Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Beginning Of The End....


.....Of The War On Drugs?

Why isn't this front page news?

VANCOUVER -- Having access to Vancouver's experimental supervised injection site doesn't increase the chances an addict will relapse or start bingeing on drugs, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal this week.

Nor does the availability of the site significantly decrease the chance that addicts will seek treatment through methadone programs, according to the study done by the B.C. Centre of Excellence for HIV/AIDS and funded by Health Canada.

The report, the first of its kind, is proof that the reduction in harm pointed out in previous studies --including a decrease in sharing of needles and public disorder -- isn't outweighed by a possible increase in illegal drug use, said one of the authors, Thomas Kerr.

Now, you could say that there is self-interest at work here from local researchers.

But realize this - unlike the great majority of the junk that is foisted on us as fact by think-tanks like the world (in)famous Fraser Institute, papers published in the British Medical Journal are peer-reviewed.

They are not codswallop.


Monday, January 30, 2006

The Christy Crunch?


It looks that Liberal leadership race is now wide open:

Canada's outgoing ambassador to the United States, Frank McKenna, announced on Monday he won't run for the leadership of the Liberal Party, saying he's not ready to commit the next decade of his life to politics.

But before you can smack any of the hopefuls down down, the spinmeisters first have to set them up:

Warren Kinsella, a Chretien loyalist, told CTV.ca the Liberals might need a candidate who can appeal to centre-left voters, rather than compete with Conservative prime minister-designate Stephen Harper for centre-right voters.

He explained why: "What a lot of Liberals are not considering is that (NDP Leader) Jack Layton doesn't want to just increase his base; Jack Layton wants to wipe out the Liberal Party."

Manley and McKenna are from the right wing of the party.

From the left, Kinsella suggested former cabinet ministers Allan Rock (now the Canadian ambassador to the UN), Martin Cauchon and Jane Stewart might make strong candidates.

Those individuals are Chretien loyalists. The party has been riven by a feud between those loyal to Chretien and those to Martin.

All of which sounds pretty reasonable - until you get to this:

Kinsella (also) said former B.C. deputy premier Christy Clark, a Martin loyalist, could be a strong candidate.

Sure, Mr. K.


Next thing you know you'll be telling us that your side in the great Liberal smackdown war is not pining for this to blow up*.


With operatives like this running around, we can't help but wonder how the heckfire the Liberals still managed to win 103 seats last week.

*Which it will, when the trial finally begins later this spring.
btw - if you take the time to have a look at the CBC timeline linked above, a little bit of background info that might be useful is the fact that Bruce Clark is Ms. Clark's brother and Mark Marissen is her husband.


Sunday, January 29, 2006

What's The Matter With Canada?


A couple of years ago Thomas Frank expanded on a thesis that he first wrote about in Harpers when he produced a book called 'What's the Matter with Kansas?" Essentially, he was suggesting, with good evidence to back it up, that people living in the shrivelled heartland of the American Red States were consistently voting against their own best interests when they stuck with the Republicans.

Now, Digby has taken it one step further.

"What I learned on Press the Meat this morning:

The Republicans' numbers are in the dirt but they are going to win decisively on the optimistic issues of endless war and endless debt. The Democrats' numbers are substantially better but they will never win anything because they are icky."

And they're both right, of course, because the Rovians have already won one round by riding the back of the vile beast with two backs that are endless war and endless debt.

But what about us up here in Canuckistan, we who currently have no war and no debt?

What if we were to take Digby's statement and replace the monikers 'Republican' and 'Democrat' with 'Conservative' and 'Liberal'?

Which I know sounds as wild-eyed and whacko as David Frum's modulated voice on CBC Radio One sounds moderate and reasonable.

But think about this: Our own media consolidation has continued unabated and, even when he was running at his faux pinkest during the recent campaign, the Harpoon was still making veiled threats about dismantling the CBC.

Which makes one wonder if maybe our very own version of a "Press The Meat" media is all set to become a northern enabler of the endless inversion.

And that reminds me...... I remember that Orwell said that 'War is Peace' in 1984, but did he ever say that 'Debt is Wealth'?


Saturday, January 28, 2006

The Reform-A-Tories, Vol I


So, just who are these 124 members of the Conservative Party of Canada who got enough of our hopes, dreams and votes to get elected?

Well, instead of just making blanket assumptions we thought we'd go through them one-by-one checking out their own websites and then googling them on four issues - gun control, abortion, same sex marriage and Iraq.

Then we will place each of them in one of three social issue-based categories: "Reform" (fire and brimstone), "A" (allied with both sides but still willing to pander to the base) or "Tory" (fiscally conservative but sociallytolerant).*

So without any further ado, here is the first installment of.....the Reform-A-Tories.

Vol I Newfoundland and Labrador (3 CPC members elect)

Fabian Manning (Avalon):
Website: The usual pro-business, anti-waste platform with subsidies, of course, but ony when called for. Willing to pander to the base on the childcare issue.
Google-4-Plex: Not much there on the core. Has been called a maverick for taking on Premier Danny Williams on the 'crab raw' issue as a PC member of the Provincial Legislature which elevated him to champion status amongst disgruntled fisherman.
Overall: Tough to tell, but not enough on the neandercon level to stick him in either the R or the A categories although we think, perhaps, that there is a wiff of the expedient about him.
Decision: Tory

Norman Doyle (St Johns East):
Website: An old PC hand, held the riding since '97 and was a longtime provincial legislator before that. Willing to spout the Con line on violent crime, congestion and gridlock. In St. Johns??!!
Google-4-Plex: Quite a bit on the core; strong POV against same sex marriage (for the children's sake) and a longtime advocate against abortion who has worked to aid and abet the far, far, far goners.
Overall: The old tory label looks like something he was eager to shed so that he could scramble down into the Valley of the Neocons which looks to be his true valhalla
Decision: Reform

Loyola Hearn (St Johns South):
Website: Minimal pandering to the base; a former teacher and member of the provincial assembly before election to the federal house in 2000.
Google-4-Plex: against same sex, but otherwise seems pretty reasonable
Overall: mild mannered, a regionalist with strongly held religious beliefs (but not of the evangelical variety).
Decision: Tory

The totals so far.....
- Reformistas - 1
- Allied - 0
- Tory - 2

*And this is purely our opinion....if yours differs let us know and we'll be happy to change our tune in the face of evidence to the contrary.


