Canada's Weekly Newsmagazine 
I saw my weekly Maclean's in the mail today and was pretty much expecting to see a political cover on it - surely Harper's victory in the leadership race would put him on the cover or at least share it with Martin with the budget last week.

No cover shot of Harper.

Okay, I'll, as usual, start first with the back page. Excellent - a great read of the themes Paul Wells has been presenting on his blog. No Harper reference but that's okay - it was a meaty political piece and I'm sure they'll be more politics inside - perhaps we'll be treated with another Wells column.

Go back to the start of the magazine - strange - nothing in the Table of Contents to indicate a Conservative/Harper story - must be in a column or the editorial.

Wilson-Smith's editorial makes a passing reference of Harper's win when talking about politician's being uncivil towards each other. A couple of more pages in - the Scorecard gives Harper an "arrow up", which is a good thing - a whole square inch.

Alrighty - Mansbridge - he'll spin some ol' time yarn about meeting Harper when he was just a young chap or something like that right? Oops - Peter's talking about how the CBC doesn't cover the news. It's okay - we're only on page 18 - lots of time for Maclean's to step up to the plate.

Page 25 has a picture of a very serious looking Harper - it's a health care article and refers to the Conservatives this way after talking about the Liberals actions in the first page: "And their main adversaries, the Conservatives under newly elected leader Stephen Harper, seem reluctant to risk saying much, conscious of how badly the old Canadian Alliance was beaten up over that issue during the 2000 campaign for allegedly favouring two-tier health care." First thought in my head - How Scary?
There is a few more lines later a couple pages later in the article talking further about the CPC plans and finishes with "With the federal Liberals vague on their policy ideas, and Conservatives guarded about theirs, it seems health might not get tackled squarely in the widely expected May or June election." Makes you think they have something to hide?

Past the ridiculous cover story - the rude age.

Amiel's column a few pages later, page 38, unfortunately talks again about the Middle East - doesn't she write about anything else? At least she deservedly castrates Bill Graham.

Great - a guest essay by Allen Gregg - the political pollster surely will be the guy to talk about Harper's effect on the numbers or something like that - Why don't people vote? Why do people read Maclean's?

Arts gets the last 15 pages or so.

So, Canada's Weekly Newsmagazine disappoints me. Three passing references to Stephen Harper, totaling around 100 words, in 60 pages of the nation's news over the past week.

The rude age indeed!

Makes you think... 
Radical thoughts by Dryden - in the Globe on the weekend:

"Finishing your check" is so familiar a phrase it seems it must have been part of the original game. It wasn't. It means, as a checker, going after the puck carrier so that even if he makes a pass, you keep going and run into him, too late to stop the pass, but not too late to stop him from continuing up the ice with the play. This is allowed. Indeed, it's a strategy coaches insist upon. Yet if a player is hit before a pass gets to him, this is interference, and everyone agrees. Worse, "finishing your check" rewards the player who is too slow to reach the puck carrier in time, and penalizes the puck carrier who is quick enough to make the pass ahead of the checker. Worse, it puts in physical danger the puck carrier who has to deal with a checker coming at him at high speed, and the checker who has to deal with a puck carrier with his stick up to protect himself. Or worse, it encourages teammates of the puck carrier to take protection into their own hands and "obstruct." All this happened because coaches decided it was a good thing for players to go hard at a puck carrier, and referees got tired of reminding them it wasn't.

What would happen if "finishing your check" was understood as interference? If a checker faced the challenge of getting to the puck carrier in time, or risking a penalty? If a checker was made responsible for his speed, if he had to have it under control, able to go in fast enough to make the hit but slow enough to stop or veer off? To depend on the legality of personal choice, not on the illegality of "obstruction?"

We need to see hits from behind and hits to the head for what they really are. We need to see finishing a check for what it really is. These and other plays are not traditions of the game worthy of protection. They have brought danger to the game. They have hurt the game.

"Revmod Gaffe-o-metre" 
Hilarious idea by Don at RevMod. I hope he starts it with Jack's $200 Billion dollar oopsie.

Sheila Fraser 
Posted to Jim Elve's Group Election Blog.

Who do you side with?


This woman has become a publicity-loving Ken Starr of the North. She has ceased to be what she was hired to be - which, according to R.S.C., c. A-17, an Act respecting the Office of the Auditor General of Canada and sustainable development monitoring and reporting 1995, c. 43, s.6., "The Auditor General shall examine...financial statements" - and become a headline-hungry, self-mandating Special Prosecutor who comments on policy, not the numbers.

or Rex:

I don't know how Madame Clarkson and John Ralston Saul sort out who gets all the good medals, the Order of Canada and such like.

I sure hope they put aside a boxcar load for Sheila Fraser. When she leaves office, and let it be years hence, they should weigh her down with medallions and declare a national holiday for accountants.

Auditor General Sheila Fraser and the Liberal government's sponsorship program. Wyatt Earp meets the gang who couldn't shoot straight. The shootout on the Rideau Canal. It's hard to know where, really to start on this latest wasteful and most likely, criminal, mess.

