(Good work, BCIT.)
"...[Kinsella is] a modern-day Machiavelli, the mastermind who ran war rooms for Jean Chretien and Dalton McGuinty... He's the ultimate political insider... [The War Room] has plenty of fascinating insights and is a must-read for political junkies."
- The Toronto Sun
- The National Post
- Tom Flanagan, The Literary Review of Canada
- The Hill Times
- The Winnipeg Free Press
- John Moore, CFRB
- John Oakley, AM640
- John Wright, Ipsos, CFRB
- Charles Adler, Adler Online
- Tommy Schnurmacher, CJAD
- Ken Rockburn, CPAC
First, there's the Valpy story in today's Globe, which proves that one of Jason Kenney's new friends has - shall we say - a pattern of making identical allegations against former employers.
Second, we have Big City Lib's take, which is a must-read.
Third, we have the fascinating postings below, taken from a "nanny" chatroom. They're very interesting - particularly, I think, the degree to which Kenney worker Melissa Bhagat was involved in coordinating attacks on Dhalla and two provincial cabinet ministers.
Fourth, Melissa - a failed Conservative candidate, and the "Regional Coordinator" for Kenney's department, no less! - is probably starting to feel a bit nervous right about now. Whose "career is going to be destroyed" now, Melissa? (Speaking of which, I wonder if there's a phone record of that conversation?)
Those with deets on young Melissa, and her energetic role in this affair, can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, I'll be amazed if we don't start soon hearing calls for Kenney's resignation.
That's what a billion (U.S.) looks like. Multiply that pile by fifty, and you might be able to visualize the size of the deficit - that is, the budgetary deficit created by these "Conservative" morons, since they tabled their budget exactly four months ago. (What's it gonna look like in a year?)
Well, easy there, Warren, you might be saying. Sure, you say, that's not desirable. But maybe that's okay, says you, because the Harper people are stimulating the economy and all that. Um, right?
Well, actually, no. Since their budget passed, the Reformatories have gotten a fraction of that FIFTY BILLION out the door. Check around. They've done diddley squat.
These guys are more than useless. They're idiots.
I don't know about you, but I'd say we're up for a change.
And, this morning, it can't come soon enough.
Man, what a day. First a $50 billion deficit, now this.
It's crazy, I know, but I don't think they want to be government anymore, and they are committing policy seppuku.
From today's Question Period:
The Speaker: The Right Honourable Prime Minister.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada: Mr. Speaker, let's be clear: When we did our pre-budget consultations, the Liberal Party wanted two more weeks of employment insurance. So, Mr. Speaker, we gave five more weeks of employment insurance, plus all kinds of additional money for training for people both on EI and not on EI. These are measures to help the unemployed in this recession. What we're not going to do is every two or three months come up with another economic policy, another budget until we need to go into -- until we need to raise taxes. Our deficits are affordable, but they will remain short-term.
Canadian Press NewsAlert (Federal-Deficit)
OTTAWA - Federal deficit will soar to record $50 billion-plus, says Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.
Get ready for even more ads attacking Michael Ignatieff's personality and character and whatnot. As of today, the Reformatories are fully out of options. And they don't know what to do.
On this anti-tobacco measure, the federal government deserves the support of every Canadian.
As regular readers know, I despise Big Tobacco - and I have no time for media outlets which, on the one hand, piously lecture us about the scourge of tobacco and then, when no one is paying attention, pocket tobacco ad dollars.
I'm a Liberal, but I think the Minister deserves credit for this important (and overdue) move. Kudos to her.
Male, forties, non-smoker, (relatively) quiet, looking for furnished Ottawa living space for five weeks, near Parliament Hill. May need urgently.
Back in the good old days at Hogsback High, my roommate Chris and I were certifiably nutty for the Cramps and the Angelic Upstarts and Iggy Pop and other purveyors of noise. But, in our quieter moments, we were also smitten with Sheffield's Comsat Angels.
We were particularly in love with the Comsat's first waxing, Waiting For A Miracle, which - nearly 30 years later - remains note-perfect. There isn't a bad tune on it.
