Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Assessing McGuinty's New Cabinet

So overall I think it's a good cabinet. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t surprised about a few of the appointments, and I think pretty much all political commentators and Ontarians were, as were probably some of the appointees themselves. That’s not to say that any of them don’t have the qualifications, as I think those appointed were qualified. But needless to say, I am also disappointed that Sandals, and especially Levac, were not given an appointment as they are more than due. It is also odd to me that Levac, who while opposition was a critic, and has not given the same due in government. He is a great guy who does a good job at whatever he’s given, cares about the issues and the people, and stands up for what he believes in. Perhaps his vocalness is why he is not in the cabinet which is unfortunate.

So here’s my rundown with the good and the bad, as the party can always benefit from some constructive criticism.

The Bad:
- Intergovernmental affairs should not have gone to McGuinty, he can carry on his fights for Ontario without that portfolio so someone else should have been given a chance to shine.
- Levac and Sandals - shafted again. They've paid their dues to the party, are very popular in their ridings and worked well in committees so what gives? It makes no sense to me, they could have easily gone in place of two of the newer faces. I understand McGuinty wanted to bring in new blood, but some people have been working hard a long time and eventually they deserve to get their shot. Especially when McGuinty takes Intergovernmental affairs for himself I don't get it.
- Didn't need to dump Ramsay from cabinet (the others I can understand), he had done a pretty good job
- The ministries of Democratic Renewal or Minister Responsible for Disabilities were dropped. I can understand the reasoning for Democratic Renewal given the massive defeat of MMP, but I don't understand why he would eliminate the file on disabilities, maybe it's just as oversight on the government website and someone did get it in addition to another portfolio. I hope that doesn't mean Mcguinty will bury these as priorities
- Only 9 females in cabinet (same as last time I think). I do think after having run so many more female candidates this time and given that 7 of 10 new Liberal MPPs were women he could have had more talented females added to his cabinet (I had 11 very qualified ones in my selections)

The Good:
- McGuinty obviously took my advice for Attorney General, Finance, Health, Education, Agriculture, Community and Social Services (and Francophone Affairs), Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Women's Issues. So that's the bulk of the top posts so it's hard not to be satisfied with that.
- I'm thrilled to see Deb Matthews in cabinet and that she not only got Women's Issues (the fact she got this was under-reported by the media) but Children and Youth Services as well. As well, she's been put in charge of putting in place targets for reducing poverty, a great focus for the government for the next session. Matthews definitely deserved it.
- I'm pleased Aboriginal Affairs was given its own portfolio and Bryant has the qualifications and background necessary to do a good job (Levac would have been great as well though, he could have also been the parliamentary assistant). I'm very pleased McGuinty is demonstrating that he is taking this file very seriously this session with this gesture.
- As I noted, both Gerry Phillips and John Gerretsen deserved promotions (even though I had a hard time finding a good place up the ladder for them) so I think it's good to see that they've both moved up to more important posts (Phillips to Energy and Gerretsen to Environment).
- Chris Bentley as well is going to make a great Attorney General and he was my pick so I'm glad to see he got it.
-John Milloy as Minister of Colleges and Universities, he’s from an appropriate riding to be given that ministry, and is a good choice. I can’t complain even though I pegged Sandals for this.

So in all, it's not a perfect line-up and I remain a bit disappointed about some people left out, but overall I know this team will do a fantastic job for the province, I know some of the new faces there really deserved it and I’m waiting to be wowed. I do hope a few more people will get their shot before the session is over though. But I do think the government has outlined the exact right priorities going in and I look forward to seeing them in action soon.

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Monday, October 29, 2007

My McGuinty Cabinet Picks

So with the new McGuinty cabinet being installed tomorrow, I’d like to give my picks for who should get the nods for each ministry. Given that my predictive abilities weren’t proven to be so great on election night (I predicted 62 seats for the Liberals), I’m not making any predictions this time. Rather this is a list of who I think should be given each position.

Given that I don’t have in depth knowledge about every candidate who ran in the last election, forgive me if I’ve left out someone who you think really should be listed.

I’d love to hear everyone else’s picks anyways (though Tories and Dippers: if you’re to give a go pick who you think would do the best job for Ontario not who you think would be good for your party).

So here goes…

Finance Minister: Dwight Duncan (previously Greg Sorbara). Duncan was another star from the last session that deserves a promotion. He did a great job as finance minister filling in for Sorbara in the last session so I think he deserves to get that post back.

Minister of Health and Long-Term Care: George Smitherman (No change). Smitherman has been praised by most of the stakeholders for his job in health and he has said personally that he wants to keep that post so he should get to stay where he wants. I’m sure he’ll do just as good of job this session.

Minister of Education and Deputy Premier: Kathleen Wynne (No change). After her resounding victory over John Tory and the excellent job she’s done at Education, Wynne deserves whatever she wants. I think she’s indicated that she’d like to carry on at education where some tough challenges lie ahead over the next four years. She enjoys strong support among teachers and has clearly proven herself so I think she’d be the best to carry on. If she doesn’t want this position, then it would be a toss up between Dave Levac and Liz Sandals who both have lots of experience in the area of education that would make them well-suited for the job. I also think Wynne should be made Deputy Premier as a reward for her previous feats.

Minister of Energy: Michael Bryant (previously Dwight Duncan). Both Duncan and Bryant deserve promotions and new experiences to build their portfolios after the last session. Energy will be a tough file to handle, but Bryant has proved himself a very able minister so I think he’d be up for the job.

Attorney General: Chris Bentley (Previously Michael Bryant). Bentley’s done a great job on the colleges and universities file in the last session so he deserves a promotion and I think he’s got what it takes to take over for Bryant.

Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs: Aileen Carroll (Previously Marie Bountrogianni). Bountrogianni did a great job on this portfolio so with her having retired there’s some big shoes to fill. As a former federal minister and long-time Liberal MP I think Carroll has the experience necessary to do the best job here.

Minister of the Environment: Sandra Pupatello (previously Laurel Broten). Broten had encountered some controversy at environment so it makes some sense to move her somewhere else. This will be a very important portfolio for the next session so it makes sense to have someone in there with lots of experience to handle it. Pupatello I think fits the bill for that. I know some people had some misgivings about her after the Parkdale High-Park byelection but you can’t be punished forever, she’s shown herself to be quite capable as a minister so she should be placed back higher up.

Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities: Liz Sandals. I know that Liz Sandals has a strong background in education (see above), but I think given Wynne’s apparent stated preference for that portfolio, having Sandals focus on the post-secondary side of education might still be a good fit for her. I think she’d prove herself to be a great minister here and fill Bentley’s shoes well.

Minister of Aboriginal Affairs: Dave Levac (previously David Ramsay). I really think it’s about time that McGuinty adopt the recommendations of the Ipperwash Inquiry and make Aboriginal Affairs a stand-alone ministry. As well, while Levac is another great contender for education (see above), I can think of few better to fill the role of Aboriginal Affairs minister given that Levac lives in a riding so close to one of the largest reserves in Ontario and is very well versed on Native affairs. I think it’s well over due he gets into cabinet and I think this would be a great place for him to prove himself in a very difficult file.

Minister of Economic Development and Trade: Laurel Broten (previously Sandra Pupatello). Broten actually did a good job in cabinet, it’s just the controversies she encountered in her neighbourhood over the size of her garage and so on just didn’t play well with that portfolio so I think Economic Development and Trade would be a better fit.

Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues: Deb Matthews (Previously Sandra Pupatello). McGuinty has made great progress on women’s issues and was successful in meeting his promise to have one third women’s candidates. To go further, he should give the ministry for Women’s issues higher stature and make it a stand alone ministry. I think Deb Matthews would be the perfect fit for taking it over. I actually don’t think McGuinty will leave Women’s Issues as a stand alone Ministry but I think that’s what should happen and I do hope Matthews does find her way into cabinet as she’s paid her dues over the years to the party.

