03.26.2011 08:30 AM

KCCCC Day One: here we go!

  • As I type this, Stephen Harper is standing outside Rideau Hall, declaring that an election is underway:  So here we go, Canada!
  • Why, why, why, why did you force an election, Iggy? I got a few really nasty missives from pseudonymous gutless wonders about my Sun Media column yesterday – and more than a few attacks on Ipsos, about whose poll I had columnized.  These anonymous critics hissed that Ipsos and I were dead wrong about the Tory-Grit gap, that we were in the service of Satan, blah blah blah. Well, the Star/La Presse poll on the front page of this morning’s papers kind of suggests that Ipsos and I weren’t so far off the mark, doesn’t it?  “The survey of 2,365 Canadians reveals the Conservatives are in the lead nationally with 39 per cent support, the Liberals at 25 per cent, and the New Democrats at 19 per cent. The Bloc Québécois has 10 per cent support and the Green Party 7 per cent.” So, once again, with feeling: why did the Liberal leader and his “brain trust” elect to force an election?  Why?
  • And that’s not all the Grit misery we have to report, folks! The English media haven’t (typically) picked up on this beaut, yet.  Here’s Bellevance: “Seulement 11% des Québécois comptent voter pour un candidat libéral le 2 mai, révèle un sondage CROP-La Presse réalisé du 16 au 21 mars auprès de 1000 personnes. Le Bloc québécois recueille 38% des intentions de vote, et le Parti conservateur maintient ses appuis à 23%. Le NPD arrive troisième avec 20%, et le Parti vert est bon dernier avec 8%.” You don’t need to understand français to absorb that bombshell: in Quebec, Bloc 38, Conservatives 23, NDP 20, and the Liberals at 11 PER CENT. Jesus H. Christ: that’s the lowest the LPC has ever been in la belle province, I reckon.  Once again, with feeling: why did OLO force an election?  If you’re a Lib, like me, expect to repeat that to yourself about a kabillion times in the next 36 days.
  • Best opening day statement: Jack Layton, hands down.  All of the leaders were good, but Layton’s Montreal HQ speech was very impressive.  Hit all the right notes in the right way.  Amazing visuals, with crowd of flag-waving supporters behind him.  Not bad.
  • Big winners so far: Speaker Peter Milliken, Stockwell Day, Albina Guarnieri, Chuck Strahl et al.  They all announced, poignantly, that they weren’t running again.  For the most part, all of them served Canada well, and we Canadians should all be grateful for that.  The best to them and their families. And, speaking for myself, I will miss you in particular, Stock.  I trust the feeling is mutual.
  • Big losers yesterday: Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff – Harper for his appalling absence during the tribute to Milliken, and Ignatieff for being unprepared (and looking it) for the coalition question he has known that has been coming for two years. Milliken was respected and loved on all sides of the House; why Harper wasn’t there to pay tribute to him is unforgivable.  Ignatieff, meanwhile, has since clarified his coalition stance, but I remain mystified why he and OLO senior staff were so clearly unprepared for the Reformatories’ favourite smear.  It’s game time folks: wakey, wakey!


  1. Bell says:

    My God, who is advising Iggy? Does he really believe that any Canadian cares whether or not Harper is in “contempt of parliamentary traditions”. I can understand using that as a maneuver to drive a non-confidence vote but to use it as your opening statement of an election campaign? It’s like Harper is writing the script for this guy.

  2. Bell says:

    Ok. Now he and his team did a scripted team laugh at a reporters question completely humiliating her. I don’t know who that reporter is but I am pretty sure they just lost her vote.

    If he keeps this up this campaign is going to be like watching a car crash in slow motion over 36 days.

    • Cat says:

      This will be the biggest mistake of his campaign Bell. I saw it and was really shocked in that it not only appeared very arrogant of Ignatieff to respond that way to a reporter but the reporter’s question was a good one – the laughter equals a guy unprepared to answer….as Warren has mentioned in his post. He also fumbled with answers. He should also cut the cord with his entourage – they allow focus to move OFF the leader – maybe that’s the plan. If it is Donolo better make sure he has the bobbles and expressions coordinated a bit better.
      Agree too Warren that Layton’s offering was the best one today.

      So, did you decide on a Bart replacement or are you going it alone?

    • I saw that and cringed as well. Two days – two gaffes – maybe they are getting rid of all the gaffes at the beginning?

  3. JStanton says:

    It’s inconceivable that Mr. Ignatieff would deny us a Liberal government, if it simply required a coalition arrangement with another party. By giving legitimacy to Mr. Harper’s pejorative framing of coalitions, Mr. Ignatieff paints himself into a corner.

    All he need do is make the point that his job is to find the way to a Liberal government, using any and all of the methods made available to him by our parliamentary institutions.

    The only people that refuse to inform themselves sufficiently about those institutions, are Mr. Harper’s flat-earthers, and, while they make a lot of noise, and the MSM loves to speak breathlessly about it, they are never going to vote Liberal anyway.

    When is Mr. Ignatieff going to stop reacting to Mr. Harper, and take the initiative? Let’s see some cut-to-the-bone stories about Mr. Harper’s record, and the opportunity cost of his tenure. Let’s take a good look at Mr. Harper himself, in order to fully understand how he took a robust society and economy, and proceeded to trash them simply on the basis of his own a whims.

    Mr. Ignatieff had better pull out ALL of the stops. The thought of Mr. Harper’s gloat, should Mr. Ignatieff hold back and give him his victory, I find nauseating.


  4. Michael Reintjes says:

    I agree…If Iggy doesn’t start talking jobs and economy and park the non issue stuff he’s going to be shining your shoes. Who’s running that show?

