Who is going to win the 2015 federal election?

Here’s what the bright Mr. Grenier says on CBC’s web site this morning. But what do you guys think?

Last week, Lala and me had a long-overdue dinner with two of the smartest political folks I know. We decided to wager on the outcome of the 2015 election, region by region.

I’ve blurred out the names of the participants in our little election poll, to protect the guilty. On the left side of the Moleskin notebook page, however, is a column representing the Atlantic region, Quebec, Ontario, the Prairies and B.C. (Moleskin didn’t leave enough room for the Territories, sorry. And some of my addition may be wrong, but tant pis.)

On the right side, you’ll see that I have prognosticated that the Liberals will do well: they’ll dominate in the Atlantic and Quebec, do better in Ontario than they did in 2011, pick up a few in Manitoba-Saskatchewan-Alberta, and then get a third of the British Columbia pie. But I don’t see the NDP disappearing completely, which is why the Tories will remain in the Grits’ rear view mirror. It’ll be close, I predict, and we’ll be back at it in 2017, after a Conservative leadership race. Yay! More opportunity for baseless speculation!

Now, Grenier and various pollsters say the Conservatives are edging ever-closer to a majority. Trudeau has lost ground, they say, due to his stance on the international effort against ISIS, and because of uncertainty about his ability to manage an economy that seems fragile. The verbal missteps certainly haven’t helped, either.

But that’s them. You’re smarter, Dear Reader. What do you think? Place your bets, in comments, and have fun.


Methinks Ms. Hebert knows more than she’s sayin’

Just sayin’.

You can (should) read the whole piece. But these bits I found interesting:

If anything, Adams’s inclusion on the Trudeau team has more to do with a dogged Liberal quest for deterrence on the field of dirty tricks than with making inroads in voting intentions.


Conservative spin doctors have been quietly bragging about having collected dirt on Trudeau ever since he ran for the leadership.

Coming as it does from a take-no-prisoners rival camp, the threat has certainly been preying on the minds of Liberal strategists.

Pre-emptively mitigating potential damage is a part of their job description that they have been taking to heart.


Allegations that would be laughed off the front pages for their flimsiness over a couple of news cycle in between elections take on a life of their own in the pressure-cooker atmosphere of a five-week campaign.


The Conservative war room may not have any dirt worth dishing out on Trudeau next fall…But the fact that Trudeau has brought under his tent — at some political cost to himself and his party — [Dimitri Soudas], a backroom operator he would have been expected not to touch with a ten-foot pole speaks to the potential for the upcoming election war to go nuclear.

She sure seems to know something she isn’t telling us, eh?

Personally, I believed that Trudeau’s autobiography was an excellent opportunity to inoculate against whatever the Conservatives possess, and whatever it is that Hebert is hinting at. But that didn’t happen. The book was standard political fare: a couple revelations, a bit of news, but no shocking, front-page confessional stuff.

But let’s say, for the sake of argument, there is indeed something that the Tory war room possesses.

Hebert cites the example of the leak of the 2011 Jack Layton allegations to Sun News Network as an example of the sort of “damage control” the Liberals may accordingly need to do. I was there at the time, however, and urged Sun News against the use of such material. They went ahead anyway – and I firmly believe that, in the end, the “scandal” helped Layton more than it hurt him. His party went on to its best showing in its history.

My point is this: the Conservative war room, and possibly others, may be holding something surprising about Justin Trudeau. Fine. But if it ever sees the light of day, why are they so sure that it will hurt Trudeau, and not them?

Chris Hedges (and me, via Chris Hedges) on pornography

Finally, someone says what I’ve been labouring to say about pornography for years. Full link is below the quote:

BOSTON—“Fifty Shades of Grey,” the book and the movie, is a celebration of the sadism that dominates nearly every aspect of American culture and lies at the core of pornography and global capitalism. It glorifies our dehumanization of women. It champions a world devoid of compassion, empathy and love. It eroticizes hypermasculine power that carries out the abuse, degradation, humiliation and torture of women whose personalities have been removed, whose only desire is to debase themselves in the service of male lust. The film, like “American Sniper,” unquestioningly accepts a predatory world where the weak and the vulnerable are objects to exploit while the powerful are narcissistic and violent demigods. It blesses this capitalist hell as natural and good.

“Pornography,” Robert Jensen writes, “is what the end of the world looks like.”

It is lawful to stop an unjust aggressor

So says no less than Pope Francis, in response to ISIS’ barbaric killing of 27 Egyptian Christians:

“The Pope departed from the script of an address on Monday to emphasise the unity of all Christians regardless of the sect they follow.

“Their only words were: ‘Jesus, help me!’ They were killed simply for the fact that they were Christians,” Francis said while addressing members of the Church of Scotland. He spoke in his native Spanish, departing from the Italian he uses at most formal events.

The leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, who has said it is “lawful” to stop an unjust aggressor, went on: “The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a testimony which cries out be heard. It makes no difference whether they be Catholics, Orthodox, Copts or Protestants. They are Christians!”

Again, as before: at what point do those who object to military action against ISIS change their view? What new atrocity must take place before they acknowledge that they were wrong?

Happy flag day

When we were home in Calgary, during the NEP, someone burned the flag we had up on the roof.

“What should we do?” I asked my Dad, as we stood looking at what was left.

“Get another flag,” my Dad. “And we keep getting them until they stop.”

Not going to the Chretien flag rally today: it’s my Dad’s birthday. But if he were still here, we would all be going there together, because he loved Chretien. And the flag.

CBC National story on Sun News Network: what’s remarkable

…what’s remarkable isn’t the subject matter, or the fact that it used B-roll of people who left the network almost four years ago, or that I wore a sweater Lala detests, in public, on TV. No what’s remarkable is this marks the first-time appearance of Canada’s Best-loved Political Dog, Roxy™, on CBC. I am told a reality show is in the offing for her.

Dear Sun News Network folks

I was on Twitter, past midnight, reading some of the things people were saying about the network’s demise. There was a lot of gloating and awful stuff being said.

I slept for four hours, then got up to watch the network disappear. They showed a promo for Pat Bolland’s show, and then that was it. The screen in my bedroom went black at exactly 5 a.m. I stared at it for a while, and tried to formulate what I wanted to say.

It’s not you who I want to say it to, former Sun News Network folks. It’s to those people on Twitter, last night and this morning, the ones who were gleefully celebrating the end of Sun News.

They’re celebrating, I guess, because they disagreed with the opinions that were found on Sun News. They didn’t like conservative opinions being broadcast, so they think it’s funny that 200 people have lost their jobs. I find that completely insane, for two reasons.

Firstly, folks, I disagreed with those conservatives, too. Plenty. On sex ed, on CBC, on abortion, on niqabs, on social programs, on climate change, on Islam, on gay marriage, on Liberals and liberals, on just about anything you can imagine: I would regularly appear on Sun News Network to argue with those conservatives, face-to-face, on-camera. I would argue, aggressively, against the conservative point of view.

And, over almost four years, a funny thing happened: they kept inviting me back. They asked me to come on much more than my day job would permit, in fact. And they were professional and courteous and fair to me. Only once did they try and shut me down – here – but multiple Sun folks called me afterwards to apologize, and to say that it would never happen again. It didn’t.

That’s the first thing: if you disagree with someone’s opinion, debate them. Present evidence. Argue with facts. Be passionate. Because that’s what Sun News Network gave me an opportunity to do, over and over, for four years.

Here’s the second thing: in case you haven’t noticed, our traditional news media are dying.

There are all kinds of reasons for that: the Internet, Google and Facebook and Craigslist, bad business decisions, whatever. We can debate the causes ad nauseum. But the fact is that the media, as we knew it, is disappearing.

Bloggers and social media mavens will celebrate the mainstream media’s demise, too. But they shouldn’t. Because bloggers and tweeters don’t generate actual news – they just comment on it. They offer opinions on someone else’s work. Someone else’s journalism.

When that journalism disappears, mark my words: our democracy will be diminished, and possibly even in peril. I’m not exaggerating. There is nothing that keeps the powerful in check – not Question Period, not a public opinion poll, not even the police – as effectively as journalists do. I’ve worked on both sides, and I know, I’ve seen it: every time a newspaper dies – every time a TV network dies – the powerful grow more so. You may think that’s okay, but I sure don’t. They are not always benign in the way they exercise power.

Anyway. Those are the two things I wanted to say, this bitterly-cold Friday the Thirteenth: if you disagree with someone, debate them. Don’t let out a cheer when they lose their job, and their ability to pay the rent and feed their kids. Because one day, in this economy, you’re probably going to lose your job, too. And it would be pretty shitty for someone to find that funny, on that day, wouldn’t it?

Remember this, too: every news reporter – every news editor, every news producer, every news technician – is a crucial part of a flourishing democracy. And when we lose them, our democracy loses. The Sun News Network ones, too.

And I guess there’s a third thing I wanted to say: Kory – and Matt and Dennis and others – put together an actual national news network, and they had some good folks there. I may have vociferously disagreed with the opinions they expressed – and you may have, too – but I am so, so sorry that they have lost their jobs, at 5 a.m. this morning. I will miss many of them.

So, don’t celebrate them losing their jobs. Don’t be indifferent to the effect it will have on our democracy. Because if you do, you’re just being an asshole.

Anyway. Back to work. I’m lucky to still have a job – and if you’ve got one, you should be, too.