Dosanjh/Murphy Tapes 
Tim Murphy, May 18th: (All the transcripts are here)
Tim: Well I’ve been an elected politician and a backroom boy. My thesis is you keep
them separate and I really, playing the role of an advisor I don’t like being in the paper. So actually, I view today as a bad day for me.
May 18th was the day after Belinda became a Liberal. I guess that will make tomorrow a very bad day.

Here's a nice part - May 17th (UD is Ujjal Dosanjh; GG is Gurmant Grewal):

UD - Would you have a cup of tea.
GG - No, thanks, let us hurry up.
UD - Sure ? Tim will come soon.
GG - We have to rush through because of the Question Period
UD - Today, Question Period is at 2 PM
GG - Don’t you have to prepare for it.
UD - No, I can just prepare in 5 minutes, in the car.
I think (Belinda) has made it easier for you, if you want.
GG - That’s true.
UD - In fact, cabinet can be arranged right away. For the other, you don’t want to
lose the advantage. If you do right away, you lose the advantage of numbers.
Those are the issues.
GG - Anyway, let’s talk.
UD - I talked to the PM moments ago. He said he is going to Regina right now
and he said he will be happy to talk to you over the phone tonight or in
person if you want to move. I think you should have through conversation
with Tim.
GG - OK.
UD - Tim is the Chief of Staff, its just like talking to PM.

CFL in Ottawa 
The Gliebermans are back in the ownership chair. Our football team had a rough time of it last year - injuries, poor play, and poor attendance.
Going into this year, the team is in a tough bind after losing players - partially due to the ownership uncertainty. Financially, this story says it all:
In figures released by the team last season, an average of 23,160 fans attended games at Frank Clair Stadium. Lisowski, however, said that actual paid attendance was 16,300 -- which was up from 15,800 the year before.
"All the rest were comps," he said. "We papered the house because we couldn't get people to buy tickets."
According to Lisowski, the Renegades lost $2 million in 2004 (which doesn't include more than $2 million made by the franchise in hosting the Grey Cup) as well as $4.4 million in 2003 and $3.6 million in 2002.
But Lisowski still thinks there's hope. "If we could get 18,000-18,500, we could break even," he said.

The optimists will say that the Gliebermans bank account will take the team through this tough period as the team works to create on-field success. Attendance will follow success.

Pessimists will say that this team is a joke - again.

We rule! 
Hockey, curling, and now this. What else is there for us to win?

I think we've now peaked as a nation.

Laurent's thoughts 
He asks this question after the Leger poll - which is related to my last post:
A Léger Marketing poll asked respondents whether they were "afraid" of Stephen Harper's positions on "abortion, the death penalty and same-sex marriage" and 39 percent answered yes. Does this mean the Conservative Party is too 'extreme' and
needs to moderate its stance on these issues?
As Laurent isn't a Star or Globe reporter, the first thing he doesn't do is ask other people why they are worried about Harper or the CPC and these terrible poll results....
Before answering that question, we should first ask ourselves what are the positions of the Conservative Party on these issues. If we look at the Conservative Party's policy declaration, a 45-pages document adopted last March during its party convention, we see that abortion is only mentioned to say that "[a] Conservative government will not support any legislation to regulate abortion" while the death penalty is nowhere mentioned. Finally, the Conservative Party would bring in civil unions, similar in principle to the registered partnerships adopted by many European countries, which would give homosexual couples access to the benefits enjoyed by married heterosexual couples. While one may disagree with these positions, it is hard to see what is extreme or frightening about them.

You know what, I was going to summarize the rest of his entry but I'll just copy it all here so you'll be sure to read it - it's not proper blogging etiquette to copy the whole entry - but if Laurent threatens to sue me then I'll remove it:
Paul Wells pointed out in an article last month that there were two kinds of people who didn't vote for the Conservative Party in the 2004 elections: the Unconvinced and the Terrified. The Terrified, who must form the major part of the 39 percent who said they were afraid of Stephen Harper's positions, are ready to believe the worst about the Conservative Party and, as Paul Wells points out, it is a waste of time and resources for the Conservative Party to try to convince them. Conservatives should accept that it is impossible to please everyone.
The flip side of this poll is that 43 percent of respondents said they were not afraid of Stephen Harper's positions on "abortion, the death penalty and same-sex marriage" while 18 percent said they did not know whether or not they were afraid. Of course, this total of 61 percent is much higher than the support the Conservatives usually get in polls (about 30 percent) The Conservative Party should concentrate its efforts on this 61 percent.

