Too green for primetime

So, the networks have decided, after certain unnamed political parties threatened to boycott a televised leadership debate that included Elizabeth May, that “it is better to broadcast the debates with the four major party leaders, rather than not at all.” I have a feeling May will have no problem finding a pulpit to preach from, if not a podium with the other talking heads. After watching only a few hours of campaign coverage two things are obvious: Elizabeth May is good television, and the networks know it. If no amount of bellyaching or lawsuit threats is sufficient to secure her time in the leadership debate spotlight, she will no doubt benefit from one-on-one interviews with the Peter Robertson’s and Don Duffy’s of Canadian Broadcasting.

Is the decision of the networks fair? I really haven’t thought about it, yet. Let me tell you what I have thought about. The Green Party has little to add to a national election forum than the infectious passion of May herself. The Green Party remains largely a one issue party and the environment is currently well represented by the NDP- long acknowledged by environmentalists as the greenest of the contenders, and the Liberal Party- after years of pretending the green shift is the real deal.

Harper has apparently suggested he suspects May will withdraw and back the Liberals. What is more likely is that she pulls a CAW and encourages supporters to vote for whoever is best suited to defeating the local Conservative candidate. Before she falls on her sword, how many Green supporters will she convince that their vote can not be trusted in the hands of a traditional party? Green Voters, please remember that passion is not a substitute for policy! This country needs more than a 21st century environmental policy. There are ideological homes for you here, or here!



Election wish list

What should Canada’s role be in Afghanistan? If I were able to choose the ballot question, this would be it. I beleive events such as this, and this have not resulted in the quality of debate worthy of theses tragedies. Most media reports of Canadian casualties are accompanied with a quote from a friend or family member of the fallen soldier expressing the commitment of the deceased to the mission, but I wonder to what extent this commitment is sound and true. Few Canadian soldiers would have heard anything other than that their work in Afghanistan is good, and right, and necessary from their commanding officers. Few Canadian troops serving in Afghanistan, even those who don’t support the mission, would have told their family, as they board their flight to a war zone, anything other than their work is good, and right, and necessary.

I know I’ve freaked out about this issue before, but where is the progress? And if there is no progress, where is the debate?! Hopefully prior ‘consensus’ between Canada’s ‘major’ parties (the party that sent the troops there, and the party that hasn’t brought them home) won’t prevent the mission from being a high profile issue this election campaign .


Elections past and future

So, Gnomes doesn’t think the Liberals have a chance at winning an upcoming election. Of course, he is right. Liberals should take comfort in the seeming economic downturn befalling our nation, at least the heartless, power-hungry among them should take comfort, for economic downturn breeds a bitter electorate. Liberals with a heart should…vote NDP.

Let’s take a look at those important elections in Canadian history where Canadians opted to throw the bums out. You will see that few things rile a Canadian voter like a sluggish economy. But first, my prediction: The Conservatives will win any upcoming election, but I’d bet the farm they can’t make it three in a row. Here’s hoping they don’t pull off a majority. The sooner my dissatisfaction with a Conservative government can become dissatisfaction with a Liberal government, the better.

2006 – The RCMP accuse then Finance Minister, Ralph Goodale, of insider trading on 27 December 2005.
Cause: Liberal Corruption/Perceived Liberal Corruption. I’m not even going to try to pass this off as being about the economy!
Effect: Change of Government

1993- In Mulroney’s second, smaller, mandate the Conservative government set their sights on the Federal Debt. Bank of Canada Governor John Crow embarks on an ambitious interest rate increase. Economy stagnates, unemployment increases.
Cause: Economy
Effect: Change of Government

1984- “You had an option, Sir.” I wonder what might have been if Cornelius the First had been allowed to enter the leaders debate.
Cause: Liberal Corruption
Effect: Change of Government

1979- High unemployment, high inflation, high time for a change in government.
Cause: Economy
Effect: Change of Government

1962 and 1963- High unemployment and sluggish economy transform Diefenbaker’s then record majority to a minority in ’62, then cast the Tories to the opposition benches the following year. Things got so bad that Pearson actually suggested in the House of Commons that the Tories hand the reigns of government over to the Liberals without an election.
Effect: Change of Government

1957 and 1958
Cause: Young Conservative supporter falling off stage at Liberal Rally.
Effect: Change of Government. No kidding, look it up.

1935- Great Depression!
Cause: Economy
Effect: Change of Government

1930- Watch out! Here comes the Great Depression!
Cause: Economy
Effect: Change of Government

1921- Conscription Crisis Fallout
Cause: Election tampering and the distrust it creates
Effect: Change of Government

1911- The free-trading, prairie supported Liberals versus the protectionist Conservatives (No kidding, look it up) with a pinch of Quebec Nationalism to make things interesting .
Cause: I’m going with Economy
Effect: Change of Government

~ Manatee

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa

Ah, a double-front election season.  More than enough to draw Gnomes out of hiding.  But where to begin?  Despite all the excitement down south, let’s stay north of the border for now.  So, shall we go with “Our election law was never meant to apply to us?”  Or, in honour of a soon to be ex-MP, “Ken Epp’s Greatest Hits”?

