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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Ghosts, Rhinoceros and an Orange Wave, Canadian election has it all

From ghost candidates to fringe parties, here are some scribbles from the notepad as the May 2 vote approaches.

GHOST CANDIDATES

The Toronto Star recently brought to light several local instances where federal parties have listed candidates in ridings but they are simply nothing more than names on a piece of a paper- better known as “placeholder” candidates.

Party organizers say it is hard to field a full slate of candidates in 308 ridings nationwide and to do so; a “placeholder” candidate is a necessary evil. They also say, in some ridings, they do not stand of chance of winning, so they just file a name and leave it at that.

This is a disservice to the party and voters in that particular riding. How can a party gain any traction or stature in a riding if it does not have an official candidate getting out there knocking on doors and appearing at all-candidates’ debates?

How about the voters in that riding who lean towards that political stripe? If they see no candidate signs or signs of a pulse for that matter, it comes across as the candidate and party are not willing to work for their vote or potential new ones. Better to have someone run and have their butt-kicked than have a ghost candidate.

ORANGE WAVE

The Orange Wave of NDP support is real it seems. Why so? The Conservatives and Liberals have not dismissed it even as May 2 approaches. In fact, with the Conservatives turning their guns on the NDP, as if they are their main rival now, it has legitimized the Orange Wave. We could be in for an amazing result by the morning of May 3. Michael Ignatieff may rue the day he resoundingly dismissed Jack Layton and the NDP in the leader’s debate saying they would never form a government. Which party is starting to look like a real national party now, eh Iggy?

THE FRINGE PARTIES

Do you feel like the five federal parties are not speaking your language, feeling your mojo or are hard to identify with?

May be one of these smaller fringe parties are for you. Depending where in Canada you are, it is quite the buffet to choose from, they are:

Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada

Canadian Action Party

Christian Heritage Party of Canada

Communist Party of Canada

First Peoples National Party of Canada

Libertarian Party of Canada

Marijuana Party

Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada

Pirate Party of Canada

Progressive Canadian Party

Rhinoceros Party

United Party of Canada

Western Block Party

Click here to find information on the above mentioned parties.

FAVOURITE ELECTION AD: “Our Country” by the Conservatives

Say what you will about the Conservatives, but this ad hits every patriotic Canadian note there is. If you hate Stephen Harper, just imagine Donald Sutherland or hell…even Don Cherry voicing it. The writing in it is top-notch, I didn’t know if I should stand up, salute and sing O’ Canada, bodycheck someone into the corner or run to Tim’s and buy an extra-large double-double.

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?

The “little dumber boys” beat election war drums

Iggy has his game face on and is ready to rock. How about you Stone Cold Steve?
Iggy has his game face on and is ready to rock. How about you Stone Cold Steve?

The steady drumming of the federal election war drums in Canada is picking up speed, possibly hurtling the voters who still care into a fourth election in five years.

Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff and his team have unveiled “campaign style” ads recently and his rhetoric has gained a more hostile tone. Promises that it is time to bring down the Harper government are being twittered, blogged and whispered about.

Ignatieff says the Harper Tories have mismanaged the nation into a horrible deficit and economic mess. He claims they have not done enough to help Canadians endure the recession, even after opposition parties gave Harper a chance to institute his economic recovery plan. Ignatieff says the time is now for change.

What pray tell would the Liberals have done better? Or how about the three-headed hydra of the now fallen opposition coalition which sought to bring down Harper earlier this year, would they have done a better job?

This is how bad opposition parties want Harper out, the famed and thankfully failed coalition.
The thankfully failed coalition, could they have done better?

If someone could point to some kind of policy, not rhetoric, but proposed policy by the opposing parties that would have helped Canada not sustain some kind of beating, from a recession which was worldwide in implication no less, by all means, please share it.

We have fared well and this space in the blogosphere has never been a haven for Conservatives. In fact, we welcomed Ignatieff as the foil to the Harper bully but this is not what we had hoped for.

