07.05.2014 08:58 AM

Who says federal politics is boring?

Wow. My tiny by-election post, way down at the bottom of this page, has attracted nearly 200 comments. That almost ranks up there with the still-legendary Kraft Dinner post!!

Related: read Susan Delacourt’s column about the by-elections, here. It is very, very good. Coyne is good, too, here.




  1. Jordan says:

    That Susan Delacourt link isn’t working for me.

  2. Al in Cranbrook says:

    Where to start…

    I posted a link here a couple days ago regarding Obama’s new low in polling, he gets top honors now as the worst president in living memory: http://nypost.com/2014/07/03/obama-is-paying-the-price-for-insisting-only-he-knows-whats-right/ Here’s what Media Research Center observed regarding MSM coverage of this news: http://www.mrc.org/biasalerts/only-cbs-covers-new-poll-labeling-obama-worst-president-ww-ii Short version: Basically not a word worth mentioning. Bottom line, the MSM, predictably, is running interference on behalf of their poster child for liberal progressivism.

    The MSM has no hesitation in proclaiming itself society’s watch dogs of democracy. The fact of it is, they can’t separate “democracy” from “progressivism”; democracy is a method of governance, while progressivism is an ideology that might be applied to a method of governance, IF the electorate so choose. (Progressivism, in reality, is just a deliberately user friendly term for left wing ideology often verging on socialism, much in the same manner as is “climate change” more malleable, and thus user friendly, than manmade global warming.)

    Next, one will observe in Coyne’s summation that, while noting how well the economy is going in just about every respect and certainly so relative to the rest of the world, he nevertheless refuses…yet again…to mention in the same breath the man and government responsible for accomplishing said successes. It has become the modus operandi of the usual suspects within MSM to, wherever even remotely plausible (and I say plausible in the loosest sense of the word), to turn a positive into a negative…especially when it concerns conservatism.

    Why is it a mystery that the result of ceaselessly portraying politicians as corrupt, self-serving, greedy, stupid, and as generally all around assholes for decade after decade ad infinitum, is increasing numbers of voters losing faith in democracy? Hey, negative begets more negative! Wow! Who knew! (Forget that the MSM eternally polls even lower on the trust scale than politicians…)

    As per usual, the very last people/institutions on the whole GD planet the MSM ever attribute failure they regard with democracy is themselves. And also as per usual, they are particularly astute at aligning said failures with those who don’t appropriately esteem “progressivism” in the same manner as do they. When Conservatives are in power, it’s because democracy has failed and the desperately needs reforming…because, doncha know, only 40% of voters chose Conservatives, while 60% chose “progressive” alternatives. On the other hand, if 40% of voters elect a suitably “progressive” government, all is good in La La Land! Nothing to see here, folks! Now move along!

    And the solution to reforming democracy? a) a system of voting that favors (naturally) the perceived progressive majority (again, naturally). And lately, b) forcing everyone by law to vote, which means all those between the ages of 18 and 30 who tend towards the left will effectively tip the scales in favor of progressivism, and thus presumably save the nation from any chance of an alternative. Wonderful! Progressives essentially creating laws to legally rig elections in their favor.

    Who the hell ever said democracy was supposed to be easy??? Damn it, if people can’t take 15 minutes, or even the whole bloody day, out of their lives once every several years to go exercise their democratic right, too bad! Fact is, choosing NOT to vote, for whatever reason, is also a right! Not to mention that in other parts of the world, watching people actually take their lives into their hands just to vote, making us look all the more pathetically moribund regarding democracy , seems to be lost on far too many.

    Top it all off, taxpayers pay a billion dollars per year to prop up an otherwise completely unsustainable, forget about thoroughly useless, public broadcaster. One that in turn uses its favored status amongst the MSM to shamelessly bias, lie by omission, and just all around perpetrate and perpetuate mindless crap over the airwaves.

    I’m to the point that I can barely tolerate skimming the National Post’s headlines, I won’t even go near the rest. CBC and CTV never darken my living room any more.

    On the other hand, Shaw Cable charges me an extra $3/month to get Sun News. As in, WTF, eh?

    • Al in Cranbrook says:

      Oh, and BTW…

      Carbon tax is definitely on.


      Great stuff. Now Canadians can watch Trudeau and Mulcair duke it out in public as to which of them plans to stuff the biggest carbon tax up Canadians’ asses…biggest, presumably an indication of who cares most about, when it gets right down to it, Canada’s image.

      Then there’s the “Mr. Obama, if we stuff Canadians for billions in additional carbon taxes, then will you approve Keystone???” approach to dealing with American relations.

