Seems a little high 
"I've got a little Website, some days I get up to 70,000 visitors." (Maclean's)

Is that right?

The CBC will be back in time for the pre-writ - guaranteed 
Funny this poll comes out tonight (via NealeNews):
About one in four people said they were watching or listening to CBC less since the dispute began, says the Decima survey, which is considered accurate to within 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
Those who said they were most inconvenienced by the lockout tended to be Liberal and NDP voters or older people, the poll found. Most other respondents said they had not been affected.
So far Ottawa has refused to intervene, saying the CBC is an arm's-length agency.
Labour Minister Joe Fontana noted last week, however, that the appointment of a special mediator is among several options that could help kick-start negotiations.
A person said to me yesterday that the Liberals need the CBC. It will be on the air if an election looks imminent.
It's sad but true.

Start me up 
Just so you know, I was just in my backyard and heard the first song by the Stones here in Ottawa - Start Me Up.

Very cool. I'll wander over to the stadium in a bit to hear it a little better. Get some 2nd hand rock to go along with the 2nd hand pot.

Must undermine the inquiry, dig, dig, dig 
You've probably heard about the Gomery inquiry's request for feedback.

I got a kick out of reading Warren Kinsella's thoughts on it - and what he plans to ask them:
Why did Judge Gomery give a sole-source, multi-million-dollar contract to the Ogilvy Renault law firm? Was he not advised by the Department of Justice not do so, given that his own daughter was a partner there? Why didn't he disclose this apparent conflict?
Long time readers will remember that Warren wasn't so subtle last fall:
First, way back in October, Warren sent an e-mail to myself and several other bloggers from his blogroll "in confidence". The links point to an article that mentions the selection of Bernard Roy from Ogilvy Renault as lead counsel and to a biography of a partner of Ogilvy Renault - Sally Gomery. I asked whether she is John's daughter to which Warren replied:

She is indeed.
Wonder how Ogilvy's got that sole-source, multi-million dollar assignment as commission counsel?
What a coincidence.

I guess people who sue know when they've gone over the line.

Nothing ever came of Warren's e-mails but reading again the comments on the E-Group at the time brought back some nice memories. Jay was especially blunt:

Kinsella's smear is all the worse because he not only slimes the Sally Gormery by implying that the contract was let because she works for the firm, he also attacks a member of the bench. This should attract the attention of the Law Society of Upper Canada as lawyers have a duty to defend judges who are, by virtue of their position, unable to defend themselves.
In this case Kinsella's emails are prima facie evidence (barring his, for example, denying that he ever sent them) that he has behaved in a manner contrary to Rule 4. In particular "First, a lawyer should avoid criticism that is petty, intemperate,
or unsupported by a bona fide belief in its real merit, bearing in mind that in the eyes of the public, professional knowledge lends weight to the lawyer's judgments or criticism."
Kinsella's lack of professional judgement is eclipsed only by his hipocracy in attacking Mr. Justice Gormery through his daughter.
"then thought it might be something we could have fun with in the blogosphere. Just don't source me." suggests that Kinsella did not have the slightest "bona fide belief in the real merit" of the scurilous accusation he is leveling against Mr. Justice Gormery, his daughter and the law firm.
Kinsella should fry for this.
Look for the attacks against Gomery and his integrity to increase again as we get closer to the release of his report.

Heatley's position 
I'm getting confused.

Could it be that this guy can actually play more than one position? Everytime the Senators tried to move one of Alfredsson, Hossa, or Havlat from the right to the left it lasted all of one period.

From Hockeydb.com:
Dany Heatley
Left Wing

From the Globe and Mail:
It's unclear where Heatley, a natural centre, will play with the Sens. While he is open to playing right wing, coach Bryan Murray would not speculate.

From NHL.com:
Right Wing

Conservative Ads 
I think they are pretty good for the phase we are in right now. It's safe to say that the financial support of conservatives across the country are the reason we can get these ads out to the public while the Liberals, due to their lack of support, will be unable to send out the children crying, bombs flying, and guns blazing attack ads.

Other opinions can be read at Inkless Wells, Calgary Grit, Political Staples, and even some nice words from Alan at Gen X at 40.

The ads can be see here.

I'll have more to say but for now.... 
Bill Lankhof in the T.O. Sun:
Ottawa Senators signed star forward Marian Hossa to an $18-million US, three-year deal -- then got out of paying him by trading him to Atlanta.
This isn't surprising. Everyone knows you can't get that kind of money out of Ottawa without going through Chuck Guite and signing a Liberal Party membership card.