There is no question in my mind. I'm siding with Rex.

Lalime garners another star... 
Sens 4
Habs 0


Curlers mooching off tax-paying Canadians 
Well, not quite - here's an article by Adam Daifallah on why curlers don't get taxed on their spiel earnings, er, winnings.

Gotta love the quote by Chad McMullan:
"I can't even guess how much the government would lose if every Harvey Hacksmasher started claiming all expenses on every weekend toaster spiel he or she played in"

Wouldn't they only be able to deduct those expenses from current, or future earnings?

Harper on the Martin Budgets 
Posted to Jim Elve's Group Election Blog.

Who better to debate Paul Martin's record as a good money manager than the Leader of the Opposition.

A great speech that doesn't fit into the 15 second sound clip on the news:

This is the 10th budget of the tired, old Liberal government. The first eight budgets were delivered, as Canadians know, by the current Prime Minister himself. Before turning my attention to today's budget, I want to take a small detour through some of those earlier budgets.

In those earlier budgets, the Prime Minister was finance minister at the time and took full responsibility for the spending program of the government. The message in those budgets was clear: the finance minister was in control of taxpayers' dollars.

In his 1995 budget speech, the current Prime Minister said the following, and I am going to quote at length:

The government has just introduced a new and much tighter system to manage its spending.... For the first time, departments will have to prepare business plans for three years forward.... That transparency and that accountability will mark a major departure from the past.... Individual ministers are being asked to alter their funding approach accordingly. They will be held accountable for their decisions and those decisions will be reviewed annually.

Reviewed annually, one can only assume, by the Minister of Finance, or at least by Treasury Board, of which the Minister of Finance was the vice-chair.

The year 1995 was significant because that was the year the Liberal government nearly lost the country. That was also the year in which the Liberal government decided to create the sponsorship program. Let me repeat that. The year that the Liberals created the sponsorship program was also the year in which the current Prime Minister put in place “a new and much tighter system to manage its spending”.

Most Canadians remember 1995 as the year in which the government cut billions of dollars from the health care system. Let me repeat and emphasize that as well. The year that the Liberals created the sponsorship program was also the year in which the current Prime Minister massively cut spending on health care.

The 1995 budget put forward four priorities. The very first priority was “the reform of government programs and procedures, to eliminate waste and abuse and ensure value” for the taxpayer's dollar. That promise was repeated in his 1996 budget speech:

If there is one area where we must never let up, it is the effort to root out waste and inefficiency.

In his 1998 budget speech he said, “The battle to root out waste and inefficiency can never end”. Apparently it can never begin either.

Let me rephrase all of that. The year in which the Liberals created the sponsorship program was also the year in which the current Prime Minister first vowed to root out waste and abuse of taxpayers' dollars. Now this budget once again tries to establish the government as “prudent managers”.

The government has made a number of recommendations to tighten spending. It wants to re-establish the office of the comptroller general. Canadians are rightly asking, does that mean there is not one now? The answer is no, there is not one, because the current Prime Minister permanently cut that office in his first budget as finance minister.

The government wants to appoint professionally accredited comptrollers. Canadians are rightly asking, does that mean they are not accredited now? The answer is no, because the Prime Minister never thought it necessary to establish them.

The government wants to bolster the audit function. It wants real time information systems and it wants “public disclosure of contracts”. All Canadians should rightly ask, does that mean the government does not have any of these things today? The answer is no, it does not, because the Prime Minister never thought it necessary when he was finance minister.

Why should Canadians believe any of these promises when the Prime Minister had 10 years mainly as finance minister to make them happen?

The Prime Minister cannot have it both ways. He cannot claim on the one hand to have a tight rein on spending, and at the same time, not created the most elementary spending control mechanisms that these scandals have finally driven the government to recommend.

The Prime Minister cannot have it both ways. He cannot claim on the one hand to have reformed government programs, to have eliminated waste and abuse, and at the same time claim that he had absolutely no idea that $100 million had been shovelled into the hands of his Liberal friends. That is exactly what the Prime Minister is saying today.

From Hansard.

Partyless Joe Clark 
Posted to Jim Elve's Group Election Blog.

At the end of Question Period a motion was brought forth by Libby Davies. The motion itself is important but was really caught my attention was the person who spoke afterwards and what he said:

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I believe that you would find unanimous consent, based on discussions among the House leaders, to put the following motion which is supported by all parties. I move:

That this House condemn in the strongest possible terms the recent anti-Semitic attacks in Toronto on Jewish houses, synagogues and schools, and support the call in the 2002 OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Declaration on anti-Semitic violence for strengthening mechanisms to combat the scourge of anti-Semitism in Canada and globally.

The Speaker: Does the hon. member have unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

The Speaker: The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Right Hon. Joe Clark: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I agreed to that motion because I agree very strongly with the sentiments it expressed.

