Monday, March 24, 2008

Some takes on Recent News

---Conservative Priorities: Party Hard! Human Rights…leave it for the morning after...if there's time.


FYI: There is a rally on Parliament Hill this Saturday March 29 from 2-5 to encourage the release of Brenda Martin, who is being held in Mexico without charges.

----Being “disappointed” and “urging” for a judgment to be overturned is very weak language compared to “death by beading”, which is the sentence given to a Canadian in Saudi Arabia. Harper said his Conservative government would fight for Canadians’ lives who would be facing the death penalty from states which aren’t democratic or open. Well here is another opportunity for them to stand up for (Canadian) human rights. Let’s not let them forget about it.

----Don’t we have a right to know? Not disclosing this info could potentially be putting people in harm, including myself.

----Get to know some of the new MPPs

---I think this was a story with an unfortunate result. The police should not have shot the cow. Yes it’s a cow, but they shot it because they got impatient with it. The animal was loose due to human error, not cow error. It was scared and didn’t know better – and if you were in its hoofs you would be running around too. If that was a criminal on the run, that would never have happened, and if it did, there would be public outcry.

---You can bet this will be a case that will be used by those who think that signing an organ donor’s card will encourage their ‘early’ death.
Glad to see; however, that this is a story with a happy ending for this family, which is what any family in this situation would want.


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Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Chase for Change Week in Review: Scandals, Speeches and Endorsements

So I had said the Chase for Change series would go on a hiatus until the next primary, unless there were any major developments, well I’d have to say the events of this week were pretty big. When I last wrote about this race the Clinton campaign was still reeling from Ferraro’s offensive comments and she had just resigned. I said she was probably desperately hoping for something to knock Obama off stride. Well at the least to begin the week she got her wish.

So I don’t think there’s any question that Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s comments are extremely offensive and deserved to be condemned in every way. He should certainly have no place in Obama’s campaign going forward. Certainly now Obama will face questions for some time about what he heard while sitting in Wright’s church for the past 20 years and why he never left. If it turns out to be shown that Obama was not truthful when he said he never heard the words directly out of Wright’s mouth that were the source of this controversy then he may be in deeper trouble (arguably it could sink his candidacy), but until proven otherwise I think harshly condemning and denouncing Wright’s words and ensuring he has no future role in the campaign were about as much as Obama could have done.

Honestly though while these are legitimate questions to ask Obama (though what matters far far more is what Obama has said he would do as President) why does no one ask McCain? I understand McCain has said he is proud to have had (or in the case of those still alive, still have) the support and endorsements from several crazy and bigoted preachers like Jerry Falwell (who said America deserved 9/11 for being too tolerant of “abortionists, feminists and gays”) and Rod Parsley (who has called for a war of Christians against Muslims and called Islam a “false religion”). McCain should be denouncing them as well, not embracing them. The media seems to be dropping the ball on this by focusing only on Obama if they want to make this an issue.

Though of course that was at the start of the week. Then there is the matter of Obama’s speech on race that can now be found be on probably thousands of blogs by now (so I don’t think you need me to post it too). Now as someone who has not endorsed Obama over Hillary or vice-versa, If found it pretty impressive. I think the major points about it have now already been made on so many other blogs: that it was amazing to finally see a major politician not give a safe speech but one that tackled the issue of race relations and racism head on and how it can’t be ignored going forward. Is it up there with the greats? I think I’ll leave that for others to judge, but it certainly was a strong departure from politics as usual and I think we need to see more of that in politics these days. While some people have deplored the speech (and even said they might now back McCain despite him being more Conservative than any Premier or Prime Minister we’ve had in Canada in decades and pretty much a direct continuation of George Bush foreign policy), for me it added to my respect of Obama, as I think it has for most of the U.S. and Canadian media. I think one thing is almost certain, if Obama does lose the nomination he will end up on the ticket, I think it’s clear he’s earned that.

However, I completely agree with Radwanski that it’s extremely unfortunate that in today’s 24/7 news cycle such a monumental speech can get so easily buried and replaced by talk once again of polls and momentum and “was it enough?” Yes Hillary has gained ground in the polls this week, but it’s sad that the media couldn’t just appreciate the speech on it’s own as an important event from the campaign and had to go right back, seemingly within less than 24 hours, to the same horse race lexicon. Well that’s political media coverage for you these days. Maybe some day it will change, but I won’t hold my breath.