Minister of Northern Development and Mines: Rick Bartolucci (No change). Done a good job and the Liberals have maintained their popularity in the North, so why rock the boat.

Minister of Transportation: Donna Cansfield (No change).

Minister of Public Infrastructure Renewal and Government House Leader: David Caplan (No change, promoted to House Leader). This remains an important portfolio in accomplishing McGuinty’s ambitious transit plan. Caplan can keep up his work there and I think he can also be promoted to House Leader (from deputy House Leader)

Minister of Children and Youth Services: Helena Jaczek (Previous Mary Anne Chambers: retired). This is a very important portfolio and someone accomplished has to replace Chambers. Helena Jaczek has gained tremendous experience outside of politics that would suit her well for many different portfolios, but I think this would be good place to put her mind to use. As well, it would be injecting some new blood in McGuinty’s cabinet and showing his commitment to boosting female representation.

Minister of Revenue: Michael Chan (No change)

Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs: Leona Dombrowsky(No change). Leona has had some tough battles over the last 4 years (like Randy Hillier sending her a dead deer’s head named “Leona” as a threat), but I think she’d earned the right to stay on.

Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing: John Gerretsen (No change). I kind of feel like Gerretsen deserves a promotion but I can’t think of anyone higher up than him who deserves to be demoted so he can move up (I guess it depends on what you consider a “promotion” though). Still this is an important file and I think there’s much more work to be done on it.

Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services: Monte Kwinter (No change).

Minister of Research and Innovation and Minister Responsible for Democratic Renewal: Sophia Aggelonitis. (Previously McGuinty in Research and Innovation and Bountrogianni in Democratic Renewal). I think McGuinty can afford to pass off the Research and Innovation portfolio off to someone new. I also think the new individual can pick up where Bountrogianni left off on the issue of democratic renewal (electoral reform may be off the table for some time, but democratic renewal in the legislature is still important). Sophia has experience running a small business and as an entrepreneur and has great ties to the business community so I think she’s a great fit for research and innovation and she would be a new face to promote democratic renewal at the same time.

Minister of Community and Social Services, Minister Responsible for Ontarians with Disabilities, Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs: Madeleine Meilleur (No change). These are all key portfolios in my book, and while I’m tempted to say Jaczek should be given Community and Social Services, Meilleur has handled the portfolio well and hasn’t had it long enough (has only had it since 2006) to be already moved on to something else so she should keep it.

Minister of Labour: Steve Peters (No change)

Minister of Government Services and Minister of Citizenship and Immigration: Gerry Phillips (No change). Philllips is someone else who likely deserves a promotion, but McGuinty just happens to have a really strong team so I think he could just stay where he is, but I won’t be surprised if McGuinty does move him up the ladder.

Minister of Natural Resources Minister: David Ramsay (No change). Has done a great job in both his portfolios and given that I think that Aboriginal Affairs needs to be sectioned off then I think Ramsay can devote more of his efforts to his other file that he’s managed well so far.

Minister of Small Business and Entrepreneurship: Harinder Takhar (No change). Takhar handled transportation well and has managed this newer portfolio well too. It hasn’t existed very long so he can continue with it.

Minister of Health Promotion: Jim Watson. I think Watson enjoys this portfolio and has done a good job at it so I see no problems keeping him where he is.

Minister of Culture: Reza Moridi (previously Caroline Di Coco). As the first ever Iranian MPP and someone with a very accomplished background I think he’d be a great replacement for Di Cocco (who went down to defeat) in Culture. I think this would send a great message to put him in charge of Culture to show how McGuinty wants to keep promoting an inclusive Ontario (as opposed to the messy debate going on in Quebec which is moving unfortunately somewhat in the other direction). If Moridi doesn’t get culture perhaps he could get research and innovation given the awards he’s won in science.

So if these picks end up even remotely right the only logical conclusion is that the Premier’s Office must read this blog and took my advice :).

Here’s hoping…

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sorbara and Opposition Nonsense

So with McGuinty’s new cabinet being sworn on Tuesday, it’s back to Provincial politics. Of course the big news this week was Sorbara saying he wouldn’t sit in cabinet. He cited deep personal reasons and wanting to spend more time with his family, which is a reason we accepted for several female Liberals who recently left politics, so I take him at his word that has nothing to do with political issues or differences. At the same time, he can still serve his constituents (after all you don’t have to be unemployed to spend sufficient time with your family).

Though I’ve been disappointed with some of the coverage of this and the response from the opposition. Adam Radwanski usually has some great things to say that from time to time I agree with, but I don't buy what Radwanski is suggesting about this resignation. Sorbara has been one of McGuinty’s biggest allies over the past 8 years and has worked his ass off to help him. McGuinty in return repaid him with the top cabinet post. There was certainly no Chretien-Martin like animosity between the two whatsoever so suggestions that Sorbara is doing this to plot leadership ambitions I think is false given that this would not be the way to go around doing that anyway (you would stay in cabinet and continue to show yourself to a team player and strong performer). So again I think Sorbara has personal reasons to resign and probably would have actually wanted to return to Finance but was persuaded otherwise by his family.

But then there was the shameful response from John Tory and the NDP. First Tory:
“I think the average IQ around that cabinet table just crashed with his departure, and I’m concerned about that for the sake of the province,” said Tory ...I just wish he’d announced he was leaving before the election. I think people would have taken a different look at the McGuinty government without the brains of the operation being there.”

This is BS. First of all, was Tory saying this the last time Sorbara left cabinet? No Tory was insinuating that the RCMP had good reason to investigate Sorbara (of course the RCMP were strongly rebuked on this and Sorbara was completely removed from the investigation) and that McGuinty should distance himself as far as possible from him. Meanwhile, McGuinty’s cabinet carried on just fine and Dwight Duncan brought down a great budget. Don’t get me wrong, Sorbara was an excellent finance minister and would have deserved the post again, but the Liberals managed fine without him before and will again. It’s still a loss though for sure but not anywhere near the level Tory insinuates.

Then there was the even more ridiculous comment from the NDP:
New Democrat Rosario Marchese believes the resignation will be ``a huge blow to the Liberal Party,” and said Sorbara should also resign his seat if he really wants to spend more time with his family.
“If he wants to be a full-time granddad, then I think the riding deserves a full-time member,” said Marchese.

Ridiculous! So is Rosario saying that you can’t be a good grandfather unless you are unemployed? The ones that actually left politics it was to spend more time with their children. Has anyone ever left for grandchildren? Anyways, Sorbara is saying that his cabinet duties took too much time away from his family, so he is scaling back his work to spend more time with them. But that doesn’t mean he can’t still hold a job representing the citizens of Vaughn. Marchese should apologize. Like c’mon have a little class, Sorbara just resigns and the very next minute he’s out attacking him and making outrageous statements. He should really know better.
Shame on the opposition for trying to score partisan points out of what is a very personal matter for Mr. Sorbara. They’re not off to a great start this session, that’s for sure.

I'll be back later with a full list of who I would pick for McGuinty's next cabinet.

UPDATE: Radwanski takes it back. Says that he’s been informed that there were real personal issues that happened recently (death of Sorbara’s sister-in-law) that have led Sorbara to ultimately take this decision. Good for Radwanksi for correcting himself. This further bolsters my view that Marchese should apologize though, does he still think Sorbara should resign his seat?

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Liberal Halloween Party

The Judy Ball (in honour of the first female federal Liberal cabinet minister Judy LaMarsh) is fast approaching! Youth Tickets (under 26) are now available. After tax returns, YOUTH tickets are only $31 (therefore $125 upfront). Regular priced tickets are $250 each or $400/pair.

Ticket prices include drink tickets, food and a fun night to party along with the band of the evening, The Nylons (best known for such songs as “you and me, so Happy Together”)!