However, I draw to the attention of the House and to the House leader of the New Democratic Party that it is not adequate to consult with House leaders of recognized parties to secure unanimous consent in the House of Commons. If there are to be consultations, I, and other members who are not affiliated with parties recognized in the House, expect to be consulted in the future.

Can you imagine in 5 years, a Joe Clark still “not affiliated with parties recognized in the House”. A former Prime Minister not involved at all with a political party? Has it happened before?

Will Joe join the Conservatives? Will Joe join the Liberals?

Reviewing Kinsella's reason's why a merger wouldn't succeed... 
I thought it would be fun to comment on the following list by Warren Kinsella:

Herewith, ten reasons why the United Alternative is A Turkey That Will Not Fly.

1. A Merger It Ain't: The United Alternative is a takeover, not a merger, and every Tory with an I.Q. knows it. In the corporate world, the CEOs, officers and directors of such takeover targets are notoriously uncooperative, and for good reason: unemployment awaits them when the deal is done. One can reasonably assume that Joe Clark did not plunge back into the rubber chicken circuit just so that he can act as a volunteer in Preston Manning's next electoral bid.

The terms of the merger agreement that dealt with the leadership selection and upcoming policy convention ensured a true merger. Kinsella talks about the CEOs in a merger - the win by Mackay in the PC leadership race was a huge step to create the new party. He had two very important differences when compared to Clark. 1. Age - Mackay can lead this party in the future, Clark, if not the leader of the united party would never again lead a national party. 2. Location - Mackay represents Eastern conservatism which more naturally merges with the western conservatism of the Harper.

2. Personal Grievances Aplenty: There are an ample number of grievances on both sides of the Canadian right wing political divide. Tories possess more than a few: they generally see Reformers as the lead actors in the putsch that led to their near-wipeout in 1993. Reformers, meanwhile, were sufficiently grieved with the current Progressive Conservative Party leadership to leave the party in the first place. A c ouple of intervening general elections have not ameliorated the differences - they have, in fact, exacerbated them.

Any wonder that the merger happens with the last of the old guard in both parties has left. Problems within the PC party between Clark and Mulroney - the legacy of the party and it's leaders - was a huge hurdle. The Alliance had similiar internal issues to work out until well into Harper's time as leader as the fractures from the Manning to Day to the splinter group working with the PCs to Harper took time to heal.

3. Policy Counts: On immigration, on Quebec, on health care - on virtually any key plank you can dream up - the Tories and their Reform opponents are too far apart. These differences of opinion are far from being reconciled - the recent Conservative leadership race has also served to amplify them. Messrs. Mulroney, Charest and Clark - along with Ms. Campbell - have all presumably ridiculed Reform Party policy not merely because it was expedient, but because they believed what they were saying.

Again, the removal of those that were primarily responsible for the bitter fighting had to leave before any genuine look at the mutual policy goals could take place.

4. The Kooks and Cranks Factor: Gore Vidal didn't say it, but he should have: a party filled with kooks does not a national government make. Ask the most powerful political force in the nation - the Ontario Soccer Mom (OSM). OSMs possess formidable political antennae, and they can detect intolerance from a long way off. Anti-Quebec, anti-choice and pro-evangelical nuttiness won't cut it with the OSM crowd - and Joe Clark et al. know it. Preston Manning, it appears, does not.

Warren is following the Liberal fear mongering formula here but I guess I understand the issue. Maybe this point couldn't be rebutted until after the merger actually happened. The growth of the party itself from less than 150,000 combined members to close to 300,000 has shown the party has widened it's base - especially in Ontario. Kinsella's OSM focus group now is a large part of the Conservative party and their fellow Ontarians have jumped on board the Harper bandwagon with much glee for a true alternative.
My personal belief is that the highly criticized Alliance social conservatism is more a rural-urban issue than a western/ROC issue. I'm sure many rural Liberal MPs in Ontario align more closely with the rural MPs from the West than their own caucus mates. The populist policies of the Alliance simply allowed this rural view to have more exposure than it does in the Liberal party.

5. Mucho Debt: The Progressive Conservative Party is millions of dollars in debt, the Reform Party of Canada is doing fine. What possible fiscal advantages await the latter in a merger with the former? What's more, why would the former agree to any merger, if the latter isn't prepared to share in political pain as well as gain?

Perhaps the PC leadership fundraising and the membership drive cleared up this problem.

6. The Numbers Don't Add Up: Recent National Post polls of a few dozen Canadians notwithstanding, five years of more comprehensive public opinion data - and two elections - demonstrate, in spades, that even a unified right cannot beat Jean Chretien's Liberals. Period. The Prime Minister is competitive in every region, and has been for five years. Mr. Manning, meanwhile, could not get himself elected to an Ontario municipal council.

But Paul Martin's Liberals? No one knew (or did they?) that the Liberals were going to have a such a dramatic plunge in 2004 - it's a new ball game now.

7. Quebec Counts, Too: Preston Manning and his party don't get Quebec, to put a fine point on it, and seemingly never will. Their 1997 election ads defaming various political leaders from Quebec made this amply clear. No sensible Quebec Tory would give a moment's consideration to an alliance with a party that is anathema to their constituents.

