Can you see the difference? 
Warren follows up his weekend offer of joining the Liberal team with this:

"No, this doesn't mean I got a phone call (see the previous post); Hell will freeze over before that happens. I posted that offer just to ensure that they couldn't say I didn't extend the olive branch - yet again. All you guys are my witnesses."

While over at Conservative HQ, Harper continues to effectively broaden the party and mend some previous breaks - as told by Chantal Hebert today:

Stephen Harper has dug deep in Red Tory ranks for the transition team he is putting in place to deal with a possible Conservative election victory.

The word in Tory circles is that Harper has given Hugh Segal, a former chief-of-staff to both Ontario premier Bill Davis and prime minister Brian Mulroney, a key role in planning the potential installation of a new Conservative government.


In sharp contrast with Prime Minister Paul Martin who has surrounded himself with a tightly knit group of loyalists, Harper has included his least natural constituencies within the party in his inner circle. So far, the approach has paid off; public divisions between the two feuding families who came together as a result of the recent merger have been remarkably few.

I can see the difference.

Here cometh the Messiah? 
Read Warren's May 29th post - here's the end of it....

So here's the deal, made in the full view of the thousands of folks who check out this web site every day.

If someone important calls me, personally, and says:

1. Paul Martin's senior staff were wrong to state that Jean Chrétien, and the people around him, were criminals; and

2. All federal Liberal Quebec candidates have, to use Stephane Dion's phrasing, "resolutely and unambiguously cease[d] to be separatist and reconcile[d] themselves with the Canadian ideal..."

Then I will pack my bag and fly up to Ottawa to help out in the war room tomorrow morning. No bullshit. PMO switchboard has all my numbers - or they used to, anyway. Your move.

Can this move be made with Herle still in charge of the campaign?

Something sure to be part of the debates... 
From Don Martin's blog:

"Speaking of Lightning, Stephen Harper proved he doesn’t spend all his leisure time reading policy manuals curled up with soft drinks in Stornoway. The Conservative leader won a Calgary Flames hockey trivia quiz on the flight to Calgary, the prize being a pair of tickets anywhere Air Canada flies. This ended journalist dreams — OK, mine — of winning the grand prize and heading for Belize for a scuba diving adventure. To his credit, Harper declined the prize for the runner up who, mercifully, was a tour baggage handler."

That would boost the debate ratings and get the youth involved - a hockey trivia portion - maybe followed by air band competition and war-room battle royal.

Do you think this will help Anne? 
Clark, McLellan: They had it made
Greg Weston learns of a secret plot by the Tories and Liberals to rig key ridings in 2000 election

In what may have been a series of similar deals, sources say the Tories also agreed to "stand down" to help Liberal Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan hang on to her Edmonton seat, which she won by only 733 votes.


A strong Conservative candidate supported by the national party could well have stripped away the 734 Liberal votes from McLellan that would have given the riding to the Canadian Alliance candidate, Betty Unger.

Instead, the Tories acclaimed Rory Koopermans to run, a then 25-year-old political neophyte with almost no money or organization.

Koopermans says he knew nothing of any backroom deal, and that he campaigned hard, even though he had "absolutely no chance" of winning and got barely 6% of the votes cast.

But he does admit he got no financial or organizational help from the national party, and not even an encouraging phone call from the Tory leadership.

Maple Mayhem 
Enter Steyn's new contest for the election here.

My answers:


c) A minority Liberal government




Lib. 125
Con. 111
N.D.P. 23
B.Q. 49





THE CABINET SHAKE-OUT (Ministers to lose their seats)
I picked six as I'm gunning for the big prize:
"If you want to predict five and they're correct, we'll give you The Face Of The Tiger, Mark Steyn From Head To Toe, The Survivial Of Culture, The Future Of The European Past plus a SteynOnline travel mug. If you predict six or more correctly, we'll be so deliriously happy we'll toss in a magnum of champagne to fill your travel mug."

The Honourable Aileen Carroll
Minister for International Cooperation

The Honourable Andrew Mitchell
Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

The Honourable Anne McLellan
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

The Honourable David Pratt
Minister of National Defence

The Honourable Hélène Chalifour Scherrer
Minister of Canadian Heritage

The Honourable Gar Knutson
Minister of State (New and Emerging Markets)

I didn't enter the other Ministers that are likely to lose as you don't get any better prize for guessing more than six:

The Honourable Andy Scott
Minister of State (Infrastructure)

The Honourable Joseph Comuzzi
Minister of State (Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario)

The Honourable Robert Speller
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

The Honourable John Efford
Minister of Natural Resources

A notice for the electorate 
Posted to Jim Elve's Group Election Blog.

Please be aware of the following changes to the Canada Elections Act:

Bill C-24 is now in force.

An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Income Tax Act (political financing) received royal assent on June 19, 2003, and most of its provisions came into force on January 1, 2004. The Act amended the Canada Elections Act to extend disclosure and registration requirements for political entities, to introduce new limits on political contributions, and to impose a ban on contributions from unions and corporations to political parties and leadership contestants. The amending Act also provides for payment of a quarterly allowance to registered political parties, based on the percentage of votes obtained in the previous general election. Under the amending Act, the Criminal Code of Canada was changed to allow for penalties for individuals failing to vote in a general election from $500 to $650, and to allow for the publication of those individuals that did not vote in the general election.

