If you could vote 100 times in a real election... 
the NDP might do a lot better.

I was a little ticked to see Douglas win last night. The CBC haven't provided any breakdown of the vote but it's likely to not be significantly different than what was shown a week or so ago when Fox was leading every age group except the over 50 crowd.

We know that the NDP were the most active in their instructions to members. So - it seems to me that biggest thing this contest taught us is that the NDP is made up of a lot of old boomers.

Consider that the CBC only received 1.1 million votes - over the entire month or so. I would guess that Douglas got around 300,000 to win it (they should have used a STV system so the winner would have needed a true majority). Say, of the 100,000 or so NDP members, 5,000 of them got into it for Douglas - they could each vote up to 100 times or so over the series (assume 50) - that would give him 250,000 votes.

Also, it was nice to see most of the advocates going to Fox when their guy was ousted. It wouldn't have surprised me to see more go to Fox if they wouldn't have made CBC look bad by doing it.

Anyway, congratulations to Jack and the NDP - you won. Fox couldn't finish the job in 1980 and you made sure he didn't do it in 2004.

Fox Rocks 
I watched the first hour of The Greatest Canadian on CBC last night - the TV was booked for Desperate Housewives at 9pm.

The part of the show - I think the first debate section - where REX MURPHY and GEORGE STROUMBOULOPOULOS debated who was the greatest leader - Trudeau or Douglas - was very entertaining. It was fantastic to see a gang up session on Trudeau with PAUL GROSS leading the charge; "I lived in Alberta when the National Energy Policy came through. . . . The fact is that Trudeau sowed seeds of hatred towards central Canada in various regions of this country that exist to this day!" Rex defended his guy as best he could.

I found, during the debate on who was the most passionate, MELISSA AUF DER MAUR to be very, very annoying. Her argument was that her candidate, David Suzuki, was the most passionate because he saw the 'big picture'. All these other people were way too focused on Canada. Every rebuttal was her rolling her eyes and saying 'Arrgh - don't you get it - Suzuki sees we're on a little blue planet!'

SOOK-YIN LEE, Terry Fox's advocate, was good but she wasn't aggressive enough in my opinion. She could have went negative on Douglas - bringing up his views on homosexuality and sterilization. It would have been sweet if she had of said, after Broadbent brought up that Trudeau ran for the NDP in Montreal, that Douglas would have been kicked out of the NDP today for his views.

I think Douglas has it wrapped up and will be announced as 'The Greatest Canadian' tonight. Layton will be trying to figure out how he can make hay on Douglas' title.

What does it mean? Not much I suppose but it would have been nice to see Fox win.

Last plug for Terry Fox 
I believe, of the 10 people in the contest, Terry Fox should get your vote as the Greatest Canadian. Don't let the NDP run roughshod over the process - from their newsletter out today:
Don’t let Trudeau topple Tommy. This is the last chance to vote for ‘The Greatest Canadian’
This is it - the home stretch. We are now in the final window to vote for Tommy as the Greatest Canadian. This is your last chance to vote.

Remember, you can:

Vote 5 times each on every phone line you have access to (home, work, cell,
friend’s house, neighbour’s house, etc).


Vote once from each e-mail address you have access to.


Vote once by text messaging from each cell phone you have access to.

Phone: 1-866-303-VOTE (8683)
E-mail: http://cbc.ca/greatest/vote/en/signin.jsp
Text Messaging: CBC10

Now, I don't want Trudeau to win either but it's a two horse race at this point - Terry and Tommy. The NDP couldn't come out and say - don't let that evil Terry Fox win.

If you hadn't read what I wrote before, it is here. Here is a letter from Terry....