Costume ideas: Come dressed as your favourite politician or Canadian Personality! Prizes for best costumes!

When: Tuesday October 30th, 2007 @ 6:30 PM
Where: Sheraton Hotel, Dominion Ballroom, Toronto
Contact: Danielle at

PLEASE RSVP ASAP & Share the news with your friends

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Polls and Shoddy Reporting

The polls these days seem to be a mess and media coverage of them usually pretty bad. Three polls came up this week showing the Conservatives to have a very narrow lead over the Liberals nationally and the Liberals having a solid lead in Ontario. (h/t to Scott: here, here, and here).

Meanwhile, Ipsos comes along for the second week in a row showing the Tories in “majority territory” . I’ve got some serious questions about this though.

Why is it ALWAYS Ipsos that has the Tories polling higher than the other polling companies? Is there something we should know here? I mean the last Ipsos poll of the 2006 Election (1 day before Election Day) had it as Cons 38 – Libs 27, pretty far off the mark of what happened the next day, I’d say.

Second, where does this magic 40% national number called “majority territory” really come from? It’s total nonsense considering a party could have 40% nationally just because they’ve got 90% support in Alberta for instance. So the overall national number means nothing without reliable regional breakdowns, which none of these polling companies really ever provide because the MOE for each region is too large, so you end seeing like 10% regional swings in the span of week (which is really impossible).

Basically this kind of coverage is just really shoddy reporting trying to make a poll sound more interesting and pump up the election hysteria (“oh Harper’s in “majority territory” he must be itching to go to the polls now!).

Finally, I’d like to call one particular deceptive article to account today that really twists things: "Fears of Harper majority waning: poll

Take a look at the article and you see that: “A majority of 58 per cent said the best outcome of the next election would be a majority government,” and “Fifty-eight per cent of those in favour of a majority would rather have Harper as the prime minister in such a circumstance, compared to 28 per cent who preferred Liberal Leader Stephane Dion”

What’s 58% of 58% CanWest? Is that actually slightly less (33.6%) than the percentage of Canadians that voted for Harper in the last election (36%)? How can you say fears of a majority are “waning” when you’ve got no baseline to compare it to. 33.6% is still not that high given that I'm sure the Conservative support in this sample is grossly inflated (definitely at least in Ontario). I don't have any faith in these numbers given Ipsos' history.

I think reporting of polls in the media has always been pretty shoddy in general (ignoring MOE's and so on), but at least report the straight findings of them correctly, don’t give us misleading headlines and torqued spin.

And that goes for Bricker (the Ipsos guy) too because lines like “When you've got the other guy hiding under the bridge like a troll…” don’t really come off like you don’t have an agenda here do they?

What gives with Ipsos and CanWest media that report on them?

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Speeches, Crime and Corruption

So with it being Saturday, I thought I’d give a little week in review.

So first of all there was the Liberal reaction to the throne speech. I’m glad to see we’re not going to the polls as I had advocated. I still think the Liberals should have done a coordinated voting down of the speech (with sufficient numbers absent to ensure it passed), but I’m satisfied with the Liberal response. We definitely need to pick our own time to go.

The reaction of the Harper Conservatives to the Dion’s response to the Speech was shameful though. When Harper’s party abstained on the budget in 2005, did the Liberals hoot and holler like children and mock them for it? When the Parti Quebecois voted for Charest’s budget in Quebec earlier this year, did he mock them for it? No in both cases they were commended for helping to make Parliament work and doing the job they were sent there to do. But Harper’s been about the worst Prime Minister in history in terms of civility now hasn’t he?

Then there was the crime bill. When I heard the throne speech I was afraid Harper would actually include the original crime bills in his omnibus bill (many of them were quite draconian and heavily amended by the opposition). Thankfully, he has not done so with at least four of the original bills they've been brought back with all the opposition amendments. So the Liberals should have no problems with the bulk of this crime package as they supported it before once their amendments were accepted. However, there is the dangerous offenders clause in there that could easily be seen as unconstitutional. I think the Liberals should just let this crime bill pass and amend the dangerous offenders clause in committee with a middle ground proposal (the Liberals have already suggested that rather than reversing the onus of proof, have a dangerous offenders hearing be automatic and increase the powers available to prosecutors).

Harper’s actions on this bill show he’s actually not gearing for an election. If he was he would have just brought back all his crime bills in their original form and said no amendments allowed. Instead, he’s actually given Parliament something that’s been largely supported by the opposition in the past. It's a bit of shame that the media don't report this fact though (instead supposedly Harper is "humiliating the opposition" with this crime package). I think in reality, the opposition can push back a little once this bill goes to committee on just the dangerous offenders clause. Harper won’t really want to have an election over a minor dispute over how someone gets classified as a dangerous offender. If he does put up a fuss then he’s the one that would come off looking petty to the Canadian people. So I think cooler heads will prevail on this one and Parliament will carry on.

Our issue to bring down the government will come, but it shouldn’t be this one.

Finally, good to see the Liberals are still keeping the heat on the Conservatives over their election fraud scheme. Also good to see that at least for once it seems the media covered it. Pretty rich of the Conservatives to call themselves “clean” in the Throne Speech, when they’ve got three serious ongoing investigations that have implicated members of their party.

I do think that with Parliament back in session the heat can be kept squarely on the Tories after Harper’s been given a free ride by the media all summer. The Liberals just have to keep up the heat, while drawing attention to our own ideas and then this session will be a success.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Throne Speech: Poor speech but let's pick our own time to go to the polls

So first of all, the night did not get off to a good start for Harper’s team as the throne speech got leaked to the media a couple hours before the speech. This is pretty serious stuff, not as bad as leaking a budget in advance, but still you have to wonder who was behind it. That’s two major leaks for the Conservatives in a short amount of time: first their environment plan, now their throne speech.

Of course the government House leader Peter Van Loan in typical fashion tried to claim it was the opposition parties that leaked it (the leaders get a copy before the speech), but as usual Van Loan was proven wrong as the speech was leaked before the opposition leaders got a copy.

Anyways as for the speech itself….

There was really not much new of substance in there. It seems mostly like they’re just going to repackage old policies. No new vision. A few good ideas, but otherwise same old story, weak policy and direction with a few petty jabs in there at the Liberals.

To be fair there were some things in there I agreed with.

The PM should apologize once and all for Natives for the residential schools issue as the throne speech suggested. It was vague whether it would happen this session but it must happen and it seems the Conservatives agree.

Canada also should be paying attention to the Arctic. I’m not near as gung-ho about it as others are and Harper often goes about it the wrong way, but it’s still an issue that shouldn’t be neglected. The plan for a research centre there is a reasonable one.

Also I agree that Canada should be working to eliminate trade barriers between the provinces. It’s true there’s too many walls put up and Liberals should be advocating this as well as it’s line with our view in support of a strong central government.

Finally, I support income tax cuts, but ONLY if they are geared towards the lowest income bracket like the previous Liberal tax cuts were (that were of course repealed by the Harper government).

Now for the bad….

Throwing all the crime bills into one omnibus bill is irresponsible policy and to make it a confidence bill to boot is really careless. It’s still vague how this big crime bill will look (what mandatory minimums will be in there, what bail conditions will be imposed, etc…), but the Liberals were on record as supporting the bulk of these before. If Harper really wants to govern he’ll just bring back the ones that already made it through the House and leave the rest at the door or for further debate in committee. Having an election on a crime bill would not really work to either party’s advantage in my view (Canadians are pretty middle of the road on the issue and won’t accept Draconian bills, but they still want something done so both parties would get fault) so Harper shouldn’t bother to force one over the issue. Anyways there will be room for debate in Parliament and the Liberals will get their say on the crime legislation, so that doesn’t make the cut for voting this speech down.