It's all riding on Hasek 
With the Hossa signing (18 million over 3 years), it looks like the Sens are at about $37.5 million for this year.

Chris McMurtry over at Hockey Country breaks it down - he has Hossa at $6 million for this year but his salary will be 5, 6, and 7 million over the three years.

Only $2 million of this payroll is being spent on their two goalies - maybe the lowest in the league? If Hasek does get injured the Sens are going to be forced to trade salary in order make room for a decent replacement.

Let's hope Dominik did more than ride the stationary bike for the past couple of years.

Next year will see raises for Chara, Redden, Spezza, Havlat, .... = something is going to give. As Chris says, "The time is now."

UPDATE: Looks like I'm wrong about the contract averaging and $6 million will count towards the cap meaning the Sens are at $38.5 million.

UPDATE2: Trade rumour - oh baby - Heatley a Senator?

Wells on the GG 
Herman Goodden of the London Free Press asks "Why the sudden hush about Michaelle Jean?" (ht NealeNews of course)

I guess he didn't read the new Maclean's? Wells stirs up the pot with paragraphs like these:
In one fascinating section of the book, Lafond essentially offers his readers a lesson in getting money from a federal agency for a film about separatists. He publishes the proposal, or "scenario," for La liberté en colère. Of necessity, he says, it contains "all the smoke signals which serve as a dialogue" with National Film Board decision-makers. As such, "it has more to do with compromise than with provocation," he says.
"Of course, nobody is fooled," Lafond continues. "Everybody knows the scenario will be blown up in the course of making the film."
One element of PMO spin during last week's uproar was that when we see the group toasting "to independence! To independences!" the reference is to Martinique's independence, not Quebec's. But in the companion book to his film, Lafond says precisely the contrary. "Then the question of independences arises," he writes. "That of Quebec of course, of Martinique, and the lesson we can take from Haiti's."
The conversation leads to a moment that was not discussed during any of last week's controversy. Gérald Godin has the floor. "What characterizes a Quebec politician is persistance. One must be patient and patience will yield results because sooner or later, time will have gone by. The result is that Quebecers are much more ready for action today than they were during the 20 years leading up to the 1980 referendum.
Which is why, the situation having changed, I raise my glass to the imminent sovereignty of my country."
The others raise their own glasses for this toast, Lafond writes. If Michaëlle Jean excused herself from the table, or gently chided her colleagues that if anyone can tell the difference between colonial Martinique and Canada, it's her, her husband neglected to take note.
Maybe if an MP threatens to vote down the government over her appointment then Martin will change his mind - it seems to be the best way to get his attention.

Seriously though - she will become the next Governor General. We just have another example of the Martin PMO's incompetence.

"the struggle for the recognition of the fundamental rights of trans people" 
From the Ottawa-Centre NDP newsletter:
Ottawa-Centre NDP and Pride Week
Come & celebrate Gay and Lesbian people who now share the same rights and privileges as all other Canadians. Come & show your support for the struggle for the recognition of the fundamental rights of trans people which has not yet begun.

No explanation is given. Do you know what the heck they are talking about?

A couple things on Jean 
Frum's article here is pretty good.
No, this story is about the people who appointed Michaelle Jean. In that context, the "loyalty tests" so piously deplored by the Globe and Mail and (what a coincidence!) the Prime Minister's spinmeisters suddenly become very relevant indeed.
Let us remember, please, that the one and only excuse offered Canadians for the unwholesome bargains that kept Paul Martin in office this spring was ... the utter moral illegitimacy of having any contact of any kind with Quebec separatism.
So Paul Martin argued that it was intolerable to Canada to have an election when his poll numbers dipped after the sponsorship revelations because only "the separatists benefit from a premature election, and it is beyond belief to me why Stephen Harper wants to play that game."
Jack Layton and the NDP had campaigned in 2004 on a promise to "get tough on sleaze." Yet when the sleaze of the sponsorship scandal was exposed, Layton negotiated a deal to keep the sleazy in power. How did he justify that? In a speech in Halifax on April 28, he argued that as a Canadian patriot he had no choice: to vote against the government was to "get in bed" with the separatists.
And when the vote did finally loom, and the Martin government was saved by the surprise defection of Belinda Stronach, guess what reason she gave? Interviewed on Canada AM the morning after her switch, Stronach said: "I don't believe it's right to line up with the Bloc Quebecois, who have a separatist agenda, to bring down the government." Then, to drive the point home, she repeated her little talking point three times more.
When it was useful to them this spring, the Martinites applied loyalty tests with a zeal that would have done credit to Senator McCarthy himself. But the spring was such a long time ago. In those buried and bygone days, it was an affront and an offense to join with separatists to defeat a corrupt government.

