July 16, 2010

April 22, 2010

Kudos on the gun registry

I'm a little late to the party on this one, but still very happy to see this step in a progressive direction from our leader.

I can be as critical as the next guy, but at first blush I'm very pleased by this news.

Kudos.

April 16, 2010

Why haven’t anti-choice Liberal MPs been punished?

I’m still upset with Michael Ignatieff over the whole abortion vote fiasco in the House a few weeks ago. Why? He promised that those who defied the party line would be dealt with.

What’s happened to those anti-choice Liberals that helped the Tories defeat our motion that day? Paul Szabo is still Chair of the Ethics Committee – that’s an extra $10,000 a year in salary he gets. And Dan McTeague is still a full Liberal Party critic.

So Michael promises our core that he will deal with these rebels, yet nothing happens.

I tell you this...Bob Rae wouldn’t have had this happen in the first place.

April 7, 2010

Jack Layton all too silent on HST


I don’t often post about provincial politics but this caught my eye.

Our Liberal Premiers in Ontario and BC have taken a lot of flak for their decisions on the HST, most vocally by provincial NDP parties and from Jack Layton in Ottawa.

That’s why I find it a little rich now that an NDP government in Nova Scotia is proposing to raise their HST to the highest in the land, and we hear nothing but crickets chirping from Jack Layton.

That’s so typical of the NDP – do as I say, not as I do.

January 12, 2010

Can we please stop defending the oil sands?

Why is our leader out defending the oil sands again, really?

Moreover, Mr. Ignatieff said that oil sands exploitation in Alberta is not the only cause of climate change.

Can we at least maintain some progressive credentials, or are we going to cede all that ground to the NDP now? What the heck is our position anyways?

At least with Dion people knew where we stood.

January 4, 2010

Far and Wells

I don't want to wade too deep into this little brou-ha-ha that erupted over the weekend, except to say that I think both Paul Wells and Steve V have a point here.

I think it would be hard to say with a straight face that what's coming out of the OLO these days hasn't left most of us out here in the grassroots a little perturbed. I think it would also be hard to say with a straight face that dozens of comments on Steve V's site and Wells' blog regarding this dust-up, on a Sunday afternoon during the holidays no less, is nothing to sneeze at either.

What has failed to be mentioned so far is that the OLO is just in the process of emerging from a full-scale revamp. And our new chief, Peter Donollo, has been away from politics for a couple of years now too.

We can't expect a 10% turnaround in the polls to happen overnight. And we can't expect that a revolt on the OLO will fix anything either.

December 1, 2009

Janine Krieber has a point

Like many of you, I've been following Brian Topp's series in the Globe and Mail with much interest. And it got me to thinking:

What if Janine Krieber wasn't so wrong after all?

I mean, think about it. Here we are basically a year later and what have we gotten? We're down in the polls big time. From climate change to the justice system Harper and his cronies are tearing up our country. Right now we could be in government implementing much needed, and more importantly progressive, policies instead of sitting on the sidelines. I know much of what she said was off-base and not entirely representative of current Liberal thinking.

But on the most important part, ridding us of Harper and installing a progressive government, she wasn't so wrong. Now was she?

November 24, 2009

Let's not change positions on the HST

I know a lot of people who were quite happy a couple months back when the arrangement was hammered out by our Federal and Provincial leaders.

Ignatieff had derided the HST as "the Harper Sales Tax" while in British Columbia, which is also bringing in the blended tax next year. On Monday, he clarified his position, saying a Liberal government would not repeal the levy. "He is prepared to accept any agreement entered into between our government and the federal government, and that is good enough for me," said McGuinty.

With both Andrea Horwarth and Tim Hudak trying to turn this progressive policy into a hot potato, the last thing we needed was the Federal Party also trying to score points off the back of it. Liberals attacking Liberals never works out in the long-run, as we've learned in the last couple of years at the Federal level.