      (…I have this image popping into my mind of Harper actually giggling out loud.)

      • Elisabeth Lindsay says:

        Hey Al……if you really do live in Cranbrook, you are already paying carbon taxes. Levied way back in Campbell`s time.

        • Al in Cranbrook says:

          Tell me about it.

          Couple years ago it came out that school districts around the province actually had to allocate otherwise desperately needed funds to buy carbon offset credit so that they could be considered carbon neutral. Defies all common sense! I gave me local MLA an earful; clearly he was embarrassed.

          I voted to keep the NDP out. Whatever the shortcomings of this current government, kicks the hell outta the alternative. Conservatives ever finally get their act together, I’ll be voting for them.

    • Joe says:

      Some people believe in the arch progressive mantra of “Anything new must be good so let’s embrace it”. Others believe in the arch conservative view of ‘Anrything new is evil and therefore must be rejected”. I view myself as being a cautious best practices who holds that, “Every so called crisis does not need a solution and sometimes the best course of action is to do nothing while we wait and see. A carbon tax may sound like a good idea but is there anyone around smart enough to weigh all the conflicting potential outcomes. Put another way: The greatest evils in this world occur when some one decides they must do good.

      • doconnor says:

        “A carbon tax may sound like a good idea but is there anyone around smart enough to weigh all the conflicting potential outcomes.”

        A carbon tax may be unpredictable, but global warming is far more unpredictable and dangerous.

        We’ve been waiting and seeing for 30 years. Mnay thing have been worse then predicted, like the rate of the melting of the ice caps.

        • Joe says:

          Do you have any evidence anywhere that a carbon tax actually does anything to reduce anthropogenic CO2? From past experience I would suggest it is not likely. Back in the 1950s the price of gasoline went up to $0.25 per imperial gallon and everyone was about to park their cars. Income went up to match and Chevy became the car to drive. 1970s and the energy crisis brought Japanese cars until the economy stabilized and the most popular vehicles were and remain SUVs and full sized pickups. Past experiences show that should the government put a tax on carbon – the cost of everything will go up and we will continue to drive, heat, transport.

        • MississaugaPeter says:

          CARBON TAX – Just another attempt to get our money.

          The reality is that any minor gains in the West are offset by the ridiculous pollution gains in China and soon India and Bangladesh/Pakistan. Chile and Brazil are coming on strong too.


          I agree there is a need to lower the carbon in the air. Just like there was a need to eliminate acid rain. But, any gains in the elimination of carbon by us good Canadians by a cash grab CARBON TAX in Canada will be offset by the additional carbon increase in a large city in an emerging market.

          • doconnor says:

            Tnat’s why we need major gains in the West, not minor gains. Of course, a world wide effort is needed.

            How would you suggest reducing carbon dioxide emissions? Massive government regulation?

            My blog on carbon taxes.

          • Joe says:

            Well Scot I could suggest that since the world is warming we should all eat oranges which will have about as much effect on global warming as adding a carbon tax. Lets not do something for the sake of doing something if that something simply makes us feel self righteous yet does nothing to address the problem. Lets do something that is actually going to reduce our carbon footprint. I’ve bee fortunate enough to have the money to reduce my carbon footprint by about 35% over the last 10 years. Had there been a carbon tax I’m not so sure I would have had the money to do some of the more wacky things that actually worked.

          • “Had there been a carbon tax I’m not so sure I would have had the money to do some of the more wacky things that actually worked.”

            Most carbon tax proposal involve returning the money collected back to the people rather then applying it general revenue. Once you got your carbon emissions below average, you would be richer then you are now.

          • Joe says:

            Darwin did you get that name from the award you won Darwin? When is the last time the government ever give money back rather than put it in general revenue? Of course I am better off now that I have cut back on using carbon BUT that doesn’t mean that it didn’t cost me a lot of money getting there. I needed the money BEFORE I succeeded not afterward.

          • Kaspar Juul says:

            Are you showing off your stupidity again Joe?

          • Al in Cranbrook says:


            I read your blog post.

            Might I suggest you look up “Utopianism”? And then read up on some history of the results of trying to impose ideologically inspired constructs upon entire societies. Hint: It ain’t pretty.

            Your youthful idealism shines through, and I’m sure you mean well. But that was just a tad bit too detached from realities and exigencies, both socio-economic and political, as well as regarding human nature. Not to feel insulted; pretty much all ideologies to one degree or another are.