Also, here's an interview CFRA's Steve Madely had with National Post reporter, Julie Smyth - the one who interviewed Helen Scherrer.
Liberal 'due diligence'= Paul Martin saying "Oh, yeah, I know her from TV! Get her!"

From Bourque I read this Globe article:

Prime Minister Paul Martin will host a closed-door meeting next week with about 35 big donors to the Liberal Party at an unpublicized fundraiser in Edmonton, Liberal officials said yesterday.
The meeting is billed as an "appreciation event" involving Liberal donors of $5,000, which is the maximum contribution under the new electoral law.
Mr. Martin has hosted other $5,000 fundraisers in Calgary and Oakville, Ont., and the party is extremely coy about these private events and will not disclose the location of Monday's meeting in Edmonton. The fundraiser is not listed on Mr. Martin's official schedule for the day.
Mr. MacKinnon said the meeting will involve people who have already given to the Liberal Party.
"There won't be a ticket booth at the entrance. They will have made their donations beforehand," he said.
So - just the kickbacks to their corporations that need to be finished, eh?

From a Hill Times article earlier this month:

Critics of the new financing law, however, said the law doesn't go far enough to weed out the big money donations. "The Conservatives are showing clear evidence that they are the party that is actively supported in terms of donations by far more Canadians than the other parties," said Duff Conacher, coordinator of Democracy Watch. "But $5,000 is still too much money for each individual to give."
Mr. Conacher said that the $5,000 limit is higher than what an average Canadian can afford in a year and should be lowered to $1,000. He added that the limit, as well as the new law in general, is undemocratic because it "facilitates funnelling of donations by corporations, unions and other organizations through executives and employees." Not all of the donor's information, such as employers or major affiliations, is disclosed, Mr. Conacher said, so voters still don't know who is supporting or "bankrolling" the parties.
"Voters have a right to know who's bankrolling the parties, or in other words, who owns the parties, before they go to the polls," Mr. Conacher said.
The Liberal source admitted that the new rules have forced the Liberals to change their fundraising strategy because the party previously "has always depended on about 80 per cent corporate donations for the central party."

Combining the second quarter donations from the Hill Times article with the first quarter numbers we can see that the Conservatives average $102 per donor while the Liberals get $233 per donor.

Still, the CPC has outraised the Liberal$ by almost $4 million!

Would you describe it this way? 
From CTV:
Jean also dismissed rumours that she and her husband supported the Quebec independence cause.
"We are equally proud of the attachment to Quebec that we have always shown beyond any partisan considerations. Let me be clear: we have never belonged to a political party or the separatist movement," she says.

I have never belonged to the Ottawa Senators. I support the Ottawa Senators.

The pertinent questions are:
Did she support Quebec independence? Not - was she a member of a party or movement.
Does it matter if she did in the past?

On the second question, I think the answer to the first - the depth of her conviction - her love of Canada - would make answering it easy.

The fact that her press release says "I want to tell you unequivocally that both he and I are proud to be Canadians and that we have the greatest respect for the institutions of our country." Are? That's a pretty contempory word.

Also, that the last sentence starts with "Let me be clear" makes me wonder if Paul Martin wrote this release himself.

Ears perked 
Wade Redden is rumored to be on the move via trade.

Maybe next summer - I can't see it happening this year. I think this is just growing from a column by Don Brennan.

UPDATE: TSN is carrying the story now with some specifics...
Some names the Citizen mentions, as part of packages for Redden, include Florida defenceman Mike Van Ryn, Los Angeles defenceman Lubomir Visnovsky and perhaps even Detroit centre Pavel Datsyuk.

A letter for a letter 
I'm re-loving Maclean's over the past 6 months or so. Here's a letter I read tonight that so summarizes the change to the magazine:

Bravo for your sensible defence of Wal-Mart. It is great to read journalism that stops pandering to the kind of sentimental so-called economics by which most of us evaluate the world of business. For years I have done my smug, Canadian best to disdain Wal-Mart for its American bargain-bin style, but I'm half glad to be exposed for the elitist prat that I am.
I also appreciate someone finally outing those well-funded multi-national unions for being as avaricious as the corporations they so noisily decry. You folks are turning a truly lousy magazine, full of centrist snobbery and occasionally stunning banality, into a decent read.
At first, I thought you ad just made it look like The Economist. But, lo and behold, a sharp-minded, opinionated, serious magazine has emerged that is not afraid to be playful and yet knows how to take on an issue.
Graham Nickel, Abbotsford, B.C.