Terry’s Letter Requesting Support For His Run

The night before my amputation, my former basketball coach brought me a magazine with an article on an amputee who ran in the New York Marathon. It was then I decided to meet this new challenge head on and not only overcome my disability, but conquer it in such a way that I could never look back and say it disabled me.
But I soon realized that that would only be half my quest, for as I went through the
16 months of the physically and emotionally draining ordeal of chemotherapy, I was rudely awakened by the feelings that surrounded and coursed through the cancer clinic. There were faces with the brave smiles, and the ones who had given up smiling. There were feelings of hopeful denial, and the feelings of despair. My quest would not be a selfish one. I could not leave knowing these faces and feelings would still exist, even though I would be set free from mine. Somewhere the hurting must stop... and I was determined to take myself to the limit for this cause.
From the beginning the going was extremely difficult, and I was facing chronic ailments foreign to runners with two legs in addition to the common physical strains felt by all dedicated athletes.
But these problems are now behind me, as I have either out-persisted or learned to
deal with them. I feel strong not only physically, but more important, emotionally. Soon I will be adding one full mile a week, and coupled with weight training I have been doing, by next April I will be ready to achieve something that for me was once only a distant dream reserved for the world of miracles – to run across Canada to raise money for the fight against cancer.
The running I can do, even if I have to crawl every last mile.
We need your help. The people in cancer clinics all over the world need people who believe in miracles.
I am not a dreamer, and I am not saying that this will initiate any kind of definitive answer or cure to cancer. But I believe in miracles. I have to.

Terry Fox, October 1979

Our Place in the World 

I've asked the Flea if I could join the Red Ensign Bloggers.

There is an attitude in this country that is disturbing. Whether it's the young people I watched during the Federal Election say "We don't need a military - we're peacekeepers" or boomers that are so anti-American that any suggestion of increasing our place in the world and to stand up for human rights or liberty is called out as undying support for 'Bush's war'.

As the Flea said in the original post:
This country has also been a force for liberty. The third largest navy in the world fed Britain through the dark days of the Blitz and Hitler's north Atlantic wolf packs. This is the country that took Vimy Ridge and that stormed Juno Beach. Let's bring back that Canada.
I don't think that 'that Canada' is brought back by increasing our armed forces - God knows it's a part of it though. Most importantly it is having our leaders speak clearly to Canadians and the world about what Canada is on the global stage - not abstaining on UN votes, not hiding behind a bizarre 'soft power' strategy, and not making non-decisions based on polls and plans for the next election.

It's about making commitments and meeting them. It's not about having an embarassing foreign aid budget while we blindly increase our health care funding and corporate welfare. It's about becoming again a force for bringing together liberal democracies and as a group facing up to fascist and totalitarian governments, and generally fighting way above our weight class - we used to do it - we can do it again.

NDP stuffing the ballot box - still 
From Stephen Taylor - the NDP is encouraging members to each vote from their home phones, cell phones, text message, home e-mail, and their work e-mail.

Stephen Taylor says:
If I've added up the number of times that NDPers can vote for Tommy Douglas
correctly, I get 70 (assuming work, home and spam email addresses). Ironically, if you apply this number votes to a forum in the real-world, say the House of Commons, the NDP would have (70 votes * 19 seats = 133 votes) which is one seat
short of the Liberal Party's ruling minority!
Jack's really onto something!

I still think Terry Fox will win.

I was surprised to hear so many advertisements for Rex Murphy's nominee - Trudeau's show. The sports radio station and CFRA were both playing ads for it and I saw ads on TV - don't remember that much promotion earlier in the competition - am I wrong about that?

Ratings good - not the best 
The Grey Cup pulled in 4 million viewers. The third best audience ever. Why didn't it break the record from 2002 in Edmonton?
For viewers in Vancouver, the starting time was 3 p.m., which is too early if you are hoping for an enormously large audience.
If Edmonton had been the host city, the starting time in Vancouver would been 5 p.m., a slot much more conducive to producing a record.

Post Cup - I'm almost alive again 
After the game we went to a bar near the stadium - sounds like we should have went downtown (from Adam Radwanski):
There was the game, obviously – entertaining even if the right team hadn’t won, and thrilling since it did. There was the post-game party in the Market that we stumbled into – a chance to rub shoulders with some exuberant, well-refreshed and predictably approachable players. And then there was heading over to Dunn’s at 4:00 a.m. for some much-needed grub, only to find the O-line’s Sandy Annunziata there in the company of the Cup. If there’s a more CFL moment than getting to hold the Grey Cup in an all-night deli a few hours after your favourite team has won it, I haven’t found it.