  5. Lance says:

    11%? OMG That has to be a typo.

  6. Dennis Mills says:

    My first Liberal prediction goes to Alyssa Brierly Liberal Burlington. Winner! My intention is to give you a new one every day throughout the election.

    • james Smith says:

      Alyssa is an amazing find for our riding! Look out Mike W, your cat calls in the House are about at an end.

      • James Curran says:

        Am I missing something? Isn’t is a contested nomination slated for TOMORROW? shouldn’t she win the nomination tomorrow first? Or, is there some insider knowledge we here as members don’t know about tomorrow’s contest?

  7. Al in Cranbrook says:

    As I said earlier…

    Three left wing parties find a right wing minority government in contempt of them and their partisan nonsense.

    That no doubt might have traction amongst committed Libs and Dippers, but not much with anyone else.


    Listening to Layton right now, I’d suggest the walls just may be about to close in around Ignatieff et al.

  8. Mike says:

    Here is a comment on a Crooked Timber John Quiggin post by Jacob T. Levy. He might be close:

    “I’ve heard it sincerely said that this is just Ignatieff being impatient; he’s going to give it his one try, and if it doesn’t work, he might as well get on with his life.

    My own hunch is something more like: there are still enough Liberals who believe in their hearts that they are the natural party of (majority) government and that any other outcome is an aberration, and in particular that Harper is a kind of un-Canadian alien force that the country’s immune system is surely going to reject eventually, that the party’s just willing to roll the dice an extra time , polls be damned. (And this belief is related to their allergy to coalitions, as well.) And Ignatieff is so sure of himself as a debater and charismatic leader that he’s sure he’ll crush Harper in debates.

    And I think the official answer is: the voters haven’t had time to absorb a recent round of ethics problems, but a campaign that focuses attention on them while they’re fresh has a better chance of knocking Harper off than trying to remind voters two years hence of something they didn’t really care about at the time.

    In any case, the answer’s far from obvious, and has a lot of my Canadian left-leaning friends shaking their heads in puzzlement.”

  9. Al in Cranbrook says:


    Canada: CPC – 39%, Libs – 22%

    Ontario: CPC 41%, Libs – 31%

    BC: CPC – 41%, NDP – 28%, Libs – 21%

    Quebec: BLOC – 39%, CPC – 22%, Libs – 18%, NDP – 16%

    Sampling of 3539.

  10. Bruce Wayne says:

    Warren, just out of curiosity, have you ever talked to Day? How did that go?

    • Warren says:

      Yep. Saw him on H of C stairwell. I said: “Good morning, Minister. How are you.” he said: “Good morning.”

      That was it.

      • JStanton says:

        Despite the rough and tumble of competitive politics, and a certain exclusionary world view, Mr. Day turned out to be one of the good ones. Decent, ethical, competent and fair. If Mr. Harper had only a handful like Mr. Day, the last 5 years would have been far more rosy for everyone.

        Conservatives will feel the loss of not having him on their team. He’s a great Canadian.

        But then, I have always had a soft spot for old warhorses.

        • The Doctor says:

          Day wasn’t some sort of freakazoid when he was Alberta Treasurer. He was for the most part a roll-up-your-sleeves-and-do-a-good-honest-job sorta guy. For that reason, I wasn’t surprised that he did a good job overall as a federal cabinet minister. This is despite the fact that I find his religious views to be way out there.

      • HarryR says:

        Perhaps he thought you were about to let loose the plush dinosaurs of war, Mr K.

  11. Al in Cranbrook says:

    “Goodies for corporations”???

    That sounded more like Lewis/Broadbent/Layton/pick one than any Liberal leader I can remember.

    …and Canadian business and industry leaders (and John Manley) shakes their heads in disbelief.

    • Even Jack doesn`t speak that way any more. I think Ignatieff`s advisors are still of the opinion that nobody noticed that Liberals always run “left” and govern “right”……..hmmmm.

  12. Herta says:

    Maybe none of you seem to think Parliament and the information it has access to is important, but I do. And so do many of my friends. Obviously I am not as politically connected or as “in the know” as frequent posters to this blog, however, I’m not so sure the Conservatives have it in the bag. As I was driving to do my grocery shopping this morning I was listening to Mr. Harper at Rideay Hall, with my blood fairly boiling. How is it that not a single reporter brought up the issue of contempt of parliament (other than as a brief afterthought)? How is it that coalitions have entered the territory of “illegitimate” and the next best thing to treason? And why were questions surrounding Mr. Harper’s own attempts at coalitions not questioned more sharply? Have the MSM hired dunces or are they in Mr. Harper”s employ?

    Furthermore, have all of the mainstream media elected Mr. Harper on our behalf? Have a look at the pictures over the past week – continued horrendous, ugly pictures of Ignatieff, Duceppe and Layton while Mr. Harper is made to look good. It’s obvious that there’s a concerted effort on the part of the MSM to create a Tory majority. I’m sick of them all and I’m sick of the pundits too. As an ordinary Canadian I am rooting for an upset that would shock and surprise all of the Toronto/Ottawa club.

    • JenS says:

      I really do agree the insiders’ view of the world, and their over-reliance on polls and inside information, skews their view of how ordinary Canadians see things. And the “insider” label can be aptly applied to the political media, too. That job, by its nature, attracts political people and being on the inside can skew those views further.

    • Bell says:

      My view is that most Canadians only perspective on parliament is the highlights from question period which periodically are displayed on the news. Seeing their elected officials throwing insults at each other and responding like a bunch of trained monkeys does not leave a very positive impression of our parliamentary traditions. If someone is in contempt of that who really cares?