Section 3(2) of the Act provides that any person who does not vote in the general election is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $500.

Section 3(3) of the Act provides that any person who, in addition, failed to vote in the provincial election is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $650.

This notice brought to you by the 'Scare the Vote' campaign of Canada.

Now he's gone too far... 
From Harper's blog:

First game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and while Mr. Harper is a fan of the Calgary Flames, he knew that PEI is Brad Richards' country. He told the Tampa Bay supporters in the audience that they didn't have to vote Liberal to be a Canadian and they didn't have to cheer for Calgary either.

Enough of that kind of talk!

Branding Martin 
Expect to hear this a few more times during the campaign:

Mr. Martin, you can be Canadian without being a Liberal. To suggest otherwise, as you have been doing, brings Canadian politics to a new low. Stop using the Canadian flag to attack your opponents. Try running one up the flagpole of a CSL ship instead.

From this press release.

Bumbling Paul strikes again 
Okay, it's one thing if Reuters calls them Gaffes - it's much more important if Don thinks they are..

RICHMOND HILL, Ontario (Reuters) - With the Canadian election campaign barely under way, Prime Minister Paul Martin made his second set of gaffes in three days on Tuesday as he nearly voiced confidence he would lose his parliamentary majority.

Polls show that he does, in fact, risk slipping into a minority government and that risk seemed to have slipped into his subconscious. In a brief television interview, he told a journalist in French: "I'm very confident that we'll have a mi(nority) -- uh, majority government."

Minutes later, Martin -- a long time Montreal resident -- seemed to forget that he had been born and brought up in Windsor, Ontario, opposite Detroit.

Seeking to give special greetings to his old hometown, he told a Windsor television interviewer: "Tell everybody in London -- tell everybody back home in Windsor, give them my best."

On Sunday, when he called the national election for June 28 after weeks of hesitating on which date to choose, he twice got the date wrong.

Watching some former PCs 
Much has been written of the former PC vote and where it will go - especially in Ontario.

Here's three Ontarians that supported the former PC party:

Alec Saunders is supporting the new party - and this after writing less than two years ago his opposition to the Alliance and it's policies.

Micheal Wilson is a former PC supporter that is very much hoping for the Liberals to defeat the new Conservative party - he writes:
"I'm obviously the only one who thinks the libs can still pull off a majority. Not wishful thinking, just faith in the Canadian voters to flock back to the "safe choice" the instant Harper makes his first dumb comment."

Jonathon supported Scott Brison in the PC leadership race last year and Belinda in the Conservative leadership race - he's fully supporting the new party and from his posts you can easily see how the provincial Liberals hurt the credibility of the federal party.

I wrote on Alec's blog a comment to a 'Red Tory' who wrote: "As a long time progressive conservative, I'm disgusted by what has happened to my party. It isn't the PC party of old, but pretty much just the Alliance/Reform folks. What is this red tory supposed to do?" I suggested the person read the Red Tory Council's website - it's frontpage article right now is a response to Joe Clark by Senator Marjory LeBreton.

Alec expands a bit on his reasons for supporting the new party and adds the following:

"Stephen Harper gets full marks from me for his pragmatic approach to building a more inclusive and electable party. He knows the job he has to do, and so long as I have a voice as a party member I am content. Now let's go teach the Liberals a lesson in humility.

By the way, do you think that Paul Martin has changed his last name to McGuinty? His health care promises certainly sound familiar..."

Conservative plan going well 
I think the series of events in the past three days have gone the Conservative's way.

First, by going to Quebec and Atlantic Canada and getting relatively good press (read Hebert's column today) and crowds, Harper has quieted those that believe he can't or wouldn't be a leader for all of Canada.

Secondly, the Liberals attempts at portraying Harper - as Craig Oliver calls it - the Stephen the Demon strategy - has pretty much failed and forced them to present their Health Care plan yesterday. After the NDP unveils their plan today, it is wide open for the Tories to trump them all - a la the Liberal tax cut plan in 2000 - with a health plan that is paid for by the Conservative revenue projections. It might include more initial money, or a longer term package that has transfers increasing with costs. The Liberals have very little room to critize the Conservative estimates as it again leaves the door wide open for the Tories to remind everyone of the surplus budgets of the last 5 years and how that money has been 'wasted' by the Liberals.

Thirdly, if John Crosbie announces that he's running under the Conservative banner in NFLD it will be a great boost for the party - in Ontario. The former PC voters can only view this, if it happens, as a positive sign of the new party's inclusiveness and for those just looking for a reason to support the new Tories, this might be it.

Campaign of fear continues... 
Martin said today:
"I am not going to deny that in '95 budget that we cut transfers to the provinces," he said. "I didn't want to do it, but the fact is we had to do that. If we had not taken the action that we took in 1995, we would be Argentina today."

Some of Argentina's economic indicators:
GDP - real growth rate: -10.9% (2002 est.)
Population below poverty line: 37% (2001 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 41% (2002, yearend)
Unemployment rate: 21.5%

Right on Paul - you saved us from that.

Bubble bursting 
David Frum is writing a bit about the election from his National Review blog and will be on CTV most nights it appears. He mentioned this line that Jack Layton used this past weekend - pretty funny:

"Referring to the corporate background of Canada’s new Liberal prime minister – the surprisingly ineffective Paul Martin – he quipped that Martin’s debut was the worst IPO Canada had ever seen."