Friday, January 27, 2006

Fe Fi Fo Frum.....


....I Smell The Blood Of A Chortling One

Canuckistan's gift to Rovianism, David Frum, the fine fellow that coined the term 'Axis of Evil' and acted as Caspar the Friendly Ghost(writer) to the Prince of Darkness himself, Richard Perle, is pretty darned happy with this past week's turn of events.

Here are few pearls of wisdom from his latest bit for the Fraser Institute's much bigger southern cousin, the American Enterprise Institute:

"Washington D.C. will be very, very glad to see the back of Paul Martin, and for much the same reason that Canadians voted against him. After years of investing him with all their brightest hopes for change, they came to see him as a weak, vacillating leader whose word could not be trusted."

Gosh. If didn't know better, I might think that a lot of folks in Washington, a growing number of the more reasonable Republicans among them, might be saying the same thing about Mr. Frum's old boss, George W. Bush.

"Throughout the election, Canadian reporters called down to Washington trying to entrap unwary American conservatives into saying something overly euphoric about Harper. (The headline sought: "Harper 'one of us,' U.S. right-wingers say.") I myself did a taped interview for French-language CBC in which I was asked literally six consecutive times whether President Bush would not be made ecstatic by a Harper victory.

Behind all these stories was an unstated premise: that bad relations with the United States were somehow in Canada's interest. In this version of reality, a prime minister who cannot get his phone calls returned deserves credit as a bold Captain Canada--while a prime minister with the credibility and clout to solve problems is some kind of vendu.

Canadians saw through this kind of anti-American manipulation in 2006, as they saw through it in 1988. That creates very positive atmospherics for Canadian interests in Washington."

To which we say - codswallop!

Anyone who has been paying attention knows that Stephen Harper helped assuage swing voters' fears by doing exactly the opposite (ie. by running away from the Twig). And he's still doing it (cynically) with his post-election statements on Arctic sovereignty.

"Unlike Martin, Stephen Harper truly does know the difference between one's neighbour and one's nation. His foreign policy will be guided not by his feelings about America's domestic policy, as Chretien and Martin too often allowed theirs to be, but by his assessment of Canada's enduring international interests. That's the way mature countries comport themselves. After years of childish self-indulgence under two old men, this young prime minister will at last lead Canada back to the grown-ups' table. That change will be welcomed in Washington. It should be even more strongly welcomed where it matters most: in Canada."

Sure, Mr. Frum.


It's all about America's domestic issues, you bet.

It's certainly not about naked agression and hard power (ie. killing machines) that are unilaterally being dropped on the heads of people living in (formerly) sovereign nations.

But, speaking of domestic issues and welcome mats......Is there any truth to the rumour that the true believers behind Mr. Harper's mask will soon bring you home so that you can dismantle your mother's CBC?


Thursday, January 26, 2006

A, B, C....As Easy As 1, 2, 3


So, I'm over at the Green Knight checking out their excellent analysis when I stumble across a post that discusses the final percentages in Monday's election......

Which stimulates a pithy response suggesting that it is quite possible that many of the great expectations about the 'aura of invevitability' re: a Stephen Harper win, were greatly enhanced by a string of 'outlier' polls from a certain polling company.

Anyway, imagine my surprise when the Green Knight himself took note of the fact that The Gazetteer comes right above Allan Gregg on his blogroll and wrote the following:

Heh. Yeah, the alphabet is a harsh mistress!



Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The 98 Microgram Weakling


Greg Morrow does it again with the hard numbers.

Here he demonstrates that in all of Canadian history, Stephen Harper' gouvernment has the weakest.....mandate......ever.


Mea Culpa


TV talking headroids usually deserve all the bashing they get, and more.

99.9999% of the time.

0.0001% of the time the basher is wrong.

Way wrong.

During the live blogging of the election I made a snide remark about Wendy Mezzli (sic - my bad spelling in the heat of the live blogging) for having a haircut that made me think of the follicular challenges of her former husband.

Boy, was I wrong.

Specifically, the comment has been removed because it turns out that Ms. Mesley has been diagnosed with breast cancer. As a result she recently underwent chemotherapy.

A million apologies.

And a thousand thanks to reader Lenny for setting me straight.


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Beneath The Valley Of The HarperCons



I was actually on the Don Mills Parkway today which doesn't really count even though it kind of runs through a Valley

And like Vancouver and Montreal, Toronto pretty much shut the Cons out completely so I guess we'll just have to leave the analysis of the effect that Jacqueline Suzanne's ghost had on CPC campaign strategy for another day..

And besides, given all this urban/rural split stuff perhaps they should be renamed the HicksvilleCons or some such thing.

Anyway, because I was on the road most of the day I couldn't avoid the bloody TV....and the lack of substance was really irritating, not to mention the fact that it served up a steady diet of images showing the leader's wife being forced to stand obediently thee paces behind her well made-up, although now calamine free, husband.

Interestingly, the front page story in the NYT, below the fold of course, was pretty good and really well balanced in a good way getting most of the important stuff, and even nuances, in there. It's funny but they still seem to be able to do that with international stories whereas they are are so afraid of getting whacked up the side of the 'no more access' head at home that everything domestic sucks.

And now it's almost the end of the day after the day and the sky still hasn't fallen so maybe we can, as Ed Broadbent suggested last night, make this thing work.