So a major scandal, a major speech, you’d think that would be enough for a week, but I guess I picked the wrong week for a hiatus. So just yesterday, New Mexico Governor and former Democratic candidate Bill Richardson endorses Obama. I don’t think people can underestimate the importance of this.

Richardson had arguably the longest CV in this race among the Democratic candidates and has great depth in foreign policy and executive experience so for Richardson to endorse Obama really helps to take the sting out the “he’s not experienced” critique against him. As well, Richardson was Bill Clinton’s energy secretary so if anything the smart money would have been on him endorsing Hillary Clinton, so the fact that he’s gone to Obama must really bother the Hillary campaign.

That said, despite what others are saying, Hillary Clinton is not out of the race because you know the saying “a week is a lifetime in politics” and this week showed that Obama could be knocked off course and in the end whether anyone likes it or not it’s almost assured that super-delegates will decide this race.

I personally think it would be insane for them to go against Obama if he has a clear lead in pledged delegates (BEYOND what Hillary would have won in Michigan and Florida which is a separate messy issue) AND popular vote, but Hillary can still win the popular vote if she pulls out big victories from this point on and I’ve seen at least one poll (likely an outlier but still) showing her with a 25 point plus lead in Pennsylvania, if she actually got close to that result that would be a massive blow to Obama going towards Denver. IF (still a big if) Hillary ends up winning the popular vote I think that would carry tremendous momentum and might actually make her the favourite. As well, if there is something else big happens to bring Obama off side in this campaign then the super-delegates might just argue that he’s unelectable and had the earlier states known more, Hillary would have done better. A dubious argument for them to make perhaps (and one they might live to regret), but not one that is not out of the question.

Personally I still say Obama is the favourite, but never count out the Clintons and Pennsylvania will still matter so the next month of the campaign will be crucial. We’ll see if this time the hiatus in the Chase for Change series holds or if big news strikes again in the coming weeks before the next primary.

In the meantime I am looking forward to seeing 3 new Liberal members in the House of Commons.


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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tag: So what am "I" going to be doing for the Liberal party, you ask?

Another “meme” making its way around the blogosphere is “What are you going to do for your political party”. I didn’t think I had to address this, people should realize that I would do what I could, and even more if it was asked or needed of me. But I’ve been tagged and I don’t want to be disrespectful to my tagger (Quito Maggi) or be the odd one out, leaving people to wonder “what’s up with her?!” I do, after all, want to be kept in the good books of the coolness of what is the blogosphere.

So the Liberal party might not give me any money, but the pay is the enjoyment of serving my province and country, and the Liberal party membership. As a master’s student without wheels, I feel very proud of what I am able to do, and guilty that I am not able to do more and be everywhere. I make the odd trips to the ridings that I have ties to so I continue to show my support and dedication to: Hamilton, Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo. And I am almost always in the ridings of Brant and Guelph. And I am always doing what I can to bring new faces to the party and help build up the party for the future.

So what tangible things am I going to do? I guess that’s what the meme called for, well I’m going to keep doing what I am doing, and do it well.

1) The Women’s Issues Committee and Mentorship program. This is a great new program started last summer that I currently co-chair as the Ontario Women’s Liberal Commission VP Young Women (a position I’ve held since November). The Women’s Issues Committee is open to male and female young Liberals and will make youth aware of the barriers for females in politics, and hopefully diminish them by education and action through community involvement and policy development always working towards a Canada where gender equality can become a reality and women’s issues get heard loud and clear.

The mentorship program takes established women or senior Ontario Young Liberals who have established ties to the Liberal party and pairs them with new youth members to form bonds, discuss the barriers facing women in politics, diminish any fears of the youth, and expose the youth to networking events, and hopefully have this be a stepping ground for these youth to become more involved in the Liberal party etc… Over 50 women have so far agreed to be mentors for this great program. If you are a prominent female in the party (e.g., provincial or federal candidate, riding association President, Liberal commission executive board member, etc…) and are interested in being a mentor please contact me (danielle.takacs@utoronto.ca). If you are a female young Liberal and would like to have a mentor, please see the Facebook group “Ontario Young Women’s Liberal Association” for more info on how to apply (as well as find more info on the Women’s Issues Committee and other initiatives I am involved in as the OWLC VP Young Women).