    • The Other Jim says:

      Ordinary Canadians don’t ramble on about “MSM” or contempt of parliament. Sorry, they just don’t.

    • Herta – did you not watch those committee meetings that brought the “contempt” motion in to being?

      Did you not see the tons of binders full of information sitting on the table? Not that anybody ever reads these things.

      They had the motion written before they ever heard a witness.

      They could do this only because they were in the majority.

      This is the kind of democracy that the Opposition wants?

  13. Dr.J says:

    I must say that Jack did look great, with a rocking crowd and atmosphere. Meanwhile the Liberals are doing the same old “team” thing..is the Liberals going to do the “Team Iggy” theme like “Team Martin”?

    • Bell says:

      I think the team thing works better when you are in office and you have a bunch of high profile cabinet ministers who Canadians know and trust. Iggy’s folks seem like a bunch of unknowns and look like the parent teacher committee at the local elementary school.

  14. CQ says:

    Other ‘Day One’ items: Yesterday it was a Canadian chosen to command the no-fly zone over Libya. Tomorrow night, Arcade Fire will aim to complete a triple crown of Grammy, Brit, and Juno Award recognition. What is the campaign slogan for Liberals, “We’ve lost our standing at the UN (and throughout the world)!”? Do the NDP also sing, “Bring our troops home, now!”?

  15. Phil says:

    Warren, who’s the incompetent imbecile who advised Iggy to play Polk-a-Dot Door yesterday and not rule out a coalition of the socialists and separatists? Was it Iggy himself who decided to play it that way or someone else? My god man, he had how many years to prepare himself for that question and to PROPERLY answer it? What a ridiculous showing… you can’t make this stuff up! Fire the man who was in charge of this fiasco!

  16. hugger says:

    At the risk of being hit by a chunk of falling sky while passing through, I would point out that the latest Ekos poll was a sampling of 2,500 people last week, and another 2,500 this week. Graves wanted to be doubly sure of the accuracy apparently. There’s a video of an interview with Evan Solomon where Graves speaks about his methods etc. and states quite clearly that Ipsos numbers are dubious. It can be found at the cbc news site for those interested.

    Another interesting detail / factor; CPC ran 6,200 ads recently compared to 1,000 for the NDP and 150 for the Liberals.

    The Battle has just begun.

  17. Helen says:

    Another blogger posted the following.
    Ignatieff does NOT have to SIGN a new coalition because…

    FACT: the Coalition doesn’t expire until June 30 2011. It’s already a formal agreement. The Bloc and the NDP aren’t taking it off the table. Iggy signed the document which bears the agreement. His statements today are misleading and he will join the Bloc under the terms he signed. Make no mistake this is a desperate man with a hidden agenda

    • hugger says:

      The SKY is falling! The SKY is falling! And the Bolsheviks are at the Gates.

      • hugger says:

        So when is the press going to ask Harper if he promises not to pull a 2004 again? When are they going to ask him if he promises not to try to form a coalition?

        I can see him curling his upper lip now.

        • hugger says:

          Well that was a mess Gord. I couldn’t help but thinking of an excited piglet when you set him down in the pen. All of your skewed assertions are based on the Cons returning with approx. the same number of seats, and of course at this juncture in time there is absolutely no guarantee of that happening.

          It is really interesting to consider how little the Con advertising machine has advanced their standing, plus at this point they seem completely limited to a slagfest approach rather than a real campaign.

          Ignatieff needs to practice smooth condescension that will torpedo the GOP low brow approach Harperco clearly favors.

          Now back to the press demanding an answer from Harper that he won’t pull another 2004.

        • hugger says:

          Gord, I don’t know how old you are but at my age, looking back I have seen a lot of strange things happen and politics is not something that one can call based solely on past examples or mathematical calculation. Certainly not at day one of a campaign. There’s a heaping helping of emotion and perception involved and as I have said afore, there are just so many targets to choose from when it comes to the Harperites and their record.

          And I still want the press to ask Harper if he promises not to try to form a coaliton. He was the first out of the gate with it afterall.

      • The Other Jim says:

        Gord, do you realize how silly you sound rambling on about “the contract”? The Liberals may revisit a the prospects of a coalition in May, but it won’t be because they are somehow bound to an agreement signed back in 2008.

    • The Other Jim says:

      That is a beautiful tin hat you have…

  18. Sean says:

    I have a particularly strong foreboding that this election will result in a Conservative majority.

    I read a Macleans article not too long ago that intimated that the Conservative’s long-term strategy was to marginalize the LPC and polarize the national political scene as a choice between socialism and conservatism. When faced with such a choice, Canadians would choose conservatism. Seem true to me, but perhaps it was just confirming my biases. I myself vote provincially for the NDP in BC, but I shudder at the thought of them actually governing.

    It doesn’t help that the Liberal Party is becoming NDP-lite with unpopular former NDP premiers acting as the face and voice of the party rather than the leader (though I’ll bet a timbit that one former NDP will lose his seat). You don’t appeal to the majority of Canadians by adopting the marketing strategy of a party with marginal national support. The key to rebuilding national support probably lies in adopting the sort of policies and attitudes that will enable us to at least pick up a few seats in the more moderate parts of Alberta.

    Of course, I may be way off base. I’m hoping that those in the Liberal Party who have plunged us into an election I think we’ll sorely lose are much smarter and more perceptive of the attitudes of Canadians than I am.