Postscript: I learned something pretty interesting from somebody who worked Olivia Chow's campaign while talking to them today. He said she had, get this, 1000 volunteers working on her campaign. That is unbelievable.
Update: OK, maybe I was wrong because, as Cathie tells us, it looks like maybe we've already been bashed on the head by the first chunk of falling stratosphere.


Monday, January 23, 2006

Live Election Blogging III


Hard Numbers From Elections Canada Are Here

Feel Free To Post Comments.....Emotion Counts Here.....We Are Not Pretending To Be Analytical ....In Any Way...

-Last word goes to Mr. Broadbent, and it was a good one. He says it can work and that people can work together. I hope he's right.

-Here comes Little Stephen....not sure I can stomach it....OK....the girdle on.....but is all the calamine gone?...where is all that diversity in the room of the party with 'the most diversity' in Canada (that from Peter McKay early in the evening before the Elections Canada Time embargo was lifted).
-Was that an American flag I just saw in the front row of ConVille? And why are their barriers....only one I've seen that has them....is it time to go check out the screamers south of the 49th?.....Freepers have already started to chortle....
-So glad to see Ms. Harper standing three paces behind her husband on the stage, guess the kids aren't photogenic enough...calamine is gone, but mascara and lipstickspittle appear to be in place....a few sops to the base off the top...waiting to here the framing....we will govern for all Canadians....how?....What's with this sop to 'Democracy' without fear of force or some such codswallop, this is crazy talk.....and 'sovereign, strong, and free'??????....he's setting us up......the guy is setting us up?.....How does that Harper, Harper, Harper chant sound to you all....to me it's chilling....
-A great comment on the Tyee Election blog....Hearing Harper speak French to a crowd in Calgary is like Trudeau's revenge from the grave.
-Promises, promises, promises.....none of the real stuff....here comes the Federal Accountability Act....It's Newt's Contract for America all over again.
-Silence when he says the word Francophone.....he will give Quebec both 'Power and Pride'.
-The West is in Now! I just heard Hogtown shudder....
-He's going to kill federalism.
-The military, the military.....oh boy.
-This is soft-boiled demagoguery. I can't watch or listen anymore.....I'm done.


-two short on balance of power for Dippers....man, do I feel bad that I missed the Strat Vote in Esquimalt and Madame Dufarge's riding (Fleetwood Port Kells)
-Kinsells has cottoned on....he says he will not be part of the coming Lib Leadershiip race....huh! And he also couldn't help but slag Layton for his long walk-up to his speech to the faithfull.
-Dipper Bell in Vancouver Isle North has just dropped down...that's the 29 to 28 drop Nationally flashing across TV screens.
-Good discussion happening now over at Tyee Election blog.
-What will Little Stephen do first?...I'm betting it will be Daycare thing....on second thought, I dunno.....can't see the BLOC partners going for that item in a budget, unless there's a tit-for-tat.....so maybe Harper will deliver us to Bush on a silver missile launching pad platter.

-Duceppe's on.....will he give any indication that he will go with the Cons?.....he's the only one who has hammered the Libs....did he say criminal?....Here it is.....if Harper really, really wants to deal with the fiscal imbalance he will find the BQ at his side.

-Keith Martin has Esquimalt Juan de Fuca now. That leaves it all but 2 for the Dipper on Vancouver Island, which is maybe the only place in the country where a region that has a considerable chunk of rural voters spurn the Cons.
-Monsieur Dufarge's old riding of Newton goes Lib in a landslide.
-Here come Jack and Olivia.....look at all those folks without suits in the crowd...you can't rent that , can you?....Hey! was that Rob Cottingham I saw hiding in the corner?.....
-Had to head over to Warren Kinsella's place to see if he is chortling over Martin's announcement to give up the Lib Leadership...not yet....his last post had him thinking that Small Paul was going to try and hold on.

-Dipper Penny Priddy cleans up in Surrey North.
-Small Paul looks pathetic and smaller than usual in his concession speech....his dentist sure will be happy that he doesn't have to keep slapping veneers on those teeth....what will the BC Martinis do now? Will likely be a whole of schlepping off to GordCo now....Bring Basi/Virk on!
-Dam is broken.....they're all coming now....here comes Duceppe....How long will Jack L. make Little Stephen wait?
-Ezra Levant was heading towards apoplexy at the possibility of a Lib/Dip endrun, but is now relieved that Martin has given up the government (and the Party).
-Will anyone really be sorry to see Mr. Martin go? I dunno.....so much fake emotion.....it's like all that thumping music and fake exhortations to cheer at hockey games....how can it mean anything to the players the millionth and first time?
-Fleetwood Port Kells, home of Madame Dufarge, is another one of those that we missed on the Strat Vote post....we never figured it would have been this close.....but if we had been able to lay off the Dipper, Lib Brenda Locke would have cleaned up.

-Dipper Savoie running away with Victoria
-Popular vote nationally is 6 points......No one should ever, ever, ever, believe any poll from the Strategic Counsel ever again
-Olivia Chow is in.....I can't wait to see her go to town. She's the real deal.....there is nothing, nothing fake about her pitch.
-Hey, silver lining.....we still have Stockboy to kick around
-Catherine Bell recaptures Van Island North, but Lund hangs on in Saanich....Green support evaporated....
-Neck and Neck between Keith Martin and Dipper Morrison in Esquimalt - Wow.....Con dead in the water....I called that one wrong in the Strat Vote post.....darn.....luckily nobody I know there would pay attention to anything I say anyway....well, except for my parents....hope Morrison doesn't lose by two.
-Dr Fry is giong to take Van Centre
-Madame Dufarge......errrrr......Grewal is hanging on by the skin of her doppleganger's rug in Fleetwood Port Kells.

