....and Lord taketh away 
From CTV:
"New Brunswick Premier Bernard Lord will not be running for the leadership of the new Conservative Party of Canada, CTV News has learned.
A spokesperson for the premier said Lord, 38, considered the opportunity over the holidays but has decided that the best decision for him at this time is to remain the premier of New Brunswick.

And from Bourque.org:
"Key National Backers Retract Support Over Decision Indecisions ..."

Didn't he see my post down below - he was a lock! (I will be mailing out the spreadsheet next week for those that have requested it)

At least the Senators haven't lost in 6 (facing the Bruins - the last team to beat them - tonight) and Alfredsson is saying - "I guarantee we'll win the Cup".

That's showing some leadership!

Merry Christmas 
Dear Santa,

Please bring me a new coat, a couple more credible candidates for Conservative leader, and a power forward to play left wing for the Senators.


For those e-mailing about the election prediction spreadsheet - I'll mail it to you in the New Year when I get back to my highspeed connection. Thanks to Paul Wells for the nice comments.

Lord vs Harper 
From Bourqe today:

Bourque has learned that PC Leader Peter MacKay, Elmer's lad, will back a leadership bid by NB Premier Bernard Lord. Sources within MacKay's circle of confluence tell Bourque that "Peter is ready to step aside and let a fresh face come forward to lead a united right ... and Bernard Lord is that fresh face". One insider, a bedrock Alberta tory who requested anonymity, was adamant. "Pierre, for the good of the party, for the good of Parliament, for the good of Canada, we've got to back Lord". Meanwhile, it is understood that a number of Canadian Alliance personalities are also supportive of a Lord leadership bid, including Hal Danchilla and Rod Love, both formerly associated with Stockwell Day's Canadian Alliance leadership, along with MPs Jason Kenney and Art Hanger, of all people. Also emerging is the interest of so-called "non-Martin Liberals", as one Grit put it, noting in an email to Bourque that "many Liberals are interested in meeting Lord, too, when he comes to Toronto...and in Calgary and Vancouver".


Former Ont Energy Minister John Baird Ponders PC Leadership Bid ...

What great news for the Conservative Party!

First, locally if Baird does run for the leadership and gets some support it would give him a great jump if he decides to run against Pratt in his Nepean-Carleton riding. Pratt barely beat a low profile Michael Green of the Alliance in 2000 and would very hard pressed to hold off the popular MPP Baird.

Onto Lord vs Harper....

A lot has been made of Harper's appearance to Central and Eastern Canada. A commonly expressed view is that Atlantic PC supporters will not support the Conservative Party should Harper win the leadership. Using my calculator (okay, its fun to use) I've looked at what will happen to the 32 Eastern ridings should PC voters in 2000 move to/from the Conservative Party. I've assumed all the Alliance voters will vote Conservative and the people that voted Liberal and NDP in 2000 will do the same next year.

% PC to ConLiberalConsNDP

In Ontario, the biggest thing that would hurt Harper, if he won, would be the continued press and questions about whether the merger was an Alliance takeover or not. Lord obviously would not face those questions.

How would Lord do in the West - the rumoured support of Klein must carry some weight but you would think that Harper could carry the prairie support better. BC is a question, however, as the Liberals have polled very well there recently. My feeling is that a leader from Ontario or Quebec might have more problems in the West than Lord or Harper - these two don't have the Bay St / Old Boys stigma or the Quebec / Mulroney history that a candidate from Ontario or Quebec would have.

In Quebec, nobody expects the Conservatives to win any ridings regardless of the leader but again, the perception is that Lord would be better received and therefore it would better convince voters in Ontario that the Conservatives are a national alternative -- you don't have to win seats in Quebec, just make it look like you aren't a joke there. Maybe it's related to the 1993 Reform ads (PMs from Quebec) but Harper still has that baggage to lose.

Jim Prentice, in an interview on CFRA here in Ottawa, said the leadership candidates will be judged on their winnability at election time.

Harper has to convince people that he can do that while Lord would seem to have the momentum and be able to produce numbers to show that he is the leader that can.

Why is Martin doing so much? 
After reading John Ibbitson's column in the Globe today I have to say I am impressed with the Federal government spending freeze and review. Ibbitson gives five questions that the program reviewers have to ask:

What is the evidence that the initiative is achieving the stated policy objectives?

Is there a legitimate and necessary role for government in this program area or activity?

What activities or programs should or could be transferred in whole or in part to the private/voluntary sector?