    • Sean, reading a Maclean’s article on Canadian politics in 2011 is like reading Pravda on Soviet politics in the 1960’s. Read on, by all means, but be aware of the editorial bias of the publication you are citing. When Conservatives call either the LPC or the NDP socialist, they are revealing that they skipped too many classes in Political Theory 101.

  19. Jon Adams says:

    Certain Sun readers are reactionary, vulgar and insulting? Wow. Knock me over with a feather.

    In fairness to critics of the Ipsos poll, and not that I disagree in totallity with the finding of it, I think some parts of the country featured a rather large margin of error (20 percentage points in some parts of the country) so I can see why some would dismiss it out of hand.

  20. Herta says:

    Dear Mr. Tulk,
    You are always a pleasure to read – sensible and reasoned, however you are seriously wrong if you think Canadians don’t understand that coalitions are legitimate. Do we like them? No, but coalitions are not the boogey man Mr. Harper would like them to be. How about Mr. Harper taking some time to discuss the whole contempt of parliament thinggy? Frankly if my partner decided to spend a ton of money but not share what the implications were for future budgeting, I would be seriously pissed (excuse the language). We Canadians ARE parliament and Mr. Harper DID NOT HAVE A MAJORITY. What part of that didn’t he understand? I also resented his implication in this morning’s speech at Rideau Hall that Canadians = Conservatives, i.e. if you vote anything but, you obviously can’t be a real Canadian. At one point I was actually yelling at the radio.

    At a meeting yesterday a facilitator passed around a box and some ballots as a joke. “Let’s see who we would elect” she trilled to the group of us. It was a hands down Liberal victory. Now, granted, the group was about 90% women but still…….

    • Al in Cranbrook says:

      Look, if the LPC was to win a minority, and then Iggy made the decision to solidify his government by formally joining a “coalition” with the NDP that would affect a majority of seats in parliament, and thus provide some sort of stability, nobody would fault that, including Harper.

      That’s exactly what happened in Britain.

      The party with the most votes and seats, but still short of a majority, hooked up with another somewhat like-minded party to form a stable government.

      This is NOT the same thing as creating a coalition of losers all around to effectively circumvent the results of an election. At least not in this country, nor arguably British parliamentary tradition. (Feel free to check me on this historically…without going back 200 years!)


      Let’s say the 2008 election ended with 100 seats for the NDP, and 30 for the Libs (hypothetically), with the 143 for the CPC.

      There would have been good rationale for a CPC/Liberal coalition, and most Canadians would be quite satisfied with that as a reasonable action for the overall good of the nation.

      And perfectly “legitimate”, as well as “principled”…not to mention, logical.

      This argument that 60 some odd percent of Canadians didn’t vote for the CPC is, at best, specious. 60 some odd percent of Canadians also never voted for Chretien or Martin, and that apparently didn’t bother anyone in the slightest…least of all, Liberals.

      Ah, yes, some will say, but 60% of Canadians aren’t right wing.

      Again, specious. Because 60% of Canadians also aren’t left wing.

      These are the central, and considerable in number, core of voters who quite easily shift between the two main parties, relative to the leadership thereof, policies expounded, and the issues of the day.

      • James Curran says:

        At leastin 2008 there was an election held. IN 2004 when Harper formed his coalition with the Separatist Bloc he was asking for a power grab without even having an election. Why? Because he is a dictator that doesn’t believe in the rights to have elections that’s why.

        Yet the numbers were pretty much to 2008. Libs had 135 seats.Cons 99, Bloc 56, Dips 19. Yet somehow the loser Conservatives felt they were entitled to take power with those pesky Bloc Separatists. And that was Okay for Steve Harper then. NO election, just give the power. What a selective memory that Harper guy has.

        • Candace says:

          Wasn’t that right after the Auditor General’s report on ADSCAM? And the Liberal government was rearranging Opposition days so there were … none until the very end of the schedule? And playing all kinds of loose cards?

          …speaking of selective memories

    • Gord, if doubling the CPP is suicidal, and it may well be, given the current spending priorities and debt situation, what is the fix for seniors living in poverty, stuck on fixed income life rafts while the cost of living waves tower above them?

      There is a piece in today’s Globe (Mar 26) about the unavoidable realities of cutting spending and raising taxes “Two ways to cure the deficit — and both are painful” by Barrie McKenna. You’re right. No matter who gets the keys to the bus, money matters for the feds are going to get ugly.


      “The bottom line for whoever takes power is that real cuts to transfers or programs, or higher taxes, or even a combination of both, will be needed. The task is doable, but there will be pain.”

      • hugger says:

        “Another group is the farm community – many have very high net worth and have shown next to no income all their working lives while living very nicely on “no income”. I work with this sector a fair bit and there are many who qualify for the GIS who have net worths into the millions. All of them would be classified as impoverished.”

        From the more glaring of your assertions, I picked this one to ask you a question. How large a segment of the population does the “farm community” now represent?

      • hugger says:

        Well Gord, the fun thing about having a discussion with you is that you get so excited to make your point, that you end up all over the place and usually open up areas that harm your overall position and ideologies as well.

        Let’s begin briefly with your starting point; 1. The number of seniors living in true poverty is greatly over-estimated. Then you wrote; “many have very high net worth and have shown next to no income all their working lives while living very nicely on no income”

        In your haste to make points, you do realize what you just stated don’t you? Back to that later.

        As to the gist of what you trying to convey, you engage in far too much generalization regarding seniors and their given circumstances. As example someone living in City A may be able to afford to pay their property taxes and still scrimp by for the moment, but not want to consider selling and living on the proceeds because their home may not be worth very much due to where or what it is, and feel trapped because interest rates are so low.