-Lib + BLOC now 154, one short of the magic number. Could Small Paul try and beat the house
-For the life of me, I do not understand Southern Ontario's love affair with Belinda Stronach....pathetic really.
-Good point, by Don Newman I think....no Cons in any of Canada's three biggest cities (TO, Mtl and Vancooovair)
-Emerson up in Vancouver Kingsway
-First Van Center finally in....Hedy's up on Svend
-Lib + BLOC now at magic number
-Sheila Orr.....so sad to see you go, going, gone. Not
-Deb Gray screamer woman....wants Little Stephen to get back to the base....some punditmoron just suggested that Hugh Segal will be a moderating influence on Little Stephen.....sheesh. we must be afraid...very afraid...one good thing, with the thing over, we will no longer have to watch the accelerating phenomenom of Little Stevie's serious case of campaign bloat.
-Good to see Smilin' Sammy Sullivan, the killer of all things progressive in Vancouver, bleating on about how there must be more support for cities.....ya sure SSS.....and hows James Green doing?


-17 Cons.....7 Libs.....11 Dippers in BC
-Cons shut out in Toronto
-Will the Cons Kill the CBC? Will Little Stephen bring David 'Axis of Evil' home and install him as the Hatchetman/President
-Finally, everybody has finished voting in Vancouver Center
-Is Ralph Goodale a hedgehog in disguise?
-Con + Dipper now 154.....
-Joe Easingwood has completely lost it....he thinks the cons are going to have a majority.......can't count....doesn't know that BC is already being projected.....could it be a neurodegenerative thing?

-Nanaimo/PA, one of our Strat Ridings is Dipper so far
-Allan Gregg on CTV.....now hiding his rooster crow....after all that Big Mo and all those way high Outlier Polls....trying to regain his credibility....will never get it back with me.
-Dead heat in Victoria....another of our Strat Ridings.
-Dipper ahead early in Esquimalt! Wow. That's K. Martin's riding....best thing....Con is way down.
-Brenda Locke up on Madame Dufarge....whoops Grewal!
-West Van too close to call....in the John Reynolds riding....this doesn't look to be any Con stomp in BC.
-Con + Dipper now 153, two away from the magic number!
- Has smallPaul called Little Stephen yet to pledge his support yet for a really truly evil coupling?


- Ignatieff elected....now officially a candidate for the Lib Leadership?
- Jason Kenny still flinging the CRAP, give it a rest will you....and go shave....you look like Richard Nixon Mark 37 .
- Con Headquarters....klieg lights everywhere....looks like it was designed maybe by the ghost of a guy named Albert?
-A Mulroney Cabinet Con elected in Quebec....Time to think of a Name for that Beast that doesn't yet have one? (ie. Cons + BLOCkheads)
-Valeri Lib going down to Dipper in Hamilton?????!!!!
-CONs + Dippers now = 152 only 3 away from total control?
- Joy McPhail puts out the 2nd possible Olive branch (after Ed B.) ....

-Big argument on the station of dumbheads about the significance of the BLOC not getting 50% +1. But, correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe they only just got that last time.
-Jack L by a landslide. Olivia C has a shot. Was talking with a local here in Toronto today and he told me that her riding is a lot like Tim Stevenson's rapidly being changed by the $500 K Condo crowd on the Lakeshore.
I can't stream anything on the Westcoast....driving me nuts. What's happening out there, I wonder. The talking dopes out here are talking about how important BC is, but they are so used to not reporting it that they're not, surprise, reporting it.
-They're starting to show the Little Stephen's Stepford Wives now.

-I have Cons + BLOCkheads = 170. Why is nobody talking about the Beast that, at least as of yet has no name.
-Have been trolling the Creepysphere. Scariest is Morbidly Mauled Mini Mammals where the proprietor is proud to proclaim that she has one of the worst of the worst of the screamers down South, Michelle Malkin, sending traffic her way.

Ed B. puts out the first olive branch. Maybe cooler heads can prevail. But still, when dealing with this bunch there's going to have to be a hammer too.

All three networks call it for Little Stephen. Hugh Segal immediately starts calling him 'Prime Minister
Prince George has a Green in the Lead


Live Election Blogging II

Hard Numbers From Elections Canada Are Here
Feel Free To Post Comments.....Emotion Counts Here.....We Are Not Pretending To Be Analytical ....In Any Way...

-All the TV networks are now calling it Con.
-Con Headquarters show looks a little like it was designed by a guy named Albert. Make of that what you will, but those klieg lights are shining bright.

Released from Elections Canada Purgatory
Cons Are Up......Aaaaargh
But Dippers rising....BC is way, way, way in play!

Live Blogging The Election....


Hard Numbers From Elections Canada Are Here

Feel Free To Post Comments.....Emotion Counts Here.....We Are Not Pretending To Be Analytical ....In Anyway...

Released from Elections Canada purgatory.....
Cons are up overall.....Aaaaargh.
But Dippers are ripping it up, and BC is way, way, way in play.

Deborah Gray, Dave Bidini and Bif Naked all on the same TV panel. You've got to hand it to that Mo Z. He may be a race to the bottom scuzz monger, but he sure knows how to grab your attention.


Johnny Wants His Guns Reynolds has more pancake make-up than is humanly possible. Heckfire, it's thicker than Joy McPhail's. They're on CTV. btw - does Lloyd Robertson have formaldehyde coursing through his veins? Sheesh, I'd rather see Count Floyd.

Why do so many TV pundit dummies wear those skinnly little glasses with the thick outer rims? Did I miss something?
In a reverse censorship move, me stuck here in T.O. can't punch up Puffie the Cluffie or the (notso)Giant'98.


Not giving anything away for the next 20 minutes (respecting Canada Election law) but....Peter McKay says 'we are the most ethnically diverse party' in Canada. My skin crawls.

6:30pm PST
Hugh Segal - Supersonic Harp-O-Con, digs that Quebec strategy
Ed Broadbent - Why does he remind me so much of Gene McCarthy. Sure, I'll stay clean for Ed
John Manley - Why the cheshire cat grin. Can he just not stand it waiting for the fall or small Paul so that he can step into the breech?