Does the program exploit all options for achieving lower delivery costs through intelligent use of technology, public-private partnership, third-party delivery mechanisms, and non-spending instruments?

Is the current role of the federal government appropriate, or is the program a candidate for realignment with the provinces?

What the net outcome of these reviews remains to be seen. It is certainly bold and is causing some concern here in Ottawa. (With the tech employment front still hurting, the government hiring kept things balanced - with the hiring freeze there could be some tough times.)

The question is: Why is Martin doing so much now? Most people agree that if he kept things as is in the run-up to the next election he will handily receive another majority from the voters.

The things he has done in the past week seem to point to a courting of more "rightish" voters. Getting Brison, praising the capture of Hussein and the American military, $3 billion Sea King contract, and government spending review (which Ibbitson suggests could delay meeting the Kyoto targets) and hiring freeze.

The one thing I noticed after playing around with the election numbers and potential vote changes is that the Liberals will benefit more from getting right wing voters than those on the left. Big grounds can be made in the West, their strength would hold in Ontario and in Quebec there were many very close ridings that would tip to the Liberals if they can attract some of the old PCs that voted Bloq in 2000.

If he didn't think these initiatives would help in the short term leading up to an election, why would he do them now? Why wouldn't he wait until after the election?

They are calculated moves. Maybe the Liberals are worried as Bourque suggests.

Could Bernard Lord be the man that can build a coalition and deliver the 80%+ PC voters to the Conservative Party and maintain the Western support of the Alliance? Could Jack Layton and the NDP improve their seat count in urban centres at the Liberals expense.

A Liberal minority government is possible.

More fun with Excel 
Using the lastest poll from Ipsos-Reid and comparing it to the November 2000 election I ran the riding calculator.

Here are the poll numbers:


And the resulting seat distribution:


How come?
Liberal support is much improved in the west as well as the NDP getting support from the Conservatives. The PC support in Ontario is showing up for the Liberals based on this poll. In Quebec, there were so many close ridings that a 4% drop in BQ support is huge. For the Atlantic provinces, the PC support appears to have gone a third to the Liberals and two thirds to the Conservative party so far which, combined with the NDP drop, gives the Liberals a lot more seats in those provinces.

Riding Calculator 
I had a little bit of time at work today so I worked on a spreadsheet to simulate the number of seats each party would receive as voters moved from one party to another.

The first thing I tried was what impact the PC voters would have on the seat distribution. I took the biggest assumption possible that all voters would vote the same as 2000 except the PCs and they would either choose the Liberals or the Conservatives. Here are the results:

% of PC -- Cons. Seats
0 ------------ 63
10 ----------- 63
20 ----------- 65
30 ----------- 67
40 ----------- 68
50 ----------- 69
60 ----------- 74
70 ----------- 83 <-- McLellan and Pratt lose their seats
80 ----------- 93
90 ----------- 101
100 ---------- 114 <-- Liberal minority government

The spreadsheet is pretty cool - I split it up into four regions (Quebec, Ontario, West, Atlantic) so you can play with how the vote will change in each.

Other disclaimers - all parties other than the 5 main ones were eliminated and those voters were ignored - I didn't have enough time to code it perfectly.

If you want the sheet, send me an e-mail - its about 300KB.

Will this really happen? 
The new version of the World Hockey Association had meetings last week and issued a press release. Included in the release were some pretty interesting things including franchise locations, talking about using the Skydome, and a team of Russians playing somewhere in Canada!!

The locations will be Quebec City, Toronto, Hamilton, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Portland, St. Louis, Chicago, and either Orlando or Miami. The tenth member: "a team of Russian players would be domiciled in a Canadian city to be announced at a later date. "

The Toronto group is headed by Gino Naldini and John Marshall who, according to a Slam! Sports article: "want to re-create the Toronto Toros and house the team at the massive SkyDome, beginning next December."
Regarding the Skydome, the article states:
"With a pre-game festival and concert included, the Toros would charge $5 to $45 for tickets. The plan is to install a permanent ice surface under the SkyDome turf. Some games could be played with the SkyDome roof open. WHA reps have met with SkyDome officials three times."

The Quebec group is represented by Jean-Paul Boily, a local investor, lawyer and mining entrepreneur, according to CBC's Peter Black.
Mario Frankovich, President & CEO of Burgeonvest Securities leads the Hamilton group.

No clue as to who would own the Russian team but you have to wonder if Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich is involved (more likely the WHA hopes is involved) after the rumours of his buying the Canucks died down.