Quebec was a huge issue for the PCs too - I think Warren was having trouble finding 10 reasons by this point. Harper says he is committed to providing a federalist alternative for Quebecers - will he be successful? - only time will tell.

8. Populism Is Passe As Newt Gingrich can easily testify to following this week's Congressional mid-terms, the anti-politician fervour is over. Polling shows that Canadians are quite comfortable, merci, with career politicians like Jean Chretien, Joe Clark, Ralph Klein, Mike Harris, Brian Tobin and Gary Filmon. Mr. Manning's populist/outsider schtick does not engender votes with the aforementioned OSMs, or any other voter who does not wear Wellies to work.

Well, times have certainly changed again. After 11 years in power the Liberals now decide to 'fundamentally' change the way government works - why do you think the electorate is having concerns about career politicians. Harper doesn't carry the baggage of fraud and scandal and personally conveys a very sincere image as opposed to the suddenly jumpy, unsure Martin.

9. Two Different Parties: Tories, rightly or wrongly, regard Reform as a regional party, bursting at the seams with red-necked mouth-breathers with a fondness for voodoo economics and policy statements that read better in the original German. Reformers, on the other hand, see Conservatives as Perrier-addicted Quebec lawyers who tried to inflict Meech Lake and One World Government on the West. Never shall the twain meet.

Much the same as reason number 2 (again - hard to come up with 10 real reasons!) The leaders changed and the parties had taken enough lumps to finally understand their own weaknesses. Harper has better presented the Alliance policies to Canadians and Mackay compared to Clark was a clean window to take a clear look at the PCs.

10. The Grits Are Watching: In the unlikely event that the United Alternative somehow gets aloft - and assuming that every one of the arguments noted above are proved wrong - one can count on Liberals to spare no effort in again driving the two uneasy camps apart (making use of policy hand grenades, for the most part). In politics, divide and conquer has always been preferable to plain old conquering.

No time to divide and conquer when you're busy dividing and conquering your own party.

The United Alternative - it is neither alternative, nor united.

The party is united. Is it a true alternative? Canadian's will judge that shortly.

Is anyone buying what this guy is selling? 
Posted to Jim Elve's Group Election Blog.

Boy, when Jack Layton gets a hold of something, he doesn't let go. Whether it's the painting of corporations as inherently damaging to the people of Canada, or, now, the wanting to debate Stephen Harper on who knows what, he gets in your face like his alter ego does on late night TV.

I'm not sure who pointed out the similarities been Jack and the Video Professor a little while ago - I thought I would present them here for your opinions.

click here to see the stunning similarities

Perhaps the sales of instructional videos is how Jack plans to raise the money for his $46 billion in spending promises. NDP MP Lorne Nystom said last year during the leadership race that “Jack Layton is talking about spending an extra $46 billion over the next two years, an increase of 20 per cent in program spending. I don't think that's realistic...To do that you either have to increase taxes in this country or go back into a deficit position or a combination of both

Now, to be fair, the NDP hasn't given any details on their spending plans or how they supposedly would balance the budget. In reality, nobody really cares if they have a plan to balance the budget since they have no chance of forming a government in the next decade.

The NDP does have a significant role to play in today's Ottawa much like the Reform party did a decade ago. A party in opposition can force the government to pay attention to crucial needs of the country - what Reform party did to bring attention to the rising debt, the NDP can do for health care and education funding. While the electorate will not put them in power, it will give them enough power to have a voice in Ottawa.

NDP supporters should be worried about one thing with Jack leading the party. He is reminiscent of another national leader that came onto the stage with much of the same fanfare - Stockwell Day - a new face from outside the power cicles, energetic, and a purported ability to expand the party from its previous base of support. He also has the same negatives as the other leader had - little caucus support, prone to foot-in-mouth moments, and strongly supported by special interest group factions in the party.

Why the party continues to allow the union and activists to control the agenda of what should be a populist party is beyond me. The prairie roots that so many NDP supporters look back on fondly and claim to respect is shunted to the back of the hall to make way for the tired rhetoric of it's leaders and best known faces of the past decade.

Lalime answers 
My last post had a question...

Last night I got my answer...


Cosh on Fighting 
I thought some might like to read this opinion on fighting in hockey by Colby Cosh - click here to read the whole thing - it's pretty interesting....

"I would also ask you to consider that the self-regulating ethos of Canadian-style hockey, the idea that not all disputes are appropriately settled by reference to the authorities, will protect the place of individualistic Americans and Canadians within the game, and especially the former. When two guys fight on the ice they're saying "We're not going to take our problems to the sheriff--we're going to settle them according to a shared, non-legislated code of fair play." (Sometimes, as with the famous Lights Out brawl at the World Juniors, the message of a fight is "the sheriff is an a-hole; we're taking matters into our own hands.") Why is there so little fighting in the European game? Maybe it's presumptuous to say this, but have you noticed that the Europeans are a little weaker in their grasp of the whole "personal responsibility" thing? That their societies (with exceptions) are organized to minimize the importance and the permissibility of self-defence? That when a European player feels molested on the ice (warning: Don Cherry-style generalization), his instinctive response is to take a dive, appealing to the magistrate with elaborate theatrics?"