While I’m sure I will get to both of those in time, I think it’s necessary to begin with some catchup.  Reading over my last few posts makes 2006 seem like a long, long time ago.  Was I ever actually foolish enough to be hopeful about Dion’s leadership of the Liberals?  Impossible.

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May I see some ID please?

My jaw is just now beginning to rise after catching this story on the evening news. Isn’t it reassuring to know that our Premier objects to pre-teens working in bars. I wonder where provincial bureaucrats would have gotten the idea that something like this was ok in Alberta.


Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

How is this for an inconvenient truth? The more the climate changes, the more Alberta politics remains the same.

Last week the Stelmach government unveiled its ‘solution’ to the climate change crisis, bill 3, and was promptly accused of “legislating a trajectory of continued emissions growth” by the Pembina Institute. Today scurrilous Environment Minister Rob Renner, using a page from the Klein government playbook, announced he is taking the show on the road to hear from ordinary Albertans about what the next steps in combating climate change should be. Opposition members called today’s announcement “a delaying tactic” and a “PR exercise”. I call it the most fasionable co-option of Albertan participation in the production of rubbish public policy under democratic pretensions since taxpayers spent half a million bucks to find out that health and education were still a priority.


Card tricks

Attack ads outside of an election campaign? That gives off an aroma closer to the refined essence of desperation than a choking cloud of cheap cologne. And the environment card? Really? Attacking the Liberals on their environmental record? Really?

Now, the Liberal’s failure to make any significant effort to combat climate change is truly appalling, but when you’ve spent the past decade claiming that Kyoto’s meagre targets were unreachable and that climate change science was bunk, maybe it’s best not to bring up the past at all. What’s the Conservative motto here? “They were almost as abysmal as we would have been!”?

As for the question “Do you think it is easy to make priorities?”, I’m not really sure where the Conservatives are going with that. I’d have to say no, it isn’t easy to make priorities, given the myriad problems facing our country and the limited resources of government to address them. I can’t imagine the process that generated the Conservatives’ list of priorities – tax breaks, cancelling daycare spaces, abandoning international treaties, abandoning First Nations treaties, gutting Status of Women Canada, killing the Court Challenges Program and Law Commission of Canada, and finding time for yet another vote on SSM – but I’m sure it wasn’t “easy”. Surely not that. Surely it’s not easy when your priorities force you to miss the International AIDS Conference when it’s being held in Toronto.

Attack ads play by their nature on fear, anger and stupidity. So really, I suppose, it’s just playing to their base.


One of these things is not like the other?

Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, in the last election we promised Canadians a genuinely free vote on the issue in the House of Commons. My party, including the cabinet of my party, will vote freely on this issue.

I know that the new Leader of the Opposition has said he will not allow a free vote by his caucus members. I hope that proves not to be the case because I think the rights of members of Parliament are some of the most important rights we have in this country.


In case you were wondering, the issue in question is not whether Québec is a nation. For that vote, held just over a week ago, Harper whipped his cabinet, forcing a minister to resign rather than support it. Apparently Harper doesn’t think recognizing ethnic groups as nations constitutes a moral issue. Or he’s just a hypocrite. One of those.


Nice guys finish first

What a difference a day makes. Drunk on two leadership conventions and a quarter bottle of gin, Gnomes is basking in political overload. A proud two-minute-tory, I cast my vote for Ed Stelmach (or rather, against Ted Morton), and directed my goodwill towards Stéphan Dion. In the former case, it seems that I was part of a rather significant and perhaps decisive movement, while the latter effort remains purely a matter of faith. My earlier infatuation with Ignatieff, and predictions of his success, were but youthful indiscretions. I am older now, and, I hope, a little wiser.

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Ed who?

Well, I’ll be buying that PC membership now. If Morton receives an endorsement from Oberg — or even Norris — I’ll be very nervous indeed.

The one thing that impressed me, though, was Ed Stelmach’s strong showing. With Hancock’s support, he might even be a contender. If he could get Oberg and Norris’ support as well, and if those three could actually deliver two thirds of their voters, Stelmach would be in a position to knock Morton off in the first round of the second ballot. Morton’s supporters would almost certainly go overwhelmingly to Stelmach over Dinning, giving him the votes needed to win.

It’s a longshot with two big ifs, but I wouldn’t be surprised. This race has been described as being driven both anybody-but-Dinning and anybody-but-Morton, and that anybody is now Steady Eddie Stelmach.


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