Could this really happen? I think the fans would support an alternative to the NHL if there were recognizable players and the tickets were priced right. Would they proceed if there was no lockout? - I doubt it.

Nice quote from Bobby Hull at the end of the Slam article:
"We're doing what the NHL has been giving lip service to for years," Hull said. "Why was the game so great for 75 years and they didn't have to change any rules? Now, the last few years they've had to change. Why? Because they're not playing the game the way it should be played, they're not playing within the rules and not allowing talented players to play. That's why they're having problems."

Hull said he expects an NHL lockout next September and thinks 75-80% of players would become free agents, making them available to the WHA, which could feature four-on-four hockey and already has endorsed no red line. The WHA has a $10-million salary cap, with a marquee player bringing in an additional $3 million.

Puzzling Polls 
Latest poll to come out:
Libs 45 % - Cons 21 % - NDP 14 % - BQ 9 % Green 4 %

I think some of the interesting things to note about this:

There was a poll that was mentioned often over the past couple of weeks that showed 57.5 per cent would vote for the Liberals. The NDP were next with 17.5 per cent, the "new party of the united right" got 12.6 per cent and the Bloc Quebecois had 8.8 per cent.
This got Bow talking about a new Liberal/NDP dichotomy, Spicer saying how the Liberals owned the Red Tories, and The Middleman suggesting "The Conservative Party momentum has halted".

My thinking is that the jump from 12.6 to 21 percent support can be attributed to the name change from "new party of the united right" to "The Conservative Party"??

In reality, these polls will be used by one side or another to generate positive or negative press but nothing will be firm about these numbers until the Conservative leader is selected and the election campaign begins.

The Globe article has a comment from the PMO:
Mario Lague, a spokesman for the Prime Minister's Office, said the Conservatives' support should represent a peak for that party because the poll was conducted as the merger was being cemented. That should have given the new party a boost, Mr. Lague said, because of the buzz that is created from media attention. "I suspect this is as good as it's going to get for them."

A few more quotes like this and you'll see that 45% for the Liberals drop quickly. This is a perfect example of the arrogance that comes from the Liberals.

Also, at the end of the article:
Although many people seem to view Mr. Martin as an agent of change, the poll suggests about half of Canadians aren't so sure what the new Prime Minister will do in power. Forty-eight per cent of respondents said they either somewhat or strongly disagreed that they had a good understanding of the policies Mr. Martin will introduce.

So, Martin's performance will be watched - the Liberals will be hoping nobody watched his press conference on Saddam's capture:
- " ... of the US Army who effectuated, who really put, uh, Hussein, uh, into capture"
- " ... a court of international jurisdiction"
- " ... a different level of reconstruction and I think that's very, very important for the Iraqian people."
I was a little surprised by the lack of polish in his statement and responses to questions.

Team Canada 
No, not Paul Martin's team. I want to talk about something a little more interesting.

The World Cup of Hockey is scheduled for late summer and the rumours and suggestions for the team are being brought out. I'm going to go way out on a limb and give my predictions for Team Canada 2004.

The team will very closely resemble the Olympic team. The players that will not return are Theoren Fleury for obvious reasons, Lindros, Peca, Joseph, and Brewer for a drop in their play and Lemieux, and MacInnis for injury reasons. Shanahan and Nieuwendyk will be replaced for improved players - though Shanahan is the most likely of these players to return.

In net, Luongo will take Joseph's place as the third man. Brodeur will, of course, be the starter with Belfour backing him up.

The top five D are all returning players. Blake, Pronger, Jovanovski, Niedermayer and Foote will be joined by Redden and Morris and I am predicting Redden to get the nod at game time (the team will carry 7 D but dress 6). Scott Stevens will be mentioned often and could be a dark horse to take the 6th spot.

Centreing the four lines will be Thornton, Sakic, Yzerman, and Primeau respectively. I'm assuming Heatley will not be at top form yet or else he could take Yzerman's spot.
Wingers returning will be Iginla, Smyth, Kariya, Gagne, and Nolan. Bertuzzi and Tanguay will get spots. The last playing spot will be Shane Doan taking away Shanahan's chance. A thirteenth forward will be brought and will likely be a younger player such as Heatley, Carter, or Morrow.

The same coaching staff will return - Quinn with assistants Martin and Hitchcock.

There you have it. You're welcome Wayne.

Progressive Post 
What makes a party progressive on social issues? What is it that makes the Liberal party and former PCs being viewed as capturing this political spirit but not the new Conservative Party.