The bigger questions for hockey fans in Ottawa, however, are...
Lalime? Prusek? Anyone.... Anyone..... Anyone.....

I'm voting for Harper on Saturday. 
Posted to Jim Elve's Group Election Blog.

I think I gave all the candidates a chance to win me over. I listened to Stronach's and Clement's kickoff speeches, read most of their press releases, and watched both of the official debates.

For me, Harper is the best candidate to lead and grow the Conservative Party. The following two opinions pretty much reflect my thoughts:

Paul Wells:

"Only Harper knows the ropes. He first worked in Parliament almost 20 years ago. He helped found the Reform party. He first won a seat in 1993. He's been back in Parliament for two years, healing the wounds of the Day years, enticing a reluctant Tory leader into building a new party before anyone would have thought it possible. If you haven't been paying attention, you'll be surprised how strong a debater he is. He's physically imposing. His French is far stronger than Clement's. He's funny and poised enough to improvise devastating comebacks.

But there is something far more important for the battle ahead. Harper is unapologetic. Stronach gets squeamish when you ask her about Magna. Clement lost his seat in the last Ontario election. Either would spend too much time on the defensive in a federal campaign.

Harper? Try as you might to make him feel embarrassed about the Reform and Canadian Alliance baggage he brings to the new party, he refuses to play. There is nothing about his past or his policies that he's ashamed to defend. When Martin tries to suggest the new party is an Alliance takeover of the Progressive Conservatives, many Western voters will smell a veiled insult against them.

This is the best advertisement for Harper: only he offers more than a defensive game. He offers Conservatives the chance to re-fight the 2000 election, which matched a confident leader against a chronic waffler, except this time the roles would be reversed. Paul Martin will eat an unprepared debate opponent alive. Just ask John Manley. But his Achilles heel is a surprising lack of confidence. The only candidate in this race who can rattle him is Harper.

Charles Adler:

"IN THIS country, Paul Martin is itching for an election. Nobody is going to convince him to wait for the fall. Pencil in the Victoria Day weekend as the final weekend of campaigning.

The argument for waiting and waiting and waiting is that the public needs more information on the sponsorship scandal. The argument for going to the polls early is to deny Stephen Harper the opportunity to impress Canadians as a prime minister in waiting, moderate in his temperament, middle of the road in his politics, not the extremist yahoo that Liberals would like to paint him as.

Give Stephen Harper six months with a united Conservative caucus representing every part of the country, and gone is the old Liberal spin on Stephen Harper.

I really wanted Stronach to win me over in this race - I gave her many opportunities to do it but she's come up short. I really hope she wins her Newmarket-Aurora riding so we can see what she is capable of in politics.

Clement never had me - maybe it started with the unbelievably shitty website he had when he kicked off his campaign - but I did enjoy his wit and quickness during the debates - skills that hopefully the Conservative party can use in the House of Commons.

The Big Question - Where did the money go?? 
Posted to Jim Elve's Group Election Blog.

The Adscam specifics appear to be coming out slowly. Individuals or small businesses that were involved have been coming clean on their involvement with the sponsorship money that was siphoned off by the ad agencies. Today, Greg Weston details one such example regarding a Health Canada contract.

The question that remains unanswered is “Where did the money go?”

Did these advertising agencies pocket the money, funnel it to the Liberal party, or was it, as has been alleged, used to buy personal gifts for the families of politicians and senior beurocrats?

You have to believe that Martin and those in the PMO deciding on election timing have a pretty good idea what will be coming out still. I don't know what to think of their current actions and what it means with respect to these allegations.

One criticism of Martin over the past month has been that he went 'over the top' in condeming those involved in Adscam and getting 'mad as hell'. Would those criticisms exist if it became apparent that there were personal gains for Quebec politicians and their friends? Will Martin appear less connected to these future revelations than if he took a softer stance in February?

Mike Duffy laid out some serious allegations several weeks ago and not much has come of it yet. Remember his words: “..this will all come out. It may take a while but it will all come out and it's going to blow this town wide open.”

Dacey defeats Ferbey 
What a bizarre and entertaining finish to the Brier!

Mark Dacey and his Nova Scotian rink take a 3 in the 8th on basically one Nedohin miss, force Alberta to one in the ninth, and then, in the 10th end, make several outstanding, and gutsy shots, combine it with a Nedohin miss on his last shot to leave Dacey a draw to the four foot for his Brier victory! Amazing.

I'm sure some TV sets in the EST and ATL time zones where turned off after the seventh end - my Brier guest, a guy from Saskatchewan who was cheering for Dacey, left at that time. We agreed that Dacey was playing and looked like he had lost already. I guess his team didn't think so and it paid off with the miss in the eighth by Alberta.