2) The Brant Young Liberals which I founded. They’ve had a great first year. The biggest contingent at Summer Fling, North Bay, as well as being the authors of one of the official policies of the OYL for 2007-2008. We helped contribute to Brant winning riding of the year in Southwest region at the LPC(O) AGM. I might add as well that I have been in discussion with members of the LPC(O) Southwest region policy committee to bring the Brant Young Liberals policy to the next biennial. Unfortunately the BYL is at crossroads now, as many people leave Brant for university. We need some new members (14-25 years of age). This is a great opportunity for youth to get involved in their community, organize events, meet politicians, get some policy experience and partake in some really good and fun opportunities like Ontario Model Parliament. If you’re a Brantfordian and interested, please contact me!

3) Working hard to make sure Lloyd St. Amand returns to parliament as he rightly deserves it (and hopefully gets a cabinet position as he would be a dedicated and honourable minister) and helping to send Tyler Banham to Ottawa.

4) Attend as many Liberal events & fundraisers as is possible and manageable for me. They’re fun, and the money goes to some good causes.

5) Blogging? I hope that my words help encourage political discourse and create some good ‘food for thought’.


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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Morning After St. Patrick's Day: By-Election Thoughts

So as I said last night, I still think it was a good night. One thing is for sure the mood in the Liberal party and on Liberal blogs on March 18 is nothing like we saw on September 18 of last year.

So here are the results and how they compare to to last time out (my thoughts below):

Toronto Centre
Liberal - 59.2% (+7.0%), NDP - 13.8% (-9.9%), Green - 13.6% (+8.4%), Cons - 12.5% (-5.7%)

Willowdale
Liberal - 59.4% (+4.2%), Cons - 30.1%(+0.7%), Green - 5.8% (+1.7%), NDP - 4.8% (-6.6%)

Desneth√©—Missinippi—Churchill River
Cons - 47.8% (+6.7%) , Liberal - 31.4% (-10.3%), NDP - 17.6% (+2.3% - Jack Layton's silver lining!), Green - 3.2% (+2.6%)

Vancouver Quadra
Liberal - 36.1% (-12.7%), Cons - 35.5% (+6.5%), NDP - 14.4% (-1.7%), Green Party - 13.5% (+8.4%)

So first of all you can see the Liberals are in great shape in Ontario and I think are poised to pick up seats there. Martha and Bob will also make excellent additiosn to the House. As well, these results show that Rae and Martha Hall Findlay will be able to travel the country promoting the Liberal team and the Liberal brand during an election campaign. It will be an excellent counter to Stephen Harper's complete absence of a team.

You can also see here that Jim Flaherty's war on Ontario and Harper's neglect of Toronto has not paid off whatsoever. The Conservatives need to be picking up seats or at least be dramatically increasing their vote in places like Toronto and they did not. Jim Flaherty sounded so optimistic the morning of the elections, let's see what he says now. They can't spin this as just being due to star candidates as they've disparaged them so much, especially Bob Rae, saying he'd be remembered for his time as Premier and voters would punish him accordingly. Nice spin guys, let's see what you try next.

And then there's the NDP competing with Greens for 2nd or 3rd place in ridings where the NDP is supposed to play well. You can see the NDP vote collapse above.

How will Jack spin this?

Will he now finally realize his strategy of attacking the Liberals 90% of the time and giving the odd token criticism to the Government is failing miserably (if you doubt that's what they were doing, check out BC'ers post on the flyers they used in Toronto Centre, payed off handsomely didn't it?).

Will Jack now realize that, at least in Ontario, his nearest rival is not the Liberals but the Greens? If March 18 is a reversal of how Liberals felt on September 18, the same can surely be said for the NDP. I'm just waiting for the spin on this one...

So Ontario is a clear victory for the Liberals, a great showing the Greens and poor showings for the Cons and Dippers.