If you don't read Le blog de Polyscopique, then go on over and take a look.

Globe and Mail: Christian activists capturing Tory races 
Scary, scary, scary.

Who are these Christian activists and will they actually win their ridings?

Riding: Halifax - Andrew House is a lawyer in Halifax
2004 election results: Tories 3rd place, 12,000 votes behind the NDP and 11,000 behind the Liberals

Riding: Halifax West - Rakesh Khosla - from Khosla Fisheries in Halifax?
2004 election results: Tories 3rd place, 11,000 votes behind the Liberals and 3,000 behind the NDP

Riding: Sackville-Eastern Shore - Paul Francis is a pastor of Gateway Community Church in Sackville
2004 election results: Tories 3rd place, 9,000 behind the NDP and 3,000 behind the Liberals

These three Nova Scotian candidates are mentioned because of the following rally reported in the Halifax Herald last week:
Three weeks ago, the Annapolis Valley Fellowship of Churches held a rally in support of maintaining the definition of marriage as a union of a man and a woman.
The Kentville gathering drew 700 people. A table was set up in back and people were encouraged to become members of the Conservative Party of Canada so they could help elect candidates in the federal ridings of Halifax, Halifax West and Sackville-Eastern Shore.
An information sheet stated, "We need strong Christian, pro-family people to become members of Parliament from our area to represent us in Ottawa. Here's your chance to make that a reality."
Rev. Tristan Emmanual, a Presbyterian from Ontario, was at the rally. He encouraged Christians to end the division between church and state and get politically involved.
The candidates listed on the information paper - Andrew House in Halifax, Rakesh Khosla in Halifax West and Paul Francis in Sackville-Eastern Shore - all won their nominations.

Damn Presbyterian Minister sticking his nose into politics. And those power lusting Conservative candidates allowing supporters.

The other ridings:

Riding: Ajax - Rondo Thomas is a top official with the Canada Christian College
2004 election results: Tories 2nd place, 7,000 behind the Liberals, 9,000 ahead of the NDP

Riding: Richmond - Darrel Reid is a past president of Focus on the Family
2004 election results: Tories 2nd place, 4,000 behind the Liberals, 8,000 ahead of the NDP

Riding: North Vancouver - Cindy Silver was the executive director of the Christian Legal Fellowship for two years in the 1990s
2004 election results: Tories 2nd place, 2,000 behind the Liberals, 11,000 ahead of the NDP

Riding: New Westminster-Burnaby - Marc Dalton has been the pastor of a community church in Burnaby.
2004 election results: Tories 3rd place, 2,000 votes behind the NDP and 2,000 behind the Liberals

Pretty scary stuff. Possibly 3 or 4 additional caucus members would be ministers, or worked for Christian organizations.

I'm waiting for next week's headline in the Globe:
Gay rights activists winning Tory nominations in Ontario!
John Baird, Keith Fountain, and Peter Kent recently won their nominations
where they indicated they would support same-sex marriage legislation....

If you are in favour of same-sex marriage you are a moderate. If you are in favour of keeping marriage heterosexual you are a bible thumper with a hidden agenda meaning you also want all sorts of unmentionable changes to our society.

Let's not make things more complex than that - okay - the public doesn't need to be confused.

Hebert on Stronach 
If a 'Conservative' commenator disses Stronach, it's brushed aside as sour grapes. When Chantal Hebert does it....

