True Twitter story

I tweeted this, so some guy tweeted back this.  I read it fast, so I tweeted this.

Whither goest thou, Justin, in thy shiny car in the night?

It’s a Kerouac line, adapted for the circumstances. Fits.

Lately, I have been peering at this snapshot taken by Eric Grenier, like someone does when they are lost, and they are squinting at a map at the side of the road. Night falling, apprehension rising.

No single poll is reliable anymore. They get it wrong, a lot. This graph is probably different, however, because it is a rendering of a lot of polls, aggregated. It’s therefore harder to dismiss. Thus, I gaze at it, trying to unlock its mysteries.

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 7.54.22 AM

You can divine its meaning as well as I can. You don’t have to be an expert. Among other things, it tells us:

  • Trudeau has dropped, but not dramatically;
  • Harper has risen, and inexorably; and
  • Mulcair isn’t Jack Layton.

That’s pretty simplistic, but so is politics.  Harper’s wiggly line is good, Mulcair’s is bad, and Trudeau’s is so-so.  Ipso facto, the campaign matters.

That’s a cliché, but it’s also true.  That’s why Liberals – increasingly nervous about assorted things – have lately taken to repeating the mantra that the campaign matters, and the pre-season doesn’t.  (Maybe.)

To illustrate their point, they cite 1993.  Kim Campbell was the most popular Prime Minister in the history of polling, and Jean Chretien was being measured for a political pine box.  The campaign came, and everything changed.  (True.)

There’s a debate raging about this over on my Facebook page this morning.  In response to one commenter making the 1993-2015 comparison, an edited response from another commenter:

  • Kim Campbell was untested, Stephen Harper is not;
  • Jean Chretien had John Rae et al., Justin Trudeau has the folks who cooked up both Eve Adams and Sudbury;
  • The issues mix favours Harper (security/economy) in a way it never favoured Campbell (jobs/change);
  • The aggregate polling trend is presently slow and steady CPC upward growth, and slow and steady LPC erosion;
  • Trudeau is decidedly not Chretien.

And that last one is the big one, as we attempt to divine the meaning of Grenier’s squiggles on a computer screen: if you were writing a book, a la Kerouac, and you were looking for someone to play Jean Chretien (Kerouac and Chretien were distantly related, by the way), who would you pick?

Justin Trudeau or Stephen Harper?

The Loon Lake fire

I don’t get truly outraged very often, but this story truly outrages me. It should outrage you, too.

LOON LAKE, Sask. The volunteer fire chief in a Saskatchewan village says a neighbouring First Nation that lost two children in a house fire cancelled its firefighting contract with the community.

Larry Heon, who is also the mayor of Loon Lake, says he was sleeping when he got a 911 call automatically routed to him at about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday about the blaze on the Makwa Sahgaiehcan reserve.

“But we didn’t go,” said Heon.

The children were two and 18 months. They died at the scene.

Or, perhaps, they were killed – by the stupidity and indifference of unknown others.

I first learned about this horror on CBC Radio, when Niki Ashton raised it in the House. She was understandably emotional about what has happened.

This story needs to be better-known – and we need to know how such a thing could happen. You can contact Ashton here.

In Friday’s Sun: not me

I’ve been given up for Lent, you might say.

As you may have observed, there is a distinct lack of Warren-ness in this week’s Sun papers. So, too, other folks who used to appear on Sun News Network.

There’s a reason for this: the Sun chain, in whole or in part, is transitioning to a new ownership. That’s likely to happen within the next month. As such, there may be room for some of us at the columnist manger, or there may not be. It’s up to the new owners, the Competition Bureau, and You, Dear Reader.

So, I’m not writing a farewell column just yet. I may be back, I may not be. If you cannot imagine a day without Warren Sunshine, add your voice in comments. If you can, you are a horrible person, and you should be ashamed of yourself.

For those in need of a Warren fix, I can tell you that I will be now appearing in The Hill Times every week. It’ll be behind a paywall, so bring your credit card. (Columns that appear there will, however, eventually show up on this web site. Eventually.) And that’s not all! A couple of us are talking about developing a podcast-type thingie – for progressive contrarians – that would be located here and elsewhere.

Whatever happens, let me say – in all seriousness – that I have loved writing for the Sun. They have been a great bunch to work with, and they never censored a word I wrote. Not once. A first, for me.

Anyway. See you next week in The Hill Times – and, hopefully, back in the Sun, down the road.

Kill the drummer

Having dispatched more than my fair share over the years, I fully support this effort to kill the drummer. In SFH, both of ours are a pain in the ass, like all drummers, and we want to replace them with a Boss Dr. Rhythm. A drum machine doesn’t mooch as much beer, for starters, and it doesn’t talk back.

As one wise wag once observed: Q: What’s the last thing a drummer says in a band? A: “Hey, how about we try one of my songs?”

Give generously to this important campaign. It’s for the children, as they say.