The understood meaning of the word in the political context is "making use of or interested in new ideas, findings, or opportunities".

The most recent issue people today use is the same-sex marriage debate.

Opposing the new concept of same-sex marriage might then be proof that the Alliance is not progressive on this issue. However, a look at the voting on the Alliance motion to reaffirm the traditional definition of marriage shows that 35% of Liberals and 71% of PCs voted in favour of the motion.

So, if the PC party isn't progressive on this issue, what are they progressive about? (also, see Warren Kinsella's December 10th comment on the 'progressiveness' of the Liberal caucus)

Since the Charter was introduced in 1981 there have been few major social policy changes in Canada. The introduction of the Health Act in 1984 would be one. The governments of Mulroney and Chretien are responsibile for slowly reducing the transfer payments to the provinces who ultimately fund most social programs. The Liberals did introduce the Child Tax benefit and increase the maternity benefit during their last three terms but nobody would dare claim that their time in power has been a social policy wet dream.

A different take on the situation would be to say that the Liberals and former PCs are progressive when compared to the Conservatives. Such a position states that the controversial personal opinions of select MPs show the true nature of the Conservative Party. This is very hard to confirm or deny as it plays into peoples fears and prejudices. It also brings up questions of MP's personal opinions vs how they vote on issue and of what level of personal inspection a public figure should expect.

Currently, two big factors will drive the Conservative Party policies on 'social issues'. Firstly, the Party has determined that policy and leadership will be decided using a ridings-as-equal method. Secondly, the membership of the party will grow. These two factors alone will ensure that the social policy of the party closely reflects the broad nature of Canadians of all regions.

Scott Brison is 35 years old and claims that he is leaving due to the progressive values that he was brought up with in the PC Party do not exist in the Conservative Party. This appears to be a contemporary excuse for joining the governing party that, in my opinion, doesn't not hold up to inspection.

More thoughts on Brison.... 
So I did a Google search on Scott Brison trying to find his website - turns out I had the address right and it just isn't accessible right now.

Anyway, I came across this site listed about three spots down in the result page: Draft Scott Brison
If you go the parent directory there is lots of good stuff including:

The Peter MacKay Homophobe Song:
"This one is about Peter MacKay, who hides his homophobia pretending he just has a problem with gay marriage and not gays themselves. What makes him and others think that the love between a man and a woman is more special, more important or stronger such they should get some sort of special recognition?

Peter MacKay's A homophobe, do dah, do dah
Peter MacKay's A homophobe, do dah, do dah
Mackay is anti-gay

Mackay is anti-Gay
MAckay is anti-gay
Peter MacKay's a homophobe, just like Stockwell Day

and The Biggot Song
"Just a little ditty I wrote to relieve my anger... (over comments by Larry Spencer, Stephen Harper, Peter MacKay and all the little neo-nazi Homophobes out thereā€¦

Oh, I will not get into bed with biggots
I'd rather cut off their balls,
So take heed Stephen Harper
Mackay, Chandler and Chuck Strahl

I'll feed them to you on your dinner plate,
I'll protest at everything you appear
in public or in the media
From your nightmares I won't disapear

I'm sure this guy isn't representing Mr. Brison in any capacity and he doesn't speak for anyone but himself.

However, it did get me thinking that contrary to The Middleman's comments today, having Brison playing a lead role in the new party or running for leadership would actually restrict the hope that The Middleman states:
"For me Scott Brison represented a hope that the CP could re-invigorate that creative drive in national politics; that the conservatives could again become a representative national voice to put fiercely competitive Canadian values on display for judgment. "

The "Draft Brison" guy represents what would have continued to hurt the party. Discussions about the social attitudes of the party would have remained very high in the media as long as Brison was in the spotlight.

If the public continued to hear, for the next four months of a leadership race, that Brison represented the "progressive" social attitudes of Canadians, then they will naturally assume that the other, more likely candidates to lead the party, represent "regressive" attitudes. (With MacKay ready to run, Brison would not have had any chance of winning the leadership)

The Conservative party will become an alternative to the Liberals when they get their policies and leader out to the public and both are accepted. With Brison leaving, maybe the Conservative's actual policies will get more exposure. That is what will draw people to the party.

Also, MacKay's press release was very harsely worded. He included, "It may provide some short-term personal reward but will ultimately be judged by the voters of Kings-Hants." It will be very interesting to see what occurs in that riding next year.