Stronach has never run a government department. She has no hands-on knowledge of the inner workings of the bureaucracy and even less so of its interaction with the political side of government.
She is unfamiliar with the day-to-day running of parties in general and the Liberal party in particular.
On the face of it, knowledge of some or all of the aforementioned would seem to be prerequisites to oversee the successful implementation of the final report of Justice John Gomery.
Without it, Stronach might as well be wading blind in a minefield, at the mercy of the potentially self-interested guidance of partisan and bureaucratic handlers.
But perhaps even more important, Stronach has never demonstrated any particular attachment to the notion of an equal playing field in politics, one of the fundamental principles that those behind the sponsorship affair trampled on so happily on their way to turning public funds into partisan dollars.
If anything, she has spent her relatively short time in political life levelling the field to her own advantage, using her considerable wealth to offset her inexperience by buying the best mercenary advice money can buy.
But then, that is an approach to politics Martin would be hard-pressed to quarrel with!

Lots of juicy NHL rumours 
Just as a lull seems to have come in the political drama, the NHL negotiation moves to fill the void.

Leadership issues, bluffs, leaks, etc can all be read on Eklund's site: http://hockeyrumors.blogspot.com

Harper Liberals 
Kevin at PolSpy:
I voted Green last election - it was like abstaining. I was going to sit this one out by voting with the Greens again but then, for the last time, Mr. Martin called me an idiot by claiming "no deals were made". Only a doofus would believe that "no deals were made", when they can hear the deal being made.
So, despite my small l leanings, I'll be actively campaigning for the CPC. Once the DNS propagates you'll be able to read about it here and at HarperLiberals.ca
I think it's a legitimate reason to vote Conservative. Many say, "Well, I can't punish the Liberals because I don't like the Conservatives". Well, fine. We all have to balance our priorities. I would expect to see LaytonLiberals.ca and GreenLiberals.ca as well after this shameful display by Martin's team of Liberals.

Harper's Statement 
I think it is important to recognize that most of this statement was made to Quebec....

I want to make a bit of a statement, Conservative colleagues and fellow Canadians, who may be watching this.
Tonight, Parliament has voted by the slimmest of margins to keep the Liberal party in office for the time being. Well, I regret this decision deeply. It has shown now more than ever the necessity of a strong, united and principled opposition dedicated to replacing this government.
Tonight, the Liberals bought a victory, one that will sow the seeds of its own destruction, one that will present our party with great opportunities. In adopting a budget proposed by the NDP and engaging in an unprecedented and irresponsible series of spending promises, the Liberal party of Canada has fatally undermined its commitment to fiscal responsibility.
In creating a Parliamentary environment where the only Quebec MPs to vote against corruption were the separatists, the Liberal Party has created an enormous need for new federalist champion in the province of Quebec.
Finally, in setting out to win tonight's vote at all costs, the Prime Minister and the Liberal Party have again displayed, in the full view of all honest, hard-working Canadians, the very lack of principle and integrity that underlies their corruption and scandals.
In other words, while tonight's vote is an unfortunate result for this country at the moment, it will provide us Conservatives with persuasive arguments for change when Canadians finally and inevitably head to the polls.
We have to be frank with Canadians. Nowhere will tonight's result be more poorly received than in Quebec. So please allow me to take a few moments to speak to our fellow Canadians.
[In French] Tonight, I want to offer my sincere apologies to all Quebeckers. As a federalist and an English Canadian, I am embarrassed and I profoundly regret that our Parliament has decided this evening to maintain its confidence in a corrupt party. This vote was won because of the shameless efforts made by this party to buy votes. I am also embarrassed, and I profoundly regret that the only members of Parliament from Quebec to vote against corruption were sovereigntists. And I do hope that when the time inevitably comes to choose a new Parliament, you, Quebeckers, will not move away from Canada because of Liberal corruption.
As leader of the of the Opposition, I undertake to do everything I can to work with the Quebeckers out there who want a new government, a new government with integrity that respects the autonomy of the provinces and that understands the aspirations of all Quebeckers.
I am also very much aware of the fact that I should be doing more to build roots in Quebec for our party and to win the confidence of Quebeckers. I will be making that a personal priority. And this evening, as leader of the Conservative party, I want to express my disappointment that the Parliament of Canada did not show itself able to meet the aspirations of Quebeckers, the events of recent weeks leave us stronger. You may have lost tonight's battle, but you've done it in order to win the war.
The position that every man and woman in this caucus took tonight was the tough position. Every one of you was willing to put your jobs on the line for the sake of this country. Thank you for doing that.
I saw a couple of Senators after I said that, too. We thank you for your advice and your full support. Those in this room have stuck by the plan that we all agreed to and refused to be shaken by the polls. You have resisted every opportunity to take unethical payoffs and rewards, and you've stuck by your principles, yet also demonstrated pragmatism and accommodation for other members of our team. These lessons will serve us in good stead for the day — when the day comes, and come it will, for us to give Canadians a new government. Not one that will divide Parliament by acts of corruption and desperation, but one that will unite Canada so that it can achieve all of its destiny and its wills. Thank you very much."