6:22pm PST
The talking heads are starting to blather out here in hogtown now.

Kevin Newman is an idiot. Who gives a crap about the stupid Ipsos-Reid 'massive Internet exit poll', especially if it is designed to find out how people feel about those 'Big' (ie. trivial) issues like guns, crime, scandals.

Never mind the country and our way of life. That means nothing.

Rick Mercer, on the other hand, is king.

Oh, ya.

And he's also like a kid at Christmas on crystal.

Crystal Madness that is.

5:50pm PST.
I'm actually not in Lotuslandia at the moment.

Instead, I'm in Toronto.

And it 's a funny thing. Driving in from the Airport along the grey, and greying more by the minute, Gardiner Expressway last night, something struck me.

This is no longer the Center of the Universe.

Because the Center has shifted.

And the hotel I'm in always reminds me of that 'Empire Hotel' that Joni sang about so long ago when that guy had 'a little money riding on the Maple Leafs'. It's just around the corner and across the street from where Maple Leaf Gardens.

And I just came up from the bar, after hanging out for a bit with the science geeks I am here with. Let me tell you, they are scared crapless.

The scientists I mean. They don't want to see Science go down the tubes like it is south of the 49th at the moment.


Sunday, January 22, 2006

Stopping The Cons In Lotusland


Programming Note: Live.... Election.....Blogging...... Monday....... Night.............

Sometimes a vote is just a vote.

And sometimes it's something more.

Using the stats and polls from Greg Morrow's indispensable Democratic Space as a guide, here are our recommendations for how people in close ridings in British Columbia can help to keep us from going back to the days when women were forced to seek out back alley butchers.

And we're not joking about that, not to mention the scores of other 'back to the bad old days' legislative and policy changes that will very likely take place if the party formerly known as CRAP gains a stranglehold on power.

What we're trying to say is that it is time to be pragmatic (or at least know when you can be safe with your dipper vote).

So, with that spirit in mind, here goes:

North Vancouver - The Dipper is not in the race and the Con, Ms. Silver, is so far gone that it wouldn't surprise us if she voted to take away her own right to choose. For lefties, this is one of those must-be pragmatic ones because it's tight between Silver and Liberal Don Bell.
Vote Liberal

Vancouver Centre - You can vote for either Hedy or Svend safely as you wish because the Con has no chance. But understand this, Svend is closing in on the good doctor. He can win.
Vote NDP

West Van/Sunshine Coast - The riding formerly held by the current CPC campaign co-chair, a man Rafe Mair once referred to as the Chairman of the Mouth Breathers and Bottom Feeders, is up for grabs, but the Dipper is not really in the race. Another time to be pragmatic to stop the Con.
Vote Liberal

Vancouver Kingsway - Ian Waddell is a fading second, but you can vote safely for him because the Con is out it. And besides, why would you want to vote for Emerson, even if you were a real liberal.
Vote NDP

Pitt Meadows/Maple Ridge/Mission - The Con incumbent is vulnerable and the NDP's Mike Bocking has consistently polled 2nd.
Vote NDP

Nanaimo/Alberni - This is one that swung Con in 2004 in a traditionally strong labour-leftist area. Polls have the NDP down by maybe 5 points with the Liberals out of it. If you're Red but want to stop the Harpies go Orange.
Vote NDP

Esquimalt/Juan de Fuca - The polls say the Dipper has a chance but things are volatile and the Con, who in this riding really is a true believer, is not out of it. Thus, the true Con stopper here is Keith Martin.
Vote Liberal

Victoria - David Anderson is gone, but so is the Con. Way, way gone. Thus you can safely vote for dipper Denise Savoie who is in a tight race with the new Lib.
Vote NDP

Vancouver Island North - All Liberals, please bail. You cannot win but Dipper Catherine Bell can.
Vote NDP

Skeena/Bulkley Valley - The Con is within striking distance of incumbent Dipper Nathan Cullen. Do not, I repeat, do not vote Liberal.
Vote NDP.

Remember, now is the time to stop these people. If you think that it won't be so bad because Mr. Harper will not have a real mandate, think again. By way of example, just remember that another 'evolved' neocon who made much of his non-existent kindler, gentler, compassionate side did everything possible to consolidate power after he squeaked in with no mandate on the strength of negative votes in the Sunshine State in the year 2000.


If I've missed anything, or if you disagree with something, feel free to post it up in the comments.
Update, Late Sunday Night: All bets are off. Get a load of this (and don't forget to ignore all SC polls). Can you say 'well within the MoE'?


Where's Stephen?


The sheep in the mainstream media are chasing their tails trying to figure out what this means:

Saturday, January 21, 2006/Posted at 10:51am EST
Canadian Press

Toronto — Stephen Harper, anxious to protect his party's lead heading into Monday's vote, has cut off news conferences with the national media.

The Conservative leader brushed aside questions from reporters as he campaigned in the Liberal stronghold of Toronto.

His spokeswoman, Carolyn Stewart Olsen, says Mr. Harper no longer has time for formal question-and-answer periods.

Of course he doesn't have time.

Because the de-pinkofication has begun.

And when you've been slathering yourself in calamine lotion for six weeks it takes a long time to get clear.

Have you ever been clear*?

*With apologies to Leonard Cohen by way of Jennifer Warnes.


Saturday, January 21, 2006

Will Johnny Get His Guns?*


Last night we noted that the Conservative Party of Canada's National Campaign Co-Chair, John Reynolds, told the Moonies that it was time to patch things up with the armed and dangerous Elephant next door:

Mr. Reynolds said the first practical step in improving security cooperation between Canada and the United States would be to restart discussions about joining the anti-ballistic missile program.

"We've got to sit down and discuss this. There is a quid pro quo for everything," he said.

Which got us to wondering - just what might be in that "everything"?

Now, being from British Columbia, we know a lot about Mr. Reynolds and what he has said and done in the past.