Saskatchewan though not so much, I was sad to see Joan Beatty lose. It can't be called anything other than a loss, but some perspective is needed. This was not a Liberal stronghold and the Liberals lost the riding by 8% in 2004 and still won the election so it's not a bellweather riding either.

That said, the Liberals also have to learn lessons from losses. First of all, we need to make sure we have better GOTV efforts in Sask. next time. As well, I think everyone now can agree that if an appointment is going to take place it should be well known in advance. I don't think Orchard and Co. handled this situation well though and if it comes to be shown all of his supporters sat on their hands I don't think that will exactly endear him to the party. We'll see though, but I think Dion knows how to handle appointments in the future and will use them appropriately. As Cherniak noted, Martha Hall Findlay was appointed and won huge, so I don't think appointments are wrong (especially to meet Dion's noble targets of having more female candidates), but they have to be done right and I'm sure they will be from now on.

And I have to say I am pleased that the 4 seats vacated by men are now being filled by two women. It's a long way to go to gender equality but Dion is helping us get there.

And then there's Vancouver Quadra. Some perspective needed as well. Multiple term incumbents almost always do better than the candidates that replace them, so it was not reasonable to expect Joyce Murray to pull out the same kind of victory. I'm sure she will impress in the House of Commons and win by a large margin next time. Still it was closer than I would have expected. But a win is a win but some lessons are still called for. First of all, Liberals lost a lot of votes to the Greens. Perhaps Elizabeth May ironically will help us win them back in teh general camapaiang, but we can't be complacent there in earning back those Green votes across the country.

I also agree with what Calgary Grit said that the Liberals are in excellent shape in Ontario, but may need to focus more efforts out West. We won so that's good, but we can't take our ridings in BC for granted next time and need to make sure we pull out the vote (after all turnout was abysmal). I know we will and I think while Stephen Harper wages a one man show next campaign, the Liberal team will be touring the country building support. We'll have them in BC, in Quebec and in Saskatchewan promoting Stephane Dion and the Red Book, while Harper will just coast from one city to the next, hoping his fear factory and scripts from Sandra Buckler to his local candidates can do the rest of the work.

I think the Liberals have the winning strategy here and I look foward to the next campaign.


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Monday, March 17, 2008

St. Patty's Day By-Elections: Are Liberals Feeling Lucky?

9:45 PM: Feeling sick (not due to any St. Patty's Day beverages mind you) doesn't make for great help in GOTV efforts, but it doesn't stop me from providing blogging entertaintment as the results come in to all those watching (and surfing) at home.

I'm quite confident things will go well in Toronto tonight, but am hoping for a clean sweep across the country tonight.

In 15 minutes I'll know if I'm gonna start feeling better or worse.

10:03 PM: Here we go...

MHF killing the competition: 65% with 57 votes in! Seriously though, if she gets above 50% at the end of the night that would be a HUGE victory.

Bob Rae leading in similar fashion, but things not looking good in Sask., but it's early yet (only 5% of votes in).

Nothing out of Quadra yet...

10:12 PM: Interesting to see the Green's in SECOND(15.7%) in Toronto Centre right now and the NDP in FOURTH (11.1%). It's looking to be a great night for Jack Layton!

10:13 PM: Still an 18% gap for the Liberals to close in Sask (though only 6% in). Still no Quadra, but safe to say MHF and Bob Rae are going to Ottawa.

10:26 PM: Toronto Centre has been called for Rae, as he flirts with 60% it's a 3 way battle for second. Willowdale called for Martha Hall Findlay, as she's staying near 60% too.

10:31 PM: Quadra shows up, Liberals up by 3%, but with only 0.1% in that's meaningless. The gap has narrowed from a Conservative lead of 20% to 11.7 % in Saskatchewan.

10:38 PM: 10.7% gap now in Sask. with 13% in. Still a ways to go, but it's not looking good there. Quadra is close, but still less than 1% in. No matter what, the Liberals still have great victories in Toronto and it's clear the NDP will be having the worst night of all the parties. It is important for the Liberals to pull out a win in Quadra though.