Another issue was he mentioned dismantling the Wheat Board. Also wrong-headed as it’s the US and other countries that are dying to see that happen. Sure some farmers will make more money, but most will lose big if the Wheat Board goes down in flames. But Harper said he’d bring the issue to Parliament so the Liberals will get their say. This is a big issue out West so the Liberals can't give up on this one.

Harper also wants to dismantle the gun registry. All he said was he would bring forth a bill though. So big deal, it would get voted down in this session and Harper won’t follow through anyway, it’s not a winner where he needs votes.

On Afghanistan, Harper hinted he wants Canada to stay till 2011 in a combat role. But again he said he’d bring it to Parliament. Of course the “non-partisan” panel (filled with partisans with the exception of Pamela Wallin) will likely back Harper’s preference, but the Liberals won’t be so easily goaded by that I don’t think. So no poison pill here either.

On the federal spending power, I strongly oppose further limiting federal spending power on social policy. However, it seems that what was described is already the case, Harper just wants to limit spending on new “shared-cost” programs by allowing the Provinces to opt out and be compensated. They can already do that, so I’m kind of confused what the advance is here. Certainly not as radical as had been mused about (limiting all government spending on education, child care, cities, etc…, none of that was mentioned).

On taxes, the further GST cut is dumb plain and simple and I don’t quite see why they are following through on it (it would be a promise worth breaking for sure). It saps up so much money for so little gain that could go elsewhere. As a Liberal though that’s good, the Liberals can propose to use the money the Conservatives want to allocate to the GST cut to poverty reduction and/or cities or towards a cut to the lowest income tax bracket.

The closest thing to a poison pill though was on the environment. Harper provocatively threw in a line on a decade of inaction (very false, Dion’s 2005 plan is better than the current one the Conservatives have put forth) and that the Kyoto targets are unattainable. The reality is that the way it was worded (that we can’t reach the target in the next 77 days was all was said) is accurate, but Dion can make the argument that if his plan stayed in place and wasn’t repealed (and then selectively re-instated) the Liberals would be on better track to make the targets and Harper has completely wasted two crucial years on this issue. Dion can say he has a plan to bring us as close to the targets as possible and in line with real international standards (20% reductions below 1990 levels not 2006 levels) by 2020. McGuinty’s plan is a good model and a realistic plan by just barely missing the Kyoto target but catching up to the rest of the world over the next decade. So letting this line go in this speech is not the end of the world. Dion can still credibly claim he has the better plan and that he will bring us into line with international standards, whereas Harper sides with Bush and John Howard (on his way out hopefully next month) and makes us an international environmental pariah while others move ahead of us.

Finally, there was terrible bluster on Canada being “back” (which is insulting given that Canadians has long been respected on the world stage), the country being as united as ever (tell that to Premiers Williams and Calvert) and the government is clean (but just happens to be under investigation for the second time over violating Elections law). But that’s just par for the course for Harper that kind of rhetoric isn’t worth having an election on.

So overall some ok ideas in here, but mostly poor ones and a very vague plan for the session on the key issues. They’ve got five new priorities, but how they heck are they going to have claimed to have met any of them? They’re more like directions to take Canadian policy than actual policies, but I guess they’re wedded to the priorities term, they may regret it later since it’ll sure be tough to say they’ve met such vague ideas.

Anyways as I've said previously, this speech if it passes will have no consequences for the lives of Canadians. The Liberals will have a chance to have a separate vote on all the negative aspects of this speech and we’re gonna have an election better on those individual issues than on a dull, vague speech that doesn’t really have anything other than short-term political consequences if it passes.

So as I argued before, the Liberals can just strategically vote down/abstain and move on to debating the real issues. The NDP and Bloc can whine and parrot Conservative party lines, but only one party can actually get take the Conservatives out of power and Canadians know that. The Liberals will show Canadians in the months ahead that they deserve the chance to govern again, but now’s not the time to go to the polls. We can pick our issue and make sure we’re ready to go to make sure we win.

We'll see tomorrow afternoon if Stephane and his caucus agrees.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Gaming the Throne Speech

With tomorrow being the day of the Throne Speech, here’s my thoughts.

Plainly, I don’t think the Liberals should be gearing up to go an election right now. And I think that goes for all parties. But the Liberals could use more time to organize to make sure they’ve got the best possible campaign plan ready to go when they have to go on the trail. Personally, I think the more time until an election, the more rope we’re giving Harper to hang himself, and today’s news that he’s creating some despotic gov't -propaganda newsroom paid for by tax payer's dollars boosts that view in my books. If Jean Chrétien had been made to lead the Liberals only one year into his leadership, it’s a pretty safe bet there’d have been no Liberal majority and they could have easily lost. It’s not to say the Liberals would lose if they went now, just that they would do better if they went later.

The Liberals need to make sure their organization on the ground is solid in each province and just as important they need to put forth a Red Book that is as good as it could be possibly be (from what I hear it’s not finished yet though so more time would be useful). Also the Harper government has had a free ride this past summer and once back in the House the heat will be put back on them over several things that have slipped under the radar. So the polls could easily be in our favour in a few months.

So I think the Liberals should do a coordinated abstention as floated about where the front benches vote against and the others don’t show up. Now I know there are many Liberals who feel that we have to always stand on principle and if it’s a bad speech we have to go to the polls. Well I would say that we should not let Harper pick the time to go to the polls by doing so. He’s gearing to go, let’s not do him any favours. Harper has been laying a few Liberal traps recently, and we shouldn’t fall into them.

The speech from the throne is just a symbolic speech after all. If it passes it has virtually no consequences for anything. Can anybody tell me the last time, Canadians went to an election over a throne speech?

Now if Harper puts forth bad legislation and makes it a confidence vote then I think there’s a real case to be made that it’s worth going to the polls over. But that’s not what we are looking at here. It’s just a speech and it’s much more important that we win the next election, so you have to weigh one against the other.

So if the speech passes so be it, not worth complaining about, and maybe a little bit of private relief should be welcomed. But if Harper then in turn wants to start making crime bills confidence votes then he’s the one that will look ridiculous as that’s completely unprecedented. So better we go to the polls over something stupid on his part then go on something he wants us to bite on.

Now it may in the end make sense for us to go before the next budget and there’s a solid case to be made on that, but that won’t be till February or March and the time spent organizing between now and then could make all the difference in a campaign. So I’d be much more in favour of voting down the government in January than in the current scenario.

Now of course the Bloc and NDP will hoot and howl at a Liberal absentia, but we shouldn’t be baited by them either. The Bloc has no arguments to make as they’ve voted for the last two budgets which were terrible. Meanwhile, the NDP may get to laugh now, but come election time, what argument will they bring to the people? “Lend us your vote just one more time and we’ll, um…complain some more about the Harper government!” The NDP have ZERO accomplishments to point towards in this parliament and have spent 90% of their time bashing Liberals instead of Conservatives (some “official opposition”). No one will believe that the NDP could form the government so what else could Jack say? People won’t forget that he asked them to "lend the NDP your vote" and that they got nothing for it other than a government diametrically opposed to the values of progressive voters.

Despite the NDP gloating now, come campaign time the Liberals will be able to argue that if you want a more progressive government you HAVE to vote back in a Liberal government (Elizabeth May will make the same argument) and that the NDP is actually much more effective with the Liberals in power anyway (just compare Martin Vs. Harper governments: something to think about Dippers). So there’s an even less compelling argument to be baited by the other opposition parties.

So Stéphane keep at it on planning the next campaign, pull your team together, and make sure YOU pick the time we go to the polls!

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Follow Up to "The Last Hoorah"

Someone asked if Liz Sandals' house was targeted with the signs I posted on her front lawn. I have been informed that is partially correct. A neighbour of Sandals' who is a strong Conservative supporter put them up on their own lawn as a statement of their strong Conservative beliefs.

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Canadians Paying Enough for Olympics - Give us a Break!