Brison joining Progressive Liberal Party 
Brison is joining the Progressive Liberal Party.

In the article it says "He says he wants to avoid becoming what he calls a poster boy for gay issues."

I wonder if Brison will be in the cabinet? Promises made for after the election maybe?

From the press conference - Martin stated that he had discussions with Brison for the past 5 weeks?

Background: Brison's riding of Kings-Hant in Nov 2000

Scott BrisonProgressive Conservative Party of Canada 17,61240.28
Gerry FultonCanadian Reform Conservative Alliance4,61810.56
Kaye JohnsonNew Democratic Party7,24416.57
Claude O'HaraLiberal Party of Canada13,21330.22

Capital Clique? 
I saw this on The Hockey Pundits site - a quote from Stan Fischler:
"This from inside the Senators' dressing room: Coach Jacques Martin and GM John Muckler are missing the problem, which one player claims involves a clique inside the room. On top of that, neither Vaclav Varada nor Bryan Smolinski have played to management's expectations."

Now, I've heard something similar on the Ottawa sports radio as well but what is this clique?

Most people believe it to be a Czech/Slovak thing where Hossa, Chara, Bonk, Varada, Havlat, and Rachunek are keeping to themselves - but maybe it goes a little deeper than that....

Obviously, the socialist Saskatchewan boys Schaefer and Redden will not speak to the redneck Albertans Phillips and Van Allen. However, the four Westerners consider themselves brothers against the ignorant Easterners from Ontario - Spezza, White, Neil, and Fischer. The Manitobans Leschyshyn and Hnidy are in the middle of this and don't know who to trust.
Of course, the French player on the team, Lalime, feels left out of this group while the Americans Smolinski and Pothier suffer from the smug superiority that the Canadian players direct towards them.
Alfreddson feels alone now that he's the only Swede left on the team and Volchenkov and Schastlivy, the Russians, are worried because Melnyk sounds like a Moldovan name and we all know the history of the Moldovans and the Russians, right!

Clark defects to federal Liberals 
OTTAWA (CP) - The former leader of the now defunct Progressive Conservative Party, MP Joe Clark joined the federal Liberals on Tuesday - a defection billed by Paul Martin as evidence of his party's progressive attitudes to broad party policies.

Martin confirmed he had spoken to Clark about his future and said the former Prime Minister indicated he now sees the future of his progressive ways as lying within the Liberal Party. "For me that's fundamental." said Martin.

Martin said it was important to welcome supporters of progressive thinking and move beyond past divisions.

About 10,000 party members later cheered when Martin said he welcomed its newest MP. "I need Albertans," he said during his speech, "and I need Joe Clark!"

For his part, the world renowned parliamentarian Clark stated "I am delighted to join this progressive party and build a broad, inclusive party for all Canadians. I wanted to be in a party that was progressive."

The assembled party members were somewhat surprised when Martin informed them that the Liberal Party would be changing its name to the Progressive Liberal Party. "What my esteemed colleague has convinced me of, and let me be clear on this point, is that the Canadian people want a progressive party. Therefore, with Mr. Clark we are also getting a new name - The Progressive Liberal Party of Canada! A broad, inclusive party for all Canadians!"

With Clark crossing the floor, the standing in the 301-seat Commons is: Progressive Liberal 172, Conservative 75, Bloc 33, NDP 14, Independent 6. There is one vacancy.

Jacques Martin's extension 
I wondered last week what happened to Martin's extension which was supposedly all wrapped up a month ago. Yesterday, Bruce "The Rumour" Garrioch wrote, "Expect the Senators to announce a contract extension for coach Jacques Martin this week. It's believed the two sides have a verbal agreement on a new deal. There has been speculation the deal, which was first reported by the Sun, hasn't been made public because of the club's struggles, but that's not the case ... "
A verbal agreement? After this long? And what, then, is the real reason for the deal not being made public???

A situation like this is very difficult. Everyone is aware of the "lame duck" problem when a coach is on the final year of his contract. Players don't pay as much attention to the coach that they believe isn't supported by management - details like defensive positioning and assignments aren't respected if the coach that is delivering those plans isn't.
However, giving Martin the big $$$ might not be in the best interest of the team. The organization must be ready to change direction should the team not advance this year. Muckler and Melnyk both have stated the goal this year is the final and failure to do so would land squarely on Jacques. Giving him a multi-year extension for millions per year isn't a good idea if you are considering that he's not going to be here next year especially considering the Senators budget. There is also the small matter of the lockout - and having to pay him even if there is no season. There are good reasons for waiting until the end of the season to decide on the coach.
The other option - Muckler and media insiders insist that Martin will not be fired - but aren't those types of statements like the kiss of death?

