Jim Prentice is in third place

So says one poll, here.

So here’s what I say about why that may be so. From my speech to Alberta Liberals, this weekend, and the Hill Times, next week:

“[Prentice’s budget] is a barf bag of incoherence. It raises taxes and user fees, and it slashes government services – all at the same time. It tries to appease fiscal conservatives and fiscal spendthrifts, but has only succeeded in enraging both. It is the legislative equivalent of sucking and blowing simultaneously. And Albertans do not – do not – like it.”

Amazing things are happening in Alberta, this Spring. Pay attention. 

The power of journalism, and Walter Scott

Growing up, I just wanted to be a reporter. That’s all. I started my own newspaper when I was nine; I worked at them all through elementary school, junior high school, high school, university and the Bar Admission course. I’ve been a reporter at the Ottawa Citizen and the The Calgary Herald, and a columnist at the National Post, the Citizen and the Sun papers. I loved to read them, I loved to write for them. I even loved the smell of them.

They’re dying, of course, mainly because the ways in which we receive information has so fundamentally changed – and because journalists usually aren’t very good at running businesses. But that doesn’t mean that bloggers, or social media enthusiasts, are going to ever supplant real journalists. Bloggers and the like, as I’ve said many times, merely comment on the work of real reporters. They don’t have the resources or the skills to do what journalists do.

The front page of today’s New York Times, below, does what journalism is supposed to do: it points out something that is important, and forces us to consider it – and, ideally, change the way we do things.

What happened to Walter Scott, as I wrote below, was indisputably murder. And the front page of today’s New York Times is indisputably journalism.


In this week’s Hill Times: do you detest her as much as I do?

In the long and storied history of Canadian politics, has there been anything – anything at all – as consistently disgusting and repellant and loathsome as the Canadian Senate? Has there been any political institution that has been so deserving of being dragged into the public square, and executed for all to see?  Ask yourself: is there?
No.  No, there isn’t.  
And rest assured, Senators, as you slouch in the Air Canada lounge, delicately clutching the Hill Times or some other paper in your manicured digits, waiting to board a flight back to the patch of dirt you claim to “represent” – Canadians intensely despise the institution to which you belong.  And, in large measure, Canadians despise many of you, too.
Bob Fife’s revelation that not a few of you have had your snouts wedged in the Parliamentary expense trough is, really, not news.  All of us had been expecting that particular blister to burst for, say, the past 148 years.  Still, Fife’s report that at least 40 of you have received letters from Auditor General Michael Ferguson about “questionable expense claims” – with many more such letters about to be popped in the mail – well, wow.  Fife’s reporting, always among the best on the Hill, suggested that the Senate – already writhing in the feral ooze at the bottom of some primordial pit – was about to slither downward to uncharted depths.
As CTV’s Fife reported: “Sources said former Liberal senator Rose-Marie Losier-Cool has been asked to account for about $100,000. When CTV News contacted her by phone, she refused to comment and hung up.”
Tidbits like these enrage average Canadians, to be sure.  But, take heart, enraged Canadians: the Senate will now indeed be killed off, and justly so.  And it will be killed off not by us, but by the Senators themselves.
The senatorial parade of sleaze and shame can’t be captured in a single opinion column – it would take up too many words.  But some notables merit quick mention: Senate Mike Duffy, of course, commencing trial this week on a multiplicity of charges.  Senator Pamela Wallin and Senator Patrick Brazeau and departed Senator Mac Harb, all currently facing charges and/or police investigations. Ex-Senator Raymond Lavigne, convicted of fraud and breach of trust.  Former Senator Michel Cogger, whose misadventures occupied the legal system for a decade.  Senator Eric Berntson, resigned, who was sentenced to a year in prison for illegally diverting government allowances. The departed Andrew Thompson, who lived in Mexico, but who always made certain to show up in the Senate often enough to draw a salary. And so on and so on.
Above all of these, however, stands Senator Nancy Ruth Rowell Jackman.  That’s the name she was born with, you see, but she prefers that we call her “Nancy Ruth.” Paul Martin appointed her more than a decade ago, but she was a Conservative.
She dropped the Jackman part, which perhaps makes it easier to forget that her brother is Hal Jackman, formerly bagman-in-chief for the Ontario PC Party.  Or that her father was Harry Jackman, another uber-rich Conservative from Toronto who dabbled in politics.  They were rich, rich, rich.
And rich Nancy Ruth Rowell Jackman is and was.  She made a couple dilettantish runs for the Ontario Conservatives in the Nineties.  On one occasion, the provincial Liberals produced a cheeky flyer about her, and it contained some gems – as well as some of her bon mots, neatly illustrating her worldview.  
Thus, we learned that she grew up in a 9,000-square-foot mansion, with a cook, a maid, a nanny, a seamstress and even someone to do the laundry.  One time, she went into town to run some errands, and came back with a shiny new Mercedes.  Private girls’ school Branksome Hall behind her, she started thinking about university.  “I guess it was arrogance,” Nancy allowed, “but I wasn’t really aware that going to university had anything to do with school marks.”
Living on her family’s millions didn’t bother.  “It was my due,” said she.
This week, of course, Nancy Ruth Rowell Jackman rocketed into the public consciousness when asked about the Auditor General’s question to her: namely, why not eat free airline food when it is offered?  Why expense something else?
Sniffed the Senator, in a quote that will live forever in infamy:  “Well, those (airline) breakfasts are pretty awful. If you want ice-cold Camembert with broken crackers, have it.”
The AG’s auditors, she added, don’t “understand anything of what it’s like to fly around the world to get here to Ottawa.”
Senator Nancy Ruth Rowell Jackman, a weary nation thanks you.  With your arrogance, with your appalling condescension and contempt, you have done more to hasten the Senate’s demise than anyone before you.
That takes some doing, “Nancy Ruth,” but you did it. Congratulations.