Other tidbits from the game:

They showed Jean Chretien on the screen at the stadium - he was wearing a touque that made him look like a very old man. Somebody yelled "Hey Chretien - did Gagliano get you those tickets?"

At one point in the 2nd quarter we went for beers and the booth was out of beer! They rolled in a keg and had one tap going for about 6 lines of people. They got two other taps working after about 10 minutes. Pretty scary for a bit.

My friend was wearing a big black afro wig and his face was painted by my 5 and 3 year old. He was interviewed by Shaun Majumder of This Hour has 22 Minutes - will have to watch on Friday to see if he made the cut.

I was a little surprised that Printers didn't see the field at all - has there ever been a time where the league MVP didn't play in the Grey Cup?

Clemons during the Argo player introductions - to each player he said something with that big smile - how could you not play your heart out for him.

Arrrrrrrrrrr - gooooooooos 
What a blast.

Of course you know that the Argos beat the Lions 27-19.

My mind's a little slow today - though in much better shape than my stomach was on Sunday morning.

A reason why the Grey Cup is so much fun... 
Co-worker: How's it going?

Me: Pretty good - looking forward to the weekend!

Co-worker: Grey Cup - I've got my Rider jersey ready. (Starts singing some Rider Pride song)

Me: Excellent.

Co-worker: My Grandfather's coming (from Saskatchewan). 88 years old. He's bringing his jersey... and a flask of rum.

I think I'll cheer for which ever team is on offence unless there is a big defensive play then I'll cheer for them on that play.

Prediction - Lions 27, Argos 25

Abortion, the CPC, and the Liberals 
I was emailed a link to a page discussing the Oakville Electoral District Association's amendments to be proposed at the CPC's policy convention in March. There is quite a bit of stuff there but I'm going to focus on one of the more controversial issues that the CPC will face - both at the policy convention at during the next election - abortion. The Oakville amendment as it stands now is:

8. Abortion
(This is not in current policy. This is a proposal for an addition)
The Conservative Party of Canada believes that abortion before the end of first Trimester is a matter between a Doctor and patient. However if there is a serious risk to the woman’s life there should be no time limit.
Let's review things a wee bit by reading what Andrew Coyne wrote about the subject a few months ago during the campaign:

This is not the first time we have seen this sort of election-induced hysteria over abortion. Last time out, the occasion for outrage was the Alliance's suggestion that the public be allowed to vote on the issue in a referendum. Opponents said it was too complex a matter for the general public to decide, that this was the sort of thorny issue that could only be addressed by Parliament. Now apparently not even Parliament can be trusted to vote on it.


Because, we are told, the matter has been settled. There's a consensus. On the other hand, it's because the issue is too divisive: it would tear society apart. Well, which is it? If there's a consensus, how can it be divisive? Or if it is indeed divisive, that's a pretty strong indicator there's no consensus. Those who insist that abortion cannot even be debated are simply saying they happen to like the status quo, and are intent on shouting down anyone who deviates from that position to the slightest degree.

There's a word for those who are intolerant of any opinion other than their own. That word is "extremist." The more so, since the status quo -- no abortion law of any kind -- is, objectively speaking, at one extreme among the possible legislative options. Canada is the only country in the western world in this extraordinary position, with the result that the child in utero has no legal status whatever, not only with respect to abortion, but in any other regard. To compound the absurdity, we have arrived at this extreme, not by any act of Parliament, nor even by decision of the courts, but because the last legislation, passed by a free vote in the Commons, died by a tie vote in the Senate!

In fact, there is no consensus on abortion. Gallup polls on the issue regularly, and regularly reports that Canadians are divided on the matter. About a third say they are in favour of the status quo, while the rest favour options ranging from allowing abortion "only under certain circumstances" to total prohibition. Apparently these other two-thirds of Canadians are all extremists.

In talking to people over the years it continues to amaze me the percentage of people that don't know that there are no legal limits on when a pregnancy can be terminated. I specify legal as there are some practical limitations by way of doctors/clinics/hospitals that won't perform an abortion after certain gestation limits. That some health professionals, including Morgantaler, won't perform an abortion after a certain time period tells you volumes about our society's view on the practice. This article's numbers would indicate that around 3000 abortions take place in Canada each year after 16 weeks gestation and that around 50 a year are after 22 weeks and take place in the US as "no Canadian doctor will perform them here."

