REMEMBER TO VOTE CANADA!!!

One simple message:

GET OUT AND VOTE TODAY FELLOW CANADIANS!

It is a privilege we enjoy in this fine democracy we complain about and sometimes ignore. There are people literally dying worldwide today to even get a sniff of democracy in their homelands, let alone a chance to vote.

It does not matter what political stripe you are- JUST DO IT!!!!

OFF YOUR DUFFS, GRAB A COFFEE AND VOTE!!!

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NDP are Boy Scouts? Liberals grasp and Conservatives motor along

Here they come down the home stretch and what an interesting finish it will be.

Who would have thought the NDP and its leader Jack Layton could sustain their surge over the last couple of weeks since the English language debate. Where there is smoke there is fire and there seems to be something burning here with NDP support nationwide as the federal parties race to the May 2 election deadline.

courtesy of ThreeHundredEight.com

The great site ThreeHundredEight.com, as of April 26, is projecting the NDP to climb to 42 seats and 20.9 per cent of the popular vote. That is a six-seat gain for the NDP and the Liberals would drop to 75 seats from 77 with their popular vote hovering around 26.4 per cent.

“The NDP’s growth comes in both Ontario and Quebec, where the party is up 3.3 points and 7.3 points, respectively. In Quebec, the NDP has taken the lead forcefully, pushing the Bloc down two points to 25.2%. Note that the Conservatives are down to 14.7% while the Liberals are at a very low 13.1%,” finds ThreeHundredEight.com.

Obviously the smoke is serious enough when you look at the recent ads and focus Stephen Harper’s Conservatives and Michael Ignatieff’s Liberals have directed at the NDP.

Ignatieff was recently quoted in a Campaign Notebook on the Globe and Mail as calling the NDP “bunch of Boy Scouts”. As the centrist power playground of the Liberals appears wonky for them to rely on, Iggy is lashing out…is it a leftover stinging from Layton calling out Ignatieff’s attendance record at the House of Commons? During the English language debate Layton noted that Ignatieff had missed 70 per cent of the votes held, a number Parliament Hill insiders have confirmed.

Look into Jack's eyes....courtesy of The Toronto Star

The Bloc are being chastised in some circles for running a shoddy campaign as the NDP appears gain favour in Quebec. The Liberals are desperately grasping for support from the left, support which is galvanizing behind a leader those supporters believe in- the same cannot be said in the fractured Liberal house. On the right, the Conservatives have remained steady and on point, the united right (which has governed closer to centre than some supporters would like) looks to be insurmountable with Canada’s fractured centre-left landscape to counter it.

What to make of it all? You tell me OnDeadline readers. Can the NDP make a serious push to be the official opposition? Can the Liberals in fact fall that far off the Canadian electoral map to end up in third? Will the Conservatives nail down a majority?

One thing seems almost certain, barring a cataclysmic collapse of epic European Black Death proportions; we will have a Conservative minority government again once all the votes are counted. This outcome must leave some of you wondering…was this election ever worth it?

Canadian election fever…what’s that smell…tacos?

The election made me do it.

After an extended hiatus from the blog…once again…here I am with some observations on our current federal election campaign in Canada.

What to think of a $300 million election no one really wants? Will Prime Minister Stephen Harper secure his long sought after majority or will minority rule, under Tory blue, be the main course after the May 2 election?

Can Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff galvanize a Liberal base that appears still divided or uninterested in him, the party or a bit of both? Can Ignatieff and his Liberal red machine make much-needed inroads in the west (anywhere in western Canada really) fight off the Conservatives in some hot Ontario ridings and make even a dent in Quebec?

What to make of gentleman Jack Layton and his NDP party? By far the most likeable of all federal leaders among pundits and insiders, his goal is simple, hold on to the 36 seats the NDP have and see if they can inch closer to 20 in Ontario. Respectfully Mr. Layton, you are more the mayor Toronto needs than the prime minister we require on the Hill.

Jack Layton, a political zen master.

For Gilles Duceppe, the Bloc Quebecois leader, maintaining his party’s stranglehold on federal seats in La Belle Province is top priority and knocking off Justin Trudeau in his Papineau riding would likely be a wonderful feather in his cap.

For Elizabeth May and her Green Party, she needs to win in her riding if the party is to gain any serious respect and grow. Sure, just over one million people voted Green in the last election but I am convinced that is simply a masked protest vote.

How many people do you know that can tell you what the Green Party stands for besides the one easy answer of the “environment”? Win a riding, get into Ottawa and then we can talk. If one million people can vote for the party coast-to-coast, surely a majority in a riding can believe in that party’s leader.