Recently, the 2010 Olympics ticket prices were unveiled. I was shocked to hear what the prices are going to be - $800 for one ticket to the men’s hockey final, or over $1000 to attend the Opening Ceremonies. It goes without saying that the price of watching it on tv is free, with a much better view and even commentary.

Obviously, I think the price (gauging) is appalling. The price of the Vancouver Olympics has already been quite expensive, with Vancouverites paying the price – from increased taxes, debt for years to come and one not being currently able to find any sort of contractor for years as they’re all contracted out to the construction of the Olympics. And when the Olympics do come, don’t plan on getting around town in any timely manner with prices of everything increasing. Already, hotels are booked. I really feel that people like me are not welcomed to attend the Olympics. I feel as if its only for societal elites to attend.

I have been waiting and hoping to go the 2010 Olympics for years. Probably because years ago I recall my mother saying one night during a past Olympic game that it must be very special for one to be at the Olympics when your country is hosting it, and be surrounded by other members of your country, united, waving your native flag. And if you’re at an event where you win a medal – wow. Well after hearing these prices, I am led to believe this special experience won’t be happening for me in 2010, and who knows when the opportunity will present itself again.

Here’s what I think would have been appropriate: If you’re a Canadian, you get a discounted Canadian price. Canadians will be paying enough for hosting the event for years to come, there might as well be some payoff for the people to enjoy it and see the results of their troubls first hand, not just the planners or organizers.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007


So I'm back at the computer and what can I say, it's a good night to be a Liberal!

Global went on the air at 9 PM to proclaim a McGuinty majority so you knew the night was going to go well.

My predictions were a bit off the mark, but I can't say I'm sad about that.

So my thoughts on the whole night (based on piecing together my memories from tonight and from re-watching CPAC coverage)....

HUGE victory for McGuinty, he's gotten a clear mandate from the people. The Liberals have done better than pretty much ANYONE had predicted.

HUGE defeat for Tory, who has seen his party popular vote plummet below what even Ernie Eves got. Way worse than I thought they'd get. How can he stay on as leader?

I was a bit wrong about the NDP though, their popular vote and seat count is a bit better than I thought it would be. Probably Hampton siphoned off some PC voters. Though early on in the night it looked like they might get as many as 20% of the vote and 14 seats but that took a bit of tumble later in the night down to 17% and 10 seats (which is what they started the campaign with). I don't think Hampton will get to stick around either though since this is his 3rd kick at the can, but you know what at least he can say he went out having increased his party's share of seats and popular vote.

And the Green popular vote was pretty high (8%), never thought they'd get that high. But still no seats, that's too bad, I think with that kind of support they deserved at least one.

As for specific ridings:
Levac wins big (by 20%!)!

Sandals wins big (by 15%)!

They were two of the earlier Liberals declared re-elected. Having worked on both campaigns this time I'm proud of that. This was a bigger victory for Sandals given that she only won by about 5% last time.

Laura Albanese looks like she's won in York South Weston. Good, she's a great candidate.

Ted McMeekin wins prety comfortably. Good job to the people I know in Hamilton who worked on his campaign.

Randy Hillier falls narrowly behind late in the night before coming back out ahead again. It's safe to say the legislature is better off without him, but sadly it looks like he's gotten a pass. Well at the least he should do wonders for PC popularity in the upcoming session at Queen's Park. Could give the Liberals some pretty good fodder, but still this man did not deserve a seat.

Tim Peterson gets to rue the day he left the Liberal family as he gets soundly defeated. I'm sure he'll be eating crow at the next family dinner.

Tory has NOW been DEFEATED! :) I see he actually didn't do much better than David Turnbull (yeah I know everyone remembers him now) in 2003 (39.7% for Tory vs. 38.9% for Turnbull). Kathleen Wynne will continue to do us proud. I think she'd make a great deputy Premier. Tory can move on to something else.

In other news...MMP Referendum has gone down soundly to defeat (only about 37% support). I didn't think it would crack 50% but I didn't think it would do this bad. So that's the end of electoral reform for good then and that's a bit of a shame.

Speeches came up at about 10:45 PM:

Oddly McGuinty went first (usually the opposition goes first).

Anyways as for his speech....

The French part at the beginning (and French interspersed throughout) was a good touch, I really like that McGuinty never forgets the Francophone population we have in Ontario.
Gives the voters props. Shows his appreciation to his candidates and his volunteers. Good compliments paid to the candidates and leaders of the other parties. Very classy.Thanks his family and of course his wife.
The whole rest of the speech was about framing up what Ontario is and what Ontario said tonight. Some of the major lines:
-We (Ontarians) have not voted for the status quo, we have voted for progress
-We will embrace positive ideas, deplore negativity
-We do not want our children or society to be divided
-We expect our government to Improve medicare, Green the environment, and move our publicly funded schools forward
-We judge governments on their record, warts and all
-We value progress above all
-We want our government to look forward beyond the next election and to the next generation (borrowing a line from Dion it seems)
- We are a strong province at the centre of a strong country.
- We believe in medicare, not private health care
- We believe in public funds for public schools, not for private ones
- We will always be moving forward together!

Makes me pround to be an Ontarian and proud to live in a Liberal Ontario!

Kathleen Wynne talks next:"We DID IT!" She deserved to win. Tory should have known better than to pick a fight with her. She's the new giant killer of the Liberal party (the last one of course knocked off Kim Campbell, what a coincidence). The rest of her speech was not picked up well, just heard that Ontarians were saying that we believe in public education and she deserves to keep running the show there or at the very least to be kept in a very high profile cabinet and I think she should be deputy Premier.

John Tory's speech then next....

It was largely a pretty standard speech. Aside from the complaining again about Ontario (big contrast with McGuinty's speech) which wasn't necessary it was an ok job and classy enough. Though he didn't resign? He wants to lead from outside the legislature? Who will give him their seat? How will he get past a leadership review later this year? I still say he's done. I guess he's asking for the same treatment Andre Boisclair got in Quebec, he will be hounded out, would have been better to go out gracefully like Martin did I think.

I think Tory can be useful outside of politics though, maybe he'll go back to the United Way or something.

Later Kathleen Wynne was asked what does she think about John Tory continuing on and she thought that was all for the best. Yeah I wonder why? Still with Tory gone the Tories might veer further back towards the right which would just be bad for Ontario in general.

Howard Hampton came next for his speech....

Took a trip down memory lane at the start. From the get go it was sounding like a retirement speech. He was not sounding happy. Feel kind of bad for him, but I guss he's had a long run. Mentions support from First Nations, that's good (not mentioned really by the other leaders). Mentions his female canadidates good too. Makes it sound like he'll be working hard in elections to come. Again I don't see how this will work. Mentions that there will be 5-6 recounts. Kind of anti-climatic finish just about how we need a minimum wage and he'll work with the other parties. Still surprised that he didn't resign, his speech kind of sounded it was going that way at the start. I think Hampton will go out more gracefully over the next couple weeks than Tory. I don't think he'll have to be hounded out.

Final results as of 1 AM:

Liberals: 71 seats (42%)
Conservatives: 26 seats (32%)
NDP: 10 seats (17%)

So all in all I'm pretty happy, the Liberals won huge, but I'd also note that I think the Green Party were a big winner tonight as they've proven that that 8% that everyone was saying was a parked vote actually held.

This has big implications for the federal election given that the provincial Green party has received much less press than the federal equivalent.

Anyways that's it for me tonight. I think I'll be off on provincial issues for awhile yet and I'll be talking more about federal politics as Parliament comes back next week. But I'll be back to it as the new Cabinet is announced the MPP's return to Queen's Park.

Good night!