        Someone living in City B may not be able to afford to pay their property taxes any longer but even though their property may be worth more, they fear that the proceeds from a sale would be spent before they are. Thus leaving them without dignity Gord.


        I don’t sell financial products to people like you do Gord, I live in that world of old folks whose time has past who try to figure a way to maintain themselves and yet leave something for the next generation.

        Back to the farmers. There is no point in going all over to scrape up numbers of part timers etc., the reality is those you are referring to, the seniors element, represent a very small percentage of the seniors who’s economic welfare is, and needs to be considered.

        The other thing I want to point out to you is this; you have in fact identified a truism in your haste. That being, in your words “many have very high net worth and have shown next to no income all their working lives while living very nicely on “no income”

        What you have just said is that this group were tax avoiding dead beats, and that Gord was the real basis of the fight and the animosities that surrounded the NEP. There was a powerful group of Western white guys who had followed the Reagan / GOP mentaility for the course of their lives, and did not want to pay taxes. The Trudeau / NEP Liberals knew this and thus the fight was borne. With all the dirty tricks and propaganda, the regional hatred was fostered.

        Trudeau as Prime Minister, then targeted the beef industry to get even. I remember all this stuff as I lived it. I despised Trudeau for it too, btw. I didn’t see for one minute why my dreams to be a farmer should be destroyed because of his battle with the old Western white guys whose sections stretched beyond the horizon.

        As time passed, I took the time to look at the entire situation though. To assess the good and the bad. Something that many should try.

        One last thing. Has the CPC gone from paying by the post to paying by the word? I note that Candace lady who appeared recently is pretty wordy too.

  21. Herta says:

    And just so all the political pundits and media whizzes take note – you don’t elect the Tories on behalf of the Canadian people. How about some fair and balanced coverage? How about some REAL questions aimed at Mr. Harper instead of either easy stuff that plays right into the Tory handbook or the sycophantic drivel that sadly passes for journalism these days. A pox on the media.

    • The Other Jim says:

      Herta – This is the second time that you’ve brought up your straw poll, and it is just as meaningless as the first. Like tends to attract like. Without context (you’ve noted a gender skew but nothing more), the comment is nothing more than hot air.

      • Herta says:

        Hi “The Other Jim”,
        Yes, you’re right, the straw poll is meaningless in the larger scheme of things and may, in fact be only so much “hot air” as you so graciously pointed out. Far be it from me to waste your time with insignificant and unimportant trivia.

        My reason for posting was that I expected a different outcome so was surprised. The group was certainly not a “like attracts like”. We came from a very broad Ontario geography and I actually thought the results would somehow reflect the polls I have been reading about. I was wrong. And yes, it’s all meaningless.

        • The Other Jim says:

          lol @ scot – not quite, buddy!

          Herta, I do apologize for getting all curmudgeonly on you as you seem like a nice person, however I stand by my two points. Like attracts like, and WITHOUT CONTEXT, the information is meaningless.

          Education, race, religion, profession, income level, marital status, class, membership in a specific group or organization, age, gender, support for a certain cause, shared interests; all of those and more skew the politics of any given group. There was some reason why all of you ladies were in that meeting, and that reason MIGHT also provide insight into the heavy Liberal swing of your straw poll.

          If I conduct a random “man on the street poll” just as a David Suzuki speech is letting out, the poll will over-represent Green and NDP votes (even if the attendees come from everywhere and seemingly all walks of life). If I survey people at the local gun club, there will likely be overwhelming support for the Tories. A seminar full of teachers or front-line social workers will likely skew much differently than one full of cops or small business owners.

          • Herta says:

            Yes, of course what you say makes a great deal of sense. Again, for some reason I just expected an outcome that was more in line with what the polls were saying and that surprised me.

            Thanks for your thoughtful comments. Let’s hope that it’s not a complete cakewalk for Mr. Harper.

          • The Doctor says:

            Exactly. It’s like doing those random “person on the street” interviews on Commercial Drive/Queen West/Cabbagetown vs. Bay Street/Howe Street/Shaughessy.

  22. Whoa, Gord, whoa. Time for a reality check. For the voters I talk to about the election campaign, the possibility of the Bloc’s participation in a coalition, a coalition itself, or your beloved “just visiting” smear on Ignatieff from the CPC attack ad are not, repeat NOT, even on their radars. So what is top of mind as ballot box questions?

    1) The practical application of Democracy in our government (prorogation, firing of civil service critics and whistle blowers, coming clean with expenses for F-35 jets and prisons, the Afghan detainee issue, de-funding of NGO’s supporting democracy and justice internationally, etc.)

    2) The on-going trashing of our natural environment and the gov’ts lack of initiative in addressing same

    3) Our ballooning federal deficit / debt and how to pay it off

    4) Cuts to essential social safety net and cultural institutions

    5) Canada’s role in international affairs, including the reversal of our current status as International Environmental Pariah plus where, when and how to intervene in overseas conflicts

    6) Wither Canada’s military? The army is exhausted and too small, the navy needs more patrol craft so why are top-tier jet fighters such a priority? How can we spend all this money without a strategic plan for all of CF? Futurists tell us the wars of the 21st century will be more like Afghanistan (asymmetrical) and less like the Cold War or WW II.

    7) Tough on crime is dumb on crime. Investing in prevention saves many multiples of investing in punishment. Everyone knows the crime rate is dropping.

    Maybe I just socialize with cleverly disguised aliens. I dunno. But they all tell me they really want to hear about issues and policies. They don’t give a rat’s ass about personal attacks on leaders. It’s not about the leaders. It’s about their plans and policies. What they stand for. The boring stuff.