Hmmm - more corporate analogies - the dramatic rise and fall of Canada's darling - Nortel/Martin? The bubble has burst.

Harper in Brockville 
Stephen Taylor was at Harper's Brockville stop and has some thoughts - and an update on Andrew Coyne.

Update: Or you can go to Coyne's website and get an update from the man himself!

Change it up a little... 
I'm a little disappointed to see Eric Sorensen on the Conservative bus for CBC this time. He followed Stockwell Day around last time.

Maybe they'll change it up a bit and have the correspondents move around during the weeks ahead.

What network do you watch? - I always seem to tune first to CBC and then catch a little of the CTV coverage. I haven't watched any of the Global work yet.

Martin has first Gaffe of the campaign? 
From Reuters:

"A general election will be held on Monday the 21st, the 28th of Jan-, the 28th of June," he told reporters in French, quickly correcting himself with a laugh.

I'm sending it into Don at RevMod. Great start Paul - I wonder why they only let him answer 4 questions?

Wells claims leftist media? 
I'm not going to dwell on this but I thought it interesting enough to ponder for a second.

On his blog, after talking about the 'relaxed and jokey' press conference Harper had to start the campaign, Wells writes:
"For now, but I think not for long, Harper's likely to get an easier ride from his bus. Again, it has less to do with politics — I can pretty nearly guarantee you there are more NDP voters than Conservative voters travelling with Harper — and more to do with the fact that the hivemind hasn't decided what the Harper narrative is yet."

When people complain of the 'leftist' media - it's a cliche - and they get labelled as a conspirazoidal rightwing nut. Sure, many go way to far and want to blame every mistake or unflattering analysis on the media personality's ideology - but let's realize the little bit of truth in some of those claims.

In my opinion, it's going to be good for Harper to have media personalities leaning towards the left - they'll be more likely to ask Harper the questions (what about health, what about health) that, if he's good enough - Prime Ministerial enough - will convince Jane and John Q Public that he is the best leader available. That, afterall, is the Liberal's greatest strength at this point - Martin is viewed as the best 'leader'. Much of that strength will be lost as the public sees Martin as most of us have seen him - slightly bumbling, prone to exagerations - not the man we expected to see. This won't be enough for a lot of people to vote for the Conservatives - Harper needs to prove himself and having a left-leaning ridership on his campaign bus might help him do it.

Update: Read Pogge's thoughts on "the bias of individual reporters and the institutional bias that may exist at a particular newspaper or television network"

The campaign starts today. 
Here's how I calculated my guess for The Bow James Bow Election Pool:

Date:June 28, 2004

Lib. 26 59 20 20 125
Con. 0 42 61 8 111
N.D.P. 0 5 14 4 49
B.Q. 49 0 0 0 23

A new blog - just in time for Christmas... 
A new perspective from Calgary - CalgaryGrit - Bart is a Liberal - has some great thoughts - and is the author of this fantastic ad - if only Mastercard would allow it...

Contracts to Earnscliffe…60 million dollars
HRDC boondoggle…1 billion dollars
Gun Registry…2 million dollars…err…1 billion dollars
CSL government grants…130,000$...err…161 million dollars
Adscam Contracts…100 million dollars
Kicking the Liberals out of Ottawa…priceless!
There are some things money can buy. Unfortunately for Paul Martin, your vote is not one of them.

You deserve better – Canada deserves better. Vote Conservative.

One quick thought: Is it just me or does it seem that there are more NDP/Liberal bloggers in Alberta than Conservative ones?

Liberals try to associate Harper with neo-Nazis 
I never heard about it until I read Warren Kinsella's article in the Post today.

Those types of accusations or unproven associations are not acceptable and good on Warren to bring it to our attention.

I'm sending my guess into Don at Revolutionary Moderation now. 36 day campaign, average number of Gaffe's per week for each leader/party, etc - I'm going to need to use Excel for this one!

What seemed impossible only 3 months ago... 
I posted the tables below in mid February - poll numbers (we were thinking a May 16 election at that time) that would lead to a Conservative minority. With the Quebec numbers being worse for the Liberals now things change a wee bit - the Conservatives don't need quite the number of seats in the other regions as they would otherwise have needed. One thing that stands out in the latest poll - the numbers in Atlantic Canada need to improve for the Conservatives.

Also, while it would be a Conservative minority in the house, it doesn't mean it would be a Conservative minority government as they would have to arrange something with another party.

Date:Feb 16, 2004May 16, 2004
Firm:Ipsos-ReidCons Minority

Lib. 32 52 16 16 116
Con. 0 46 64 12 122
N.D.P. 0 5 11 4 20
B.Q. 43 0 0 0 43

(Note that I was using the 301 seat house)

Ontario poll 
Today in the Post:

"The Conservatives are now virtually neck-and-neck in Ontario at 39% to the Liberals' 42%. Only in Toronto do the Liberals hold a strong lead.

"In the electoral heartland of Ontario, the Liberals face new competition from the Conservatives that they have not experienced in many seasons," Mr. Winn said. "For sure the Conservatives will not be shut out in Ontario this time," he said, adding there is a very good chance the Tories will pick up seats in Eastern Ontario and in the suburban ring outside Toronto.