The Daily Beast: Bloombergian

Shinan’s dispatch from the front in Tee Dot. Fun writing here.

John Tory, a placid, Bloombergian figure who hails from one of Canada’s establishment clans, eventually grabbed the prize, but not without one perennial gum stuck to his shoe—Rob Ford ran for, and hung on to, his former council seat! 

John Tory won, but he still acts like he is still running against Rob Ford. And it makes John Tory look like a sore winner.” That’s how pundit Warren Kinsella, a ceaseless critic of the current mayor, characterizes the psycho-dynamics at City Hall to me. 

 In classically good-natured Toronto—the aw-shucks city where Joni Mitchell once busked on the streets, Mike Myers honed his yuk-yuks, and Marshall McLuhan coined the term “global village”—there remain remnants of a downtown-suburban class-divide that Ford embodied, leveraged, and exploited. And it’s true enough that the metropolis is still wrapping its head around the legacy of the last four years. 

 “They don’t speak,” a close aide to Tory mentioned recently, speaking to the frost between the mayors, current and present. (A relationship complicated, no doubt, by the fact that Tory was an un-shy booster of Ford, during the 2010 civic elections.) 

Video of a cold-blooded murder

Unlike the Ferguson, Missouri cold-blooded murder of Michael Brown, this cold-blooded murder has been entirely caught on video – and it shows a black man, Walter Scott, running from a white cop, Michael Slager.  Who shoots the unarmed Scott in the back multiple times. And kills him.

This was murder, and that is what the charge is.  If the video didn’t exist, I have no doubt that it would have been Ferguson all over again.

Warning: this is unedited video, and it shows it all.

Dear Alberta Liberals

You were the first political party I joined, back in 1980. I did so because you were the only sane political party around.

Thirty-five years later, you still are.

  • Wildrose will sell itself for a few trinkets, and think government shouldn’t do anything.
  • The NDP hate Alberta’s main job-creator, and think government should do everything.
  • And the Prentice PCs? They’ve lost their way. They don’t have any values.  And they couldn’t communicate their way out of a wet paper bag.

I’ll be with you this weekend in Edmonton, pitching for change – not radical change, like Wildrose and the NDP favour.  Smart, sensible change – change away from a governing PC party that has become cynical and corrupt and complacent.

More details are here.  There’ll be a talk on Saturday night, and a private seminar on running the best possible war room on Sunday morning.  I look forward to meeting each and every one of you!




Since I was a kid – since this day in 1972, in fact, when I started writing a daily journal – I have always taken note of April 4, and said to myself:  “April 4.  Dr. King.”

Today, 47 years ago, Martin Luther King was murdered by a racist in Memphis.  Dr. King was a giant of a man, the one who – as I write in Fight The Rightanticipated the message at the core of the Occupy movement, among other things.  While his message continues to resonate across the decades, the violence of racial hatred continues unabated, too.

It’s April 4, and so I give you some of his most remarkable speech.  Surveying the pygmies who now crowd the public stage, I don’t think we will see the likes of him again.

Ekos iPolitics poll: “a strange paradox”

I’ll say.

Canadians think we’re in a recession – but the overall trend favours the Conservatives. Canadians don’t like the direction in which the country is going – but the overall trend does not favour the Liberals or their leader. And so on.

Peer at this chart. What it says to me is (a) NDP up; (b) Liberals down; and (c) Harper, not dramatically up, but super happy because the NDP and the Liberals are splitting the progressive share of the vote again. AGAIN.

Watch, tonight, for more numbers on the leaders. It will shock.