    • Candace says:

      2) The on-going trashing of our natural environment and the gov’ts lack of initiative in addressing same – You must be referring to the non-existent regulations and programs that the CPC cancelled upon gaining power? Kyoto, anyone?

      3) Our ballooning federal deficit / debt and how to pay it off – You must be referring to the deficit that Iggy & Layton wanted to make bigger at the beginning of the crash, right? And that Iggy WOULD make bigger with homecare and daycare national programs.

      4) Cuts to essential social safety net and cultural institutions – really? Which ones? Or do you agree with Iggy that hockey arenas are cultural institutions?

      5) Canada’s role in international affairs – Oh. You mean our standing as the strongest economy in the G7? The country that others look to for answers on how to survive a major recession? Or are you talking about the useless UN, that masterful place that had Libya on the Human Rights Council until, oh, last week?

      6) Wither Canada’s military? I would argue that the LPC did it’s BEST to “wither” the military, and the CPC have spent a tonne of cash rectifying that. As to WHITHER our military, they are leading the NATO charge against Libya and getting set to provide training in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, we’re STILL waiting for the replacement of the dropping-like-flies-with-our-coastguard SeaKings, the LAST military equipment order the LPC cancelled, to the tune of $500 million in penalties.

      • Whither indeed. Thanks Candace. Spelling lesson noted. But could I ask you to turn down your flame thrower just a tad? Neither of us are running for office, as far as I know, and this isn’t Question Period, so how about a touch of civility? To respond to your questions:

        2) The trashing of the environment I was referring to is the on-going denial of climate change, habitat destruction and species depletion

        3) I am referring to the money Canadians now owe and how it will be re-paid. The home care and day care costs could come out of —maybe the prison construction costs, , the cost of building prisons to handle all the charged felons for all those unreported crimes, and the F35 boondoggle

        4) Women’s shelters, anti-poverty programs, support programs for wounded war vets, that sort of thing (c.f. the new Veterans Charter)

        5) IPCC, UN Security Council. Ask the Libyans if the UN is irrelevant.

        6) So is that your strategic plan for the military? Spend a tonne of cash? Beyond the SeaKings, which I agree need to be replaced, what else? What are the priorities?

        C’mon Candace. Are you really going to let me off the hook regarding the first ballot box question I am hearing so much about? 1) The practical application of democracy in our government…

        • Candace says:

          OK, here goes:
          “1) The practical application of Democracy in our government (prorogation, firing of civil service critics and whistle blowers, coming clean with expenses for F-35 jets and prisons, the Afghan detainee issue, de-funding of NGO’s supporting democracy and justice internationally, etc.)”

          Prorogation is not illegal – Chretien (and Martin and Mulroney and Trudeau etc etc etc) all used it a number of times, to similar screams from across the aisle. The LPC seems to forget, when discussing documents around Afghan detainees, that they were in charge for the greater portion of that time. And based on the complete lack of mention by pretty much anyone, especially since those docs have been submitted to a committee, the average Canadian on the street doesn’t really care.

          Firing of civil servants – wasn’t Dingwall (chewing gum guy) fired by the LPC? Isn’t that where the whole “I’m entitled to my entitlements” schtick come from? So civil servants get fired. So do people in private industry, it happens all the time. Most Canadians aren’t civil servants, so they really don’t care.

          Firing whistle blowers? Really? Who?

          Coming clean with expenses re jets. Oh come ON! Like any friggin’ government ever gets pricing right on things likel military equipment. What about the gazillions wasted by the LPC when they bought the four unseaworthy submarines from the UK? What did it cost to get them up to snuff (come to think of it, were they all even MADE seaworthy)? And coming from a party that turned a $2 million dollar software program into a useless $2 BILLION dollar boondoggle? Yeah, that’s resonate.

          Prisons – well, those of us that think fixing crumbling prisons and building a few more is a good idea, probably don’t care about the cost. Those of us that don’t think it’s a good idea, do care. I don’t know how many votes would switch over this issue, though.

          De-funding CAIROS – again, depends on whether you think funding CAIROS is a good idea. May or may not be a ballot issue, though.

          To rebutt your rebuttal:
          “2) The trashing of the environment I was referring to is the on-going denial of climate change, habitat destruction and species depletion” – again, from the party that signed Kyoto and did sweet buggar all to implement it over 13 years, zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

          “3) I am referring to the money Canadians now owe and how it will be re-paid. The home care and day care costs could come out of —maybe the prison construction costs, , the cost of building prisons to handle all the charged felons for all those unreported crimes, and the F35 boondoggle”

          For God’s sake ENOUGH WITH THE NATIONAL DAYCARE CRAP. You cannot possibly believe that it will ever ever ever ever happen, because it won’t. See Kyoto. Furthermore, daycares fall under provincial jurisdiction, not federal. Get over it, please. I live in Alberta. We have more daycare spaces and subsidies than Quebec, and we are supposed to be big bad conservatives. My niece, through subsidies, was paying about $150 a month for full-time (not in school at all) daycare because she was only earning around 27k. Nothing wrong with that picture. If other provinces don’t have that in play, take it up at the provincial level.

          “home care” – pet peeve. Rather than get on my soapbox, I give you these two links.

          If you read them, and still think home care is a viable option, we must agree to disagree. And yes, these links refer to mental health patients, not seniors, but many seniors require home care because of either physical or mental health issues, and home care for someone with Alzheimer’s is no better an idea than for schizophrenics. I have friends dealing with it, and it’s a nightmare. Tragic, yes, but still a nightmare and not for the untrained.