10:46 PM: Now only 6.6% in Saskatchewan. Now scatch that now just as I'm about to post it's 8.5% now. Ok so there was a moment there.

10:50 PM: Ok so now the Conservative lead is now 13.1%. How their percentage lead doubled in a minute I don't know, but that's it there I'd say, just hope the final tally is closer. Quadra remains extremely close.

11:27 PM: Liberals up by 5% now in Quadra, Conservatives still holding a huge lead in Saskatchewan.

11:46 PM: For those curious here are the numbers for these ridings from 2006 courtesy of Wiki. One really interesting thing to note is that while Quadra is close, the Conservative vote has barely improved at all, rather the Liberals have shed about 10% to the Greens! Great night for the Green party for sure and something for Liberals to think about.

Still it's clear the NDP ought to be a lot more worried about them. So here are the 2006 numbers for comparison purposes.


Toronto Centre

Party Candidate Votes % %Diff from 2004
Liberal Bill Graham 30,874 52.2% -4.30%
NDP Michael Shapcott 14,036 23.7% -0.01%
Cons Lewis Reford 10,763 18.21% +3.42%
Green Chris Tindal 3,080 5.21% +1.30%


Willowdale

Party Candidate Votes % %Diff from 2004

Liberal Jim Peterson 30,713 55.23 -9.15
Cons Jovan Boseovski 16,247 29.31 +6.21
NDP Rochelle Carnegie 6,334 11.35 +1.78
Green Sharolyn Vettese 2,271 4.09 +0.43

Desneth√©—Missinippi—Churchill River

Party Candidate Votes % %Diff from 2004

Liberal Gary Merasty 10,191 41.37% +11.49
Cons. Jeremy Harrison 10,124 41.09% +3.68
NDP Anita Jackson 3,787 15.37% -4.71
Green John McDonald 534 2.16% -0.60


Vancouver Quadra

Party Candidate Votes % %Diff from 2004

Liberal Stephen Owen 28,285 48.84% -3.59
Cons. Stephen Rogers 16,844 29.09% +2.78
NDP David Askew 9,321 16.1% +1.11
Green Ben West 2,979 5.14% -0.46

12:30 AM: They've all been called now. The Liberals take 3 of 4. A good night, but not a great night I'd say. A great night for the Greens, a good night for the conservatives (the Toronto results really ought to give them pause about how well Flaherty's war on Ontario is going) and a terrible night for the NDP.


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Thursday, March 13, 2008

My quirks, and I challenge Kinsella (Ok So He Sensed 2.5 Weeks Ago I would Challenge Him)

So I was challenged by Scott Tribe to list six of my quirks/habits etc. I had some difficulty identifying any - I'm probably pretty boring. But below you'll find what I could find.

And I'd like to challenge Warren Kinsella to do the same, as we in the blosphere are passing this around (we'll see if he's up for the challenge!).

1) I like eating popcorn in a bowl of Coke

2) I’m fascinated with the Titanic. I want to re-create the Grand Stair case in my ‘dream home’

3) I don’t drink coffee but I like the smell of it

4) I’m very particular about the types of green vegetables and seafood that I eat. For the record, the more colourful the vegetables are, the more I like them (as long as they're not green, but lettuce is fine) and I only eat "meaty" white fish and salmon.

5) I have quite a long full name: Danielle Norma Berniece Mary Angelina Takacs. I believe my parents didn't want to hurt any of my family's feelings

6) I once almost choked to death. Cheeseburger + Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper was not a good combination for me

UPDATE: shucks...seems like Kinsella was ahead of most of us on this...but on that note I too am a HUGE Trekkie! TNG rules! I have some action figures still in their original box just to stare at, as they are not toys. At one point in my life I also wanted my wedding dinnerware set to be the Enterprise's fine china that they serve dinner on to their galactic Ambassadors. And as a further testament of my Titanic love, I have the complete re-created dinner sets of all three classes on the Titanic. Cost me a pretty penny but I love it.

And I too do not fear death, but I fear how I will die.

Ok so that was a bit of a tangent there but those are just some more interesting facts about me you have all learned now.

Has CalgaryGrit done this yet, if not...he's it.