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

2007 Ontario Election Predictions

So it's voting day. As promised, here are my predictions:

Seat breakdown:
Liberals: 62
Conservatives: 36
NDP: 9

Key ridings (at least for me):

Brant: Levac (Liberal) by 15%
Guelph: Sandals (Liberal) by 10%
Don Valley West: I'm sorry but it's way too close to call. Tory's been at it hard in the riding the past few days and he may get some sympathy votes from those hoping he doesn't leave politics which could close the gap in that riding. Either way it'll be close, but I'm really hoping Wynn pulls it out.

If you haven't voted already, GO OUT AND VOTE!

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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Grading the Leaders: Dalton McGuinty: A-

When you're riding this high in the polls, and you started out almost even with the opposition it's hard to say someone has run a bad campaign even if you don't agree with their tactics. You have to give credit where credit is due.

Of course I am biased but I think McGuinty ran a pretty good campaign that did what it needed to do to keep and enhance his lead.

First of all, he made Tory's biggest weakness the focus of the campaign and played it to his strength. It was a huge issue and it resonated with Ontarians and further cemented McGuinty's reputation as the education premier who would stand up for public education.

Second, he had a progressive agenda that took a lot of the issues Hampton was highlighting (such as poverty, dental care, senior care and so on) and provided realistic solutions for them within a fully costed platform. In fact it was the most fiscally conservative of the 3 main parties (which makes these last ditch tax hike accusations incredibly lame).

Third, he consistently gave a solid defense of the Liberal record and confronted all misinformation put out about it. He was up front about his broken promises, explained his decisions well and why we are all better for it. Big contrast with Tory's equivocations about where his "efficiencies" would come from.

Fourth, he made all the appropriate parallels between Tory and Harris without stretching or going over the top (e.g., he never said Tory wanted to pick on the poor or that he was a right-wing ideologue, etc....) and he consistently provided excellent contrasts between the Liberal record with the PC and NDP records. He excellently framed his party as defenders of the public interest and the Tories as defenders of private interests.

Finally (there are more, but I'll leave that to others) he managed the media incredibly well and much better than the other two leaders. There were no real gaffes or slip-ups, he never went too negative (left that to his surrogates as appropriate and as done in 2003) and it seemed he always got the media focused on what he wanted to talk about (something neither Tory nor Hampton managed to do very well).

However, McGuinty doesn't get an A+ for two reasons. First of all, while it was appropriate to put a lot of focus on religious schools given the monumental nature of what was being proposed I still think the Liberal campaign focused on it more than it needed to. Tory was already being barraged about it each day in the media so he was already doing himself in, McGuinty could have spent more days highlighting different aspects of the Liberal platform than he did and spent less time on the religious schools issue. He would have taken away the same supporters fleeing from Tory over the religious school's issue but also possibly won over others who wanted a more clearly mapped out vision of where the Liberals will take us over the next 4 years. Yes McGuinty mapped out of lots of good policies this campaign and a vision for the future, I'm just saying he should have put a bit more focus on that over talking about Tory's Achilles heel as often as he did.

Second, even though McGuinty is not near as guilty of this as John Tory, I still felt the Liberal campaign was too focused around him. He was in all the ads, pasted on the bus and was the centre of the campaign. Given that McGuinty has what many (even conservative) commentators have agreed to be one of the strongest teams behind him in recent memory I just don't see why there wasn't more focus in his ad campaign and on the campaign trail on the strength of his team as a whole. I don't see how it would have hurt to highlight the strong team McGuinty has versus the incredibly weak and hiding teams that Hampton and Tory had. McGuinty is a great guy and as the leader he's the face of the party so he's got to be the focus of course, I just think they could have added more focus on his team too.

Other than that though, McGuinty has dominated this campaign, controlled the agenda and has gotten results and I'm looking forward to 4 more years and I hope his next campaign in 2011 earns an A+.

So in summary of all 3 leaders, McGuinty definitely ran the best campaign and for those who care to differ take it up with the people of Ontario since it's clear he's earned more support in this campaign than the other two leaders. That said, while each leader had some unique flaws in their campaign, I fault all three of them for focusing their campaigns too much around their own personalities. Who would be in a Tory or Hampton cabinet if they had won? It seems neither wanted to showcase their team. Same for McGuinty though, which makes even less sense to me given the strength of his team.

But regardless of whether you wanted them to win, you always have to give the winner credit (even if you don't agree with their tactics), as it looks pretty damn likely we will see a McGuinty majority tomorrow.

I'll be back later tonight (or tomorrow morning) with my detailed predictions and then tomorrow night we can see just how psychic I really am.

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Grading the Leaders: John Tory: D

What to say about John Tory's campaign? Well at least he'll probably do better than the last major campaign he ran (wonder if Kim Campbell is laughing now though).

Anyways there were many problems with John Tory's campaign that's left him in his currently very weak position. I'll only focus on three in particular though. First obviously there was the religious schools issue. It's coming out more and more now that Tory had been told by many people and even focus groups that this idea was toxic and he ignored them all. Tory says a good leader has to listen, but it seems to be that Tory only "listens" when his back is completely against the wall and he has no other choice (unless he really did want to re-live 1993). So his plowing through on this issue and continually beating us over the head on how he was standing firm on principle and that somehow this was going to win us all over was just completely lacking in judgment and as some commentators put "political suicide". While his reversal stopped a mutiny from occurring it probably lost him a lot of supporters that actually thought he was a man of principle (and he has continued to confuse voters on the free vote issue ever since). Basically I can't fathom what other terrible ill-thought ideas Mr. Tory would have rammed through the legislature had he be given a majority. You can argue that this issue shouldn't have dominated the campaign, but Tory's stubbornness on it really highlighted just how unfit for the Premier's office he was. He had not even considered some of the most fundamental flaws with his plan such as what to do about the inevitable court challenges by scientologists and so on, how could he claim that he was going to treat the religious schools just like the Catholics and still let those schools charge tuition, how would he monitor these schools, what would happen when they started violating the curriculum, and on and on. It just give the impression that he doesn't give great thought to his most important policies which is the worst possible quality to have if you want to be the Premier who is tasked with handling education and health care in our province.

Now it wasn't just religious schools that brought Tory down (though that in itself was probably enough to keep him out of the Premier's office). He also made a mistake I think in wrapping his entire campaign around himself as I discussed earlier. Everyone was a "John Tory candidate" and his bus and commercials were all about John Tory and not the PC Party. Pamphlets passed out at these candidates' events said nothing about the candidates themselves, only Tory. It's like he was ashamed of his team and ashamed of his party. It also made it appear as if these candidates would just be complete puppets with no mind of their own. Tory even took the role of attack dog for himself, something that almost always goes to a surrogate. I'm really not sure what Tory thought he was accomplishing other than his naive belief that everyone knew who he was or would like him and I guess Tory thought no one would really care who his candidates actually were. Anyways the whole thing came off as massive arrogance and really raised questions as to just what kind of people was he running and why was he hiding them? As well it feeds the impression that his team is weak and thus he would have a incompetent cabinet to deal with if he actually won. And it doesn't make me want to vote for someone if they're not even well advertised by name, he could have at least given us the illusion that these people won't be puppets. People would like to know about who they are voting for, instead all they hear about is the PC leader (and of course much moreso about that other leader that the Tories were so sure everyone hated).

Besides the John Tory we did see was always complaining and talking about how awful everything in Ontario is, so if he was going to put himself front and centre he should have at least projected a positive image with a positive vision, but he did neither. I'm biased of course, but I didn't like the John Tory I saw on TV, he seemed bitter and angry all the time. So I suppose a voter could assume the "John Tory candidates" were bitter and angry just like him. Anyways the whole image centred nature of the campaign was just one big mistake from the get go.