Check out Colby Cosh's article on Marc-Andre Fleury. He also brings up some criticisms of Cherry similar to what I wrote last week.

The Conservative Party of Canada 
Nice. I think I'll join the party (never joined a party before)

90% of PC's, and 96% of CA's. It is an undeniably great way for the party to start.

A few points:

Listened to David Pratt (Lib MP from Nepean-Carleton) in a CPAC interview (he was the Liberal observer) - he mentioned numerous times that this was an Alliance takeover and said the only policy issue the two parties had in common was military spending. The interviewer suggested that Pratt had his campaign talk in full gear already.
Well, the truth is that Pratt will have to start campaigning now if he hopes to be an MP in a few months. His riding is one of many in Ontario that will greatly benefit from the merger. Last election results:

Michael GreenCanadian Reform Conservative Alliance22,31037.37
Bill KnottProgressive Conservative Party of Canada 9,53615.97
Isobel McGregorThe Green Party of Canada8051.34
Lester NewbyNatural Law Party of Canada1180.19
Craig ParsonsNew Democratic Party 2,223 3.72
David PrattLiberal Party of Canada24,57041.16
Jacques WaisviszCanadian Action Party1310.21

The takeover talk is really popular amongst the anti-mergites. Mackay was very clear when this was brought up. It is a merger of equals. He again stated the rules of the initial policy convention and the leadership race that is about to begin - that each riding will be given equal weight in those two key processes.
The anti-mergites like to say that if Harper wins the leadership then it is proof of the takeover. It is pure fear mongering. Could 90% of PC delegates be fooled into such a relationship? Also consider that the membership of the party will rise from the current combined level of ~300,000 to probably something like 500,000 with most of the gains in Ontario where I suspect both parties have relative weak membership. The party will soon resemble the pre-Reform PC party in its membership and therefore it's inclusiveness.

Joe Clark presided over the party for nothing. No gains of any type were made during his time and membership is half of what is was when he was elected leader. I could really care less if he, Borotsik, and Bachand sit with the new party. If they aren't up for a debate in the Conservative party on policy then goodbye and good riddance - they had no policy in the last election other than 'We aren't the Liberals and we aren't the Alliance so vote for us.' The new party doesn't need that kind of vision.

Why do division leaders get a top seed in the playoffs? 
I really don't understand the reason for giving each division winner a top 3 playoff seed? The need for the divisions themselves are understood - rivalry development, minimizing travel, etc but why the playoff advantage?

The NHL has a bad situation with three divisions making it very common to have a much inferior team getting the home dates in the post season but I checked out the situation in the NBA right now.

Philly has the second seed in the conference due to their lead in the Atlantic division - they have a .500 record! Four other teams are below them in the conference standings with superior records.

This won't last the NBA season but for the NHL such a situation is commonplace.

Protecting those that would garry 
David Warren today wrote wrt Bill C-250:

"The bill adds "sexual orientation" to a list which already includes race, colour, and religion. It makes it illegal to advocate "genocide" against identifiable groups. This is adding an apple to a list of oranges. Race and colour, even the religion in which we are raised, are integral parts of being human. Sexual choice is not -- it's something you do, not something you are."

Now, since Warren just recently changed religions, I find this a little strange for him to start his argument this way. If religion is not something you do then I'm more than a little confused.
Admittedly, the change from Anglican to RC for most outsiders would be like changing from 1 to 2% milk, but there are many examples for much more extreme shifts in an individual's 'religion'. (As for race and colour, I can only think of one person that has changed theirs - Michael Jackson?)

For most people, the reasons for a group being included in that law would be for historical reasons, not whether the group can or cannot choose to be such a way.

Warren's concern is that the "creation of a new law for such a special purpose is thus an invitation to our very activist courts to define "incitement" more broadly and vaguely." I think he has a little to much gay on the brain and has lost perspective.

See RevMod's entry on C-250 for more...

So, the poll from the National Post came out regarding same-sex marriage.

"When asked in the COMPAS poll to choose one of three options, 30% said marriage should include only heterosexuals, and 37% said the definition of marriage should stay intact but a new category that includes same-sex unions should be created.
Only 31% said traditional marriage should be opened to gays."

Wells, on his site, pooh-poohed the poll as basically nothing new - that "If you offer people three options instead of two, support for one of the options drops from one-half to one-third!"