          Any idea how long a comment can be? will continue on another response just in case…

        • Candace says:

          continuation of my rebuttal to your rebuttal
          “4) Women’s shelters, anti-poverty programs, support programs for wounded war vets, that sort of thing (c.f. the new Veterans Charter)”

          What women’s shelters were shut down, and where? I suspect that probably falls (social services) under provincial, not federal, jurisdiction, so I suggest taking that up with the province.

          Anti-poverty programs – provincial, not federal. That’s what transfers are for.

          War vets – yes, that pi$$es me off, too. The CPC gov’t is doing a better job for them than the LPC one was, but still not good enough and too many falling through the cracks.

          “5) IPCC, UN Security Council. Ask the Libyans if the UN is irrelevant.”
          This is the first time in my memory that the UN has done anything of any value regarding protecting civilians from their own despot. See Iran. See Darfur. See Food for Oil… the mind boggles. Note that NATO has taken over, in less than a week, as the UN was getting wobbly. So I’ll give you a half point on that.

          “6) So is that your strategic plan for the military? Spend a tonne of cash? Beyond the SeaKings, which I agree need to be replaced, what else? What are the priorities? ”

          Let’s see. We have Snowbirds crashing most years. We have F-16s having emergency landings.

          If we are going to have a military, then we need to provide them with tools that won’t kill them when they do the job we ask them to do. That’s the priority, in my opinion.

        • What Candace said – THANKYOU!

    • The Other Jim says:

      Most people that I talk to are concerned about job security and what they find to be a sky-rocketing cost of living. I associate with a pretty big cross-section of people and I can’t think of a single instance of someone citing the firing of civil service critics or de-funding of NGO’s as even remotely important issues to them. To be honest, I had to read your post twice just to be sure that you weren’t going for parody or something.

      The contributors to this blog (myself included) are not remotely representative of the average voter.

  23. fritz says:

    The campaign started this morning with the leaders opening statements.
    Harper led off with his coalition BS and was given a big help from the reporters who only asked him about the threat of a Liberal coalition. It couldn’t have gone much better for him if the Tory war room had scripted all the reporters questions; which it sounded like they did.
    Ignatieff sounded disconcertedly like Paul Martin. Reporters were again only interested in asking about the coalition. It was not the best of sendoffs.
    Layton was great. By far the best speech discussing the issues that people really cared about like health care. The Timmie’s emergency room line was pure gold.
    Duceppe threw a grenade at the Tories with that letter and calling Harper a liar. If only Iggy had been so decisive.
    May’s start was not really covered. The big question is will she get in the debates. if she doesn’t the Green campaign is over before it starts.

  24. I notice a trend with the media in that there will be a pooled talking point from the different media sources. Today, it’s Ignatieff and the coalition. All other topics and questions do not matter. Tomorrow, what topic will the media pool together?

  25. dave says:

    The Liberals have to get a handle on those camera shots. The ‘team’ thing might have some cache when the camera shots are close ups, but when the cameras pan away, they look like a little huddle of characters out of the old Goon Show ‘This-Is-The-End’ skit.

    (They also cannot all laugh on cue that way…that looks like a skit sending up a mobsters’ meeting.)

    In sum, Liberals, tighten up your skits.

    • Joe says:

      Agreed Dave. The opening shot of the CTV airing of Ignatieff’s statement made the whole exercise look silly. 11 people + the leader huddling in a parking lot just didn’t cut it. Then to top it off a cop car rolls through the shot. Made you wonder if this was a political statement or a demonstration that the cops were keeping an eye on.

  26. The opposition will need to explain to voters what a HarperCon majority regime would be like.

  27. Northbaytrapper says:

    Milliken was a class act and real asset to the house.
    Stock, was an extremely effective minister who knew his files inside and out, was hard working, intelligent and always had the best interest of Canadians in mind.
    We will miss him.
    Best of health to Mr. Strahl. He was too nice, if that can be a fault.

  28. Pat Heron says:

    Am I the only who notices that everyone on this site, in the media, and elsewhere refers to Michael Ignatieff as Iggy, but Steven Harper is referred to as Mr. Harper or Harper. Can’t we at least call him Harpo, or should it be Harpy? With all due respect, can’t we even equalize the respect or lack thereof?

    • fritz says:

      You could just say Steve or Stevo. He hates everything but Steven, so I’ve heard.
      My choice though would be “The Harpster”; sort of like ‘the hamster’ which he kinda reminds me of.

    • Wayne says:

      Beats calling him Iffy, as apropos as it may be.

    • Candace says:

      Respect, or lack thereof, tends to be earned. You may have no respect for Harper, but many – including those politically opposed to him – do. Iggy, on the other hand, notsomuch. And, like it or not, Harper is still PM. Much as I hated Martin, the worst I ever called him was PM2 (squared, as in Prime Minister Paul Martin). Trudeau – I’d happily dance on his grave – I still refer to as Trudeau out of respect for the office he held. Iggy was parachuted into the OLO job and hasn’t done anything to earn my respect since.

    • The Doctor says:

      People call Jarome Iginla Iggy too, and it’s done with genuine affection. Relax.

  29. The Other Jim says:

    I think that it stems, in part, from people being afraid of misspelling Ignatieff and looking foolish. 😉

    • dave says:

      I can do Ignatieff.
      It’s the other one that gets me – so I just call him ‘Mike.’

      (Dig out those 1952 USA buttons and redo them to ‘I like Mike.”

  30. DL says:

    Warren , just a small point of clarification – Layton’s speech this morning was in Ottawa at the Chateau Laurier – not in Montreal and you write above.