Some random thoughts on what else we have seen so far on the campaign trail:

  • Can opposition leaders continue to make hay of the G8-G20 spending boondoggle reported in an Auditor General draft report leaked to the media?
  • Can Ignatieff continue to grow his leadership profile (he certainly has improved) and make his pleas for democracy on Parliament Hill stick and translate into votes?
  • Can we start hearing some serious discussion and not just sound bites on the issues of: Arctic sovereignty, the soon to expire Canada Health Accord, equal health and education growth rates for the First Nations, long-term infrastructure funding for municipalities and electoral reform?
  • The most likeable leaders, for their honesty and candour from this end of the keyboard, are Layton and Duceppe. Why? Because they have nothing to lose and can be themselves, one just needs to hold on to 36 seats and the other a Quebecois fiefdom.

Lastly, we’re slowly becoming convinced social media does not contribute anything of substance when it comes to a campaign and an election. Sure, news hits get out quick, in pithy little ways, but once the 24 hour cycle chews up all the social media cud, it is on to the next series of tweets, blogs, digs and farts, with little true discussion or dissection of an issue.

Feed the masses and move on, phew…who had tacos for lunch?

Prorogued parliament are perogies- all of them

Parliament has been prorogued, hope everyone is proud of themselves in Ottawa.

From Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his bully ways of trying to run a minority government as if he had a majority, to the recent asinine, power grubbing opposition coalition, affectionately called the three-headed hydra, our political leaders have done all Canadians a disservice. We likely would have been better off with actual perogies in the House of Commons, they would have tasted better and we could have eaten them to get rid of them.

Parliament won’t be up and running again until Jan. 27 when the Tories will table their budget. Now, what strategy the coalition will employ should be interesting, that is if it will actually exist by then. If this budget has the economic measures deemed necessary to help move Canada forward as the economic slowdown continues, will the power-hungry triumvirate still come together to vote it down?

In fact, is a coalition even necessary now? Each of these parties could simply just vote against the budget on their own accord, standing on their own ground to make their point. This coalition may represent a majority of parliament but it does not represent a majority of Canadians. Until the Bloc become a national party and run candidates coast to coast, they are not a party which has a national base.

Prorogation of parliament is the death knell of this hastily pulled together coalition. With a budget delivered in late January and Stephane Dion out the Liberal door by early May, the lone alternative, meek and weak as he is, for coalition leader will barely have time for tea before riding off into the sunset.

The opposition parties might as well just vote down the budget and get us headed to the polls so Canadians can actually choose, once again, who they think should govern them. This coalition came together quick and dirty and out of fear and anger, if anything, they can be credited with scaring the heck out of Stone Cold Harper. 

The upcoming budget now should have the measures that everyone is crying for. Then, we will really see what everyone in Ottawa is made of. Will Harper finally listen? Will the opposition leaders vote in favour of a budget which will help the economy? If this misguided coalition was in fact about the economy, they will vote in favour it. If they don’t and the budget is jam-packed with economic goodness, this will prove it is was all about power. If the budget  does not have the economic help required, Harper deserves to fall.

What a bunch of perogies, all of them.

Three-headed hydra eats Canadian democracy

This is a hijack, nothing more, nothing less. What is happening on Parliament Hill thanks to Canada’s opposition parties is exactly that, a hijack, is there a political anti-terrorism squad to call?

 

The spectre of the three-headed hydra of Stephane Dion, Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe taking power in Ottawa continues to grow thanks to a recent agreement they signed. The Dec. 8 confidence vote, if Prime Minister Stephen Harper does not prorogue parliament, will be a low day for Canadian democracy. This hydra is feasting on our democracy.

 

Let’s set one thing straight for the sake of this rant. I have never voted for a Progressive Conservative candidate. There have been Tory politicians I admired for their tactical acumen but as far as party ethos goes, I am about as far away from what a Tory party stands for as you can get. However, what is happening right now in Ottawa stinks.

 

This is a power grab because Harper continued his bully ways by trying to cut public funding of parties. This coalition is hiding behind the veil of the economic slowdown in order to steal power they could not legitimately secure in the last two federal elections.

 

Let’s look closely at how crazy the make up of this coalition is:

 

         Stephan Dion would be installed as prime minister if the coalition takes power. The very same Dion who led the Liberals to having their heads handed to them on a zero carbon footprint platter. A man whose leadership during the campaign was being questioned by his very own party supporters. A man who a majority of Canadians did not believe in enough to lead the country and his party is set to replace in May 2009.

 

         This coalition does not represent how the majority of Canadians voted in the recent federal election. You cannot count on the Bloc Quebecois numbers because they are skewed, having run candidates only in Quebec, they are not a national party…what are they again…oh yes, a separatist party. The Liberals and NDP will assume power thanks to the backing of a separatist party. You combine just Liberal and NDP election results and a majority of Canadians still did not choose them to govern.

 

         Our federal government, which represents the interests of all of Canada, will have its foundation of power based on a separatist party, a party which does not believe in the Canada the federal government is caretaker of. How is this logical and in the best interests of all Canadians?

 

         A weak Liberal party being propped up by the separatist Bloc. How will this help the future aspirations of the Liberal party ever registering a heart beat again in that province? This is a province where voters turn to the Conservatives before the Liberals as their distant second choice behind the Bloc.