Many Canadians are quite certain that abortions can only be performed during the first trimester and that our laws are in line with the rest of the developed world. Both are totally incorrect of course.

The Center for Reproductive Rights report (June 2004) on abortion laws around the world show that only four countries in the world have no gestational limits on abortion:
(many states in the US have no limits as well)

So what would happen should the CPC adopt a more European abortion policy?

I think they should. I would support the Oakville amendment even though I have a hard time justifying to myself that an abortion at 2 months should be legal while one at 4 months should not. I can look at fetal development pictures and point out scientific analysis on when 'life' begins but in the end I just have a sense of right and wrong that I will go by and it's hard to put it all in words why I would support this amendment.

It is important that the CPC take a stance on the issue because in the end, as they say, if you don't define yourself, your opponents will. That's what happened in the last election and it can/will happen again. For me, it's not a ballot question, and it won't be for a lot of Canadians but it takes away one more chapter of the so-called 'Hidden Agenda' that Liberals and NDP make so much hay on.

The key for the CPC would be to frame the debate as NDP/Liberal = no limits, and CPC = some limits. The Liberals would attempt to frame the debate as Liberal = status quo and CPC = anti-choice.

Of course the CPC would be attacked by many groups and many would try to paint such a policy as a mere sign of things to come. Conservative critics of the idea might argue that it would merely open more questions on gay marriage, capital punishment, etc and I would suggest that those issues too need to clear and concise - the Oakville amendment for same-sex marriage:

7. Same Sex Rights
The Conservative Party believes that Parliament, through a free vote, and not the courts should determine the definition of marriage. A Conservative government would support the freedom of religious organizations to determine their own practices with respect to marriage.
The Conservative Party of Canada believes in Same Sex Unions and will ensure that
all rights allowed to Heterosexual couples will also be available to Same Sex Couples. This will include the right of a partner to over see medical care for his or her partner.

What do you think?

Who had a worse year - Martin or McGuinty? 
People have, after one year, called Martin 'a huge disappointment' or called the term 'a disaster'. I don't disagree.

I do find it strange that McGuinty was spared a skewering last month for his first year. I figure he managed to fly under the radar as he had the worst budget feedback in the history of Ontario and people didn't feel the need to curse him again.

But, thankfully, the court case with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation is bringing him back into the spotlight - as Andrew Coyne writes today in linking to the CTF's factum:
It's quite clear he meant to be believed, and would go to any lengths to convince people of his sincerity. It wasn't just campaign hyperbole, or a flip off-the-cuff comment. Indeed, it wasn't even a promise, of the usual sort. It was the next thing to swearing an oath: the message it was intended to convey was "whatever other promises you may have heard, from me or anyone else, this is one you can take to the bank."
There's also little room for doubt, after reading it, that the Liberals knew the province was heading for a $5-billion deficit. Their own finance critic said as much.
So the damage that has been done to the public trust is incalculable.

Hey, it's a small town 
Technology Partnerships Canada was in the news a couple of days ago as questions were raised over the program's stated breakeven goal even though only 5% of loans have been repaid. The Auditor General is currently looking at the program.

Did you remember this deal a couple of years ago:
OTTAWA, December 11, 2002 — Industry Minister Allan Rock today announced a $60 million initiative in partnership with Mitel Networks Corporation and March Networks Corporation as part of a $240 million project to make Canada a powerhouse in Internet-enabled communications.
Through Technology Partnerships Canada (TPC), the Government of Canada is making a strategic investment of up to $60 million with Mitel Networks Corporation and March Networks Corporation to launch an aggressive research and development program.
Terry Matthews, Chairman of both Mitel Networks and March Networks, noted that “the opportunity presented by broadband is immense in terms of both how this core technology can enhance the way Canadians work and live, and in our ability as a nation to build communications tools that are highly exportable and widely adopted. Mitel Networks and March Networks have invested heavily during the last two years to be the first to market with high-value broadband applications. We are pleased that the Government of Canada is sharing in our vision.”
Technology Partnerships Canada, a key instrument of Canada's Innovation Strategy, makes conditionally repayable strategic investments in great Canadian ideas that are the currency for success in the 21st century.