And a lot of it gives us the willies.

But, at this moment in time, maybe what scares us most is something he had to say when he was briefly (thankfully) the Leader of the Opposition.

The following is from Hansard (ie. statements made in Canuckistan's House of Commons) in the run-up to George Bush's illegal invasion of Iraq.

Mr. John Reynolds (Leader of the Opposition, Canadian Alliance):
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister said that it was hypothetical, which I think is his new word when he does not know the answer.

There was no broad international consensus in support of strikes against Saddam Hussein in 1998, but Canada stood with its allies regardless of the hue and cry from the left. It is not doing that today.

Again, to quote what the Prime Minister said in 1998:

Make no mistake, Saddam's behaviour to date indicates that he will not honour diplomatic solutions so long as they are not accompanied by a threat of intervention...Canada cannot stand on the sidelines in such a moment.

Will Canada today be counted with our American allies and go side by side with whatever they do in Iraq?

Did you get that last part?

"Whatever they do" in Iraq?

So, now will it be same for Iran?

Or Syria?

Or North Korea?

Or Venezeuala?

Or Northern Alberta?

Whatever they do?

With sincerest apologies to Dalton Trumbo

One Last Splash of Calamine.....


..... For The Road

You could almost hear the sound of pink lotion hitting skin as Stephen Harper evaded, and then obfuscated, when Anthony (notsosaintly)Germain asked him what he would do to the CBC this morning on The House.

Essentially, Mr. Harper said he loves the CBC. Sort of. In fact he even suggested that he was the only leadership candidate who has actually worked for the Mother Corp.

To his miniscule credit (because went for the diversion and thus chickened out on following up on the real question) Germain pushed Harper on the employment issue.

Of course, it turned out that Harper never actually worked for the CBC he just worked for advocacy groups that received payment from them.

Sounds a little like payola to me, but that's not the point.


The real point is that all that calamine-assisted pink tinge can be removed with one washing.

And you can be sure that, regardless the outcome on Monday, Mr. Harper will be scrubbing, hard, even behind his ears, when he takes his shower on Tuesday morning.


Friday, January 20, 2006

Moonie, Moonie On The Mall.....


.....Who's the Biggest Bimbo Of Them All?

National CPC Campaign Co-Chair and former Stockboy head watercarrier John Reynolds erupts:

By Levon Sevunts
January 21, 2006

MONTREAL -- Canada's Conservatives, who look increasingly sure of winning national elections on Monday, say they are hoping for a fresh start in the nation's frosty relations with the United States.
John Reynolds, official opposition house leader, said while trade disputes between Canada and the United States will remain, the tone of political discourse will change.
"We had a government that for 12 years in Canada has called [Americans] words like 'coward' and 'stupid,'?" said Mr. Reynolds, who co-chairs the Conservative elections campaign. "That would change. Our party is not filled with anti-American people like it is within the Liberal Party."

Mr. Reynolds, who spoke to The Washington Times after a boisterous rally of Conservative sympathizers in a downtown Montreal hotel Wednesday, said Conservative leader Stephen Harper and President Bush should sit down and work out the trade problems.

"We've been friends and neighbors for a long, long time," Mr. Reynolds said. "We are major trading partners in the world, we've got a lot to offer each other and we have to get that friendship back on track just like you'd have with your next-door neighbor."

Mr. Reynolds said the first practical step in improving security cooperation between Canada and the United States would be to restart discussions about joining the anti-ballistic missile program.

"We've got to sit down and discuss this. There is a quid pro quo for everything," he said.


So, what else is up for grabs Mr. Reynolds?


Bloviation For The Nation


A few days ago we wondered which of the Corp-0-Media mouth organs would have the guts to blow the whistle on the CPC's fake landslide.

Well, imagine our surprise when it turned out to be Fast Eddie G's shop itself that did the deed:

Friday, January 20, 2006 Posted at 5:23 AM EST
From Friday's Globe and Mail

The Conservative Party's lead in the polls has narrowed to nine percentage points as voters in Ontario and Quebec have second thoughts about a Stephen Harper government.

The latest poll for The Globe and Mail and CTV by the Strategic Counsel shows national support for the Conservatives has dropped to 37 per cent from 41 per cent, while support for the Liberals has risen to 28 per cent from 25 per cent. Backing for the New Democratic Party dipped one percentage point to 16 per cent.

The race has tightened in the face of a Liberal advertising attack on Mr. Harper and an anti-Tory offensive in Quebec by the Bloc Québécois and Liberals, which have warned of the front-running party's social-conservative leanings, said Allan Gregg, chairman of the Strategic Counsel.

The thing is, this is no mea culpa.


Because it was Allan Gregg's strategically counselled operatives and a more than willing Mr. Greenspon that had a huge part in starting the whole CPC 'Aura of Inevitability' fiction in the first place.

Thus, I would suggest that this bit of bloviation is actually a pre-emptive bit of butt protection from somebody who is worried that folks might be starting to pay attention.

Regardless, many people will say that this 'news' that the lead is shrinking won't matter anyway because it's too late - what with the weekend inserted between now and the election and all.

And ten, or maybe five, or maybe even two years ago that may have been true.

But that was before the Bloggodome emerged as a 'go to' information and opinion source for growing numbers of people.

And, unlike highly paid and even higher falutin' bigtime journos, the keepers of the Bloggodome do not take weekends off.

Time for the keepers to get to work.

Scott Tribe is on this one, as is pogge, as was Declan before it even started.
Paul Wells is on it too, if cryptically.


They'll Get By With A....


.....Little Help From Their Friends

The following is a leaked Email from Paul Weyrich to the Faithful which was posted up by the New York Observer, home of fighting Joe Conasan:

From: Paul Weyrich
Sent: Thursday, January 19, 2006 9:38 AM
To: Bob Thompson [a staffer at Weyrich's Free Congress Foundation]
Subject: message from Canada
Importance: High

Please get this message to the Stanton, Family Forum and Wednesday lunch groups:

I received a call last night from Gerald Chipeur, an important figure in Canada’s Conservative Party. He told me that Conservatives are with-in striking distance of electing an outright majority in Parliamentary elections Monday.