            Your basic premise is flawed in that it assume the status quo is static, which it never, ever is. There are technologies coming down the pipe over the next couple decades, and at an ever increasing pace, that we can’t even yet imagine. The days of fossil fuels as we currently understand and utilize them are numbered, even as we speak! Not through depletion, but via obsolescence. New methods of energy extraction are already in the works that are multiple times cleaner, and more will come, which will help advance civilization globally through higher standards of living that are affordable to an ever widening breadth of population. It will feed more people, clothe more people, provide better housing to more people, and enable better education to the most people.

            And all of this will happen because free markets enable evolution, exploration and exploitation of opportunities, and the ability to enjoy…freely…the fruits thereof by the people directly. As opposed to being rationed by the State, per socialist doctrine.

          • Al in Cranbrook says:

            And here’s just one example…


            Affordable electricity from coal with zero CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.

          • doconnor says:

            “When is the last time the government ever give money back rather than put it in general revenue?”

            The Ontario Pension Plan…

            The BC carbon tax had income tax reductions implanted at the same time as it was applied that was supposed to be revenue neutral.

            I’ve been called a utopian before. My carbon tax post is more down to earth and more free market oriented then a lot of my posts.

            It may be true that future technology may cause fossil fuels to be eliminated by themselves, we cannot rely on that. It hasn’t work very well for the last 30 years since global warming has been identified as a problem. If that happens a carbon tax would decrease by itself.

            I’m more worried about the storage part of carbon capture and storage. There are only so many oil wells that will need carbon dioxide and aren’t always in the same places that the coal plants are, so another network of pipes will be needed to ship it around. Even nuclear has many advantages over CCS, like it has been done for decades and the waste may be very toxic, but the volume is relatively small and it as solid rather the gaseous, so if it is exposed to the atmosphere for a brief time it won’t all instantly be released.

            If you want to continue to talk about carbon taxes you could post in my blog, too.

        • Al in Cranbrook says:

          Here’s a little history lesson on climate change for you…



          “Climate change is conspicuous here. The front of the glacier, called the toe, is currently retreating (melting back faster than the ice is moving forward) between 10 m and 25 m each summer. In 1844, at the height of the Little Ice Age—a minor glacial advance recorded worldwide—the glacier was 8 km long, reaching all the way to where Icefield Centre is now. Now the glacier is nearly 2 km shorter. It was once thicker, too, as shown by the height of the lateral moraines on each side. The ice was once level with the tops of those moraines.

          Right now the maximum thickness is about 320 m, as measured two-thirds of the way up the glacier by radarsounding. This part of the glacier’s bed is a large rock basin. As the front retreats into the hollow, we expect to see a lake appear there, between the ice and the shore, and get wider.

          Will the Athabasca Glacier melt away altogether? It’s possible. Some 5000 years ago, during a period not much warmer than the present, the middle of the Columbia Icefield was forest, not ice.”

          Did you get that last paragraph? Yes, a number of glaciers are receding. Is this some new phenomena? No! It’s been continuous cycles of climate since the last age. There also was a huge recession from circa 1000 AD through 1300 AD, where it was much smaller than it is now. This is known as the Mediaeval Warm Period, when global temperatures were as much as 3 degrees warmer than currently. (This is also the period that the infamous hockey stick graph tried to make go away!) During this period the Vikings settled southern Greenland, where they actually farmed the land. Circa 1300 climate cycled again, and they had to abandon their settlements and go back to the old country. This is when a period known as the “Little Ice Age” began and lasted through to the mid 18th century, at which point climate began warming again, and the Columbia Icefields began receding yet again.

          Trust me on this: All this had SFA to do with human activity. Climate is cyclical and ever changing. Always has, always will. And there’s not one GD thing anyone can do about it! Any notions that we can are just pure fantasy!

          • Kaspar Juul says:

            I am so relieved nothing of influence comes from cranbrook.

          • Al in Cranbrook says:

            Sorry about confusing you with some facts (you always ask for), Kaspar.

          • Kaspar Juul says:

            Ha sorry Raveen you aren’t confusing anyone. Everyone here is aware of your “facts”.

            Boring you most definitely are. Maybe you should start your own blog. That is if it’s not too challenging

          • Joe says:

            Al you should know by now not to bring up science. It confuses Kaspar no end.

          • Al in Cranbrook says:

            Yeah! Earth Sciences Canada clearly was a bit too much for him, eh?

            I have my ideology, therefore I am!

          • Kaspar Juul says:

            Oh Joe,

            You’re the one that failed to prove your junk science of irreducible complexity with your mock experiments and your lack of basic understanding of scientific peer review

            I strongly suspect your last science course was in grade 9 sometime before Newton

    • Elisabeth Lindsay says:

      re: Democracy. “Democracy is the WORST form of Government…..except for all the others.” Winston Churchill. Never gets old.

