Tobin or not Tobin, is that the question? Well, the answer is apparently ... "not Tobin".
So now the question is, who's left in the "race"?
The answer? Everyone and no one.
But what is becoming clear is that the three big heirs (Manley, McKenna, Tobin) don't want the job of opposition leader, and I'm not talking about the official opposition to the gov't.
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Tobin or not Tobin, is that the question? Well, the answer is apparently ... "not Tobin".
Holy cow! Did a search on Google for "Video Professor Jack Layton" and there were tonnes of sites. Found an excellent side-by-side comparison between the two. Hat tip here.
What's uncanny is that not only do they look alike, but their sales-pitch is basically the same. So is Jack Layton using the Video Professor's sales antics?
I'm wondering if the NDP have a money back guarantee. Then again, the NDP don't really like given you your money back do they? But if not, and Jack truly wants to emulate the VidProf, he'll have to approve Harper's budget!
at 1:18 PM
"...hop off the bus Gus, don't need to discuss much..."
After reading this, I applaud Jack for coming out. It's a smart move for attention, being there's no Liberal opposition right now (except perhaps some from Bling Bling Belinda), but if Jack thinks he's going to block the popular GST reduction that helps even the poorest, he's dreaming.
But didn't he say just the other day that he can work with Harper and last week he was unsure?
If Jack thinks he's got the same clout with Harper as he did with Martin, he's dreaming.
Remember how much attention Jack received when the Liberal gov't fell in November '05? With less than 20 seats, it appeared the NDP were the ones to sink the ship. Harper let Jack take the spotlight, so the blame wouldn't be put all on the Conservative opposition.
With the Liberals in limbo, they have no intention of bringing the gov't down. I shouldn't even have to mention this anymore. No one should. Luckily the Conservative priorities are palatable.
But it's a good move though Jack, taking the spotlight again on this one. Because if you don't vote for the budget with the GST reduction, guess who the blame will be put on?
at 12:51 PM
Don't you just love all the attention that the Liberal leadership race has attracted and how the media is paying little attention to Stephen Harper, who will be sworn in as Canada's Prime Minister on Monday?
I think it's great because the Liberals are beginning to lack a credible potential leader (except perhaps Stephane Dion).
I think it sucks because I wonder how many Canadians actually know who Stephen Harper is and whether they know he's the new guy in town and how well he has already handled the transition to gov't that has already made Paul Martin's stint as PM a spec of dust.
Hehe ... Stephen vs. Stephane.
at 11:36 AM
Monday, January 30, 2006
The Liberals have a lot more thinkin' to do...
With John Manley and Frank McKenna out of the race, what does this mean?
Although Frank was ahead in every Liberal leaderhsip poll so far, it means that he, like John, is going to wait even longer.
Who would want to lead a party that's $35 million in debt and divided to the nuts. Let someone else pick up the pieces, then move in.
And how much different is McKenna from Harper? They even have the same haircut!
at 11:01 AM
So you're probably thinking that I'm a too big of a Harper booster. I assure you that I'll be objective, but even many Liberals admire him, his intellect, and yes, even his personality.
In witnessing Stephen Harper's rise to 24 Sussex over the past 5 years has been like watching Kasparov play chess--always several moves ahead.
Just think about what he started with--a broken Canadian Alliance party. He ignored the distractions and united everyone. "The Canadian Alliance is strong and the Canadian Alliance is here to stay."
I'll never forget that because I knew he was lying. I knew he knew the only way to defeat the "naturally governing" Liberals was to forge the Progressive Conservatives and Reform back together.
Heck, I even laid out a timeline of how this could all happen, and I even said the new party should just be called "Conservative". Harper met that timeline. Obviously he didn't take my advice directly, but I was amazed how everything fell into place.
Months after the Canadian Alliance convention in Edmonton, the P.C.s had their convention here too. I thought, "Of all the cities, they pick the same one? Symbolic?" I remember meeting Peter Mackay in his hospitality suite at the Westin drinking some Nova Scotian microbrew. You're probably thinking what the heck I was doing there? Well, I was posing as a Tory and just walked up to his room. I talked to him for a bit regarding his leadership ambitions and he was obvious, not in his words, but his tone.
I got the feeling that there was something more to all of this, but didn't go much further than that.
After Mackay promised David Orchard not to merge with Harper on a napkin, I realized Mackay was a lot like Harper--in ignoring the distractors. They both knew everyone hated the Liberals more than than they disagreed on minor issues and that a merger was the best thing.
But Mackay was forthright, not seeming to jump right into bed with Harper. It was a difficult negotiation, with Belinda Stronach in the middle of it (speaking of being in bed). The last issue being how the leader is chosen: Reform's one member one vote (OMOV) or the Tory belief that all ridings are equal. They chose the latter, which I agreed with, because that's how the House of Commons is setup.
After that all happened, I met Peter again at a Rahim Jaffer event prior to the 2004 election. I said, "Peter, it took a lot of courage to do what you did." He said, "I did what I thought was the best thing for the country." He's right. And now look where we are!