So, needless to say, I was pretty dismayed to find out today that the HST is once again starting to be looked at as a stick to score some cheap points with. In a Conservative writer's column, no less.

Liberal caucus members were set to debate the new tax last night, but it certainly appears as if the party is backtracking from the favourable reception it has given the HST in the past.

I'll withhold judgement for now because I've liked some of the moves Michael has been making lately (like bringing in Peter Donolo and taking a strong stance against torture) and nothing has been set in stone yet, as far as I can tell. But I hope Bob Rae speaks out against this tomorrow in Caucus and continues to defend our Premier like he did at the Economic Edge Conference when he said:

I salute Premier McGuinty for having had the courage to do it and I encourage him to keep on going. ... it’s such a logical thing to do when you think about it. The big problem with doing it is there’s a short-term issue for some people but there’s clearly a long-term benefit for everybody. And if you have the money to deal with the consumer shocks, the consumer problems that are there, in terms of the immediate impacts. For example double the size of the GST tax credit which is a huge benefit for lower income people. They’ll end up being better off, in fact they’ll end up paying less in taxation which should be the case.

Bob Rae understands this is a progressive policy. I'm not the only provincial Liberal who thinks that; and some would be less likely to sit on their hands at the Federal level when our leader recognizes it too.

November 20, 2009

On Ruby Dhalla we can do better

I'm sorry, but how is it progressive at all to go after one of our own MPs? Especially when they are a woman and member of a minority ethnic community?

I'm very upset about this.

We shouldn't be helping set up a witch hunt on one of our own. We can do better.

November 12, 2009

Where's Peter Donolo?

You can count me amongst those happy about the move to bring in Peter Donolo. We had begun to drift around for most of the fall without a real focus.

But I have to say, now, where is he?

I'll admit, I thought we could make a winner for ourselves out of the H1N1 vaccination too. The poll out today basically proved me wrong though.

Now we're trying to make an issue out of Remembrance Day? And again it's blowing up in our face.

Mr. Donolo, where ever you are, get up here quick! We need you.

October 22, 2009

Nigel Hannaford in PMO?

I'm probably going to get jumped all over for writing this, but I'm going to do it anyways:

It's disingenuous to get worked up about Harper bringing in anti-gay Calgary Herald columnist Nigel Hannaford to write his speeches.

After all, he also hired openly-gay Dave Forestell as a policy advisor.

Hannaford is just writing speeches, Forestell is actually advising on policy. If Hannaford is all-of-a-sudden setting government policy, this corner will be the first to call them out on it.

Sure, I'd be happier if Harper's new speechwriter was a progressive. But this is pretty much a wash, imo.

October 21, 2009

Why can't we shoot straight?

We had a really good week last week highlighting the Reform-Conservatives abuse of handing out cheques for stimulus spending as if it was coming from their own pockets. But let's not spoil it.

The downside of that good week is that some of the leader's policy initiatives got overshadowed. I know that's bound to happen from time-to-time, but the house is back this week. Let's put some of our own policies in the window.

Today was looking like it was going to be one of those days, with the release of our Pink Book on women's issues. Instead, we get this:

Three sombre -looking Liberal staffers stand behind Easter with 8 x 10 photos of Conservative MPs who have, according to Easter, denounced the whole cheque-signing "scandal".

Easter explains how this is must be stopped.

Wouldn't be a bad little stunt if only: in the room right next door the Liberal caucus is launching the Pink Book on women's issues.

Cameras and reporters gathered around Easter.

And although there were other reporters and cameras in the room for the launch, one media event can't outdo the other.

Suddenly, Ignatieff's director of communications, Jill Fairbrother arrives in the scrum and abruptly whisks Easter away.

She didn't look pleased.

And the "stunt" ended awkwardly.

A sign of duelling communications strategies?


Hopefully our message about the Pink Book still gets out. I'd still like to see our Clean Energy policy from last week rehashed somehow since it was lost in all the cheque coverage.

October 7, 2009

Are we being iffy about tax hikes?