On the weekend, Bourque's Heard at Hy's gossip site had this (Friday, Nov 12):
"Super Mario and the gang (Sir Terry Matthews and Glenn O'Farrell) are planning a PM Reception for December 1st over at the Chateau Laurier. Apparently, people are being told that they will have a chance to rub shoulders with government decision-makers...guessing that means the PM can't actually show up!"
"I know, I heard, but with the Liberal Caucus Christmas Party a couple of days later", she clues in, "who's going to fork over $250, as opposed to the $50 or so that the Caucus usually charges. Is this a wise time of year to have a high-priced fundraiser ?"
The main courses arrive, hers the roast rack of lamb, his the gorgonzola filet mignon, both on the government tab.
"And no doubt", he continues as he cuts his meat, forks a piece, and stabbed the air
with it, "some casual observers may wonder why Sir Terry and Glenn "The broadcaster" are the front men for a Liberal fund raising event. I mean, isn't it odd that two folks who's organizations slurp at the public financial and policy troughs are doing such overt pandering of favour ? Doesn't this fly in the face of the attempts of the former Liberal administration to get business out of the political fund raising business ?"

Questions? Anyone? Anyone?

Noticed tonight that this blog was linked from Bourque's Heard at Hy's site.

The reason for the title of the post - Hey, it's a small town - is that we really can't expect too much separation of the business community and political fundraising in this town - can we?.

Do I know anything fishy about Mitel's 60 million from TPC and Matthews political associations? No. The problem is that while every specific instance that raises eyebrows can usually be explained rather easily - Mitel is leading IP technology for enterprises - the sum of it all is a smelly pile of pork.

CFL Ratings 
Pretty good numbers from the games yesterday:
The CFL division finals were a ratings hit for CBC on Sunday.
The audience for the 7 p.m. EST Eastern final between Toronto and Montreal was 1,521,000, the biggest for an East division final since for 1989 when the current tracking system was introduced.
There were even more people tuned into the 4 p.m. Western final between B.C. and Saskatchewan. It drew 1,659,000, the biggest for a Western Division decider since 1994 when the B.C.-Calgary game drew 1,742,000.

On a personal note, I picked up my brown bottle supplies for the weekend today - don't want to get caught in the rush later this week!

Will McCallum be allowed to go back to Regina? 

It was a tremendous game - well played by both teams - the difference:

Duncan O'Mahony kicked a 40-yard field goal in overtime to give the B.C. Lions a 27-25 win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the West Division Final at B.C. Place in Vancouver. O'Mahony had to make a 47-yard field goal with seconds remaining in regulation to send the game to the extra frame. Riders' kicker Paul McCallum missed a 17-yard field goal on Saskatchewan's possession in overtime.

McCallum also missed a 39 field goal during the game.

I was rooting for Saskatchewan - there are a lot of Rider fans in the Ottawa area. It would have made for more excitement next weekend.

Next up - Argos and Als - the makings for another good game the way these teams have been playing. Nice to see that over 50 thousand fans were at these games.

UPDATE: The Argos win wasn't nearly as exciting - without Calvillo the Alouettes had very little going for them in the 4th quarter. It was nice to see the expression on Matthew's face - one of the easier people to hate in the CFL - compared to Pinball Clemons - one of the easiest people to like.

So, its the Lions vs Argos on Sunday. Hmmm, I guess we'll be able to chant 'Leafs Suck' since Toronto's in the game!

This made my morning 
In today's Ottawa Citizen:
Tory House leader John Reynolds has previously said the party's "in the black," and the rumour mill suggests the Conservatives have roughly $1 million in the bank.
If that proves to be the case, the Conservatives would join the Bloc Quebecois as the only major parties to be debt-free. Both the Liberals and the NDP have shortfalls in the millions.
Liberal president Mike Eizenga recently estimated the party owed about $3.6 million after the campaign, and that total party debt was closer to $5 million if one takes into account the amounts the central party has promised to its various provincial wings and member organizations.
The Conservatives didn't respond to the Liberal ads late in the June campaign - this is a positive result of that decision - was it a conscious one?