Have there been job losses? Yes. Has stimulus money not “rolled out” as expected? Yes, but realistically, golden handshakes from the feds should not have deterred municipalities from starting to get projects out the door. Are opposition parties afraid that when all the stimulus does result in projects, people will look more positively at the Tories? You can bet on it.

Don’t be fooled by the hype folks, this government could work if it wanted to, instead this is all about who gets to sit in the big chair and can’t wait to do so.

Lastly, did the Conservatives blow calling and foreseeing the recession for what it was? Yes. Then again, so did pretty much every other nation on the planet, including every G8 and G20 nation. We did not see it until it landed right on our heads.

If the opposition parties do bring down the government over the next couple of weeks, after the house resumes, we could be in an election as early as October 26 or sometime in November.

Ignatieff and his Liberals would be entering the race a few percentage points behind, so let him beat his war drum and let the opposition parties follow. Is the risk worth it?

Is the spectre of Harper gaining momentum to head for a majority sometime in the future, a majority he could not secure with lightweight Stephane Dion as his arch rival, really that frightening or logical?

Stay the course. Allow Canadians to deal with this recession and then run a legitimate election at its appropriate time. Don’t be fooled by the hype folks, this government could work if it wanted to, instead this is all about who gets to sit in the big chair and can’t wait to do so.

Election Notebook: Sweater-vests and May’s-day

The Canadian federal leader’s debate was more about attacking and speaking up the quickest than it was about substance and exploring issues.

 

Moderator Steve Paikin should receive a special merit badge for trying to control and  manage a debate which was unwieldy at times. Debate organizers tossed aside the traditional podiums for the debate participants and had them sit a tear-drop shaped table.

 

At first, the concept of the table seemed like a good one. It gave the impression you were eavesdropping on a potent after-dinner conversation. However, the informal setting created the following formula: A (Prime Minister Stephen Harper says something) + B (the other four leaders talk all over each other to say something) = C (the moderator arbitrarily sorting out the order of who gets to speak next).

 

The actual mechanics and spirit of a debate never materialized but it did prove to be entertaining thanks to some excellent moments:

 

BEST QUIPS:

 

Layton, during a pointed-attack at Prime Minister Harper over the lack of a defined Conservative platform, takes a swipe at the prime minister’s sweater-vest worn in some campaign ads.

 

“You say you have a plan, where is it? Where’s your platform? Under the sweater?” asked Layton.

 

Duceppe, near the end of the debate, when asked “What would your first act as prime minister be?”, was about as honest as one can be.

 

“I know I won’t be prime minister and three of you won’t be prime minister, neither,” he said, waving his hand at May, Dion and Layton at the table. “Some of you know it, but you won’t say it.”

 

 

WORST QUIPS:

 

“I’ve been between jobs, I understand that,” Harper said to Layton. – (I’m thinking that when you have been between jobs prime minister, it was no where near as hard or tragic as it is for people losing jobs in forestry or in manufacturing)

 

“The economy is not fine,” Layton said to Harper. “Either you don’t care or you are incompetent. Which is it?” – (I’m thinking, if you want to be considered a viable opposition leader, let alone prime ministerial- suggesting people may be “incompetent” is not the way to go).

 

 

WORST TANTRUM:

 

Stephane Dion, though he delivered a solid, yet unspectacular performance. He is sincere and passionate about the environment. However, he almost jumped from the table and stomped his feet, calling Harper a liar as he said to him “why would you say that?” when Harper was talking about Green Shift. The reason he said something you did not like Stephane is because it was a debate and Harper can be a bully in a powder blue sweater-vest.

 

 

THE WINNER:

 

There was not a clear-cut one but I would give the final nod to Elizabeth May, by a nose. She did not sound like a one-trick pony and stood up to Harper the best, reciting facts better than the others. She was seated right near the PM and was not fazed by it.

 

Second place goes to Harper, the man withstood a fury of attacks and achieved the ultimate goal, he kept his composure, smiled his occasional smarmy smirk and delivered concise answers which will likely not come back to bite him in his political backside.