In addition to anger over the provincial budget -- where the Liberals imposed a health care "premium" on taxpayers after pledging not to raise taxes -- Mr. Winn said Ontario voters could be reacting to a series of negative Liberal advertisements that attack Mr. Harper.

He noted that Ontarians have a recent history of responding negatively toward the source of attack ads, not their target. When Ernie Eves unveiled a series of commercials targeting Dalton McGuinty last fall, Tory fortunes plummeted and the Liberals rode to a strong majority win.

"There's ample evidence these kinds of ads can backfire," Mr. Winn said."

Is this real - 39% for the Tories and 42% for the Liberals - that's an almost unbelievable swing from the poll taken last week and released by Ipsos this week:

"In Ontario, the Liberals lead with 49% support (unchanged), with the Conservatives following at 27% (up 1 point), with the NDP trailing at 17% (up 1 point)."

The COMPAS numbers represent about 40 seats going to the Conservatives in Ontario. That should light some fires under all the parties in this province.

Selling to the electorate 
I looked at the pdf presentation that Warren Kinsella shared on his blog. It was interesting but the last section, which it appears that Warren presented himself, annoyed me - it was this....

pg 1: So What? Warren Kinsella
pg 2: Campaigns Matter Facing the challenge
pg 3: Campaigns Matter Health and education trump everything else
pg 4: Campaigns Matter The ballot question: Heath and education first, deficit later
pg 5: Campaigns Matter The budget can be sold

It's the last sentence - actually the last word - sold - that bugs me. Sure, Navigator is in the consulting business and would want some PR work to do that selling but I don't think the government should be looking at 'selling' things to the people.

Inform us - explain your reasons - but don't start from the slant that you are selling us something - I'm not interested.

Attacking Harris 
Martin and the Liberals think the way to deflect any anger that results from the Ontario budget is to blame Mike Harris.

Ontario gave Harris two majorities - do you think Ontario will like to be called stupid for re-electing him in 1999. Yes, it was time for the Tories to go last year but to blame what McGuinty did on Tuesday on Harris' 'draconian' cuts is a stretch - look up the definition of 'draconian cuts' in the dictionary and you see Paul Martin reading from the 1995 budget.

I guess SARS, the blackout, and whatever else helped to damage Ontario in the last year was Harris' fault. Strange tactics from our leader.

The place to grow - Ontari-ari-ari-oooooo 
Do you have the Ontario theme song in your head?

From the Globe today in talking about the latest poll numbers that show a Liberal majority if the election was held:

"Ontario is the key, Mr. Bricker said, and where the fight between Liberals and Conservatives is likely to be the most rough-and-tumble.

The latest poll shows the Liberals with 49-per-cent support, the Conservatives at 27 per cent and the NDP at 17 per cent, little changed from the last poll. That translates, Ipsos-Reid calculates, into victories for the Liberals in more than 90 of the province's 106 seats.

The Conservatives, with their present support, would gain perhaps 10 seats, mostly in Eastern Ontario.

But at 30 per cent provincewide, the Conservatives could double their seat total in Ontario to 20, according to Ipsos-Reid. About 33-per-cent support could mean 30 seats or more, perhaps as many as 40 because the gain is focused on the so-called 905 ring of suburban ridings outside Toronto and beyond, where Liberal MPs are vulnerable to challenges from a united-right party.

As recently as five weeks ago, the Conservatives stood at 32 per cent in Ontario.

"This whole election really swings on five points in Ontario," Mr. Bricker said. "A small change would have a big impact, driving the Liberals into a minority."

Five points, eh. And this poll was taken over a week ending on Monday... And the budget came out on Tuesday...

It's going to be battle.

Did the Liberals and Tories hire SNL writers? 
Is this and this (Ad Wars) starting to remind you of a Saturday Night Live skit?

I'm not complaining - it's pretty entertaining.

Response from Joe Clark 
I hesitate from posting this because I didn't ask if I could publicize it but I'm going to because it's relevant, not really personal and follows up on my letter I sent last month.

To recap, last month I wrote to Joe Clark stating my confusion and disappointment over his statements regarding Harper/Martin/Broadbent. Here is his response:

From: Clark, Joe - M.P. [mailto:Clark.J@parl.gc.ca]
Sent: Wednesday, May 19, 2004 11:56 AM
To: Don
Subject: RE: Disappointed and confused

This to acknowledge, and thank you for your e-mail criticizing my comments about Mr. Martin and Mr. Harper. Disagreement is at the heart of democracy, and you hold your view strongly, as do I. In my view, the real challenge will be after the election, because the country needs at least one national party that is able to draw Canadians together.

Yours sincerely,

Joe Clark

I need to think about what his last sentence means...

CBC Bus Blog 
Tod Mafin commented on the E-Group and mentioned the CBC Bus Blog (expect the URL to change soon) - I guess it will kick into high gear on Sunday!

PS: How much will it cost to drive all these campaign busses around the country? A smart party would start in the West and get some westerly wind helping it... and avoid Northern Ontario and those winding roads through - what - about 2 ridings worth 20 hrs of driving? - cut through Michigan to get to the vote rich Southern Ontario areas quicker! Kidding of course - just drive through the North during the night!

Look out! Here comes the mud! 
Posted to Jim Elve's Group Election Blog.

The Liberals started with a series of ads and stories on their Stephen Harper Said website yesterday. Today, the Conservatives shot back with Team Martin Said. The Tory press release says:

"The Conservative Party of Canada today responded to Paul Martin’s attack ads and website that attempt to smear Opposition Leader Stephen Harper.