I don't know what to say 
The Liberals have completely numbed me to unethical behaviour.


Here's Peter MacKay's first interview. The video is on the right hand sidebar. (Hat-tip The Shotgun)

A superficial aside - talking in those hushed tones makes him sound like Mulroney.

A crossroads, stack the deck, blah, blah, blah,.... 
I probably listened to about 6 or so interviews/press conferences of Belinda the past two days and I might as well have only listened to one. If you didn't see Mansbridge break her - yes, Peter Mansbridge asked two questions and it left her on the mat - you missed a great interview.

The National can be seen here if you have RealPlayer. Go to the 15 minute mark for the interview. Also, go to the 35 minute mark for the At Issue panel.

A wealth of information over at Andrew Coyne's site but I know most of you don't bother to read him and just come here so I'll highlight the best:

His column:

It should be clear to everyone by now that this government -- this prime minister -- will go to any length to assure their survival in power. And I do mean any. All governments are loathe to leave, all think themselves indispensible, but I cannot recall another that clung to office so desperately, so ... hysterically.
They may yet succeed. We can see now what the nine days were for: why the government refused to resign, or call an immediate confidence vote, after it was defeated in the House last Tuesday, but instead insisted, against all precedent, that it was entitled to remain in office until a week Thursday. The loss of a confidence vote is no longer to be taken as a fundamental loss of democratic legitimacy, but rather as a signal to spend more, threaten louder, and otherwise trawl for votes on the opposite benches, for as long as proves necessary. It took only a few days this time, but after all nine days can stretch into two weeks, and two weeks could as easily be three, and then we’re into a month, and then it’s recess.

A summary of female writer's comments...

Belinda doesn't seem to stay with men for long. Or careers. Or, as it turns out, political parties. She's always eyeing the next big thing just over the horizon. She's not that keen on working her way up from the bottom. She'd rather start somewhere near the top, where she can make a difference right away.

"She feels she's gifted," her father, Frank, once said.


Stronach, to be plain, is not known for long-term fidelity. To put the nicest spin on it, she craves constant stimulation, new vistas to conquer. To be less charitable, she's easily bored and used to assuming authority without first earning it...Now Stronach doesn't have to endure a boring, if not eternal, wait for her Cabinet position. After all, she's been in politics for over a year!

I was asked what I thought Belinda's leaving would do to the Conservatives in Ontario. I don't know.

Basically, the battle for the ballot question in Ontario is still on. The Conservatives will sell integrity, the need to punish the Liberals, and governance policies to back it up. The Liberals will sell the status quo and fear of Harper.

The Tories only need a six point increase from last election and we are looking a Conservative minority government.

To get it, the Conservatives and Harper personally are going to have to have a good campaign.

Bye Belinda 
My first reaction was a laugh.

Love what Wells wrote:
ON THE OTHER HAND, she's absolutely a match for most of the rest of Cabinet in talent and intellect.

I found it very difficult to listen to her during the leadership race last year and the thought of not having to go through that again helps ease the concern over the turmoil her leaving will bring to the party.

I'm almost scared to listen to the Martin/Stronach press conference - I expect prepared lines to be beaten to death.