Finally compounding the other two factors, was Tory's platform. If religious schools was never brought up the $1.5 Billion gap would have been a bigger issue. It just reeked of Harris/Eves slash and burn policies. It also really ate in to Tory's credibility each time he was unable to spell out how he could find such savings. It just made parallels with Harris appropriate again. Tory could have easily really bolstered his credibility and just flat out said "ok I'm going to cut here and here's why". I might not have agreed with him, but your regular John and Jane might have. Instead, he ended up sounding like Hampton that we could all have our cake and eat it too which was basically the whole mantra of the Common Sense Revolution that was proved completely false. Plain and simple something would have to be cut and Tory should have been up front. Nobody believed that he would just find "efficiencies" and no services would suffer.

All these things together just showed that Tory doesn't think through his policies, isn't straight with people and doesn't think much of his team. There's much more issues wrong with Tory's campaign (the complete focus on promises as if that's all that mattered, his horribly negative ads, his fear-mongering on crime that was out of touch with reality, etc....), but I can't go on forever (I do have a Master's program to keep up with) so I've highlighted 3 things that I think basically sunk his chances that's really enough justification for an F.

Ok so I'm being pretty negative, so I'll give Tory some credit. I did like to see that he visited a lot of poor communities in this campaign and some farming communities too that other parties didn't pay as much attention to. That was a good touch and I do get the sense that Tory cares about the impoverished in Ontario (though I still think the rest of his team would rather continue the Harris/Eves war on the poor).

Other than that though, Tory was way too negative all the time which should have been left to his surrogates and when you're on track to do even worse than Ernie Eve's it's really hard to give you anything much beyond a failing grade.

For the few nice touches he showed he avoids an F, but I can't say I'll miss John Tory in politics, he seems better suited elsewhere and I'm sure he'll still make a difference in a positive way as I think he's a good guy at heart.

And then there's McGuinty's campaign.....

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Campaign Overview: Grading the Leaders: Hampton: C+

So with the campaign coming to a close I thought I would steal Adam Radwanski's idea of grading the leader's (I'm sure it's been done long before Adam so I don't feel so bad) as a way of summing up how I feel about each of their campaigns.I'd like to hear others grades too.

Now many of you may disagree with my analysis, but I think we all have to admit that in giving out such grades for each leader's campaign you really do have to take into account the results, so for all you Tories out there, I don't see how you could justify Tory having run a better campaign when he's doing worse now than when he started.


Grading the Leaders: Howard Hampton: C+

Suffice it to say the NDP and Howard Hampton haven't had an easy time this time around (I guess they haven't since 1990 though). It's tough when the people know you'll never form the government to have your ideas taken seriously. But a good leader has to be able to deal with that. Hampton means well I'm sure but he just couldn't get the job done. He came up with his "six priorities" and I guess he thought that if he kept it simple people might actually listen to him, but you know aside from eliminating the health tax(while raising corporate and income taxes for the highest bracket), uploading services, and re-listing eye exams and physio, I don't remember what his other policies were. He kept talking about seniors in soiled diapers, but I don't remember hearing a fully costed plan on how to deal with that. Basically, he raised a lot of good issues, but he suffered from a real credibility problem in that he didn't have realistic solutions.

It seemed like he was just full of were pie in the sky promises with no fully costed platform to back it up. Basically, Hampton seemed to be telling us we could have the world and not suffer any consequences (unless you were rich I guess, then you get taxes raised). He also started out the campaign claiming he was going to form the government which no one really believed which took a further hit to his believability.

But then there were his actual ideas that just didn't stand up to scrutiny. This was nowhere more true than with energy: Hampton wanted to close our nuclear plants and coal power plants and then hope and pray we could replace it all with renewable energy. Pie in the sky thinking as I said. When people think you're full of BS on some matters they don't really want to hear what you have to say about the rest. Next time, the NDP should really come forth with a fully costed platform and actually test out their ideas on non-NDP supporters to see if they actually hold up to any kind of scrutiny. I won't hold my breath though.

Anyways I guess Hampton not being listen to or believed came to full a head last week, as he fell back on the old adage that when your campaign isn't going well just play the blame the media card. I don't think the media was completely wrong to focus on religious schools. It could after all be making one of the biggest change to our education system in decades. Of course I did agree with Hampton that it would have been good to hear more coverage on all the others issues that he mentioned. But Hampton, like Tory should have been able to see the forest from the trees earlier on religious schools and how important it would be. The Liberals saw it and were front and centre talking about it. Hampton instead kept talking about "smokescreens" while McGuinty was establishing himself as the only true defender of public education. Hampton could have taken a clear stand like McGuinty, but like Tory he just couldn't see how much this issue would matter to Ontarians (and maybe moreso the media) and didn't make enough of a splash on the issue. If he wanted to talk about other issues, he should have gotten in on this one to get the attention, and while he had it, took the opportunity to his advantage and brought up the other issues. He could have taken the lead to talk about other issues this way, and he didn't do it, so all the while he got ignored and fell behind in the race.

I do give Hampton some credit though for at least realizing that thata lot of this was John Tory's fault for bringing up this wrong-headed religious schools idea in the first place. It was good to see HoJo "take a break" for a short time, but Hampton should have left it at that, but instead completely melted down in front of the media. It was not exactly the way to make a comeback. He came off sounding desperate and demoralized and plunged his credibility down further. It was as close to officially throwing in the towel as you get.

He's rebounded a bit these past few days, showing just a bit more confidence, but nothing that would lure away many Liberal supporters. His latest claim that the Liberals would have to raise taxes is a bit rich from the party that had the most expensive platform of all (and relies on much rosier economic predictions than the Conservatives or Liberals). Again he really suffers from a credibility gap and I think that's partly what's done him in.

So in summary, I give Hampton some credit for raising some good issues and for in the final days finally criticizing Tory for the disaster he's been. He's also likely to at least also increase his party's share of the popular vote (and possibly seat count) over 2003, so results do have to be factored in there. But by and large he didn't get the job done as he failed to get much attention most of the campaign (something the leader of the NDP has to be adept at and something Layton does a better job of), put out ideas that didn't really stand up to scrutiny and he looks like he's failed to hold the Liberals to a minority which was his main task.

I feel for Hampton, I think he's probably in politics for the right reasons, he (by his own admission) just might not be the right guy for his job. I imagine a new leader will take the reins soon of the NDP and if I were an NDP supporter I would hope he/she learns from Hampton's mistakes.

Next up is John Tory...

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Monday, October 8, 2007

The Last Hoorah

Yes, I want four more years of Dalton McGuinty. Four more years of good government focusing on the things that actually matter to Ontarians, unlike what we've been hearing from the other guys.

Though I wonder who put up these anonymous signs in just the last 24 hours? Hmm? Gee? What's the one at the end in perfect alignment with the others?

And some of these weren't even really broken promises to begin with, but I guess they made a list at the start of the campaign and screw the facts they're sticking to it.

One last desperate attempt I suppose. I guess they think if their messaging hasn't worked by talking about it, somehow printing it and putting a signature card at the end will be less evasive but more effective.

I guess last week's distasteful and deceptive mail out wasn't enough. At least they took credit for putting that one out. Though I must say at least a name is on the sign, up till this point I just thought the PC candidate's name was "my John Tory candidate". Oh well won't matter.

See you at the victory party.

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Saturday, October 6, 2007

Tory's nonsense on crime finally called out

This Globe article was good to see. Perhaps the most completely dishonest part of John Tory's campaign are his rants on crime. He would have us believe that it's gang warfare everywhere and no one feels they can safely go outside anymore (so that we need him as our protector to restore society from anarchy). He's totally wrong on many counts on this one and it's good to see he's been finally called out.