CSA never achieved the greatness they deserved - Joy Division would have ended up sounding like them, if Ian Curtis hadn't hanged himself in that fateful Spring - but Chris and I unabashedly adored the Angels. It was uncool for a couple of punks to love a band that used synthesizers, but tant pis. We also danced together at GiGi's, which certainly got ostensibly-progressive tongues wagging at Cartoon U., but that's a story for another day.
Anyway, I loved this one, and this one, and this one, and especially this one (remember, Chris?) and still do. Meanwhile, here's a fan's weird take on their amazing 'Total War,' from the first LP (A couple arguing on a balcony, then a bombing run? Hmmm. Don't give up your day job, etc.). Chris, being a drummer, always favoured this one.
We're in need of a drummer, by the way. That, too, is another story.
(But I wish Ed the best, and think Stackhouse is a great pick.)
Roger Smith had a piece on the stupid Reformatory ads last night, which I missed. It's here.
It's early days, but the early numbers suggest the ads aren't working. This morning's Leger, in Quebec, actually indicate that the ads are helping to render the Cons a modern version of the Rhinocerous Party.
Criticizing an opponent's public record - their quotes and votes, as we put it - is generally okay. Going after their personality, or their character or appearance, generally isn't. There's blowback when you do that sort of thing.
I encourage you to think long and hard about the latter point, Team Harper. Here's just one example of what I mean, from the wk.com archives.
...is not the EI sabre-rattling stuff, or the Leger poll in Quebec, or yet more commentary about the Reformatory ad misfire. All of those stories are interesting, but I don't think they are necessarly surprising.
The Big Story is the story bearing this headline in today's Hill Times: "CONSERVATIVES COULD LOSE NEXT ELECTION, CABINET STAFFERS SCOUTING FOR NEW JOBS"
If you read any political yarn today, read this one by Abbas Rana. It gives you the real picture - and that is, senior Conservatives know they are going to lose the coming election, and therefore their jobs. So they are voting with their feet.
Those of us who work in this business have been seeing an increasing number of Con CVs landing in email in-boxes in recent months. Abbas' story is the first to confirm that blue staffers are making a rush to the lifeboats on the Harper-piloted Titanic.
For those of them who cannot find work, I wonder if they'll be revising their opinions about EI eligibility rules?
CONSERVATIVES COULD LOSE NEXT ELECTION, CABINET STAFFERS SCOUTING FOR NEW JOBS
The Hill Times, May 25th, 2009
By Abbas Rana
'People are aware that there's a good chance we could lose and they're sending around feelers,' says one Cabinet staffer.
The next federal election is highly unlikely to happen before the fall, but sensing a "good chance" the Conservatives could lose to the Liberals, a number of Cabinet staffers are already scouting out potential opportunities in the private sector, say some Cabinet staffers and Tory sources.
"You always want to have a 'Plan B' or 'C' and, frankly, the smart thing to do would be to try to put yourself on the market now rather than, say, after we lose an election and there's hundreds of Conservative staffers with the same sort of skill-sets all competing for a limited number of jobs," one exempt ministerial aide told Hill Climbers on condition of anonymity last week.
"People are aware that there's a good chance we could lose and they're sending around feelers, but I haven't seen anyone actually leave for another job because they think we're going to lose. At this stage, people are certainly keeping that as an option."
In interviews last week, Conservative aides and sources in the public affairs business told Hill Climbers that up until the fall economic statement, Conservative staffers had felt a sense of "invincibility," but things changed dramatically after the Liberal-NDP coalition, supported by the Bloc almost toppled Prime Minister Stephen Harper's (Calgary Southwest, Alta.) government after the Tories attempted to strip political parties of their public funding.
The coalition government never happened and Mr. Harper prorogued Parliament to avoid a confidence vote, but Liberals quickly chose Michael Ignatieff (Etobicoke-Lakeshore, Ont.) as their leader and ever since have been busy preparing for the next election. Public opinion polls show an upward trend of support for the Ignatieff Liberals.
Lobbyists interviewed for this article confirmed that a number of exempt ministerial staffers have contacted them asking about the potential employment opportunities.