We’re not surprised by the tactic, because Paul Martin’s advisors made it clear that the Liberal election strategy would be to “demonize” Stephen Harper. Paul Martin has obviously given up trying to earn Canadians’ votes. Instead, he’s trying to scare them with personal attacks and innuendo.

Paul Martin’s decision to go down the road of negative campaigning is a sad commentary on him and on the state of the once-proud Liberal Party. Paul Martin can’t seem to find anything to run for, so he is desperately trying to find something to run against. It has given us a greater appreciation for what Jean Chretien had to put up with for ten years.

Paul Martin’s attempt at misinformation will ultimately fail because Canadians want to be governed by inspiration, not intimidation and because “Team Martin” has their own series of statements on the same issues they identify.

The Conservative response site can be viewed at www.TeamMartinSaid.ca or http://www.conservative.ca/teammartinsaid/

We can play “tit-for-tat” all campaign if Paul Martin really wants, but we would encourage his high-priced team of strategists and lobbyists to aim higher. Canadians deserve better and they will demand better on election day.

Get your rain suits on - this is going to get dirty.

Update: Thanks to Andrew Spicer for the Liberal URL.

Activity at the E-Group 
Check out my thoughts on the Election advertising decision handed down today.

Also, James Bow wrote an interesting piece - I don't know quite what to say about it other than that I voted for the Green Party in the provincial election for some of the reasons he is advocating but I'm quite happy with the direction Harper and Conservatives are heading.

Harper in Maclean's 
Since I critized Maclean's a couple months ago for not covering Harper's leadership victory, I should give them some credit perhaps for the nice column in this week's mag.

Here's a bit of it:


So he's not just out to beat Paul Martin, but to put an end to the Liberals' status as the default position of federal politics: the party that rules unless something weird happens. For more than a century, the Conservatives' glory days have amounted to mere breaks between Liberal regimes. John Diefenbaker was a wild-eyed outsider whose charisma never fortified the Tories for the long haul. Brian Mulroney's alliance of Quebec nationalists and alienated Westerners looked more promising, but it fell apart with the rise of Reform and the Bloc Québécois. Despite that dispiriting history, Harper contends that enough right-of-centre raw material exists -- out there in the electorate -- to cultivate something more lasting. "The task I've set out is what no leader since John A. Macdonald has done," he declares. "Conservatives have won elections, but they haven't created a permanent governing coalition."

Until recently, few would have taken Harper seriously as a potential architect of such sweeping political change. He has never been the sort of spellbinder who inspires grand dreams. In fact, he has sometimes seemed to epitomize the frustrating fate of marginalized Canadian right-wingers. Harper appeared on the political stage in 1987 as a promising young policy thinker in Preston Manning's new Reform Party. Yet they never quite saw eye to eye. Manning was a populist who often downplayed Reform's core conservatism, talking up the need to reach out to disgruntled Liberals and New Democrats, and he was closely identified with Reform's rural Prairie roots. Harper argued for courting urban, middle-class voters working in the private sector, to create a Canadian version of the more broadly based movements of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.

Yet Harper's vision is no neo-conservative import. It emerged out of a uniquely Canadian journey. Born in Toronto in 1959, he grew up in its suburbs, where as a teenager he admired Pierre Trudeau. After high school, he moved to Alberta to work in the oil fields, and then studied economics at the University of Calgary. His anger at witnessing first-hand the damage Trudeau's National Energy Program did to Alberta in the early 1980s was a turning point for him.


Insider vs Outsider 
Interesting read on Debbye's page on the UNSCAM/Martin/Desmaris links.

One of Martin's biggest weakness is his insider/old boys appearance. Layton and the NDP were really attacking one part of it with the CSL tax issues but it hasn't been really exposed to the extent it could be.

Layton and Harper both consider themselves outsiders to the power players in the country and could make a lot of hay off of Martin's apparent ties to such global elites and his wealth.

Just one many possible tacks for the opposition parties in the upcoming campaign.

I was hoping to win the book... 
I wrote a letter to Steyn after reading his column on Martin's Norway/Normandy mix-up. It didn't make the letter of the week but did get on the Mailbox page.

My thoughts on Martin's mistake can be read below.

Ontario Liberal Budget 
Tomorrow's McGuinty budget could really affect the Federal Election numbers in Ontario.

The headline in the Toronto Star was "Liberal budget to carry tax bite":

"...the Liberals are expected to resurrect the health-care premiums....
A hike in sales tax on a host of luxury items is also expected along with the closing of a number of sales tax loopholes. Sorbara has said tobacco taxes will rise as will the levy on beer and alcohol."

The health care premium will really confuse people when they hear Martin talking about protecting the system from fees and stopping people from having to pay for services - excuse me bud - I just got slapped with a $1000 bill from McGuinty - what are you saying?

This should be worth a 3-5 point swing towards the Conservatives on the Federal level. I'm sure we'll see some polls at the end of this week as we head into the expected announcement.

Problems with contacting the PMO 
I wanted to find out how our government and more specifically, the Earnscliffe Strategy Group, worked, so after Googling for a bit I finally came up with the addresses - www.earnscliffe.ca and got this:

You are not authorized to view this page
The Web server you are attempting to reach has a list of IP addresses that are not allowed to access the Web site, and the IP address of your browsing computer is on this list.

