Your morning Ontario election news (updated)

This is all you need to know.  Oh, and Hudak is doing a lot better after his two initial flubs. Prediction for next few days: Harper PMO are going to come up with an embarrassing bit of news to payback Wynne for her recent swings in their direction. It’ll be nasty, because they do nasty well.

 UPDATE: Well, so much for my view that Hudak has done okay in the past few days – with his announcement that he plans to cut 20 per cent of the jobs/services in government, his Million Job Plan has undergone drastic weight reduction.  And this election is now officially between Wynne and Horwath alone, methinks.


Not in Sunday’s Sun: Trudeau and abortion – early!

In political terms, the best – and safest – line on abortion is the one Bill Clinton came up with, some years ago.

“Abortion should not only be safe and legal,” said the former president, “it should be rare.”

That, pretty much, sums up the position on abortion of the three main Canadian political parties. Everyone aspires to live in a world where abortions are unnecessary, but everyone also accepts that we do not presently live in that world.

Not so long ago, the Liberals and the Conservatives were of a different view. They mostly opposed abortion, and they passed laws to reflect that view. Even the New Democrats had caucus members who were resolutely opposed to abortion.

Times changed. The courts pronounced, the politicians reversed. Nowadays, the law and the law-makers have come around to the Clinton line: safe, legal, rare.

The journey of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his ruling Conservatives, in this regard, has been revealing. Not so long ago, Harper and his party were proudly, and loudly, pro-life. That was their position.

Once they achieved a Parliamentary majority, they abruptly changed course: while the Tories (per Clinton) didn’t like abortion, they weren’t going to “reopen” the most divisive social issue of modern times. Over and over, that is what Harper and his people have said: abortion won’t be on the agenda while he is in charge.

Harper hasn’t wavered, in that regard. He has crushed any and all attempts to revisit the abortion debate – most of which have emerged from his own backbench. He has been true to his word.

Which brings us, in a circuitous fashion, to Justin Trudeau. On Wednesday, the Liberal leader pronounced on abortion. In a scrum on the Hill, he mainly said what Clinton – and Harper, and Jean Chretien, and Paul Martin, and even his father, Pierre Trudeau – had previously said.

“Our position as a party is we do not reopen that debate,” Trudeau said, sounding a bit like Harper.

But then, he went a bit further. “We are steadfast in our belief [in the Liberal Party], it is not for any government to legislate what a woman chooses to do with her body. And that is the bottom line.”

Not quite. There was another bottom line to come, and it immediately became news.

Said Trudeau: “I have made it clear that future candidates need to be completely understanding that they will be expected to vote pro-choice on any bills.”

And, with that, Trudeau did two things. One, he disposed of any lingering hope that he still favours so-called “open nominations.” In his Liberal Party, if you want to be a candidate, you must vote pro-choice. Or you’re out.

Two, by seeking to close the abortion issue, he has effectively re-opened it. Chretien, Martin and Trudeau’s father all knew that Catholics have historically tended to be Liberals. By moving well past the Clinton line – by making one’s position on abortion an actual condition of membership in the Liberal caucus – Trudeau risks dividing his party, and losing votes.

Personally, I always thought Justin Trudeau’s open nominations promise was rash – ironically enough, because it would make the party vulnerable to pro-life riding takeovers, as happened in 1990. But Trudeau made the promise, all on his own, and he needed to stick by it. He didn’t.

Personally, too, I favour the Clinton line, as do many other Liberal Catholics. Liberals have always made room for pro-life folks, and thereby not allowed the issue to tear us apart. It was smart politics, among other things.

So, what, then, is Justin Trudeau’s vision for the Liberal Party? What is his plan? I honestly don’t know.

And, on days like these, I don’t think he does, either.


Laura Miller’s legal guy responds

I like it.  Hope it ruins your day, Ms. MacLeod.

“Today, Lisa MacLeod sent a letter to the OPP implying that Laura Miller was somehow involved in impropriety related to the cancelled gas plants.  Her allegations are false and defamatory. Ms. Macleod has a track record of such conduct. In a co-ordinated effort, her party then released the letter to the media. Ms. MacLeod and her party are not interested in the truth. Ms. MacLeod is a political opportunist who has no grasp of or interest in the facts. Her attack on Ms. Miller is nothing more than a ploy aimed at trying to right a sinking ship that is the PC election campaign. Had Ms. MacLeod’s party supported the budget, Ms. Miller would be testifying tomorrow and answering any questions posed by Ms. MacLeod.”


The Ontario PCs, and the loathsome Lisa MacLeod, just attacked my friend Pete Faist

…and my friend Laura Miller, too.

They want a war? It’s a war they’ll lose. They really, really don’t want me off the bench. I’ll fuck them up for free.

How about this? Know about any other PC candidates, campaign managers, etc. with run-ins with the law – like our law-and-order pal Yakabuski, below – that you care to share? Convictions, citations, warnings, speeding tickets, whatever: send them to me here and we’ll have some fun.

How did Yakabuski get allowed into the Legislature without a criminal record check, for instance?


Man pleads guilty to assault

The Ottawa Citizen
Thu Dec 8 1988
Page: B3
Section: Local – VALLEY
Byline: Carol Doran
Dateline: KILLALOE
KILLALOE – A 31-year-old Wilno man pleaded guilty here Wednesday to charges of assaulting a police officer and attempting to obstruct justice in connection with a car accident in Wilno last January.

John Yakabuski, who had earlier entered not guilty to the charges, reversed his plea just before his trial was scheduled to start at provincial court here.

He is scheduled for a pre-sentence hearing March 1.

Yakabuski is the manager of a family-owned hardware store in Barry’s Bay. He is a son of the late Paul Yakabuski, MPP of the former provincial riding of Renfrew South.

Four other related charges, to which Yakabuski had pleaded not guilty, were withdrawn by Assistant Crown Attorney John Pepper.

Pepper said all the charges resulted from a Jan. 25 incident in which Yakabuski was a passenger in a vehicle driven by 35-year-old David Afelskie.

Court was told the two men were returning home from an ice fishing expedition at Lake Clear in Sebastopol Township when the vehicle went out of control at about 5:55 p.m. on Church Street in Wilno.

The two men took a quantity of alcohol from the crashedvehicle and made their way to the home of Rose-Marie Kuiack, who lived across the street, Pepper said.

After police arrived, Yakabuski and Afelskie went by ambulance to Barry’s Bay hospital. During the trip, Yakabuski became unruly and had to be restrained by ambulance staff.

Yakabuski crawled under the ambulance to prevent the vehicle from proceeding to the hospital, and was eventually forced to the ground by police and ambulance staff, handcuffed and put in a police cruiser.

Defence lawyer Tom Edmonstone suggested Yakabuski may have suffered a brain injury during the accident which could have influenced his behavior that night.

© 1988 Postmedia Network Inc. All rights reserved.