Is not the reverse more true?

Does this poll not convey more information about the attitudes of Canadians than the polls that only had the two options that the politicians have decided to choose between? If this challenge was brought before the government two years ago would the same push to change the definition of marriage have existed or would there have been more discussion on what should be done.

The poll suggests that Canadians want a "separate legal category" - naturally, it would be called Garriage. It would be the same as being married except the "m" is substituted for a "g" - everyone in the land is happy.

5 years 
It's often said that coaches in professional sports have a shelf-life with any one team. That after 4 or 5 years (or 2 yrs for Keenan!), the message gets shadowed by the coaches personality and his relationships with the players.
Watching CBC last night and seeing Neil Macdonald reporting about minivan bumper heights made me realize that journalists have the same problem. Macdonald spent 5 years in the Middle East as CBC Television's top correspondent. He left his position there in controversy as questions about bias and polictical activism were brought forth. After 5 years, his message could not be separated from his relationships and personal views.

And how long did brother Norm last at SNL?? 5 years. I still find it funny that they are brothers.

Cellucci's comments criticized 
POGGe and Spicer both criticized the ambassador's statements.

If the US, in a case where the deportee has dual citizenship, does not get timely pressure and information from the Canadian representatives, as was in the case with Arar, why would they be obliged to send the person to Canada? - if they really believe, in Cellucci's words, are acting to "protect the safety of the people of the United States. We will reserve the right to act unilaterally in very rare cases."

Of course, what makes a case a "very rare case" is not clear.....

I suppose, in this instance, it was the connection to Almalki on an Ottawa lease.

Spicer asks "why are they safer when Canadians are deported elsewhere?" I think in the comparison between the ocean vs the US/CAN border - the ocean is a security winner.

Would a cap help the Pens? 
Brunt thinks a cap would not:

"The Penguins, now that Straka's gone, have payroll obligations for this season totalling $22.6-million (all figures U.S.), the lowest in the league -- and about $10-million below the hard cap figure that Gary Bettman and company dream about. After Lemieux, their best-paid player earns $1.5-million -- a little more than a quarter million dollars under the league average. So the notion that the Penguins have been forced by the system to spend their way into poverty, especially when a quarter of their payroll is deposited directly into one of the owners' bank accounts, seems a bit of a stretch.

It's a gate-driven league, and right now not enough people are willing to pony up, at least at current prices, for a product they don't find overly desirable."

I don't know if he is quite right.
He is looking at the current situation and not the events that led to their fall. Imagine three years ago - 2000/1, a cap is in place at $35 million, and the team has Jagr, Kovalev, Lang, Lemieux, Straka, and Hrdina.

What would the team look like today?
Would the salary pressures of Jagr, Kovalev, and Lang that forced them into making those horrible deals have existed if teams had to abide by the cap?
To say that the fans are disenchanted now, because of the existing roster, is a simplification. They have been beaten over the head over the last three years. Putting a cap in place now will not help the Pens this year, or next, but would it help the Senators or Canucks as their payroll increases with the age of their core?

Big Peca 
Pierre Maguire and Bob McKenzie both suggested that Mike Peca could be headed to Toronto or Ottawa should the Islanders lose on Thursday to the Rangers. McKenzie noted that the player that would most like leave the Sens is the new whipping boy, Radek Bonk. No, they didn't quote Bruce Garrioch so this rumour might actually have some legs - at least Bruce can say that he knew Bonk was going first - he's been writing about it for 3 years!

First off, it's understood that Peca would be an immediate fan favourite in Ottawa - no question. He would fill (especially from the fans point of view) a leadership void that has been missing for a long time (since Cunneyworth left?) and would be able to take on Bonk's role as a defensive centre. It might also allow Spezza or White more time in offensive situations as Peca would not see as much ice as Bonk did on the powerplay or with Hossa.

The biggest concern with moving Bonk is the loss of his size. You are replacing a 6' 3", 220 lbs Bonk with Peca's 5' 11", 190 lbs. Suddenly, the massive Jason Spezza becomes your biggest forward at 6' 2" and close to half your lineup is less than 200 lbs - getting close to Montreal Canadien territory here! The other issues in such a swap are durability, salary, and maybe captainship of the team.

Am I in favour of such a deal? I guess I would say yes but I would be more comfortable if Mike Fischer was back on the forecheck and Muckler found a large, hard hitting left winger to play with Peca.