 

There is nothing constitutionally wrong with what the opposition leaders are trying to do but make no mistake, it is greed and power feeding this three-headed hydra and nothing else. How embarrassing. How sad.  

 

Power Grab or Nation Saving?

Is the latest tactic by Canada’s opposition parties to wrestle power away from the Tories a case of nation saving or just a plain, old, dirty power grab?

Opposition parties claim the Tories have done nothing to save the Canadian economy. There has been no “stimulus” package announced. The Tories “do not get” what is happening to regular Canadians. They are “out of touch”.

Well, if the Tories are so “out of touch”, they “out of touch”-ed their way to a slightly larger minority government in the federal election this past fall. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is being lambasted for providing no “stimulus” package in his recent economic update. Historically, economic updates never have new spending deals in them- that is why they are updates and not budgets.

Sure, the Tories have not announced any new flashy, headline-grabbing spending announcements. Sure, during the recent federal campaign Prime Minister downplayed the growing economic slowdown. However, are Canadians expected to believe that the Tories, which have won the last two elections and had their hands at the nation’s till, is out of touch with its finances?

Is this nation supposed to be happy with a possible coalition government, which consists of the Liberals and the NDP, propped up by the Bloc Quebecois, taking power? Our national government would be headed partially by the Bloc, a party that fundamentally does not want to be part of Canada.

Harper has now pushed the confidence vote back to Monday, Dec. 8. He is trying find some breathing room, go on the attack, hopefully haggle behind the scenes and get Canadian public opinion behind him.

Will this delay save Canadian politics from going over the edge into some wild territory during a global economic crisis. Canadians have to ask, is this what we want happening in Ottawa as a recession continues to grow? 

There are issues the Tories need to address but would it not serve Canadians better to have the government which was recently elected have the chance to deliver their budget? There can be a confidence vote showdown then, like we are having now. Are the opposition parties afraid that there actually may be something substantial in it that budget that would leave crush their arguments?

Some could argue, may be it is the opposition parties who should be trying harder to work with the elected minority government, and not the other way around, they did win after all. Also, are big flashy spending announcements the Canadian way? The fact we are not in a total shambles is because we have been steady in our approach.

Canadians need to determine, is all this a power grab or nation saving?

The return of Harper – will he play nice?

He’s back, and not in black, but in a blue sweater vest.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper managed to not nail down a majority government in the recent Canadian federal election but he gets to trot up Parliament Hill with a minority government. How Harper managed to not secure a majority with a weak a Liberal leader and platform to counter, the Green Party siphoning off some NDP mustard and newly found inroads in Quebec inhand must have him thinking…where did it go wrong?

The final seat count was 143 seats for the Consevatives, 76 for the Liberals, 50 for the Bloc Quebecois, 37 for the NDP and 2 indepents. The Tories did manage to increase their total of 127 seats from the last election. However, blood was in the water and the magical 155 seat majority mark was there for the taking and Harper knows it.

Prime Minister Harper gets an earful during the recent English language debate.
Prime Minister Harper gets an earful during the recent English language debate.

The economic crisis and arts cuts comments were what ultimately foiled Monsieur Sweater Vest. His apparent lack of empathy with credit markets and economies imploding really was not the poor play here. The fact he gave stock advice, saying it is a good time “to buy” did hurt him. Also, as Canada’s sitting prime minister, he  did not head back to Ottawa to show he was “on top” of the situation.

Opposition leaders hammered at his inaction and stay-the-course mantra. People could really care less about empathy when it comes to money, they want the top dog in their nation showing he his doing something…anything…make it a photo-op but at least show you are doing something to look after their pocketbooks. It says here, if Harper actually acted it would have knocked any gusto out of an opposition leader’s critique of him.

Harper’s downplaying of $45 million in arts cuts as a “niche issue for some” was a disaster for him in Quebec. The little new found inroads he made in the last election there hit the floor quicker than Puffin poo on Stephane Dion’s shoulder. Quebec artists and residents rallied and either voted Liberal or Bloc, turning their backs on the Tories- the following video says it all.

What now? With a stronger minority in hand, will the Tories rule once again as if they have a majority? If the Prime Minister wishes to be seen as really connecting with all Canadians, a more co-operative effort with the opposing parties is needed.

However, a weakened Liberal party, reduced in its numbers from 98 to 76, could provide a new challenge for Harper. Instead of the Liberals avoiding votes in order to not bring down the government (and be thrust into an election with a weak leader and internal division…hold on a sec…that happened anyway) they may actually show some backbone in Ottawa and act like the official opposition. How will Harper deal with this new wrinkle?

In the current context, with true fear among Canadians in the middle of this financial maelstrom, all party leaders will have to play nice and what an opportunity for Prime Minister Harper to not pack away the fatherly, good-guy, blue sweater vest just yet.