Defence, prosecution alike reject PC attack on bail system

KIRK MAKIN From Saturday's Globe and Mail October 6, 2007 at 9:19 AM EDT

A campaign assault on the bail system by Ontario Conservative Leader John Tory has accomplished the rare feat of uniting both the prosecution and defence bar against his claims. Even hard-line police advocates are having trouble defending Mr. Tory's claims as well as the targets he has identified in a series of recent commercials and speeches.
Basically, it's made clear that most of what Tory complains about ("catch and release") is a federal matter and also that's he's completely wrong that Ontario has a soft record on bail. Of course he cites the 7 out of 10 figure but that's for one year and one year does not make some big long pattern. The actual pattern is of crime going DOWN, but of course he's never once made mention of that, he'd rather we cower in our homes, except perhaps to go out to vote Conservative on October 10th so Big Brave Mr. Tory can save us from all the ills of the McGuinty justice system.

What's so interesting of Tory trying to pin crime on McGuinty aside from the points mentioned above is that he's blaming a small number of judges' decisions on bail and one or two plea deals made by Crown prosecutors on the Premier and is not able to point to a single policy/decision that the McGuinty government has put forth that would has actually aggravated the crime problem. The reality is we actually have more police on the streets and Crown Prosecutors are actually taking a tougher stance on crime and bail. So if it's a McGuinty "catch and release" system now there was an even greater Harris/Eves "catch and release" system before but the reality is that a lot of the crime issue can only be dealt with at the federal level or within the justice system itself (which if Tory doesn't remember is supposed to be independent of government). If there are actually any Ontario government policies that made the crime problem worse it would have to be the Harris/Eves war on the poor from 1995-2003 but somehow I don't think Mr. Tory will be talking about that before Election Day.

But let's remember that Ontario is in general one of the safest jurisdictions and the city of Toronto one of the safest cities in the world. I lived in Toronto for 5 years and never ONCE felt unsafe when alone at any hour of the night, but Tory would have us believe it exactly the opposite. Meanwhile he talks about how Brantford has a higher crime rate than Toronto and both are pretty low by any comparative standard.

Being a B-dot (Btfd) home-girl I don't think anyone there really thinks there's a crime problem. Crime is an issue yes, but it is everywhere and don't dramatize it so that it's like we are living in a war zone now it just insults our intelligence. Tory is making Brantford's reputation awful, bringing it up like 5 times in a televised debate. We don't need that! We just got over being known for the worst downtown in Canada! Worrying about this supposed crime rate will be more problematic than any actual crime. Does he want us to be fearful for stepping outside? Give me a break John, cuz when I want to go to Telly's convenience past dark to rent a video, you won't be there holding my hand and nor will I have a provincially paid cop as my personal bodyguard. I'll still go on my own and "risk it".

Anyways...a very close friend of mine currently lives in a U.S. city of 70,000 (Champaign-Urbana, IL) and he's been told not to go outside past 11 PM nor visit certain parts of the city because he could easily get held up at gun point or even shot. It gives me some real perspective on how lucky we are and makes me really puzzled how Mr. Tory opposes a hand-gun ban (which no matter which way you look at it reduces supply) while saying he's tough on crime.

So stop your fearmongering Mr. Tory almost NO ONE who actually deals with crime believes what you are saying so if you really want to be known as someone who is "straight with the people" (like he claimed in his closing statement at the debate) then stop deceiving the people of Ontario. Of course deception is a pattern of Mr. Tory's (religious schools comes to mind) that will continue and probably get worse till Election Day. Maybe he can come forward with some sensible things to say about the topic once this is all over. But that will probably be in his provincial retirement, cuz I think someone very shortly, if not already, has their eyes on his job.

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Friday, October 5, 2007

McGuinty the college boy

Today, I was in Kitchener at a rally for McGuinty and it's great to see that he can still shock and awe the public (especially the press which I was standing beside) as he was acting just like a Waterloo student and chugging an entire pint of German beer to help kick off Oktoberfest. Good to see he can still have fun. If only I was at the next rally to see the effects of this and then I might have a more interesting post....

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Thursday, October 4, 2007

Tory's bluster on doctors

So it's back to blogging on the Provincial front.

First of all, I'd like to talk about John Tory's day today which was spent talking about his plan to bring more doctors to the Province and how McGuinty has supposedly failed in this regard. Though it seems to me that Tory's plan involves things McGuinty has already done such as increase space in med schools (done) and set up a program to bring back doctors from the US (done). The only thing new is that Tory says he'll go to the U.S. himself and he "won't come back empty handed", as if he's such a master persuader than just seeing John Tory on your doorstep south of the border will be enough to pack your bags and return home. I guess he also promised "cold hard cash" to bring doctors back, but is it just me or is that sending a message to today's med students "go to the U.S. now and I'll give you a raise to come back". Thankfully it seems Tory won't have such power.

Tory also mentioned that 1 million families still don't have a family doctor and that's the same as 4 years ago. Of course he's just fooling with numbers, as that statement only means something if the province's population has not changed over the past years. In fact, the province has more people now, so the percentage of people with family doctors HAS gone up and in fact that half a million more families now have a family doctor compared to before. I myself am someone who found a family doctor in the past four years, but Mr. Tory doesn't want to talk to people like me of course who have positive stories to tell about where our province has been going.

I especially liked this line from the article:

Mr. Tory acknowledged that he could not fix the problem overnight if he becomes premier; the ideal solution is to create more spaces in medical schools to train doctors but that takes time.

Ok Mr. Tory remind me again why you are complaining about McGuinty and how you think it's his fault not all Ontarians have a family doctor. Didn't he increase med school spaces and doesn't that take time? Oh well John Tory is not the best with consistency these days.

Now don't get me wrong this is a real issue and more Ontarians definitely need a family doctor, but John Tory has basically admitted that McGuinty has taken the right steps and that it will take time to solve the problem. So I'm not sure this topic is that best thing for Tory to be talking about less than a week before the election since it's something McGuinty has done a decent job on.

And according to Kinsella Tory may be breaking election laws too? Well it just keeps getting better doesn't it? Still we'll see if the media picks up on that one.

It was another great day for Mr. Principle on his road to victory....

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Wednesday, October 3, 2007


I know I’ve missed on the big goings-on in Canadian and Ontario politics (“Mr. Principle” throwing his to the wind and so on) over the past few days, but I had to really hit the books sometime.

Anyways it’s nice to see that finally SOMEONE in the media has called attention to the comparison between Dion and Chretien's situation that I have made making mention of for awhile now

Dion may be Down but Not Out

Juliet O'Neill , CanWest

Published: Sunday, September 30, 2007

There is no need to push the panic or eject buttons on Liberal Leader Stephane Dion, say two men who worked closely with former prime minister Jean Chretien during his difficult, if largely forgotten, time as Opposition leader in the early 1990s.
Peter Donolo and Eddie Goldenberg note that Chretien's decade in power was preceded by such a rough ride as Opposition leader that he lost his confidence.
He made some big gaffes. He was laughed at and criticized, second-guessed by colleagues and vilified in his home province of Quebec. Like Dion, his party lost a Montreal byelection in a riding that had been held by Liberals for more than 70 years.
Saddled with a divided and debt-ridden party, wounded by accusations he had sold out Quebec, it took Chretien more than a year to get his bearings after his 1990 Liberal leadership victory. Basically, Chrétien had similar troubles and that people need some perspective and give Dion the chance to succeed like Chrétien did and get behind the leader unless we’ve decided we like being in opposition.

On that note, I was glad to hear Chretien's surgery was a success, I hope he gets well soon.

In other news, today’s Decima poll further validates what I’ve been saying, all those Liberals panicking in Quebec need to calm down and pull together for the sake of the party. Despite all the bad news, we are at the same place in the polls as we were when the summer began and the Conservatives are still in WORSE shape than they were on the last Election Day. Of course we'll need to see more polls, but at least with this one it seems that while things aren’t great in Quebec, we are in solid shape in the rest of the country.

We’ll see how Dion’s latest moves play out though. I remain confident that we will win the next election and the latest poll shows we are still on sound footing to do so.

I’m also glad to see that things continue to go well on the Provincial front with the latest polls having us up 10 points, but I’ll talk more about Ontario election in my next posts….

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