A couple of other comments:

I couldn't believe the heckler - Rocque looked like he was going to Bertuzzi him - the cameras and mics caught Marcel saying something like "if I hear you one more time - you're mine" while holding out his clenched fist!

Don't like the CBC interview over the PA during the Tankard presentation - a little too personal or something - Dacey handled it well though.

Howard's comments on Rocque and Pfieffer was something - saying about the quality of their sweeping: "Those guys are talking about inches when everyone else is talking about feet" or something very close to that.

In the 10th, with Dacey's first shot they made a big gamble. Dacey didn't want to put in on the four but he went with his team - not an easy shot to throw when you aren't comfortable with it - with 12000 fans watching and a Brier on the line - he, and his team, put it within an inch of where they wanted.

A great final.

Peachy wins - takes on Gushue tonight 
Details on the win over Howard....

With his final shot in the ninth, Peachey barely rolled out his shooter on a blank attempt to preserve last-rock advantage in the 10th end. Then, when Howard was unable to roll his shooter behind a guard, Peachey made a perfect hit to score a winning deuce.

Too bad for Russ.

Tonight's game has added significance for Team Gushue and Team Peachy - from the same article as above:

As well, the winner qualifies for the 2005 Canadian Curling Trials in Halifax because the two teams in the Page one-two game — Mark Dacey of Halifax and Randy Ferbey of Alberta — already have qualified for the Trials.

Werenich won't be happy.
If you read the article in Maclean's a month ago you'll remember he criticized Dacey when talking about the CCA's criteria for the Olympic trial spots. In the article:

"They've already snuck in a rink from Halifax," says Werenich (Mark Dacey's team gets a guaranteed spot at the Olympic trials by virtue of having finished second at last year's Brier). "I don't know what the hell he's going to do there -- other than finish last, I guess."

There is something to be said for Werenich's criticism. When most of the top teams, by most people's count, are situated in Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario - using the Brier winners from the past three/four years as Olympic trial spots, especially since Ferby has won it every time, doesn't ensure the best field in the Trials.

Peachy at the Trials? I don't know what the hell he's going to do there -- other than finish last, I guess. Seriously though - if he makes the Brier final - somebody has to get him a jacket that fits!

Howard vs Peachy this morning.... 
Peachy's loss last night to Dacey allowed Russ to have another shot at the BC team in this morning's tiebreaker. BC beat NB 9-7 in yesterday's afternoon draw.

The winner faces Gushue in the 3-4 game this evenings match. The winner of that game faces the loser of this afternoon's 1-2 game between Ferbey and Dacey.

First off - did Peachy get his jacket from his big brother or Dad and if not, why is it about 4 sizes too large for him?

I think most will be cheering for Russ in the game this morning. He is one of the noisiest, err, most decorated skips the game has ever seen. It's a credit to his shotmaking and game calling that he continues to be in the hunt every year (I don't think he's ever had a losing record at the Brier) even though he doesn't quite have the one tool that has been so dominate in the game the past 5 to 10 years - the ability of the skip to throw the big, I mean really big, takeout weight.

I'll be cheering (and listening) for Russ - the Ontario roots? - I would be very interested in seeing a NL vs NB game tonight. Maybe it's the young - Gushue is 23/24? - vs the old. Russ shot 94% in their win againt NL earlier in the week.

First however, NB must beat the team they lost to yesterday when Howard shot 74% to Peachy's 89%.

Is it time to move on? 
I was reading Don at RevMod's thoughts on turning to Canada's sport after this incident so I think I'll join him - and maybe get some provincial trash-talk started - no, no bounty for Ferby - some good ol' roaring for the roaring game.

Stay tuned....

I think I agree with Cox today.... 
In today's Star:

But somebody's going to have to pay the ultimate price for this league to reform its thuggish ways, and can you imagine how quickly the NHL and all its affiliated leagues will move to end the presence of brawling in the game then?

It will be banned the very next day, of course.

Instead of waiting, it would make far more sense to get the goons out of the NHL for good now by banning fighting and prohibiting players from taking disputes into their own hands while simultaneously cracking down in draconian style on dangerous play.

Any high stick — game misconduct. Any hit from behind — five games. Any intentional shot to the head — 10 games. Second offences? Triple the penalty.

Australia's Rugby League (and Football League, too) faced similar challenges in the late 1970s, and worked aggressively to outlaw fighting, king hitting (tackling from behind), eye gouging and all manner of vicious rule-breaking that was killing the sport.

Today, Rugby League is as successful as ever, just as brutal and hard-hitting, but without the thuggery and goonish tactics. TV ratings, interestingly, have doubled.

The NHL could surely experience the same rebirth.

Bertuzzi Suspension 
It is a strange decision:

Vancouver Canucks' forward Todd Bertuzzi has been suspended for the remainder of the 2003-04 season, including the final 12 regular-season games plus the entire 2004 Stanley Cup Playoffs. In addition, Mr. Bertuzzi's eligibility for the 2004-05 NHL season will be determined by Commissioner Gary Bettman prior to the start of training camp.