UPDATE: Okay, I'm listening to the press conference. What a joke. The press gallery is laughing at suggestions this hasn't got anything to do with the budget vote. Stronach is talking about the importance of ethics, integrity, and political stability - as reasons she became a Liberal. What the ??

More on our candidate 
Here's a bit from the Ottawa Sun:
Tories have elected a self-described "urban Conservative" who supports gay marriage to run in the historically left-leaning riding in the next federal election.
Keith Fountain, 40, won the Conservative nomination handily at yesterday's meeting at the Glebe Community Centre. He defeated party veterans Idris Ben-Tahir, an information scientist and pupil of John Diefenbaker, and Guy Dufort, a lawyer with Heenan Blaikie who is also a former president of the Quebec wing of the party.
Fountain joined Canada's Foreign Service in 1990 and helped to open Canada's embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2003.
He says the key element of urban conservatism is giving people choice in their personal lives. Unlike many in his party, Fountain says he supports same-sex marriage.

Keith Fountain - Ottawa Centre candidate 
I went to the Ottawa Centre nomination meeting today. I wouldn't want to guess at how many people were there but it was a good sized crowd and we were presented with three fine candidates.

Keith Fountain won the nomination after a very successful speech. He let the speaker before him talk a bit about Keith's past - from his bio:
I studied at McGill and went straight from there to joining the Foreign Service in 1990, which has been a fascinating career. I have had postings abroad in Pakistan, Poland and Malaysia, and in 2003 I was the Charge d'affaires tasked with opening our Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan (I am currently Deputy Director for Afghanistan at Foreign Affairs). In Ottawa, I have worked on trade policy, relations with India and I also was assigned to the Privy Council Office (the centre of government) for two years (2001-03).
In his speech, Keith talked about the Conservative plan for daycare as opposed to the Liberal/NDP plan. He talked about how the last Conservative government signed a acid rain treaty with the US and that smog can be tackled with a similar focus. He brought up all the Liberal spending increases and tied them to the taxes we currently pay. These issues were all presented forcefully and his energy showed as he talked about conservative solutions.
Check out his blog on his site. I'll be talking more about Keith and the situation in Ottawa Centre as we get nearer to an election campaign.

PS: Shouldn't Blogger's spell checker accept 'blog' as a word?

Rat Packer 
Read this on Spector's site:
Paul Martin and his government should have resigned when the opposition won a vote in the Commons earlier this week, says Sheila Copps.
The former Liberal cabinet minister and leadership rival to Mr. Martin told a Hamilton TV station last night she is happy to be outside the political process right now "because I don't think I could defend the indefensible.
"They lost the vote, that's the confidence of the House. There should be an election."
Ms. Copps also said the prime minister lied last week when he suggested in an interview the Liberals wanted her to run in the last federal election and offered a seat to make it possible.
"Of course he's lying," Ms. Copps said. "He proved in the interview that he cannot tell the truth because in the interview he said he had offered the olive branch of a different seat for me, and at the time, if you remember, he said he had absolutely nothing to do with the offer of the seat and that he was not involved. It just shows once again that he cannot be trusted."

Liberals: Shut up Adrienne - who do you think you are! 
To follow up from Real Mike's comment....

This is clearly too much....
A senior government official said the prime minister won't be taking any direction from Clarkson.
"The Governor General receives advice from her first minister. She doesn't tender it," the official said.
Andrew Coyne comments on this bold statement from the Liberals:
The Governor General most certainly has the right to advise her first minister. As Bagehot famously put it, under the British constitution (of which we are the inheritors) the sovereign has three rights: "the right to be consulted, the right to encourage, the right to warn." Ordinarily, it is true, the prime minister is not bound to follow her advice, but that is a different statement.
And while it is also ordinarily true that she is bound to take his, that is not true of one matter in particular: who should be her first minister. If the Governor General is of the opinion that the current prime minister does not command the confidence of the House of Commons, she has the absolute right to dismiss him and to call upon someone else, or to dissolve Parliament and call new elections. It is not the prime minister, acting on the Governor General's advice, who dissolves Parliament: it is the Governor General, usually on the prime minister's advice but not always.
Harper's compromise of a Monday vote that allows all MPs to be present in the House of Commons is one that Martin surely must accept if he has any respect for parliament.