Election Notebook: A daily double of political stupidity

With elections running on either side of the 49th parallel the political machines in both Canada and the United States have served up a daily double of stupidity.

Let’s start with the floundering Liberals in the Canadian federal election. As polls continue to show that the Liberals are in serious trouble and the NDP begins to get more traction, the age old stupid strategy of fear politics by the Liberals has started. Because their leader Stephane Dion is basically going nowhere and not catching the imagination of voters, the party has chosen to use fear tactics.

Listen to any Liberal candidate who gets airtime or ink and their message is twofold: Stephen Harper and his Conservatives will plunge Canada into an economic crisis and secondly, NDP and Green Partry supporters should pledge their support to the Liberals because they really are the only option other than the Conservatives. What a crock. The Liberals are already playing the fear card because they know that Dion is likely going to get crushed in the leaders debate, there is a good chance that in the English language one, he may actually place second last or last in public perception.  Fear and begging, two pillars of the Liberal party it now appears.

The second stupid political play is that of Sarah Palin being chosen as John McCain’s running mate down south. With each uttered word or sheltered appearance, Palin is further proving she is not cut out for the job and McCain’s judgment comes more and more into question. McCain is a war hero to be proud of and his old maverick days were admirable but he blew it big time with this pandering and transparent choice of Palin. If you have any doubts of Palin’s capabilities, check out a piece of her interview with Katie Couric, I cannot remember the last time I cringed this much watching an interview.

I am sure Palin could have been a solid pick four to eight years from now. With more “big show” experience and away from the Hillary Clinton shadow- a female candidate who truly earned her stripes to go for the big chair in Washington, Palin might be a good candidate, but her time is not now. It was stupid to think she could pull in female voters, possibly from the Clinton camp, and satisfy hard core republicans. She is inept and out of her depth, the magic surrounding her choice is gone already.

The one scary thing is this, Republicans brought back President Bush a second time after watching him in action for four years, will they make the mistake of thinking McCain-Palin would be good for their country? Equally scary here on the homefront, the Liberal scare tactics have worked in the past, can they work again?

Election Notebook: The real race is Dion vs. Layton?

As every day rolls by on the federal campaign trail, Stephen Harper and his Conservatives look more certain to cross the finish line in first. No matter the topic, no matter the announcement, does anyone actually see the Liberals picking up any speed and momentum to take on the Conservatives? I think the power of Harper’s blue vest has been underestimated. The real race is shaping up for the mantle of the true opposition.

Stephane Dion has spent so much time explaining his Green Shift plan and his almost daily calls for people who should be “fired” from the Conservative camp have not delivered the campaign mustard. He has weapons at his disposal like Michael Ignatieff, Bob Rae and even Ken Dryden he can use to help push the Liberal agenda but they really are no where to be seen. Simply put, Dion does not look convincing, nor sound it. His camp must be looking to the leaders debate, hoping and praying he puts in some dynamite performances.

Jack Layton has been pushing the NDP agenda as the one of “change” and “hope” for Canada. Layton must smell blood in the Liberal waters. If Dion fails, he is done as Liberal leader and that leaves Layton as the last true duelling partner against Harper. Layton has announced he would be open to a coalition with Liberals and what does Dion do?- he shoots down the idea. Layton has been attacking the Conservatives and Liberals and any inroads he can make are most likely at the Liberals expense. Layton is also fighting the Green Party effect. The new kids on the block are stealing some interest from the NDP, since the NDP traditionally are the greenest party but now there is one which is all green.

This race is about Dion and Layton. Short of a major gaffe or ugly skeleton in Harper’s vest closet coming out, a Conservative minority is a lock. The left-centre vote in Canada is being divided too much to knock off the Conservatives this time around. The NDP will never form the official opposition in Ottawa. Once Dion is shelved, only one leader will remain as a true national leader in an opposition role and that is Layton.

Can Dion stretch the gap between his Liberals and NDP? Can Dion solidify his role as an opposition leader the second time around? Should Dion be worried about Layton?