Just before going out for dinner tonight I received this:

OTTAWA - Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff is gearing up to talk about tax hikes and cost-cutting to slay the country's ballooning deficit. Senior party sources say it's part of a politically risky `adult conversation' he wants to have with Canadians about the painful measures necessary to deal with the debt.

At dinner, a parliamentary friend told me this was deliberate pre-positioning by the OLO. I was thrilled by this sudden – and unexpected – progressive turn from our not-so-progressive leader.

When I returned home from dinner this was waiting for me:

OTTAWA - Michael Ignatieff insisted Wednesday he has no plan to raise taxes, denying a report that he's about to embark on a politically risky ``adult conversation'' with Canadians about the painful measures necessary to eliminate the country's ballooning deficit.

May I politely ask: what the hell is going on and which inmate was running the asylum on Wednesday night? Seriously. Day-by-day we are losing our credibility because of self-inflicted wounds. It’s time to clean house.

October 1, 2009

Time to shake up the Rosedale Gang?

Although, I am not as anti-Ignatieff as Eugene Foresy. I do have concerns about the advice our leader has been getting lately.

This (below) is only going to get worse.

Infrastructure Funding: Earth to the OLO

To win an election, we need to defeat sitting Tory MPs. A lot of sitting Tory MPs in fact.

So why are we running around the country and making the case that Tories disproportionately deliver for ridings they already hold?

Earth to OLO...

People vote for MPs to bring home the bacon. We may not like this fact. But all politics is local. Always has been.

By pushing this line of attack, we are actively making the case for the re-election of Lee Richardson, Daniel Petit, Mike Allen and every other second rate Tory MP seeking re-election.

Have we really given up on winning Tory MPs and are only interested in holding the reddest of core Liberal ridings?

Have we?

September 17, 2009

Some thoughts on the recent developments

Alright, with an election almost certainly to come soon, I figure I better get in the habit of posting again.

While I would love nothing more than to have an election and watch the Reform Conservatives crash and burn, I think we can benefit from the NDP and Bloc’s decision to vote with the government in a few ways:

a) the video and the ensuing massive media flurry about it has shown Canadians that Stephen Harper truly hasn’t changed. He can preach tolerance and put on a fuzzy sweater, but at the end of the day he is still the same right wing extremist he has always been. We use it in some ads, hammer it home and let Canadians digest it.

b) the NDP are polling so horribly, and have nowhere to go but down. This could open up strategic doors for us, appealing to the left.

c) we can slam the NDP and Bloc for voting with the Conservatives, and play up the angle of a Bloc-Dipper-Conservative coalition.

With all the polls now saying that no one wants an election anyway, we should be viewing this in a positive light. More time to campaign, more time to gain traction, more time to annihilate Harper. And victory will taste even sweeter when it finally happens.

August 25, 2009

Is this professionally appropriate?

"In interviews last week some said the new staffing choices have created an awkward situation, as Mr. Davey and Ms. Fairbrother have been a couple since they met while working on Mr. Ignatieff's first run for Parliament, in 2005. The Liberal power couple live on Sparks St., near Parliament Hill, in the small apartment which Mr. Ignatieff and his wife, Zsuzsanna Zsohar, vacated when they decamped to Stornoway, the official residence of the leader of the opposition, when Mr. Ignatieff took over from former leader St├ęphane Dion (Saint-Laurent-Cartierville, Que.).

"How can you be critical of her?" said the Liberal source.

"[It's] awkward in the sense that you have two people dating and if somebody has an issue about how communications are done, or with a quote, or a story, or just media, who do you take it up with? And so if the buck is supposed to stop with Ian then it's kind of an awkward situation that you're going behind her back to complain to Ian about it. If that relationship didn't exist, that would just be sort of the norm."

http://hilltimes.com/html/index.php?display=story&full_path=2009/august/24/himelfarb/&c=2

I am a huge believer in gender equality.
However, I don't know how the OLO can be effectively managed when the Chief of Staff is romantically involved with the Director of Communications. If I worked in the OLO I would be terrified to criticize Liberal communications practices in the Chief of Staff's presence. The whole situation just doesn't seem right. But what do I know? I'm not a Toronto lawyer and I don't live in Rosedale.