I'm not holding my breath.

Good question 
I saw on Pogge's site these questions from Matthew Fletcher:
However, does anyone know what the constitutional responsibilities of the Governor General are while the Queen is in the country? Do they remain the same, or does the Queen take over? If Martin loses another confidence vote on the 19th is he required to go out to Alberta, meet the Queen and ask that she dissolve Parliament?
I personally liked his suggestion in the earlier paragraph:
Now, in my opinion the first act of the Queen upon arriving in Canada should be to dissolve the 38th Parliament on the basis that government no longer holds the confidence of the House, but I don't think that is going to hapen.
Now that would get her some good crowds and cheers in the Alberta leg of the trip.

Letter to the Queen 
Some people have suggested that Canadians should send a letter to the Queen such as the following:
The Prime Minister of Canada no longer has the confidence of the House of Commons but he is refusing to accept this reality.
He is delaying his inevitable departure for political reasons including the positive public relations move that appearing with our Queen would provide.
It is my opinion that it would be best that you advise the Governor General to ask the Prime Minister to stay in Ottawa and have her and the Premiers of Alberta and Saskatchewan greet your arrival.
Please do not give Paul Martin's government the appearance of legitimacy.
I don't know if I'll send one myself. Perhaps some monarchists here could advise me.

Oh, how dare they use cancer for political purposes 
Listening to Martin, Brison, and Layton last night on The National - one thing came to mind - "Give me a break!". Layton said it was despicable that Harper suggested Martin wanted to wait a week in hopes that the health of MPs worsened. Oh yes, self righteous, honest Jack. The new moral compass for our nation.

Brison and Martin had this look on their face like they were at a funeral - they could not believe that Harper would accuse them of such a thing. Think of the children.

Their expressions will just re-inforce the public perception that these guys are liars. Mock outrage/shock is so easy to see through.

Take that Monte 

Some bloggers are excited/impressed with Monte Solberg blogging from the floor of the House of Commons.

Well, here's one from the bathroom of my office.

Another giant leap for bloggers.
Sent from my BlackBerry Wireless Handheld

The morning after. 
Harper speaks this morning:
Let me say one other thing - I'm tired of the games.
We're not going to play another week so the Prime Minister can use the Queen as a prop next week. We're got going to play another week so he can hope the health of some members of parliament deteriorate.
If he has a plan, he can do it today. Do the honourable thing. Face the nation. Face parliament. If he has a vote he wants us to have lets have it today.

Right on.

What do you call a successful NDPer? 
A Liberal.

I laughed when I heard Gilles Duceppe say this last night when reporters asked him during a scrum about supporting the NDP amendments to the budget.

Note: For a good roundup of bloggers reaction to the vote go to Ben's site.

People are catching on to Martin 
According to the latest CTV/Globe poll, around 60% of Canadians think Paul Martin is dishonest and hypocritical.

What does it mean?

Drumroll please.......

40% of Canadians still don't know the real Paul Martin.

Thank you, thank you very much.

This week or next - it won't change the results of the election. 
I think there should be an election now - period.

I think the Conservatives are right to push for a non-confidence vote and to argue that the vote tonight is one of non-confidence.

For Liberals, like the strategist on CBC Politics this morning did, to say that this vote tonight is like voting on changing your grocery list is living in La-la Land. I don't have an opinion on whether they are bound to ask to dissolve parliament over it but if they lose this vote, it is a big deal.

That being said, I don't think that during the course of the election campaign that it will matter whether the government fell on a budget vote or a non-confidence vote. I can't see the issues that will be discussed on the doorsteps, over the backyard fences, or wherever people discuss these things changing because of the mechanism to defeat the government.

Lisa: "I'm thinking of voting against the Liberals this time because of all this corruption that's come out in the Gomery inquiry."

Lucy: "Wait a minute. Didn't the government fall on the budget vote?"

Lisa: "Oh ya, you're right. I don't know very much about the budget details - hmmm, maybe I will vote Liberal again after all."