So I wonder if Harper knew well ahead of time that Peter Mackay was a willing participant in the merger?
It's those chess moves that also show how well the recent Conservative platform resonates with ordinary Canadians.
Even Liberals like it. They tried to trash it during the campaign but could only come up with beer and popcorn. That was the best argument. All Jack Layton and the NDP could say was that Harper is out of touch, without getting specific. They all tried to label Harper as something he's not. While many Canadians got scared again at the last minute and jumped back to the Liberals, it just wasn't enough because Harper's policies were centrist with a touch of conservative libertarianism.
And that is why Harper will be able to pass a lot of things in the House over this year, with the NDP, and heck, even the Liberals. Because if they don't, and cause an election over an issue that most Canadians agree with, then you may see a merger on the left, and just like in the U.S., the natural governing party will be the Conservatives.
at 10:28 AM
Friday, January 27, 2006
While the provincial premiers, city mayors, lobbyists line up asking for this and that and that and this, oh wait ... it's just money ... here's what I want to see:
1. Harper's Accountability Package passed. It's awesome and it's his first priority. As he said, if he can't pass this then it's going to be difficult to govern. The Bloc and NDP will support it and it will really hurt the Liberals.
2. Cut my damn taxes. I'm a single middle class guy trying to pay down debts. My taxes are WAY too high and cost more than my food, shelter, and clothing each month. What do I get in return? So cutting the GST? It's a good start. Raise the personal exemption $1000, cut the lower and middle income tax brackets in half. I know that'll be impossible to do, but an extra $100-200 a month would really help me invest more. As well, one parent can stay at home. But next should be income splitting. THAT my friends would really help families, and kids, lower stress, so less health care use, and benefit society, and the country.
3. Senate Senate Senate. While this is a minority gov't, people want to see some progress here. If Harper appointed some elected Senators, that will kick things off. B.C. Senator Gerry St. Germain wants to take it further and make the provinces more equal. Yeah, well duh, that's really the point. Canada is so far behind democratically, we're still stuck in 1905. Wow, that's like 102 years dude?
4. Defense. Our military personel are the best trained in the world. We have the best fighter pilots, snipers, and special forces. But our equipment is unsafe and out of date. It's embarrassing. I mean, really embarrassing. We need to restore the pride Canada had after WWI and II. All those vets aren't going to be around much longer. Then where's the pride?
5. Kyoto. Scrap this useless pile of crap "protocol" .. er.. . read "Paul Martin's buddy, Maurice Strong's attempt at an international socialist scheme". Hmmm..... didn't think Rick Mercer could sell me on a "free guide". Canada does need a plan for smog and pollution, but CO2? Don't buy into it folks, and naturally occurring global warming is actually a good thing. Why? You can grow more food. Anyway.. I'll save that for another rant.
6. Provincial Powers. Why is it okay for our Senate to be stuck in 1905, but the original provincial powers have been trumped with national socialism (oh wait, isn't that also called... we won't go there.. in Canada, in our streets...)? There is WAAAY too much departmental overlap between the feds and the provs. Harper wants to trim the cabinet fat, cap spending to inflation, and let the provs have more say in the country. This is already very refreshing and for a country this large, like the U.S., regional respect will be good for federalism, hurt the separatists, and everyone can sit and relax in their prov borders and not worry about trying to get a piece of the perverbial federal surplus.
That's it for now. It's actually quite a lot, but doable.
at 5:11 PM
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Exclusive leak? I copied Stephen Taylor's predictions and put my comments in brackets...
Prime Minister - Stephen Harper (duh)
Deputy PM - Lawrence Cannon (I'm about 50/50 on this one)
Justice and Emergency Preparedness - Peter MacKay (absolutely)
Foreign Affairs - Monte Solberg (many have said Stockwell Day, but Monte would be better)
Defence - Gordon O'Connor (or Laurie Hawn)
Transport - James Moore (no)
Finance - Jim Flaherty (definitely - was Ontario's Finance Minister under Harris)
Revenue - Garth Turner (sure, why not)
Intergovernmental Affairs - Rona Ambrose (definitely)
Environment - Bob Mills (likely)
Indian Affairs - Jim Prentice (yep, there's no one better)
International Trade - Maxime Bernier* (who?)
Fisheries - Loyola Hearn* (again, who else?)
Leader of the Government (HoC) - Jay Hill (definitely - he's good)
Health - Tony Clement (I dunno about this one, I like Tony, but I'd prefer Steven Fletcher)
Heritage - Bev Oda* (I was thinking Rahim Jaffer)
Veterans Affairs - Laurie Hawn (good choice, but
Leader of the Government (Senate) - Hugh Segal (no kidding)
Agriculture - Gerry Ritz (I'm sure there's other rural MPs)
President of the Treasury Board - Jason Kenney (probably)
*Minister of the Econ. Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec and Minister responsible for the Francophonie - Josee Verner (she's cute, why not)
ACOA - Gerald Keddy (sure)
Human Resources - John Baird (don't know him)
Attorney General - Vic Toews (already acting like one)
Industry - Rob Nicholson (could go to Jason Kenney)
Democratic Reform - Scott Reid (Oh hell no. Scott doesn't understand representative democracy -- remember the last Convention? Me like Diane Ablonczy)
Sport - Gary Goodyear (sounds good!)