No final determination on the total duration of Mr. Bertuzzi's suspension has yet been made," Mr. Campbell said. "Mr. Bertuzzi will be required to meet with Commissioner Bettman prior to the start of training camp for the 2004-05 season, at which point Mr. Bertuzzi's eligibility will be reviewed in light of all the available facts at that time, including Mr. Moore's physical status and the progression of his recovery."

My biggest concern about the suspension is if the penalty wasn't set to be higher at this time because of the World Cup and his availability for Team Canada. If the decision not to include games next season was based at all on the World Cup, or the CBA for that matter, then I would be disappointed.

The regular season and the playoffs was expected and will be considered by more people to be too lenient than too harsh - should that matter - maybe.

The NHL's rationale for delaying the complete penalty seems strange.

If it was my call I would have set the penalty to 42 games - playoffs or regular season. This would make Bertuzzi uneligble for the World Cup.

The Canucks organization is also held responsible:

The Canucks' organization also has been fined $250,000.
"While we are satisfied that the Vancouver organization did nothing to affirmatively encourage Mr. Bertuzzi's actions, and that it in no way condones what transpired, it must nonetheless accept some responsibility for what took place," Mr. Campbell said. "In light of numerous player comments about Mr. Moore following the Vancouver-Colorado game of February 16, we believe the Vancouver organization ultimately bears some responsibility for monitoring and, to the extent necessary, attempting to moderate the focus of its team. While the League provided appropriate advance warnings to both organizations, and while some steps were apparently taken by the Vancouver organization to ensure a proper focus by the players on the game itself, we believe that more could have and should have been done."

So I guess we'll be seeing a $250,000 fine for Philadelphia today as well?

I watched Bertuzzi's press conference and found it very touching. The second and third times I watched it, however, I was questioning the phrases:
"I had no intention on hurting you"
"I don't play the game that way"

I don't know.

Update: Mackenzie said yesterday regarding Bertuzzi and the World Cup...

And what was a given before -- Bertuzzi's inclusion on Team Canada for the World Cup -- is now up in the air. Team Canada can name Bertuzzi as one of its players on may 15th and Bertuzzi will be able to apply for reinstatement prior to the World Cup training camp. If cleared by Bettman, he can play. If not, Team Canada will be permitted to add a replacement.

Cosh states:

"I hope the Canucks still think they're getting good value for money with the universally-hated Marc Crawford behind the bench; I'll eat Rosie O'Donnell's thong if that sadist didn't order Bertuzzi to jump Moore."

Canucks Corners adds:

"If Crawford had directed his players not to fight in the third period - like Granato did - the game stays in bounds and nothing happens."

Damien Cox says:

"Moreover, Bertuzzi's coach, smirking Marc Crawford, should receive an enforced holiday, as well.

He could have called off the dogs in the third with his team down by six goals, but instead kept pushing Brad May and Wade Brookbank over the boards to create more trouble.

He helped create the bloodlust that encouraged Bertuzzi to do something terrible.

The lineup for the rest of the season.... 


Scratches/Alternates: VanAllen, Vermette, Ray
Injury: Varada - if healthy then he moves into the leftside and Langfeld sits

ReddenDe Vries

Scratches/Alternates: Leschychyn, Volchenkov


Rachunek/Giroux for De Vries:
An upgrade in all areas. De Vries will most likely take Rachunek's place alongside Redden.

Hnidy for Nsh 3rd round pick:
An expected move - 9th on the blueline depth chart with a one-way contract

Bertuzzi incident 
First off - read the comments from Canucks fans here at Op Ed, and here at Canucks Corner.

For Senators fans and for those that critized Martin for putting Havlat in the penalty box at the end of Friday's game (Nick Kypreos from Sportsnet was one) there is a lesson to be learned from the Bertuzzi/Moore incident.

Players in the NHL cannot be trusted not to cross the supposed line that differentiates responsible justice from physical assault. Critics of Martin and Havlat will point out that, as a result of the crosscheck to Recchi, Martin Havlat needed to "show-up" and face what was coming to him.

Steve Moore showed up last night. He showed up in a fight in the first period but it wasn't enough in Bertuzzi's mind.

What would have happened if Havlat was on the ice during the end of Friday's game? Would one fight with a Flyer settle the score? Would a Flyer seek out additional retribution that could end in Martin Havlat in the hospital?

Is there something wrong when a parent feels their children should leave the room before the hockey highlights come on TV?

Update: Additional thoughts here by Cosh, and Blogging in Black, Red & Gold

Posted to Jim Elve's Group Election Blog. - you can actually see the logo there


We are proud to present to you the new logo for the Liberal Party of Canada under the leadership of the Right Honourable Paul Martin.