Having the party in the black makes it a lot easier to ask for donations from the membership. I will me much more likely to donate knowing I am paying for the future campaigns, not a previous failure.

It was always hard to argue with Liberals/Dippers when the Alliance or PCers were in debt - how can they manage the country's finances when they can't manage their own.

One other thing - wonder why Layton was so desperate for the government not to fall while the Bloc and Tories were more concerned about having a Throne speech that meant something?

Lessons in PR 
The NHLPA is teaching us how to run a PR campaign....

You can lie - example:
Souray told The Gazette. "We've offered to give back some of the money from our contracts and we've tried to find other solutions. But a salary cap isn't the only issue. We're also fighting for other things, like guaranteed contracts."

Fighting for guaranteed contracts - oh, now I see how Goodenow gets his players on side - he tells them that a salary cap is the first step in getting rid of their guaranteed contracts.

Or, better yet, use a freakin' mug shot for an agent picture.
Frost, Dave
Actually, it's probably not a mug shot - is it?

Get out the vote - the NDP candidate is winning 
Latest standings for 'The Greatest Canadian'

Current Standings: as of Wednesday, November 10th
# Name
1 Tommy Douglas
2 Terry Fox
3 Dr. Frederick Banting
4 Pierre Elliott Trudeau
5 Don Cherry
6 David Suzuki
7 Sir John A. Macdonald
8 Wayne Gretzky
9 Lester B. Pearson
10 Alexander Graham Bell

Ranking of Top 10 Nominees among Male Voters: as of Wednesday, November 3rd
# Name
1 Tommy Douglas
2 Don Cherry
3 Terry Fox
4 Pierre Elliott Trudeau

Ranking of Top 10 Nominees among Female Voters: as of Wednesday, November 3rd
# Name
1 Tommy Douglas
2 Terry Fox
3 Pierre Elliott Trudeau
4 David Suzuki

The NDP is pushing for Douglas in their mailings to their members as well as on their website. It seems a little strange to be doing so but hey, if you don't like - do something about it, right? I'm voting for Terry and throwing a couple to Don.

Remembrance Day 
I attended my daughter's Remembrance Day assembly at her school yesterday. My daughter's senior kindergarten class sang a song about the poppy and several other classes sang. I didn't understand any of them - it's a french immersion school - but I really enjoyed it and was impressed with the effort the students and teachers put into the event.

A veteran spoke at the assembly - he was in a Lancaster bomber and told of his three friends that enlisted at the same time. Two of them didn't return and the other was injured for the rest of his life.

I'm glad I can still remember the poem by John McCrae:

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Beliveau: Players making a big mistake 
Frequent visitor Chris sent me this link:
According to the Montreal Gazette, Beliveau believes today's players have left the game in bad financial shape which will be passed on to the next generation.
''They're making a big mistake, a terrible mistake,'', Beliveau told the Gazette. ''I've always sided with the players in the past but this time I really believe they're completely wrong. I'm sad to see that players don't seem to believe that 20 or 22 franchises are in deep financial trouble. No business can operate with 75 per cent of its total revenue going to the salary budget.''
''Some players say they want to give back to those who will follow them,'' Beliveau told the Montreal newspaper. ''I can speak for players of my generation, who really had the game in mind. When we left hockey, it was in great shape. Those who follow today's players will face a very serious situation because the game will be in very bad shape, financially and otherwise.''
''Those who love hockey and don't have other interests must really be suffering,'' Beliveau told the Gazette. ''But wait until the weather gets worse, football is over, and these people come home from a long day's work to watch a good hockey game - and there is none.''

Happy Birthday to me! 
It's my birthday today.

I'm hoping to get a couple beers from my co-workers at lunch and a cake tonight! (A Grey Cup ticket is my big present)

UPDATE 2pm: Several beers and a couple of tequila shooters later - a cake after dinner will make my day!