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The Chase for Change 2008: Wyoming (D) and Mississippi Edition: Things Looking a Little Better for Obama

It's been busy times, but I haven't missed covering a single primary yet so the last two will be no exception.

So after losing Ohio and the popular vote in Texas I had predicted Obama would win the next couple races and yes he did, winning 61% to 37% in Miss. and 61% to 38% in Wyoming. He also got bolstered by the news that he won the Texas caucuses and will actually win more delegates in Texas than Clinton has. So from a delegates perspective Obama has now won 15 out of the last 16 races. So this takes a bit of the sting out of the argument from the Clinton campaign that voters are now having "buyer's remorse" with Obama.

I can now say that even if Michigan and Florida do a do-over Obama should go into the convention with the pledged delegate lead. As well, the Clinton campaign was rocked by ridiculous and offensive comments made by Geraldine Ferraro. She has an important place in history and was a trailblazer as the first female VP nominee, but she was completely out of line in what she said. It would be offensive for people to say Hillary is where she is just because she is a woman and it's offensive for Ferraro to imply that Obama is just where he is because he is black. When people chant "Yes We Can" and "We Want Change" you'd think she could clue in that it's Obama's message of hope and change that has brought him to the top and not much else. Remember Obama rose to stardom off an amazing speech at the Democratic Convention in 2004 and it's been his message of hope and his ability to inspire and bring a whole new generation back into politics that's kept him in the news ever since and more recently brought him to the top of the polls. So Clinton was right to ask Ferraro to resign. If anyone in the Obama campaign says Clinton is where she is because she's a woman they ought to resign as well because these comments have no place in politics.

But she's resigned now and I bet Clinton is now hoping everyone starts to focus on the next primary in Pennsylvania. It will be a long month for both campaigns I'm sure and I imagine they are both just hoping for so major gaffe to change the outlook of this race, but right now I can bet Clinton wins Pennsylvania like she did in Ohio and that will be enough to convince her to stay until convention especially if Michigan and Florida get a re-vote because I imagine she will win there too. Still it's diificult for her to catch up to Obama in pledged delegates (but she may overtake him in overall delegates before the convention). But the framework of the race could change over the next month.

And oh yeah the Republican race....For those who believe it is extremely detrimnental to have the Republican race wrapped up so long before the Democratic one, I do think there may be somewhat of a siliver lining here. After all who paid attention to McCain's victory in Miss.? Who's getting more attention now by the media Hillary/Obama or McCain? Yes Hillary and Obama are still fighting each other rather than the real enemy for a few months longer but as a consolation it is keeping the focus squarely on the Democratic candidates so that whoever wins will have actually gotten more coverage over these past few months than McCain will have. All the while the Democratic candidates both know which Republican to attack and McCain has to focus his sights on both of them.

Anyways I hope something BIG happens in the next month or so in this race between now and Pennsylvania or the Chase for Change Series may have to take a little hiatus. Don't let me down guys!

So I imagine it will be back to solely focusing on Canadian politics again for the next while. So this blog will go back to its Roots!


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Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Chase for Change 2008: TX, OH, VT, RI Edition: Why's It's Anyone's Game Again for the Democratic Nomination

So this past Tuesday has another big night. For the Republicans, no big surprises, I predicted McCain would wrap things up on March 4th and he did. For the Democrats though it's a whole new ball game again. Watching the CNN coverage you could tell the Clinton campaign played their cards right over the past two weeks. Remember after Obama's 11th straight victory so many people were saying that she had to win HUGE in Ohio AND Texas in order to stay in the race. So she won Ohio by 10% (not huge compared to Obama's recent margins) and Texas by 4% (though she's on pace to lose the caucuses there) and won big in Rhode Island, but it's clear from all the coverage that's all she needed to get right back in this race. So how did she pull it off? Well some people think it was the negative ads about how Obama can't answer calls at 3 AM, but I'd like to think not since those ads really looked like something the Republicans could have put out.

I hope Hillary Clinton learns that it's not wise to try and make the general election about national security, because while she thinks it may help her win against Obama, it won't against McCain. The Democrats shouldn't want an election on national security for the same reason Liberals in Canada don't want an election on crime, it's just an issue that the public as a whole tends to be less rational and more emotional about (even more so in the U.S. than in Canada) and in turn that favours Conservatives on those issues.