This fresh new design signals our Party's hope to distance ourselves from the past and the scandals that we currently are struggling against. At the same time, the new logo builds on the values that have guided the Liberal Party for more than a century. It incorporates key design elements that have come to symbolize the Party's philosophy of sweeping major issues under the Canadian 'carpet'. This logo is for a new era - not the old era - a new beginning.

Let us be clear that the logo we updated served the Party well. We won three majorities and isn't that what it's all about. Unfortunately, it symbolized the collective character of the Party's leadership - Jean Chretien, Sheila Copps, Alfsonso - a coalition of Canadians rich in patronage, from every walk of life.

Updating a look is always difficult. We have fought elections under our old logo and have become attached to it - and let there be no mistake - good logos often become the visual embodiment of our hopes, dreams, and the massive patronage machine so many have benefited from. In time, our new logo will build on these fundamental Liberal traits.

We continue to proudly include the maple leaf in our design and the use of red as the predominant colour. The "arc" design element represents the carpet that all Liberal mistakes are swept under. This arc, of course, doubles as an "accent aigu" to remind us that our most recent scandal really hurt our chances in Quebec and we should be more careful next time we steal from taxpayers. Finally, the new typeface gives us a crisp, contemporary look.

While the Liberal Party of Canada is extremely proud of our heritage, we are focused on our future. Under Prime Minister Paul Martin, and let us be clear on this point, we will not be under Jean Chretien. This new logo is a symbol of hope that Canadians will forget all of our failures. We trust that you will share this hope in this new Party logo as we move forward.

The real press release can be read here.

Excerpts from Robinson Speech 
Walter Robinson is the former head of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and the CPC Candidate in Ottawa-Orleans. Excerpts from his speech at the nomination meeting last night:


Let me say it again, you deserve better than a Liberal MP who takes this riding for granted. Just look at his recent comments. While assessing his nomination and election chances, he stated: “I have confidence in the community that they will be very supportive and very loyal, as usual."

Herein lies the problem, business “as usual” in the Liberal world has given us a decade of decline and deceit, billions of wasted dollars and a shaken national faith in the ability of the federal government to accomplish societal objectives. On this front, many Canadians have thrown in the towel.

But don’t take my word for it … consider this passage: "Canadians have always prided themselves on the quality of their democratic institutions. Yet … cynicism about public institutions, governments, politicians and the political process is at an all-time high. If government is to play a positive role in society, as it must, honesty and integrity in our political institutions must be restored."

True words indeed, but here’s the irony: This passage is taken from the 1993 Liberal Red Book, which was co-authored by Paul Martin.


Paul Martin was the Finance Minister during the whole sponsorship scandal, and arguably, the most powerful minister in Cabinet since C.D. Howe half a century ago. He was also was vice chair of Treasury Board, a senior Quebec Minister, a Montreal-area MP – where much of the sponsorship money went – and to top it all off, his loyal minions were busy taking over the Liberal party in every province from top to bottom. Yet he wants us to believe that he saw nothing and knew nothing. Do you believe him?

My friends, this leads us to the inevitable question: Can you really trust the Liberal party, or Team Martin, or whatever they’re branding themselves as this week – this gang that presided over the rot of our government and who are now immersed in the stench of corruption – to make things right?

Jettons un coup d’oeil au bilan des libéraux concernant les soins de la santé. Paul Martin savagely amputated transfers to the provinces for health care yet he has the nerve to portray himself as Medicare’s friend. Each time a province dares to innovate to meet local needs, whether it be New Brunswick with extramural hospitals, Quebec’s co-payment drug plan, the former Ontario government’s moves reduce diagnostic imaging waiting lists; the Liberals wagged their fingers, shook their heads and brought the Canada Health Act hammer down.


Passons au fameux déficit démocratique… les propos de Paul Martin ne coïncide pas avec les faits.

During the last decade, the process of closure to cut-off parliamentary debate was used by the Chrétien-Martin regime more than any other government in Canadian history.

Even more disturbing is the fact that closure was invoked by the Martin government on February 8th, a mere six days into his first session as Prime Minister. And when Paul Martin was sworn into office last December, he personally assumed the Chairmanship of four cabinet committees. Power is more concentrated today in the Prime Minister’s office than it ever was under Jean Chrétien.

As for free votes, Paul Martin talks a good game, but he has already said NO to a free vote on the gun registry. But this should come as no surprise really. This is the same Paul Martin who voted against an independent inquiry into the HRDC billion dollar boondoggle and who voted against a private members bill to strengthen the Access to Information Act. This bill was authored by former Liberal MP John Bryden … is it any wonder he now wants to be a Conservative?

So when it comes to the democratic deficit, don’t look to Paul Martin for help, he’s a big part of the problem."

Let me make myself clear.... 
Paul Martin said yesterday during a campaign stop:

"It's incredibly evident that what's happened is that the Alliance has simply taken over the (Progressive) Conservative party,'' Martin said after visiting a local hospital.

"The choice of voting for what was the traditional Conservative party is no longer open to people.''


Incredibly evident. I used to think he was somewhat honest and forthright. It's incredibly evident that he is far from it.

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