Please try the following:

Contact the Web site administrator if you believe you should be able to view this directory or page.
HTTP Error 403.6 - Forbidden: IP address of the client has been rejected.
Internet Information Services (IIS)

I guess they aren't looking for business.

More lines on the Canadian invasion of Norway 
I thought I would follow up my thoughts on Martin's error with Mark Steyn's:

"A year and a half ago, the Defence Minister, John McCallum, referred to Vimy as “Vichy”, confusing the First World War bloodbath in which Canada came of age with the Second World War collaborationist regime in southern France. A telling error? Of course not, perish the thought. Now the Prime Minister can’t even tell us what country our fighting men stormed the beaches of in the operation that marked the apogee of our military power, and indeed of our broader influence in world affairs. We’re not talking about peripheral skirmishes here, but two of the events – Vimy and Juno – central to our national story. Or they were.

It would be inconceivable for Tony Blair to stand up in public and reveal his – and his staff’s – ignorance of Trafalgar or Waterloo. But when a Canadian Prime Minister does it, somehow it’s no big deal. No doubt by the time you read this the CBC will have moved on to reruns of that encounter from four years ago when Rick Mercer persuaded Governor Bush that the Prime Minister of Canada was called “M Poutine”. Hilarious!

I'm sticking with this Norway thing because I am surprised by the lack of coverage - was there an official clarification or even an apology? Should there be? Should we just ignore it?

James said that he sometimes gets Switzerland and Sweden mixed up when talking about one of those countries or their inhabitants and I'll admit that I switch Jack Nicholson and Nicklaus' names but I know that I've used the wrong name pretty soon after I say it and correct myself and I would guess that James is conscious of his error as well.

Martin's speech started with the two references to Normandy:

"As a country, we are entering one of the most pivotal decades in our history. And as Canadians, we will have important decisions to make.

Today, in this short period of time allotted to me, I would like to talk to you about the future of Canada’s defence in a complex and changing world.

And as I do so, here at this historic base, we might just want to remember the great events that we will be commemorating later this June.

Sixty years ago, Canadians were working alongside their British and American allies planning for the invasion of Normandy and the liberation of Europe. Freedom, Justice, and democracy hung in the balance as the largest armada in history steamed toward the coast of France on the eve of D-Day.

The maple leaf was very much in evidence on June 6th, 1944 as citizen-soldiers from across Canada – farm boys, office clerks, fishermen and students – surged out of their landing craft onto Juno beach and into history. Our troops advanced further inland than any other allied force that day. And by sunset, Canadians from across our land began to grasp the scale of the initial victory and the sacrifices that lay ahead.

Today, it is every bit as important that Canada step forward – just as we did during the invasion of Normandy. For the values of freedom, justice, and democracy that inspired Canadian actions 60 years ago are just as critical now as they were then.


The more I think about it, the more I don't understand his error. The most plausible explanation is that he was just reading his speech and not paying attention to the actual content - and the visual similiarity of Norway and Normandy caused the mental switch.

So, if that is the reason - what does that say about the man?

The Vets are not amused 
In the Star:

"If Mr. McCallum thinks the guys who landed on D-Day are a bunch of dummies, he's got another think coming," said Cliff Chadderton, of the National Council of Veteran Associations.

"To offer a D-Day veteran $1,000, it's a feeble attempt to buy them off."

With less than a month before the anniversary ceremonies, there's little time for veterans to get a passport or find accommodation, he said.

"There isn't a room available anywhere along the 50-mile coast where we landed. Where are they going to put these people up?" said Chadderton, himself a D-Day veteran.

"It's a disaster in the making," Chadderton said. "If we had planned D-Day the way they plan this 60th anniversary, we never would have gotten ashore."

I disagree - they would have gotten ashore fine. Just that it would have been here, not in France.

Answering Jay 
Mr. Jardine asks "Whaddya say Don? Do I have to vote NDPinko just to extract the well-planted Liberal tush from this seat or do the united Cons even have a shot here?"

Well, here's my analysis of the Ottawa Centre riding...

The numbers from 2000 (transposed to the 2004 election boundries) were this:


If I take the latest Ipsos-Reid poll (May 7) we see the following numbers in Ontario as a whole compared to the 2000 election:

Ontario2000 Election

OntarioMay 7 Poll

Now, translating these numbers into voter movement I calculate the following:


And the resulting vote would be:


which doesn't look good for Mike Murphy and the Conservatives in the riding and would lead to another Liberal victory with Ed and the NDP finishing a strong second place.

What has to happen for the Conservatives in order for them to win is to see voter movement look like this:


resulting in...


Is it possible? Well, it would mean the NDP vote would have to fall from it's current level in Ontario - of course including Ed's popularity here. While NDP support could drop provincially, the rise of Ed fever in Ottawa - I actually saw an Ed car flag on the Queensway this morning - will keep Ed way above the provincial numbers. Unless something dramatic happens - and I ain't talking about questionable endorsements - Ed will dramatically raise the NDP vote.

Perhaps if the Liberal support fails completely the Conservatives would have a chance. Mahoney can be connected to the sponsorship scandal and is a rookie.

The other thing to consider -
Can you stragetically vote for a differenct party knowing that with the new election law that you are giving that party campaign funds? Sure, it's only a dollar and a half but, in this case, that could contribute to another orange sign on your street in 2009!