Lucy: "I'm thinking of voting NDP because they tried to make parliament work."

Lisa: "Good call Lucy."

What's the margin of error? 
Of two NDP supporters in Ottawa-Centre - a neighbour across the street and one down the street - 50% are going to support the Green Party this time.

UPDATE: Oops, I forgot I talked to a neigbhour down the street the other way last week just after Ed made his announcement. She and her husband are old school socialists from the north so that would make it only a 25% drift to the Greens - but my margin of error has dropped significantly!

Also, from my data I can say that 100% of NDP supporters in Ottawa-Centre that are younger than 60 are going to be voting for the Greens.

Ottawa-Center history 

This chart shows the popular votes of the main parties in the past. For the Conservative to win, not only do we need a strong candidate - to be determined on May 15th - but I think we need the Greens to come up to 15-20%. If the NDP and Liberals each get around 25-30%, the Conservatives win the riding with 30%.

I added the Reform/Alliance vote with the PCs for 93, 97, and 00.

I meant the Fu Flux Klan 
I almost missed this exchange between Joe "Verbal diarrhea" Volpe and Ezra Levant over the Libranos cover of the Western Standard. Joe didn't mean the Ku Klux Klan the other day - damn Conservative media misleading Canadians! (hat tip SDA)

It was only a couple of months ago when Volpe said this:
"If he had his way, we wouldn't have multiculturalism and we wouldn't have anybody who didn't look like Stephen Harper or [think] like Stephen Harper," Immigration Minister Joe Volpe
What an ass.

Ottawa Centre an open race 
Red Ed is leaving.

May 15th is our nomination meeting. The three Conservative candidates are fighting for a real chance now.

The riding itself could actually be a four-way race.

UPDATE: Broadbent is leaving under difficult circumstances.
"Some of you have been aware that my wife Lucille has had an intensified health problem since this past Christmas. She now spends much of each day in pain," a sombre Broadbent explained to reporters.
"I simply cannot continue in the future with all the work expected of an MP and meet my deeply felt obligations to the person who is the love of my life."

Decima/Pollara poll 
Some Liberal supporters think the Decima poll was good news for Martin. The national results were:
Liberals - 32 (+5 from 4/25 poll)
Cons - 29 (-3 from 4/25)
NDP - 20 (-1
from 4/25)
BQ - 15 (unchanged)

I commented the following:
I think the Ontario numbers were pretty good for the Tories - only 4% behind the Liberals.
From the article:
"Among respondents who said they are certain to vote, the Conservatives actually held a marginal advantage over the Liberals, 30 per cent to 29. The NDP polled 21 per cent among this group of dedicated voters.
And in Ontario, Decima found the Liberals with a four-point lead over the Tories, 39 per cent to 35. Anderson noted the Liberals could only claim a minority in last June's election despite a 20-point lead in Ontario prior to the campaign."

The election vote in Ontario was this:
Liberal 45%, 75 seats
Conservative 32%, 26 seats
N.D.P. 18%, 7 seats
Green Party 4%

The decima numbers, with the vote %, and I'm estimating the NDP and Green support, project to the following:
Liberal 39%, 54 seats
Conservative 35%, 41 seats
N.D.P. 20%, 11 seats
Green Party 6%

Losing 20 seats in Ontario with the 15 they'd lose in Quebec isn't good news for the Liberals.

I just heard there was a Pollara poll out today - from Bourque:

Pollara: Con 36% Lib 31% Ndp 17% Bq 15%

Now that's interesting - I'll have to see if there are any regional numbers.

UPDATE: More info on the Pollara poll courtesy of Spector:
According to the POLLARA survey, the Liberals are ahead in vote-rich Ontario, where 41 per cent of voters support Mr. Martin's party, compared to 36 per cent who would vote Conservative. That strength is rooted in Toronto, where the Liberals stand at 48 per cent and the Tories have 31-per-cent support. In the rest of Ontario, however, the Tories have a "competitive" edge -- with 40-per-cent support, compared to the Liberals' 36 per cent.”