He said the Canadian media, which is trying to save the current Liberal government, has a strategy of calling conservatives in the USA in the hopes that someone will inadvertently say something that can be hung around the Conservatives.

Canadian voters have been led to believe that American conservatives are scary and if the Conservative party can be linked with us, they perhaps can diminish a Conservative victory. Chipeur asks that if Canadian media calls, please do not be interviewed until Monday evening at which point hopefully there will be reason to celebrate.

Many thanks.

And just who is this Mr. Weyrich?

Well, we don't think it would be unreasonable to call him one of the original (notso)Great Uncles of the latest incarnation of the American Neandercon Movement.

Paul Weyrich is considered by conservative Powers That Be as the most powerful man in American politics today. Weyrich allegedly founded the immensely influential conservative think tank, Heritage Foundation, in 1973 with funding from Joseph Coors of the Coors beer empire and Richard Mellon-Scaife, heir of the Carnegie-Mellon fortune.

So, never mind. Move along. There's nothing to be concerned with here

And besides, nobody should be worried about the kinder, gentler more compassionate former uber-right-biter Mr. Harper anyway, right?

And even if he wins, his mandate won't be strong.


After all, it's not as if anyone from the Heritage-cranked Whirlitzer gave anyone reason to believe that the same comforting things were also true of another of Mr Weyrich's favorite political nephews, George W. Bush, in the year 2000.


As in way, way, way........Right.


Original link source: Ian Welsh at 'Tilting At Windmills, where a vigorous discussion on the ties of Mr. Chipeur are being discussed.


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Out Lying On The Barbeque Circuit


Remember back last summer when the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada started flippin' burgers and wearing too tight leather vests, make-up and cowboy hats at county fairs, stampedes and such.

Some longtime observers of the man suggested he was undergoing an image transplant.

Others, especially those who were a tad more cynical, suggested that his handlers were actually sending him OUT into the country so that they could do a little bit of creative LYING about the true nature of his hardhearted, hawkwonkish personality.

Of course back then it all seemed like a big joke.

And, given the apparent ineptitude of the strategy at the time, who could have possibly imagined that the same handlers might actually be capable of assembling a secret team of PR/Spinmongers masquerading as unbiased Pollosphereians whose job it would be to push the outlier buttons for all they are worth right to the bitter end.

Interestingly, in the past few days it has become apparent that you no longer have to read tea leaves or engage in round-the-clock conspiracy theory seances to start catching glimpses of these potential secretive outliers at work.

In fact, all you have to do is look at the numbers.

National Poll Results

Date Poll Lib CPC NPD BQ GRN MoE
Jan. 18 SES 31 37 17 11 5 +/-3.1
Jan. 18 Ekos 29 35 18 13 4 +/-3.4
Jan. 18 SC 25 41 17 12 5 +/-3.1

As Mahigan at Pogge asked yesterday - can you spot them? (the outliers I mean)

Thought so.

Most importantly, check out the two inliers. The lead is not, repeat not, unassailable. So, wonder, which major news organization will bust its way out of the outlier corral first and start reporting it as such? Anybody want to place their bet(s)?


Where's Mahrer?


Apparently, Little Scottie McClellan missed the Mahrer Arar story on the front page of that tiny, obscure paper of little influence, The Washington Post, back in those heady, not to mention halcyon, days when he was busy frolicking about the White House Press (backdoor)Rooms with James Gannon/Guckert:

At today’s press conference Scott McClellan claimed he has never heard reports that the United States sent detainees to Syria, where they were tortured:

QUESTION: There are allegations that we sent people to Syria to be tortured…


QUESTION: Yes. You’ve never heard of any allegations like that?

MCCLELLAN: No, I’ve never heard that one. That’s a new one.

QUESTION: Syria? You haven’t heard that?

MCCLELLAN: That’s a new one.

QUESTION: Well, I can assure you it’s been well publicized. My question is…

MCCLELLAN: By what, bloggers?

You go Scottie.

And while you're on your way, watch out for that scary monster, octagenarian dragon lady that believes in a crazy thing called the Constitution of the United States named Helen Thomas.


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Sanity Island


When people from away, even if they are only from, say, Portland Oregon, think of Left Coast Canuckistan they likely think of Vancouver.

The City.

Not the Island.

But Vancouver Island, which is almost 300 miles long and bigger than many European countries, is the true beacon of light round here these days.

How do I know this?

Well, actually, it's not me that knows. Instead, it is local pundit, gadfly, and all-around bon vivant Vaughn Palmer who knows, because it was he who just told the CBC that he thinks it is possible that the entire Island could go NDP in next week's Federal Election (Part 1, Real Audio, 4:05 to 4:45).

For everyone from South of the 49th who's been asking, the New Democratic Party* is the latest iteration of the left of center group that gave this country Universal Health Care.

Anyway, the upshot of all this is the very real possibility that the Island could well become an Oasis of socially progressive sanity floating in a massive Sea of North American Neanderconism.

So, maybe the Islandistas should consider going one step further by seceding while simultaneously recruiting the best, brightest and most tolerant from all over the continent to power the enterprise with good, clean brain power.

Which isn't as crazy as it sounds because the huge land mass of the Island, which has essentially the same temperate climate as Seattle, is currently home to a measly 500,000 people.

Wonder if I can make a go of it as a science geek living in Port Alice?

*Or, as former leader, and all around good guy, Ed Broadbent (our own George McGovern) likes to call it "The NDP Party, Party!"


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Is The Harpoon Stuck In It's Own Blubber?


Well, well, well.

It looks like the Harpoon just may have peaked too Soon.