August 20, 2009

Alfred Apps: Not cool anymore


Forgive me for saying this, but I think Apps is slowly being put out to pasture by Michael. Of the big three who went to down to Boston to lay the groundwork for his homecoming and ascension to leader, Apps is the one guy who isn't getting a reward from the big guy.

Dan Brock has been lured away from a high-paying gig in Toronto to be Michael's Principle-Secretary. He's on the upswing in the inner sanctum of Stornoway and getting accolades from the media.

Ian Davey has been elevated to the pinnacle position of Chief of Staff and comes from the pedigree Rainmaking bloodline.

Meanwhile, where's Alf? Seems like Michael only trots him out to respond to Conservative attack ads. Some reward.

Dan Brock = Promoted.
Ian Davey = Promoted.
Alf Apps = Go mop up the Conservative attacks on us, and make me a sandwich while you're at it.

August 14, 2009

The Americanization of the NDP

So it seems the NDP's major speaker is Betsy Meyers. She has a 20k
speaking fee and worked for Obama in some capacity.

http://www.speaking.com/speakerindexes/governmentpolitics.php

I find it strange after decades of America bashing by the NDP their
great hope is bringing in strategists from the US. Also I don't know
if she meshes with the current NDP strategy.

Layton's current plan seems to be "Keep Harper in power by shooting
the left in the foot."

I think someone from the 2000 Nader campaign would be apropriate. You
remember him.

He gave us Bush.

July 17, 2009

Ottawa, we (may) have a problem


Although I strongly support Michael Ignatieff on the economy, social policy and national unity, he was never my first choice during the 2006 leadership race. I worried that he was too far to the right, too “American” on foreign policy.

Now, I am really beginning to worry about exposure on our left flank. The current issue of Macleans contains some very damaging comments by Ignatieff. In particular, he told an international audience that Canada’s peacekeeping record was “bogus”. The problem is, he made the comments in 2005 when WE were in charge. He also said that he was disgusted by Canadians’ “bitching” about the United States and praised George W. Bush as a human rights champion.

In the article, Liberal HQ refused to tackle the quotes specifically and instead forwarded the writer past controversial statements by Stephen Harper.

I’m sorry, but fighting the Tories to a draw on which party is the most pro-American, anti-Canadian is not a victory for Liberals.

Bush-loving, old Reform Party voters are not going to vote Liberal.

There are no votes to be had by occupying this part of the spectrum. We need to neutralize this issue fast.

July 10, 2009

Does positive work?

I have my doubts about this "positive politics" business.

Attack ads seem to work. Dion was irreparably damaged, Ignatieff seems to have lost his momentum for now.

Perhaps we should stop complaining and give this charter assassination business a try.

June 24, 2009

Don't attack NN

In response to CanPolitico, I think it's pretty clear that he's wrong about National Newswatch.

After all, the Liberals run ads on NN.

However, I think we've all seen anti liberal articles on that site.

June 11, 2009

Supporting news sites

It's good to see that the party is supporting National Newswatch by buying ads. If the site shuts down and Bourque becomes the only major Canadian news site it would be a very sad day.

However I think that 'Join Now' is a poor idea for the campaign. Most news junkies have already bought a membership in one party or another. 'Donate Now' would be a friendly reminder to Liberal supporters who have let giving money slip their minds.

June 3, 2009

Christine Elliot is leading in the Ontario Con Leadership race

You know, I can't recall a conflict of interest quite like this.  It's just a little strange to have the wife of the Minister of Finance be a provincial opposition leader.

I suppose that there's no real issue if Flaherty gets turfed before she becomes leader.  That seems likely, so there's no real point in getting upset.