    • Bruce A says:

      Al, buddy, you’re ranting!
      An’ if the National Pest isn’t to your liking, then I don’t think there’s any hope left for you.
      You do have a point about Shaw Cable, they just nickel and dime people to death. Of course, if you canceled SunTV …

      “Who the hell ever said democracy was supposed to be easy”???

      Why the heck make it difficult with The Unfair Election Act and the childish, nobody likes us, especially Judges. That Stevie sure can pick ’em! Though, I suspect that’s all part of the master plan!

      Try and enjoy the summer! There’s only two months left!

  3. que sera sera says:

    The fact that Al habitually pens responses to his own posts is, perhaps, a clue why the hilariously sparse readership of Conservative echo chambers drive their hysterical contributors elsewhere, anywhere — seeking someone, anyone, to join them in their bleak partisan void bereft of humanity, common sense and intellect.

    • smelter rat says:

      He’s a shining example of what happens when you eat a steady diet of Sun News.

      • debs says:

        and yeah Que, I wondered if he left SDA, for the reason that even they might abandon responding. TLDR probably gets posted alot for him

  4. Ron says:

    Re: question two:

    If Harper goes it depends on who replaces him ? Or I should say replaced by what ?

    The new Kim Campbell would work just fine for me.

    As it is, if he stays and loses, the country will be split in two. If he wins he gets to keep
    at the relentless dismemberment of the canadian zeitgeist.

    In his eyes, he can’t lose. So he’ll probably stay.

  5. ottlib says:

    Summer. The political off-season. For political junkies a time they are forced to endure a reduced diet of political noise that they can comment on. Eventually they begin to suffer from a very serious case of the political DTs.

    So, four by-elections results that might have even the remotest chance of causing a sitting PM to resign is manna from Heaven. A chance to sink their teeth into something for a time, no matter how fleeting.

    • Ron says:

      It may be off season but that hasn’t stopped Harper from passing wind in his usual controlled environment, the Stampede barbecue speech.

      Pretty well all of his speeches are in front of CPC MP’s, bagmen, rednecks, tone deaf tea baggers and carefully selected media.

      I’d like to see him hold open town hall meetings in places selected at random. Then we would see where the bear shits in the buckwheat.

      • Elisabeth Lindsay says:

        Why on earth would he ever do that? He`s winning without it.

        • Scotian says:

          Elizabeth Lindsay:

          Based on what actual evidence to support this claim he’s winning? And please do not cite past wins and his present position as PM, we are talking about whether he can/will win the next election coming up, not the ones already past, and all the indicators on that front have been looking worse and worse overall for him ever since Trudeau came onto the leadership scene. To argue otherwise is to ignore every by-election, every poll from all polling companies on the issue since Trudeau became Lib leader. Indeed, one of the reasons Trudeau is having such success in connecting with voters is because Harper has so completely removed himself from the playing field at the personal level while Trudeau takes every chance to mingle. It is of course not the only reason, but it is clearly one of them, and not inconsequential either.

          You have a very idiosyncratic definition of winning if you truly believe what yo just said despite all the objective evidence out there that disagrees with that premise/concept.

  6. Scotian says:

    I entered this thread with 35 comments, and only 5 had nothing to do with the global warming/carbon tax issue so thoughtfully dumped into this thread by Al. Which given I thought it was mainly about the by-elections that just happened and the two question regarding it asked by Kinsella seemed a little odd to me, and more than a little off topic.

    As to the two columns referenced by Kinsella, I found Delacourt made more sense than Coyne myself. I have some trouble with Coyne’s premise about how wonderful everything is economically for Canadians and therefore there isn’t much appetite for change. As he notes, Canadians tend to be somewhat conservative, and this government has been so far from anything remotely resembling conservative (it is clearly radical, when you commit as many unprecedented actions in as many different ways and areas as this government has you can hardly be called conservative by any truthful meaning of the word) that his argument does not rest on anything meaningful in terms of historical precedent. This is clearly not a typical government in our context and therefore by definition typical historical precedent has far less credibility as a guide for what to expect next.