Internal Trade - Christian Paradis (who?)
North American relations - Stockwell Day (there's such a portfolio?)
Immigration - Diane Ablonczy (Rahim would be better)
Speaker - Chuck Strahl (Nope. This is elected by the house, so I think it'll go to Peter Milliken the Liberal again, especially in a shaky minority.)
at 3:53 PM
Very slick and cautious, but he answered a few things that show he'll be a good PM:
- He won't recognize the recently elected Hamas gov't in Palestine because they support terrorism.
- Despite grumblings from the U.S. Ambassador, he said that he'll proceed with beefing up our presence in the Canadian arctic because we have a right to our sovereignty.
- And in dealing with the same-sex marriage issue, he said he wants to deal with it sooner than later. And of course, he knows that it will pass in a free vote, so he appeases democrats and social libertarians, and the socons will have to accept it. So there's a good thing about the minority gov't -- Harper doesn't have to worry about it sticking to him anymore.
at 3:41 PM
Ex-Prime Ministers on reality TV?
What about Paul Martin?
at 11:02 AM
Rumours abound that Harper and Co. will scrap the useless Gun Registry and use that money (what, $2 billion plus?) to pay for more RCMP and help cities hire more police.
In our ...
Alright alright, I think we've beat that one to death (pun intended?).
at 10:24 AM
Liberal leadership hopeful and now former Canadian Ambassador to the U.S., Frank McKenna, stepped down from his post yesterday stating that it's tradition for there to be closer ties between the Prime Minister and the Ambassador, obviously something which Frank does not have with Stephen.
But we know the real reason. It's obvious McKenna will be seeking the Liberal Leadership, currently touted as the front-runner. John Manley announced today he will not seek the leadership. Hmmm, you think it's because it's obvious Manley has no chance against McKenna?
Anyway, nevermind about that for now. Who will be the next Canadian Ambassador?
Knowing how unpredictable Harper is, he'll probably choose someone we don't really know that well, but I would suggest he appoint Preston Manning.
However, I would also then suggest that Stockwell Day not become Foreign Affairs Minister.
at 10:10 AM
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
I met our new Prime Minster back in 1996 at Ezra Levant's Holiday Party in Calgary. Nice man, but he didn't say much.
Five years later, I met him again in Edmonton when he began his run for leader of the Canadian Alliance Party. He sure had a lot more to say. I always went up to the microphone to ask him a question and he always gave an answer I would never expect -- an intelligent one. He seemed determined. He ignored critics and that Joe who guy.
I met him in 2002 at a Canadian Alliance dinner in Edmonton. He came to our table and made a couple jokes. He was more relaxed, but didn't seem to connect to people yet.
Then I shook his hand again in 2004 at Laurie Hawn's campaign office. Tall man and a lot more engaging. He had sincerity in his steely blue eyes. Nice tie too. I didn't bother to talk to him because there were so many senior ladies wanting to speak to him.
Then I met Mr. Harper in July of 2005 during the BBQ circuit and got a picture with him. He said, "I've definitely met you before. How are things?" I said, "We've met a couple times in the past. Things are great. Good luck to you sir." He was WAY more relaxed and confident.
So going from an Executive Assistant to a P.C. MP, a losing candidate, a Reform MP, a quasi-lobbyist, a leader of a divided opposition party, to a party uniter, to a deal maker, to a leader, and to a Prime Minister, is quite the accomplishment despite his detractors.
He admits he's not about flair and fanfare -- just a humble guy. He's never pretended to be something he's not. He's continually surprised the pundits. He's massively underrated and yet totally exaggerated by the Liberals.
He's Stephen Harper, the 22nd Prime Minister of Canada.
With a very divided House of Commons, a Liberal dominated Senate, Supreme Court, and civil service, Stephen Harper has a lot of work cut out.
However, he has proven he can be a pragmatist, and a uniter. He's united two parties, learned from his mistakes, delivered a stellar campaign, and now, he'll hopefully unite a polarized Canada as well.
Not only do I hope the leaders of the opposition will be tactful, negotiate, and compromise, I hope some Canadians discontinue their divisive attacks as demonstrated by the Liberal campaign.
But I doubt it.
The Liberals will be mired in their own leadership election over the next while and are currently $35 million in debt. Hopefully they'll have little time to attack or won't have the ammo to attack Harper as he carefully steers us through the mudslinging with poise and class and delivers on the items that the other parties can agree on. I don't see why the Bloc would block the GST cut or the Accountability Package.
Time will tell. But time and time again, Stephen Harper has proven he can deliver.
at 5:37 PM