But Hillary's 3 AM ads play into the notion that national security is what this election is about, she even says "John McCain is going to make this election about national security", why in the world should the Democrats let him? Shouldn't they do everything they can to focus on the other issues plaguing America at home and abroad? Because everything else aside from national security (and maybe crime) are the Democrat's strong suit. I hope Hillary changes tack because it's not worth winning the nomination if you've boxed yourself in for the general but running on an issue you won't win against McCain on.

Though to get back to answering the question of why she dominated Ohio, I think the extreme downplaying of expecations combined with the gift wrapped NAFTA leak about Obama played a big role. Liberals here in Canada are right to continue asking Harper questions about the leak because it had an undeniable impact and the source may yet lie in Harper's entourage. Obama was dead even or leading in Ohio and Texas until that story broke that Obama wouldn't really do much to re-negotiate NAFTA as it played right into Hillary's desired narrative that Obama isn't as genuine as he claims. So with that gift Hillary attacked Obama's biggest strength (which given the enormity of the revelation was the smart thing for her to do) and pulled out a big win as a result. Truthfully I don't think either Obama or Hillary would do much to re-negotiate NAFTA (it would probably be similar to the few concessions Chretien obtained when he came into office and I don't think many remember what those were, but he did put up a fuss after he became PM about not ratifying until concessions were made) but now only Hillary can credibly claim she would.

So where do things go from here? I'll make one prediction now: This will go to the convention and it will not be pretty. Why? Because Obama has an almost unssailable lead in pledged delegates, yet Hillary just won some big states that have earned her the right to stay in until Pennsylvania votes on April 22nd and she'll probably win there too, so she will maintain enough momentum to stay in and will have more tail end victories in the big states to claim people are having buyer's remorse over Obama and that will justify her remaining. So the superdelegates will have the last say.

As well, there remains the unresolved issue of Michigan and Florida's delegates. It is quite plausible that Obama's pledged delegate lead will not exceed what Hillary would have gotten if Michigan and Florida counted. This would allow to Hillary to say that she would really be ahead if voters in those two states weren't disenfranchised and she'll use that argument to woo superdelegates. So foreseeing this in sight Obama and Hillary may yet agree to a do over in those states, but that also benefits Hillary because she will win those races comfortably (running as the one who stood up for their votes all along) and this time there would be no dispute over their status and Obama would have to accept them. So Hillary could still win this race yet, I'm not placing any bets yet.

Obama should win the next primary in Mississipi next Tuesday so that should help him a bit, but the calendar ahead points to enough victories on both sides that this thing won't end without a big fight unless something dramatic happens that leads one of the campaigns to self-destruct between Missisippi and Pennsylvania (as we go over a month with no primaries scheduled in the interim). Unfortunately, McCain will be laughing all the way, but I see no other way of how this could end, I just hope Democrats and all progressives can all come together behind their nominee when it finally does because America and the world cannot afford another 4 years of more of the same failed Republican policies.


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Monday, March 3, 2008

Thanks to Laura Thompson & Ryan Pfeiffer, of the Guelph Mercury

If you know me, then you know that I tend not to use my blog for shameless self promotion - not that there's anything wrong with people taking note of one's accomplishements. Friends of mine know, there's been a few things I could have used this blog for.

However, when things are said and done, I do like to give kudos. I posted a little while back informing my readers and thanked them for their support as I had won the Best New Blog category of the 2007 Canadian Blog Awards.

Today, I am flattered that this news made FIRST PAGE in the Guelph Mercury. That means I have a colour photo - awesomeness!!!

I absolutely love the front page photo (thanks to the Merc's photographer Ryan Pfeiffer) - its mysterious, as if I'm hiding behind my blog with my words proceeding me. It's not a coincidence either that I have chosen not to include a photo of me on my blog. For example, I would have LOVED to have gone to the Ontario Tory convention a few weeks ago in London. And if I went, I wouldn't have wanted people to recognize me. I would have wanted to infiltrate to get the scoop!

