of the extent of wrongdoing by McGuinty’s pals, see here, here and here.

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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ruby Dhalla has become a loose canon in the Liberal tent

The former Liberal multiculturalism critic Ruby Dhalla, about whom the Toronto Star uncovered allegations of mistreatment by two caregivers who worked for the Dhalla family, has sparked speculation about her defecting to the conservatives. Sounds very unlikely to me that Ms. Dhalla, Liberal MP for Brampton-Springdale, would find a home in the CPC, but we know about politics making strange bedfellows.

Apparently, rumours have her defecting to the Conservatives because her own party has refused to back her private member’s bill to increase old-age benefits to immigrant seniors. Add to that the way her fellow Liberal MP’s quickly deserted her when she had her problems earlier this year.

A Conservative source suggested Ms. Dhalla was circulating the defection rumours to send a message to her own party about its rejection of her private member’s bill.

The Toronto Star has reported that as many as three Liberal MPs have indicated interest in crossing the floor to the Tory side in the past month. Apparently, Liberals immediately dismissed the talk as Conservative mischief, saying it is the government that is on a raiding mission. If there’s anything to the rumour, speculation is that Ms. Dhalla is not likely to be among the three defectors. So that puts the number of disgruntled Grit MPs at four.

While the defection of three or four Liberal MPs would not get the Tories into majority territory, it would be another blow to Michael Ignatieff, who just lost his Quebec lieutenant, Denis Coderre, in a tug-of-war over which candidate should run in the high-profile Montreal riding of Outremont.

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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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Free speech warriors go to Ottawa

We are very fortunate to have knowledgeable courageous individuals like Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant to lead the charge to have Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act abolished and with it the whole human rights apparatus that threatens to smother free expression in Canada.

These individuals went to Ottawa yesterday to testify at the House Standing Committee on Justice’s hearing on Section 13. They were shining beacons of light in that place of cloudy, muddled thinking where pomposity and political correctness is offered as a fair substitute for intellectual discourse.

When you watch the videos of the hearings (see Ezra Levant’s blog) you will see what I mean. After all that has been reported and written about Section 13, including the personal behaviour of the Canadian Human Rights Commission’s chair, Jennifer Lynch, you’d think there would be more action by our government—or for that matter opposition MPs.

Our elected representatives, with a few notable exceptions, are cowards on this one. They want to dodge their legislative responsibility and leave the matter up to our courts to remedy this egregious law. They are the legislators, not the courts. It is to them that Canadians look to fix this. But good luck with that.

Think about it folks: we have a commission that is supposed to be there to protect us and which believes that truth is not a defence and that incitement to contempt can be equated to incitement to violence.

Ujjal Dosanjh—who was argumentative and taunted the witnesses—and Joe Comartin were especially pompous. Clearly, the stars of the show were Levant and Steyn and they made the sitting members seem posturing, light-weight and ineffectual if not totally inept. Stephen Woodworth was one who seemed to “get it” but in a wishy washy sort of way. And the contributions of Brent Rathgeber were minimal and bordered on trivial at times.

Watch the videos and decide for yourselves.

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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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Monday, October 5, 2009

Time for some Tory spokespersons to grow up

This past Sunday, I watched CTV’s Question Period with hosts Jane Taber and Craig Oliver. The two did a great job of giving the Grits on the show a good old-fashioned spanking. This I found rather surprising since they are usually cheerleaders for the Grits.

But what really appalled me was the performance of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s parliamentary assistant, Pierre Poilievre.

His adolescent behaviour was disappointing at best as he ignored every question or request for opinion and offered instead a silly “commercial” for the economic stimulus the government has used to try fight the world-wide financial crisis to get us out of the recession.

Question Period is a serious program on which serious issues of national importance are discussed. It is to programs like these that many of us tune in to hear adult discussion of the political topics of the week. Mr. Poilievre’s disrespect for the audience was insulting.

These are serious times, and Mr. Poilievre’s performance was reminiscent of the sort of silly, school-boy tactics we were treated to after the last federal election. Those tactics, in part, precipitated a political crisis last fall and in a drop in public support for the party this past summer. Our elected members seemed to have learned a lesson for we saw a definite improvement in their behaviour over the past several months. But I guess some leopards just can’t can’t change their spots. As soon as the opposition loses its teeth, they return to form.

It’s time for these caucus members to grow up and recognize that they are voted for by adults. And they are sent to parliament to represent us, not to some high school debating society where their silly tactics might buy them a cheer or too.

I, for one, want serious adult representation, not boyish nonsense.

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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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Denis Coderre backpedals as Grits face dark days

The Liberal Party of Canada’s MP Denis Coderre quit as Michael Ignatieff’s Quebec lieutenant with a public statement that was deeply divisive for that party when he blamed Ignatieff’s Toronto gang for his departure. He now seems to have recognized the extent of the damage he has wrought with his public sniping at his lackluster leader, and is desperately trying to mend fences by backpedalling faster than an Olympic cyclist.

To that end, the Montreal MP appeared on the TV talk show in Quebec, Tout le monde en parle on Sunday and tried to mend fences after his claim that the LPC is run by Torontonians.

I doubt that his apparent willingness to extend an olive branch to Michael Ignatieff will get him back into the fold much less into the inner circle of the Toronto-centric Grits.

It’s interesting to see how spectacular has been the crash-and-burn ending of the Michael Ignatieff’s honeymoon with the mainstream media (MSM). Watching the CTV Sunday afternoon show, Question Period, I was struck by the change in the tone of co-hosts Jane Taber and Craig Oliver in their questioning of Grit representatives.

Weeks ago, Grits got a free pass as the co-hosts cheered on. Now, however, Grits are slowly turned on a spit of pointed questions while Tory spokespersons deliver party commercials to sell the their economic policies.

Turn around is fair play, I suppose. And it shows how fickle the MSM can be. I am reminded that, when the MSM turned on Paul Martin and his hapless replacement Stéphane Dion, those two were doomed—though it took a general election to deliver the coup de grâce.

These are dark days indeed for the federal Grits. As reported by the Chronicle Herald, one “can feel the gloom on Parliament Hill, with Liberal staffers and politicians making black jokes and grimacing at their falling fortunes.”

And apparently, Scott Reid, who was director of communications for former prime minister Paul Martin, has admitted that the federal Liberals are actually doing worse than the polls show, referring to the fact that Stephen Harper’s Conservatives, who were neck and neck with the Liberals all summer, moved decisively ahead this fall and now lead by 10 points.

As Mr. Coderre so aptly put it, “When the toothpaste is out of the tube, you can’t put it back in.”

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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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