This from Mahigan's daily tracking poll round-up over at POGGE:

National Poll Results

Date Poll Lib CPC NPD BQ GRN MoE
Jan. 16 SES 30 37 18 10 4 +/-3.1
Jan. 16 Ekos 30 36 19 12 3 +/-3.7
Jan. 16 SC 27 40 16 11 6 +/-2.5

Now, first off ignore that Strategic Counsel business. As we have discussed before, proprietor Allan Gregg has a track record of sending his operatives out onto the right-sided fringe of the Pollosphere.

So, that leaves SES and Ekos.

And they both show a tightening. So much so that they are at the outer margins of the MoE with respect to the gap betweeen Our (small)Paul and (notso)Little Stephen.

19 times out of 20, of course.

See this anywhere being screamed, above the fold, in 144 type on the front pages of any Canned West dailies today?

Or even the Toronto Globe and (nolongerEmpire)Mail for that matter?

Thought not.


Bang The Thread Slowly

Are You Talkin' To Me?
No Rage, No Bull Ville

Doug P. was good enough to post this up in response to my last screed on what might, or might not, be the scariest of all possible post-election alliances.

As one born an anglo-quebecer (read: born Liberal) who evolved from a raving Trudeaumaniac in '68 (I was sweet sixteen & a political virgin, ok?) into a New Democrat only after taking a coupla 2X4s up alongside the head (War Measures Act 1970/Wage & Price controls 1972) I consider it the greatest political tragedy of my generation that every small 'p' progressive in Quebec from Real Menard (Hon. BQ MP for Montreal-Holchelaga who outed himself in the House standing up to bigot Rosanne Skokes a few years ago) to my dearly-beloved francophone brother-in-law see eye-to-to-eye with me on social issues but have been completely co-opted by l'independance. Both have told me that if there were no BQ they would (mais oui!) vote NDP with me. In fact, Quebec is by far Canada's most socially progressive province.

Which just kills me.

Anyway, we won't have the numbers this time but maybe someday we'll see a BQ-NDP coalition. An even more unholy alliance than the Libs & Cons? (Which, btw, we already have here in BC. "THE SOCIALISTS ARE AT THE GATES!! as Wacky Bennet used to cry.) Before you call me crazy, think about it - maybe we _can_ work it out. Goddess knows Sir John A. and Sir Georges-E. didn't have an easy time of it at Quebec, Charlottetown or London but they cut a deal.

As they like to say over at my other favourite blog: 'Peace, Order and Good Government, Eh?'


Wonder what our old friend eteba will have to say about that one.

As far as I'm concerned it's stuff like that that makes this Bloggodome thing trip the night fantastic, not to mention electric.

Thanks Doug!


Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Really Scary Alliance


As the day of reckoning draws nearer and one stares at those seat projections with increasing dread, I couldn't help but ask myself the following.........

Which of the following couplings should be feared most?

CPC and NDP? Likely a non-starter, hopefully on general principles and core beliefs, but also because the cold, hard numbers wouldn't work

CPC and BLOC? Hmmmm.....bizarre in a kind of kinked 'States' rights' sort of way, but reasonably unlikely over the long term given the disparity on social issues and spending priorities.

CPC and Liberals? The numbers work and, when you get right down to it, the majority of both parties neo-something-or-other policies actually mesh reasonably well.

The latter would be a marriage made in H - E - double-toothpicks, but it would allow Mr. Harper to pander to his base while at the same time permitting Mr. Martin to keep wearing his spiffy, if dated, 'Captain Canada' suit*. Of course, the backroom boys will be extremely happy to carve up the spoils for the duration.

In a parallel, demented provincial universe, in Lotuslandia terms it would be like making Gordon Campbell and Bill Bennett co-Premiers, with the wild Kelowna boy playing the part of the reasonable one.

Goddess help us all.

*With 'Steamship Lines' written in invisible ink, of course.


Saturday, January 14, 2006

To Strat Or Not To Strat?


Rafe Mair who, in many ways, has come a long way since he served in the cabinet of Lotusland's local wild boy and progressive slayer, Bill Bennett, has a post up on the Tyee Election Blog giving his reasons why now is the time to vote Green.

Of course they’re not going to elect anyone - we all know that. But we also know that if they get more than 2% of the vote they get $1.75 per vote cast. This enables the party to get its message before the public such that pressure may be brought to bear on the other parties to at least think “green” once in awhile.

Thus my vote for the Greens does indeed count and I am making a small contribution towards environmental awareness.

Now, first let me say that on most matters environmental I very much agree with Mr. Mair.

But on this specific point I cannot agree with him. And it has nothing to do with the pseudo-rightsided leanings of national party leader Jim Harris.


Instead, it has everything to do with Rafe's first phrase.

Of course, they’re not going to elect anyone........

Now, ordinarily, I'm a sucker for the way, way, waygone Underdog Victorious.

Even when he cannot possibly be.

Victorious, I mean.

But given the most likely outcome of this election I believe there is just too much at stake to take a flier, and ignore the strategic vote on principle.

So this is what I wrote in response to Mr. Mair's post:

This time around, I have to agree with (top of the thread commenter) Mr. Smith (who suggested a better course of action would be to vote strategically and give the Greens 10 bucks)*.

Especially with respect to many of the maritime issues that Mr. Mair is so passionate about.


Because, in my view, if this thing does turn out to be a calamine lotion-assisted** majority for Mr Harper, or even a minority in which the NDP is shut out due to an unholy, some might even suggest CRAPtacular, Alliance with the BLOCkheads, it is not difficult to imagine a massive deregulation effort that will result in unlimited fishfarming, an oil rig in every inlet, and supertanker gridlock stretching from Haida Gwaii to Galiano.

*although you could make it $100 instead of $10 to ensure that you help make it possible for the Greens win over your friends and influence your uncles.
**which has resulted in the emergence of the ‘PinkoCon.