UPDATE2 Next day: I got a cake too! I think my daughters had a hand in it - it was a Barbie doll cake.

Poor Edmonton 
Poor Colby Cosh. His Eskimos were beaten 14-6 by the Riders.

He writes a long analysis of the western semi-final on Sunday morning and concludes...
Roughrider fans are generally believed to be the finest and most loyal in football, but sweet Lord do they know how to whine--and they don't believe there's any connection between all the whining and all the losing, either. So I'm looking forward to the brutal beating I believe to be in store for them, starting at 2 p.m. today.

Oh, and his explanation...
I know what you're thinking--how's he going to spin this one? Look, the Riders scored only 14 points and the Eskies threw for well over 300 yards. Surely the score is just a technicality? Anyway, it's not like any Rider fans have weblogs, literacy being a prerequisite.

What's more shocking is that the attendance was 37,359 - uh, that's less than the number that went to the Skydome on Friday. Beaten by Saskatchewan on the field and beaten by Toronto in the stands - ouch.

Road to the Grey Cup 
I only live two blocks from Lansdowne Park - hosting the Grey Cup this year. Some old friends from are coming up to Ottawa and we'll be in one of the endzone bleachers put up for the big game.

Last night the Argos beat the Ti-Cats 24-6 to earn the right to face Montreal next weekend - should be a good one. One of the nicest thing about the game report - "the season-high SkyDome gathering of 37,835"
The crowd - the Argos' largest since 1992 and biggest for a playoff game since 1991 - was into it the whole game and the sound resonating under the closed roof created playoff atmosphere for the showdown between the two arch rivals.
The Western semi-final is on Sunday.

Where is David Frum? 
I was looking forward to reading what Frum had to say about the election - the man spent a lot of time on Canadian TV trying to convince people that Bush wasn't pure evil.

Strangely, he hasn't posted anything on his diary site yet. What do you think he's been doing?

Still hung over?
Following Moore around laughing?
Looking for a job?
Was tied up by some Democrats on Tuesday and nobody's found him?

UPDATE: He's back.

Canadian election parallels 
1. Better the devil you know.
2. Moral issues bring out the vote.
Sound familiar?

The vote on June 28th surprised quite a few pundits - especially the results in Ontario. The polls were off and the change from the seat predictions was massive as a result.

Let's break down the American issues down to three issues - foreign policy, the domestic economy, and moral issues.

If you try to compare the Kerry plan to the Bush plan for the first two issues what do you get?
I don't really see a polarizing difference - differences yes but not ones that create a ballot question.
While you could argue it is a referendum on Bush's handling of the war, voters are voting on the future - and what actually was the difference between the two plans going forward?
In my opinion, it's really quite similiar to our election in June - whether one party was going to spend x billion on health care and the other x+1 on it wasn't going to move the voters.
Both incumbent parties tried to scare the heck out of the voters by claiming the other party wouldn't be able to fund their programs and would either raise taxes (US) or gut services (Can).
It really comes down to - as Joe said, it's better to go with the devil you know.

Moral issues - same issues on both sides of the border - same-sex marriage and abortion.
Many think this is what brought out the vote and the swing in Ontario especially in the last weekend - both from undecideds and from the NDP to the Liberals.
In Ohio yesterday, the percentage of voters who identified themselves as born-again Christians was very high and exit polls (can I use that still) identified that moral issues were the top priority for many of them.
Much will be said about these moral issues and many will make further conclusions about the differences between our two countries based on the results of ballot questions regarding same-sex marriage and politicians stances on abortion. Attention should also be focused on how the two parties, on either side of the border, presented their views on these sensitive topics. Bill Clinton would use the phrase "legal, safe, and rare" in describing his stance on abortion - a way of addressing the concerns of mainstream voters. I thought Bush's phrase "culture of life" was also effective.
Kerry could not state his position on same-sex marriage in a similiar way - he focused on Bush's policies as being divisive and therefore left voters to decided themselves where Kerry actually stood.
Up here, I feel that the Conservatives were in a terrible position in trying to defend a free vote policy on social issues that left them wide open for hidden agenda charges - they will have to address those policies whether they want to or not.