80% of Tory delegates support merger. 
A large percentage of delegates at the convention are expected to support the merger according to this CP article.

Also, interesting is the suggestion written by Don at Revolutionary Moderation that Brison may be positioning himself for a leadership run - and that he might be playing the bigot card to kick off his bid.

Change of heart? 
The article I linked to below changed its heading to: "Stephen Harper early front-runner". That's better.

Warren would be proud. 
Saw on Bourque.org tonight a heading that read "TORIES BALK AT HARPER" linking to a CP story.

Here's what I dislike about the article:

1. The heading is "Tories balking at Harper as leader-by-default of new right-wing party". To me, especially with the term balking used, this would infer that Tories are turning away from the new party because of the current leadership situation and Harper's apparent lead in the race that hasn't started. The proof is presented by MP Rick Borotsik who states that "The majority of the (Tories) that I talk to are saying, 'Let's do the merger, but it has to be with a new leader,' " Hmmm, I never thought Tories to be stupid but apparently the ones that Rick hangs around with are - from my reading of the merger agreement - the leader was going to be decided after the party was created and not before. How those Tories are going to diverge from The Conservative Party will be very interesting??

2. Then, to back up the MP's thoughts on Harper, CP goes to James Laxer, a political science professor at York University. Of course, it doesn't merit mentioning that Laxer is as plugged into the NDP and the left as anyone could be - no, he is the professional opinion.

3. To bring the pendulum back to the land of unbiased journalism, a second opinion is brought in to basically say: Yeah, but Harper's not identified as being as crazy as the previous leaders - not yet at least!

Jacque's contract 
It was all but done in early November, right?

Time for a little TO (emphasis on little!) 
Something in the water in Toronto? Yeah, I know, it's an easy question but reading Ulmer and Duthie makes you think it's a little more serious than most realize!

My guess is that in their spare time they are writing a hockey screenplay and it's getting into their real work.

JR interview on Sportsnet 
Roenick had an interview shown during the Sens-Flyers game last night. As usual, he was very blunt on a number of topics including the impending lockout. He coolly stated that both sides needed to put aside their egos and get a deal done because the game couldn't handle the result of an impasse.

Then, after saying that, he told the viewers that they shouldn't believe Gary Bettman - that the commissioner is basically lying when he gives the arguments ($$$ numbers) in favour of the owners position of a salary cap. Roenick said that is something that the players could not agree to - full stop.

I need to learn why the players are so adamant about refusing any salary cap - from what I know at this time, it seems their reasons for being against it come down to them refuting the owners financial numbers - not arguments against an actual cap.

The rich little guy from Shawinigan 
It's amazing how Chretien gets away with things. Steyn wrote an article this week about him - looked like a litte bit of pent up anger!

Who is Larry Spencer? 
I thought I should put in a political entry since I was planning on this being a dual purpose site.......

I doubt very much you'll hear about Larry Spencer again after Christmas unless it's from:

a) Peter Mansbridge on election night will undoubtedly bring up Larry when reading off the polls from the Regina--Lumsden--Lake Centre riding - while he won't be the Conservative candidate, Peter will be sure to talk about the damage that his comments did or could have done

b) Joe Clark desperately looking like he was standing for something will use Larry for the reason he could not support the merger in interviews for years to come

c) persons needing a reason to avoid the work involved in actually understanding the Conservative Party's policies and so by invoking the Larry defense will be able to be vote Liberal or NDP without knowing why.

Sens win........... 
Jacques will sleep easier tonight.
Can Havlat shave now that he scored again? - man, I hope so.

After a game against Florida, there are games against TB, NJ, Bos, and TB again - collective record of those three teams: 44-12.

First entry 
Let's start this up with a hockey post......

With the Sens in a big funk, I'll rant on one of Ottawa's favourite targets - Mr Cherry. In his Coach's Corner segment this past weekend, two things irked me:

First, I thought his comments about Sidney Crosby were way over the top. I would have expected that he might offer some advice for the 16 year old but instead he's basically labelled him a hot dog that better watch out - it almost seemed like Cherry was setting himself up for a segment in a few years where he can say "Look at the way he is now - I had to straighten up the lad a few years back (flashback to his rant) - but look at him now!"

He then talked about Fata and Maholtra and how these guys were getting their careers on track after being brought up too early - and how all 18 year olds should play in the minors for a couple of years. Say what? Is this the same Don Cherry that was railing against the Sens for the last two years about Spezza not being on the team - oh right - that was all about his personal hate on for Marshall Johnston ....

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