Hopped up on Goofballs 
Actually, Tim Horton's fine coffee. Made the drive from Southwestern Ontario to Ottawa tonight and was doing some reading as I calm down from the drive.

Erin Nicks is going to be writing for a long time if she keeps putting out columns like this:

In the new-era NHL, who should be financially responsible for Marian Hossa's delusions?

Hossa admitted his displeasure to the Sun's Bruce Garrioch, and expressed a desire to be compensated in the manner of the league's top echelon of players, specifically Joe Thornton and Jarome Iginla.
Iginla penned his new contract with the Flames for $21 million over three years, and Thornton agreed to a three-year, $20-million deal on Thursday. Hossa reminded the Sun his statistics are similar to both players.

And if the Slovak and his agent are searching for a legitimate comparison, they should look at Milan Hejduk's recent contract with the Avalanche. The Czech forward had similar numbers to Hossa's (Hejduk netted 35 goals and 40 assists in 2003-04), but Colorado's situation is similar to the Senators, with a supporting cast that assists in favourable numbers for most players. Hejduk's salary reflects this -- he'll be receiving $3.7 million in 2005-06.
There's another sticking point that Hossa isn't considering, and it was demonstrated in his comments to the Sun on Wednesday:
"I'm not pissed off. You know me, I'm not that type of guy."
Whether on or off the ice, Hossa has rarely displayed emotion. The evidence of heart is one of those intangibles that can pay handsomely, if a player possesses it. Iginla and Thornton are captains of their respective teams, and that decision surely was not based on skill alone. Hossa may be the top scorer for the Senators, but he's not a leader.
When one speculates on future captains in Ottawa, names like Fisher and Spezza come to mind -- rounded players with talent and emotion, which will manifest itself eventually into larger paycheques.

Very, very true.

Oh, btw, I'm kind of on holidays... 
In case you've wandered by here in the past couple of weeks.

I've been keeping a close watch on the NHL signings and Ottawa's attempt to resign all of their players. Lindros to Toronto will be fun to watch for sure. I'll predict Hossa will be signing a 2 year deal for around 9.5 million or a 4 year one for about $22 before his arbitration hearing comes up.

I made a bet with my brother, a Leafs fan, that Toronto would win 35 or fewer games this year. $5 of mine is riding on them doing it. That would put them around 0.500 and close to making the playoffs.
I'll also say here that if Allison, Lindros, and Belfour combine to miss 80 games or more, I'll win.

"A great day for Edmonton, and Hockey in general" 
I loved reading some of these comments after the Pronger to Edmonton article:

It seems that the cap has proved that the leafs are the weakest team in the G.M. position. Don't worry Canuck fans, I see Kariya and Niedermayer coming your way. Us Leaf fans get to marvel at the catastrophie that is the 2005 Leafs where Tomas Kaberle, Nic Antropov and Karel Pilar seem to be more valued than Gary Roberts and Joe Nieuwendyk. I love the Leafs but I hate them just as much.

Edmonton should give Gary Bettman the key to the city..... still Brewer and Woywtika was a stiff price to pay on top of the 7.2 million. You could have had Neidermayer for 7.8.....looks like Calgary gets him.

As a long time Oiler fan, I never thought I'd see the day come when the Oilers would finally be able to land a top draw talent like Pronger. Thank you to both the players and the owners for allowing the Oil to compete with the top tier teams again. This is truly a great day for Edmonton, and Hockey in general.

In the comments there was a rumour that Pronger is signing a long term deal for around $4.6 a year. We'll see.

Ontario teams silent 
Signing Denis Hamel doesn't really make waves, does it.

I nice resource to use - David Johnson is tracking the Leafs payroll situation and says he's hoping to track the Sens as well.

As I said below, Ferguson must be looking at his shopping list and see that Pronger, Foote, Hatcher, and Aucoin are gone. Niedermayer seems destined for parts west. Does this mean we are going to see Gonchar playing for $6 million in the blue and white or Rafalski for $4 million as Leaf Nation starts thinking about missing the playoffs?

The Senators were rumoured to have offered Lapointe $2.1 a season. Their payroll must be tight when considering the expected raises to Hossa and Havlat.

It's been an entertaining couple of days so far.

Leafs leaving 
Roberts and Nieuwendyk are gone.

Nolan is pretty much gone.

Domi doesn't feel the love.

Leetch is expected back in NY.

The Leafs biggest need is on the blueline and with Foote, Aucoin and Hatcher going elsewhere you know they'll give the big bucks to Niedermayer or Pronger.

Meanwhile the Sens work on signing their own restricted free agents. A nice position to be in.

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