Conclusion - don't make up your mind yet but if you are determined to see the Liberal candidate lose you better start mentally preparing yourself for putting an 'X' beside Broadbent.

Say what?? 
I received some new information on Martin's Norway/Normandy error from last month. I had assumed that the mistake was in the speech and those that wrote or checked the speech deserved some of the blame.

Well, I received a message today stating that the speech text did in fact say Normandy and the mistake was Martin's alone - a mistake he made twice during the talk.


The question I am now asking myself is this - is it possible that he actually thought Norway was invaded on D-Day? Is it?

Martin, WMD, Iraq, and Terrorists 
Well, what do you make of these paragraphs....

PRIME MINISTER Paul Martin says he believes Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and they've fallen into terrorists' hands. Martin said the threat of terrorism is even greater now than it was following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, because terrorists have acquired nuclear, chemical and biological weapons from the toppled Iraqi leader.

"The fact is that there is now, we know well, a proliferation of nuclear weapons, and that many weapons that Saddam Hussein had, we don't know where they are," Martin told a crowd of about 700 university researchers and business leaders in Montreal. "That means terrorists have access to all of that."

According to the Star, this ad only cost $2,500 to create.

I think it's pretty good value. But don't forget - Canadian's don't like attack ads - but it is four or five years before the election!

Scott Feschuk - Post undercover 
There can only be one explanation to Martin's recent blunders. His speechwriter, former Postie Scott Feschuk, is sabotaging his election plans.

First, the invasion of Norway:

"Sixty years ago, Canadians were working alongside their British and American allies planning for the invasion of Norway and the liberation of Europe," Martin said without batting an eye.

Now, as pointed out by Paul Wells, China in the Southern Hemisphere:

"Is the idea of a G-20 realistic? More and more, I believe that it’s feasible. My discussions on the G-20 with the European Commission have sparked some interest. The same was true of my discussions with the Presidents of Brazil, Mexico and South Africa. The two key countries are the two major powers of the North and South, the United States and China."

Surely this cannot be a simple mistake or typo. Day was ripped to shreds when he made his Niagara Falls North/South mistake - a PM could expect no more latitude - or longitude for that matter. A secret deal between a speechwriter and his fact checker - a small matter of convincing the PM aide that Norway was invaded and that China is suffering from continental drift - and the damage is done.

Congratulations to Feschuk and the Post.

UPDATE: Hold on, I saw a comment at The Shotgun that the South is refering to the developing world - makes sense I guess but come on!

O Scamada! We lay down for thee. 
Posted to Jim Elve's Group Election Blog.

Kevin suggested on the Election Blog that these arrests might bring some closure on the scandal as it relates to the election. Closure? Will this, and an interim Public Accounts Commitee report, be all we know before we go to the polls?

They have been charged - the scandal is now only beginning in my opinion.

What will be heard during a preliminary hearing?

What does this do to the public accounts committee and it's report?

The gun registry?? Now, those cost overruns will be tied to fraud - not just incompetence. How many questions will that raise?

And this was all from stuff before 2000 - initiated by the Auditor General's 2002 report - not from the recent AG's report! It is only the beginning!

Imagine a debate - the scandal question is brought forth..
How is Martin going to say that he got to the bottom of the problem?

Will more charges be laid during the campaign? Imagine the impact of seeing a Liberal 'friend' being led away in handcuffs.

(credit to Mark Steyn for the fantastic O Scamada slogan)

Thanks for the lift 
A co-worker's wife is related to Naji al Kuwaiti, the Mississauga man that was released last week in Iraq.

Al Kuwaiti was making his own arrangements to fly out of Iraq when a Canadian representative suggested a flight to Jordan with a body guard. When al Kuwaiti met them to fly out of Baghad they charged him for the flight/guard - he did not realize that he was going to have to pay for it. The family just finished coming up with the $100,000 US to have him released.

Making the Cut 
Awesome. A new reality TV series that will be on CBC in the fall - Making the Cut:

"For every Canadian who steps on the ice and shares the dream of playing in the Pros, this is your chance to make that dream come true."

Bowman and Keenan will be making the final selections at a camp. I wonder why they didn't see if Don Cherry was available? This from the rules:

All participants will be required to wear CSA approved equipment including helmet and, at minimum, a half face shield or visor.
Fighting will not be tolerated and will result in immediate disqualification.

Oh, and it costs $55 to try out.

Anyway, there could be some great storybook endings to this.

Iraq revisted 
A great debate going on in the Comments of an earlier post. It's Lyle vs Real Mike - bringing up all the classics of the Iraq debate. I've hesitated from talking too much about Iraq but I tend to agree with Mike's line of thinking. I think the overused lines of "illegal war" and "Bush's lies" do need to be taken to task the odd time.

Keep at it boys!

Harper's progress 
James Bow predicted in January that the Conservatives would get 40 seats in the next election. This was before the AG's report and the subsequent performances by Martin since then. Now, James is saying

"It's important to note that although Stephen Harper is doing all the right things in terms of campaigning, he has not opened up a McGuinty-sized lead in the opinion polls; he's still ten points behind Martin in national support. He too has a lot of history behind him and Canadians, especially those Liberals who are holding their nose and clinging to their party, remember it."