"The rationale for doing that is you get out before you become damaged goods, first of all. And then, secondly, there's less competition now than there will be whenever everybody gets dumped [after an election defeat]. So, there've been conversations in which they were [ministerial staffers] exploring their options," said one lobbyist.
Another lobbyist also said that he has also been contacted by some Cabinet staffers.
"I've had a few people saying I'd be interested in talking and see what the opportunities are."
A third Ottawa lobbyist confirmed that some staffers asked about potential employment opportunities, but also said an election is unlikely to happen until next spring and also because of the slow down in economy, there aren't many positions available in the public affairs companies.
"Smart people are always looking forward. Smarter staffers tend to do that. We've had a few people do that. We go looking for people too. We have always had that...There's a general sense that in reality the election probably won't be until the spring of 2010 so it isn't as intense as it normally would be ...Also the economy being what it is there aren't as many immediate positions available as there once were so that's part and parcel of that."
You hit us, we'll hit back - twice as hard.
I'm heading back from CTV, where Tim Powers, Brad Lavigne and I did a Question Period panel thing with the legendary Craig Oliver - and the ad stuff came up. Craig wanted to know why the Reformatories (my word, not his) are resorting to attacks on a good man's character.
"Because they're scared," I said. "Because they don't know what else to do. We're beating them badly - we're whipping them, in fact. And people don't like their ads. They're bringing in tons of money for us and tons of new members. So the Conservatives are reverting to type."
But does that mean we'll just let them get away with it? No way. At the right time and place - and in the right way - we'll give them a beating they won't ever forget.
That's a promise.
Second son, age eight, reveals he has an eHarmony account. You know, the online dating service.
Us: "You have WHAT?"
Him [laughing uproariously]: "I'm Wazoo!"
Us: "You're what?"
Him [to peals of laughter] "Wazoo from Zimbabwe!"
Important message to eHarmony users: if you get paired with "Wazoo from Zimbabwe," ask for your money back. It's not going to work out.
When you live in Ottawa for a while, and then when you live outside it, you figure out there are two Canadas. There’s the one North of the Queensway, as I wrote in a book a few years back. And then there’s the real one, the Canada that isn't Parliament Hill.
In recent days, the Ottawa-centred Canada has been preoccupied with stuff like former Prime Ministers who have gotten away with paying taxes at a discounted rate (leading not a few of us to wonder how we can get that half-off taxes deal, too). Or Conservatives apparently promising each other patronage appointments to rig election results (leading some of us to wonder whether Conmservatives have done this sort of thing elsewhere, or if the alleged Ottawa election-rigging was the one and only time they’ve ever tried it).
And, of course, there’s also been scads of commentaries about how nobody is influenced by tough political advertising, written by people who are apparently influenced enough to fell multiple forests to write about tough political advertising. (Leading some of us to wonder why, if political ads are so ineffective, newspaper columnists have written millions of words about the ads, and not the former Prime Minister getting the cut-rate tax deal from the government.)
Anyway. I’m taking a long time to get to my point, as usual.
My wife has been away for a girl trip thing, you see, so I’ve been Daddy At Home. So, when the morning papers fell on the doorstep, it fell to me to explain why the picture of a sunny little girl from Woodstock was back on the front pages.
“Did they find her, Daddy?”
“Is she dead now, Daddy?”
“What did they do to her, Daddy?”
Out here in the other Canada, that’s what we’re dealing with, this morning. Not the bullshit the Harper government doles out to us, day in and day out, thinking we’re stupid enough to eat it.
We’re thinking about – and, in muted tones, when the kids aren’t around, we’re talking about – what to say to our kids about Tori Stafford. We’re thinking about just saying to Hell with it, and bundling the kids off to a small town somewhere, and then remembering that this happened in a small town. We’re thinking about how, when you get kids, capital punishment seems too good an outcome for anyone who would hurt a child. We’re thinking about why the Hell the police didn’t issue an Amber Alert right away, on the first day - and how some media people can look themselves in the mirror this morning, after the irreparable smear job they did on that little girl’s mother.
We're thinking about what to say to our kids about a world that is as evil and bleak as this one regularly is, and whether anything will ever get better. We're thinking about Tori Stafford.
"She's an angel now, buddy, and she's with the other angels. Say a prayer for her and her family."