I very much enjoyed my time speaking with Laura Thompson, the Merc's reporter. We shared some good stories, and what the article did discuss was just a very brief snipet of what we discussed. I guess I capitavted her so much with my story-telling that she didn't even notice Ryan behind her snapping photos.

Thanks to Laura, Ryan and the Mercury, on what I think was a very nice piece and I am very much flattered.

UPDATE: More press here and here (this was actually on the front page of the U of Guelph webpage for awhile). Thanks to those involved for the nice pieces.


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Sunday, March 2, 2008

Anyone Wonder Why I've Called This Race the "Chase for Change"?



I think this gives a pretty good answer (I just couldn't resist).

The Chase for Change continues into Texas and Ohio this Tuesday. Will another change candidate's campaign be triumphant, or will the other change candidate rebound? We'll see...

(h/t)


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Saturday, March 1, 2008

Gone Two Days and So Much Changes: On Cadman and Afghanistan

What a week in Canadian in politics! I have to say first of all, I am glad to see so many Liberals who were upset about the budget response back focused on the horrible Tory government we have.

So of course EVERYONE has given their thoughts on the Cadman affair, but this is too big not to pile on with my thoughts, though I also wanted to talk about something I haven't read much about on the Liberal blogs involving Afghanistan.

First of all though the Cadman scandal. For those who don't think this is a big deal, when was the last time that we have been talking about the PMO possibly authorizing breaking the law? If in fact Harper or Doug Finley authorized offering Cadman financial incentives for voting a certain way (whether that be a $1 milllion loan or a $1 million life insurance policy) as I understand it is breaking the law.

So the RCMP must investigate this and while the NDP think this issue doesn't matter, the Liberals have to keep up the heat. I think we need to wait a bit yet to see if we should hold on an election on this issue, but if Harper's stories keep changing this week and they continue

I still think we can win a Spring election, but I think it's not so bad to let this affair play out another month or so so we can have more answers and then voting No Confidence in this terrible government. When we go on our own No Confidence motion in a month or two then we can frame the election how we want. As well, the budget still wouldn't pass (if memory serves me budgets aren't usually up for third reading until April or May and then of course still have to clear the Senate) so for those who believed strongly the Liberals needed to stop it, it would be stopped.

But this is big and it seems so far the only Tory defense is that the Cadman family are all pathological liars! Tell me Tories, what reason do everyone of Cadman's relatives have to lie about this? And what reason do the Conservatives have to lie about it?

You might say the offer of life insurance is implausible, but maybe they just meant "life insurance" (as in Cadman would in some way be compensated for the loss of his parliamentary plan to the equivalent of $1 million) . Again you can't attack this story without calling the Cadman family liars and so far Harper has refused to do so, so maybe he just happens to know they are right. Dance around it all you want but those are the facts of the story so far.

There's enough evidence from Cadman's own words in different interviews and Harper's own words that point to financial offers being made. We don't know for sure yet if the law was broken, but if the RCMP don't investigate that would be wrong.

So then there was another issue this week that I would have liked to have seen much more coverage on it. Scott Tribe talked about it, but I don't remember seeing it on any other Liberal blogs, but I think it's very important nonetheless. So it seems Afghan prisoner transfers have resumed. The issue of prisoners Canadians have handed over being tortured was a huge issue in the past and I am disappointed this issue has been drowned out by the Cadman scandal.

The Liberals have been strong defenders of human rights in the past and were very forceful in keeping on this issue in the past, I just hope they don't let this one slip. There was clear evidence priosoners were tortured in the past. It was bad enough that the Tories even admitted to it and had transfers stopped. So what's changed? Apparently not all that much, so we need to keep their feet to the fire on this.

This is a fundamental human rights issue that the Tories have badly handled and they don't seem to care if Canada is violating international law. They need to be put on the spot over this and the Liberals need to be asking more questions. We also need a clear solution for how to handle this prisoners in the future.

I also agree with Scott that Amnesty and the BC Civil Liberties group should go back to court on this issue. The lawsuit stopped because prisoner transfers stopped, I think the onus is now on the Harper to explain why they have resumed and Liberals ought to do all they can to assure we get answers and that Harper is held to account on his shameful handling of this whole saga.


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