  31. Mark in Ontario says:

    I agree with our host. The start of the Liberal campaign could not have been more botched than it was yesterday and today. Harper looked completely in charge, right down to the motorcade of black limousines and RCMP escorts. The visuals said: I am the Prime Minister. His statement definitely mentioned the Coalition, but it was the reporters questions (100% on the Coalition) that really surprised me. It allowed Mr Harper to really pile on (in both official languages). Even the question about the “contempt” ruling (political maneuverings by the opposition that no-body cares about) was turned into a anti-Coalition statement. He was a clear as a bell as to why the 2008 Coalition was bad: (1) it sought to overturn the election result and (2) it would be controlled by the separatists. The best line was about the Bloc: “you can govern the country or you can break up the country, you can’t do both.” Harper and the Conservatives have taken over the role as National Unity party from the Liberals. The 1917 Conscription Crisis is finally over.

    I saw Chantal Hebert’s word today for Liberal prospects in Quebec: “extinction.” For someone who remembers Pierre Trudeau’s “welcome to the 1980’s” victory speech, that’s shocking! I note Ignatieff has gone to Outremont to try to get the next Liberal leader (Martin Cauchon) back into Parliament. But with Mulcair’s NDP at 20% and Liberals at 11% in Quebec it probably won’t happen. Indeed, could the Liberals be shut-out in Quebec? Wow. During the non-confidence vote yesterday, the saddest looking face I thought was Stephane Dion’s. Perhaps he understood what is about to happen.

    It was a mistake to force the election. The start, which was predictable, was botched by the Liberals. All that will happen now is the Liberals have to takes their lumps.

    • The Doctor says:

      I think there’s plenty of time for the LPC to turn this around. Remember that their realistic endgame is not to win per se, just to block Harper from winning. That is eminiently achievable. And the media loves a horse race, not a rout. Horse races are exciting and sell soap and tampons; routs are boring. One big gaffe by a Conservative, or a good showing or zinger from Iggy in the debates, and you watch — the media will be cheering the Liberal “come from behind” “underdog” narrative. Happens all the time.

  32. Warren,

    Has anyone at Daisy thought of doing a Citizen Kain type of short film for a political leader.

    I thought this could be a humorous way for Harper to Re-connect with voters.

    Opening sequence……the death of the 40th Parliament.

    Harper’s high school teacher, “I never thought he would be anything more than a bean counter, always awkward in front of the class.”

    Harper’s music teacher, “I just wish he would stop interrupting class to play Beatle’s music.”

    get my drift uh,

  33. James Curran says:

    “It’s too late. Mr dion said almost exactly the same thing and then at the first opportunity was posing for pictures with mr Layton and mr duceppe. There was nothing in his statement that ruled out that possibility. ”

    You truly are retarded….and really fucking annoying.

    You know who never rejected a coaltion Gord? Until he was gonna get his ass handed to him and he had to prorogue? You know who Gord? The same greedy fucker that wrote a letter to Adrienne Clarkson to allow him and the separatists to seize power fro Paul Martin….after meeting with the separatists in a hotel room (didn’t Mulroney like hotels too) to cosign same letter?

    You know who Gord? Sure you do!!! STEPHEN HARPER!!

    Now give you little brain a few hours off there Gord and let all return to the NCAA tournament and other pressing issues.

  34. dave says:

    I do not see much diff.
    this morn when I listened to Duceppe I was interested in what he had to say about that 2004 coalition presenting the PM with a number of substantial changes to the way that work was done in the House, and the way that House committees were made up. It seemed to me that he was decribing a coalition (I’ll call it a ‘collective’ – just to get yr goat) that got a few things done, albeit not in legislation.

  35. Pete says:

    I think the libs have tough choices on their hands. With an election period of only 36 days they will have to recount well over one of harper’s lies per day in order to get them all in

  36. With all the troubles going on in the world, Harper thinks that now is not the time to have an non-useful erection. That’s right. Erection.


    H/T Dammit Janet http://scathinglywrongrightwingnutz.blogspot.com/

  37. Mark in Ontario says:

    Mr Harper is either brilliant or lucky. He is making the whole question about the Coalition about the Bloc, not the Liberals. Nobody outside Quebec gets to vote for or against the Bloc. But by making the issue about the Liberal/NDP/Bloc Coalition taking power, then that is telling a voter in Lower Mainland BC or GTA or Cape Breton Island that if you vote Liberal or NDP, you are also voting Bloc Quebecois at the same time. The only way someone in BC or anywhere else outside Quebec can vote against the Bloc is to vote Conservative. Duceppe is playing along by attacking Harper so hard in Quebec. It is a Harper vs Duceppe battle. The more Duceppe attacks Harper, the better it is for Harper outside Quebec. The Bloc doesn’t care about what happens outside Quebec. But the view of Duceppe attacking Harper that Harper refuses to give more money to Quebec reinforces the view that this election in ROC is about who best can keep the Bloc from controlling or influencing the Federal Government. If the Liberals or NDP win in ROC, this helps the Bloc. If the Conservatives win in ROC, this harms the Bloc.

    This is why the Coalition is so potent. Not because it is contrary to our constitutional customs and traditions, but because it involves the Bloc. The December 1, 2008 picture of Layton shaking hands with Duceppe while Dion smiles is political gold for the Conservatives.

    This dynamic will play out in the debates. When Harper and Duceppe argue what will Ignatieff and Layton say? If they say hey we’re against the Bloc too, then Harper can ask so why did you agree to form a Coalition with the Bloc in 2008?

    Ignatieff cannot undo 2008. This is why forcing the election now (with Bloc help!) is such a blunder.

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