Will the Democrats in the US and Conservatives in Canada learn from their mistakes on social/moral policy?

Will we ever vote for the devils we don't know?

You've read enough about the American election - here's some Canadiana... 
Jane Taber's story in the Globe today was interesting - some juicy inside stuff from a Liberal meeting:
At a weekend session on the spring election, Mr. Herle showed charts of his internal polling from the campaign and noted that the Conservatives under Stephen Harper would have formed a minority government had June 14 been the voting day instead of June 28, according to an insider.
Some Liberal MPs and candidates — especially in Ontario — viewed Mr. Herle with skepticism, saying he ran a campaign that took the party to the brink and back up again to win at least a minority government.
The Prime Minister, however, recently reconfirmed him as the co-chairman of the next Liberal election bid.
Mr. Herle, who participated in the Saturday session with two other senior Martin strategists, Michele Cadario and Karl Littler, also said the English-language debate helped to turn things around as did a series of negative ads that ran in the last couple of weeks.
Some convention delegates wanted to know why Mr. Martin did not run on the party's record.
As well, one delegate, according to an insider, "lambasted" Martin ministers John McCallum and Judy Sgro for disrupting and ambushing Mr. Harper on the election trail.
The incidents caused some controversy.
A defensive Mr. Herle, who one delegate said was "right fired up," said the questioner had "no right to trash ministers McCallum and Sgro. We sent them out. They were just doing what we told them to do," Mr. Herle said, according to the delegate.
Wow - Herle defending the at-the-time cabinet ministers! You have NO RIGHT to trash McCallum and Sgro! What a maroon.

Harper must read stuff like this and weep - they were so close and couldn't close the deal on these idiots.

Dear Alfonso 
Greg Weston has replied to Gagliano's open letter to Canadians - here is a bit of it:
Dear Alfonso,
First, congratulations on your saving the country. We are certain your name will forever be praised among the greatest of the great Canadian saviours of confederation, an honour role you now share exclusively with Sheila Copps.
Second, throwing taxpayers' money at every Quebec event asking for handouts was an absolute stroke of genius.
We do know that some Montreal advertising agencies up to their billboards in Liberal pals took millions for nothing much in return. We also know that contracting regulations were broken so routinely that some of your former staffers concluded there really were no rules.
We know that the former prime minister and his officials were all over this program -- geez, the first $50 million came out of a secret fund authorized with the signatures of only two officials: you and Jean Chretien.
What we don't know yet, Alfonso, is what happened to all that cash.
In your letter you say of the sponsorship program: "It may be that Canadians will conclude that the end did not justify the means."
Ya think?

Good stuff.

Rob Ray stirring the pot some more... 
From TSN:
"It's good to see these guys like (Mike Commodore and Pierre Dagenais) standing up and saying something because it shows they care and they want to know what's happening." Ray told the Ottawa Sun. "I went through this whole thing in 1994 when I was making $300,000 US. They got a deal done and I thought I was going to cash in big time. Well, I went from making $300,000 to $350,000. Big deal. Really, it's the role players on the team who are going to get screwed in all of this. Guys like Daniel Alfredsson and Zdeno Chara are going to get their money. Players like Chris Neil and Shaun Van Allen are going to get (bleeped). They don't stand to gain anything from this."

Well, this is basically the point Dagenais said as well last week - stars/well off players setting the agenda.

Also, Pierre Maguire of TSN said today on The Team here in Ottawa that he knew of at least 10 players as well that would basically cross the line today.

Tomorrow's NHLPA / Player Rep meeting should be interesting. Way more interesting than the election down south - right?

The new head of the NHLPA - Buzz Hargrove 
Mike, in a comment to my last post, suggests:
Why don't the lesser paid players take over the union? They could impose a seniority system to ensure equal longeviety of employ and impose a system of equal pay for all members. The only pay related negotiating point becomes the fixed dollars per player. It would make it a real union (no reward for skill or performance). Majority of players should like it. Owners then get a hard cap and level playing field and also managing/scouting/trading would be about talent and not money.
Seems like something that would fit nicely with the autoworkers, no?

Imagine - the solution was staring at us all along.

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