    At least Delacourt touches on something that really bothers me, namely the consumerism of politics, and especially this focus on “taxpayers” as opposed to citizens. That may seem to some to be not much of a deal, but the semantic load shift between the two are profound. Taxpayer creates subsets and factionalism within a society/citizenry. It devalues the very concept of citizen, and why being a a citizen is what makes a country and a democracy great, That civic responsibility comes with CITIZENSHIP for everyone, not just those who pay the taxes, that all CITIZENS have both rights and responsibilities to our social contract and our system of governance, and that it is in any democracy the citizens that will either save or destroy it, and too much of late it appears destroy it has been what Canadians have chosen by not being more aggressive in their civic responsibilities. This is aimed not at any part of the political spectrum btw, it is across the board.

    The reason why big powers and the elites appear to have so much more control and power is in part because we let them by our apathy, by our belief that our vote/voice does not matter, that sort of thinking which has become far too common in our political reality. We cannot be bothered to get more involved, figuring that let others do it. I’ve never argued for the idea of compelling voting because I don’t see how it can really do much good if the voters cannot be bothered to be informed on not just the basic issues but even the way our system of government truly work. Democracy needs informed citizens to not just vote but be involved in all respects, and that is why I think so much problem exists, we in this country have had it so easy/good for so long now we have forgotten that. Granted I think those with power and wealth who have their own agendas have done what they can to foster that mindset, but it is we citizens who let the power slip away from our hands, and until we start valuing being citizens of our nation as opposed to just taxpayers I don’t see things really getting better.

    Sorry, but I feel rather strongly about this. I wonder if one were to chart when the use of taxpayer replaced citizen how closely it compares with the increasing apathy of voters and people getting involved in the political process, and not just in this country but our southern neighbour as well.

    • debs says:

      great summary, thanks Scotian. I can only hope you share your wealth of knowledge with folks in greater mediums, IE news editorials, new sites. Your knowledge could fill a book about this corrupt Harper Regime, of course, I guess it wont be ready in time for the election but it definitely would be worthwhile for folks to read. An analysis of a meglomaniac who clawed his way into power and the damage he did. Not to mention destroying any oldstyle conservative, and replacing it with a new nastier brand.
      and I agree the citizens need to get more involved and pay attn to the issues and political climate, as this country’s democracy is being shredded.

  7. Al in Cranbrook says:

    I feel just as strongly about voter apathy, I’m constantly confronted by it, and am forever trying to figure out why it is so. Couple things come to mind…

    Our education system does virtually nothing to impart knowledge about how democracy works, basic economics, and Canada’s history of how we arrived where we are this day. Ironically, in the same vein I deeply suspect that any attempts to do so inevitably would be coloured according to the ideological precepts of the teacher involved. In my 12 years of schooling back in the ’60s, only two teachers ever got into these topics, and both were raving socialists (one from Ireland and the other from England). I was the only one who would challenge them, which caused them no end of anger that I had such effrontery to dispute their assertions…and no end of amusement to the rest of the class. I’m left wondering, given that little has changed in this regard from what I see and hear, maybe it’s just as well, but more to the point, damned if we do, damned if we don’t. Bottom line: The system turns out entire generations who are quite literally illiterate regarding the most essential aspects of how our society functions, and why.

    Increasingly, people are not just apathetic about politics, they’re fed up with hearing about it. And how do they hear about it? The same as always: Via the MSM, be it over the airwaves, in print, or on the Internet. Why is this? IMHO, because they’re sick of listening to infantile, mindless crap…and believe, me these aren’t my words! Case in point, for example: MacKay’s mother’s day and father’s day missives, and the litany of asinine to the point of utter banality words dedicated to the political correctness thereof. Message to totally disconnected from reality media types: 99 out of 100 DON’T GIVE A FLYING F*** ABOUT SUCH NONSENSE, IT IS NOT NEWSWORTHY! SPARE US YOUR INANE, DRIPPINGLY SELF RIGHTEOUS DRIVEL!

    Lastly, once upon a time it was common in civic elections that only property owners, and thus taxpayers, could vote. Couple this with the observation made that, once an electorate realized it can vote itself largesse from government, democracy’s days were numbered. Truth of it is, democracy always has been about the relationship between government and those footing the bill for it, all the way back to the Magna Carta, and beyond. Indeed, America, arguably history’s greatest democracy, was born out of such.

    • debs says:

      Al, I totally agree with this, lol, im stunned, but I cannot fight any part of it, I will leave it to Kaspar:)
      but yes that Mackay flap bothered me, as there is nothing to it, it was fluff from the beginning and it was stupid to pull him down over something soo banal. There were soo many other issues in this country that the MSM could report on, I mean I dont care for Mackay but I hardly think he is a raving misogynist.
      as for political education, yes indeed more kids should be given a background in how the country operates, and then they can understand the damage Harper is doing.lol sorry couldnt resist!

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