This is far from the disaster that James and many others saw when the merger was announced and I think Stephen Harper deserves a lot of credit for it.

Lawrence Martin wrote today in the Globe that Harper and the Conservatives "have generated little enthusiasm, leaving the impression (likely an illusion) that the Liberals can win yet another election by default."

It is true that Harper hasn't been in the public eye. It seems that Harper has worked diligently at producing a united team within caucus, released a policy handbook that is going to help the candidates stay on the same page, and responded to the Liberal's initial negative attacks quickly and efficiently.

Despite the Liberals attempts to have Harper start denying accusations which invariably lead people to wonder if it isn't all true - it has been the Liberals themselves walking the tightrope - trying to explain what they really are or aren't supporting. This isn't all Liberal mistakes - it must include proper handling of the Conservative team by Harper.

There is a right time and a wrong time to present policy, give your vision, and release your leader onto the public. While some are complaining that they haven't picked the right time yet and taken advantage of the Liberal slide - more importantly, they haven't picked a wrong time yet. And for a party that had so many things that could have gone wrong, it is a good thing.

Where is Andrew Coyne? 
I thought the last comment was pretty funny:

"Andrew, quick, come here, I need you! I'm so desparate for insight that I'm going to Kinsella's site."

Martin's decline has only begun 
The problem with a bounce is that after you go up, you are going to go back down.

Could you imagine six months ago reading things like what Paul Wells wrote today - which I think includes the first slag at Martin being too old:

".... The non-decision decision is becoming such a stock weapon in the Martin arsenal that he is the only man in Canada who thinks he's getting away with it. The non-decision decision joins the theya culpa and the substantive discussion about slogans (he advocated, to a room full of foreign-policy experts in Washington last week, that world leaders "get down to brass tacks and think outside the box." Hooray. Our prime minister is Darren Stevens from Bewitched) as the main weapons of the Martin arsenal.

It is fantasy to imagine this will ever change. The man is past retirement age. He is who he is going to be.
Jane's piece says Martin doesn't appear in his own ads. That makes sense; there's nobody there."

Or could you have forseen the media starting to wear thin on Martin's double speak and truth aversion in a photo op at the Princess Margaret Hospital:

Prime Minister Paul Martin warned against "chequebook" health-care yesterday at a campaign-style event in a Toronto hospital that offers basic health procedures after hours paid for under private contracts outside the Ontario Health Insurance Plan.
"I'm not going to comment on specific cases for which I don't have the information," Mr. Martin said when asked whether such contracts violate his concept of a publicly financed medicare system.
But he would not explain who, specifically, is advocating chequebook health care.
"Obviously there are a number of people right across the country who do. And I'm just telling you that I don't agree. . . . I'm not going to get into partisan politics," Mr. Martin said.
"I don't want to play politics with this," he said.
In Ottawa, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper charged that the Liberals have a vague medicare policy of attacking private delivery of health care while allowing it to continue.
"We have a government here that doesn't know about its own policy and talks about a 10-year plan nobody has ever seen," Mr. Harper said. He said as far as he is concerned, it does not matter how health care is delivered as long as a public medicare plan pays.

And look how the Liberals are so concerned that they are using "Scary Movie" as the template for their election ads:

"....A second ad on Mr. Harper's Iraq position focuses on the leader's appearance on Fox TV last year.
"In an interview with an American TV network, Stephen Harper said he endorsed the war in Iraq and said he was speaking, quote, for the silent majority of Canadians. . . .," says a male narrator as music plays darkly.
"Does this sound like someone we can trust to lead the country?"
Seven of the ads under consideration feature either a still picture of Mr. Harper in the House of Commons or a close-up of his face.
All are accompanied by menacing and dramatic music and a male voice quoting Mr. Harper. ...."

Of course these ads are designed to combat the Liberal's problem of a Martin that is failing to come close to expectations - a 'non-political' friend told me he was surprised to find out that Martin was "a bumbling fool" - versus a Harper that is rising. John Ivison wrote this in the Post (transcribed by Warren K):

Similarly, attempts to paint Stephen Harper as "dangerous" may backfire if the public doesn't recognize the portrayal. When he smiles, he may look a little too much like Bruce the Shark from Finding Nemo for some people's liking, but one source who has done polling on Harper's "negatives" said that he has a "surprisingly high net positive."

And lastly, for a brief summary, read this from Larry Zolf:

".....Martin shows no natural capacity for being the prime minister," says my Liberal insider. "The people who work for Martin are the worst in history. They're worse than incompetent. Twice they let Martin in a speech praise the 60th anniversary of Canadian troops landing in Norway rather than in Normandy. That's real incompetence."

If Martin waits till the fall he'll be lucky to win. The longer he waits the more he runs the risk of the people seeing the emperor has no clothes. ...."

Jim Elve's response to the Treasury Board 
Jim has posted his response to the Treasury Board.

He lays out his arguments against the specific items that the cease and desist order is based on and then he states the reason why most people find the government's order to be in very poor taste:

"BlogsCanada is a cultural resource which showcases over 7,800 personal websites that are published by Canadians. It is not a commercial venture and does not turn a profit. The site is operated as a public service at some considerable expense to me."

What Jim has done with BlogsCanada is really great - what a waste of time this cease and desist order is - shame on the Treasury Board.

Save "The Donald" 
Of course I'm talking about the SaveDonCherry.ca petition!

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