Paul Wells finally admits it! 
Finally - it's been proven that Conrad Black was right - Paul Wells is a flaming Liberal.

He finally admitted that he's personally intertwined with the Herle/Reid/Layton cabal:
(Full disclosure: my girlfriend began working for the federal NDP caucus a few months ago. She and I have not discussed the Layton-Martin deal.)

Looks like The Monger was right after all. (whatever happened to the rest of that post, and where did all of the Monger's posts go - oh, right - the cabal)

Seriously though, I suppose Wells gets it from both sides and felt a need to put that sentance in - the article was partly on the Liberal-NDP deal. Liberals and leftists probably accuse him of going too hard on Paul "Empty inside" Martin and Conservatives the same with Harper.

I think Wells is one of the best in the country. I'd say that my only general criticism of his view on Conservatives would be that his expectations seem higher for Harper than for Layton or Martin.

Ben - The Tiger in Winter - just wrote a post on Wells as well:
Paul Wells, in that he is a journalist with at least a modicum of integrity, is someone the rest of the profession should emulate. He's an equal-opportunity attacker.
One things for sure, if he starts complimenting Layton on his moustache and Martin on his stately physique then I'll know she's gotten to him.

A couple of things on Gomery 
First, this ATV interview with Martin is pretty good. I love the Liberal line that they don't make any conclusions based on heresay and unsubstantiated allegations made during the inquiry - they want to wait for the report. Well, unless it's the Prime Ministers own testimony...
Steve Murphy: On the subject of Gomery, what do you believe Mr. Justice Gomery is going conclude about your action or inaction pertaining to the sponsorship scandal.
Martin: Oh I think if you look at the testimony that has already occurred it's pretty clear that the department of finance didn't know. That's not only my testimony but the deputy minister.

Secondly, I found this point made by Steve at his new blog Random Notes:

Andrew Coyne summarily dismisses recent speculation about “paragraph k” of the Gomery Commission’s terms of reference and the limitations it might impose on Gomery’s ability to assign blame in his blog yesterday.
On the surface, he appears right. But after a little searching, I discovered that the Krever public inquiry into Canada’s blood system provides a relevant precedent. Like other public inquiries, it would appear that the Krever Commission had a similar clause in its terms of reference regarding conclusions of criminal or civil liability.
But what the Krever case also shows is that if misconduct is found, named parties are prone to engage in legal tactics to prevent or delay the release of an inquiry’s report.
The whole process took more than four years. So what are the prospects for similar legal interventions by named parties to derail the conventional view that Gomery will report this year, with an election held by March 2006?
In my view, the conventional view of a winter 2006 election is looking like a best-case scenario. And Paul Martin knows it.
Read it all.

Blogging Tories raised over $4,000 
The Blogging Tories Challenge wrapped up on the weekend and while we didn't hit our goal of $10,000, which I had basically picked out of the air, I think we should be proud of our accomplishment.

We ended up raising $4,124. Thanks to all that participated and contributed.

I wrote that we needed to help raise funds so that an effective, professional campaign can be mounted to show Canadians what the Conservative Party stands for and to counter the Liberal campaign of lies and misrepresentation.

New Tory candidate Peter Kent had this to say about why he decided to run for the Conservatives:
Mr. Kent said he has considered a political bid at times in the past 20 years, and that the "tipping point was the way [the Liberals] got away with demonizing and scare-mongering a year ago," a reference to the election campaign of last June in which Stephen Harper's Tories were criticized as hiding a plan to make broad social changes such as legislating against abortion rights.
"I've always been frustrated and irritated by the ability of the Liberals to divide and conquer in terms of casting anyone with conservative principles as having hidden agendas," said Mr. Kent, who will take a leave of absence from his Global duties when the election is called, expected to be sometime this month. "There's a willingness among the Southern Ontario electorate to believe what the Liberal establishment says, whether it's misrepresentation or distortion or just outright ... lies," he said.

It's one of the main reasons I started blogging as well.

UPDATE: If you want to hear Peter Kent, CTV has some video on their site after Harper introduces him. The video is on the right-hand sidebar.

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