Liberal leaders must pass this test before proceeding 
People were wondering whether the solibs were going to play a huge part in the Liberal leadership race?

The Young Liberals will play a big part in the convention - and I would expect the Quebec wing to be very vocal. Here is one of them:
As VP Policy of the JLCQ, I can give you some insight that absolutely no executive would ever possibly support.
First off, our leadership candidate would HAVE TO support the rights of same sex couples to get married civilly. To all those who have opposed this in the past, they will have to be accountable.
Secondly, our leadership candidate MUST be in favour of a woman’s right to choose. This is one of the most protected values amongst us liberals. We ran attack ads against candidates who opposed such rights. Why would we ever support a candidate to lead our party who had a different position?
Thirdly, our leadership candidate must be an ARDENT defender of the Kyoto Protocol. No province loves Kyoto as much as Quebec does, and we here at the JLC(Q) believe we must support a candidate who will adopt Canada’s action plan in waging a war on global warming. That war we will accept!
Welcome to the new Liberal party - the big tent is getting smaller and smaller.

Extreme far-right Brits? The country is full of socons! 
No - but they can actually talk abortion without the extremists on both sides dominating the debate.
Regardless, I suppose according to Paul Martin, the country must be far to the right of the US Conservative movement I guess:
Increased awareness of the realities of abortion, and the impact of ultrasound images of a 23-week-old foetus smiling and grimacing, have made people change their views, said Ivereigh. The latter 'very dramatically showed that what had been depersonalised in many people's minds as a foetus was clearly seen to be a baby, a human being in formation, and that has come as a shock to many people', he added.
Abortion became a key issue in last year's general election campaign when Michael Howard, then the Conservative leader, said he wanted to see the maximum time limit cut to 20 weeks.
Former Liberal leader David Steel, the architect of the pioneering 1967 Abortion Act which made abortions legal for the first time in Britain, wants the upper limit reduced to 22 weeks.
The limit was originally set in 1967 at 28 weeks, because that was then taken to be the age at which a foetus would not be 'viable', but it was reduced to 24 weeks in 1990. Around 200,000 women a year undergo an abortion in Britain, although between 85 and 90 per cent occur within 12 weeks and only about 1.5 per cent after 20 weeks. Abortion is still illegal in Northern Ireland.
David Cameron, Howard's successor, backs a new limit of between 20 and 22 weeks. 'He thinks because of the advances in medical science there's now a case for it being lowered, although not dramatically. He would support it being reduced. That is his personal view,' said his spokesman.
Moves to reduce the time limit are now beginning to win the support of liberal-minded MPs who support the right to abortion. Dr Evan Harris, the Liberal Democrat MP and a former GP, called for an in-depth parliamentary inquiry to examine the scientific evidence about the survival rates of babies born at under 24 weeks, and then recommend any necessary changes to the law. 'The question has been raised about whether we are going to base the limit on viability - that was the basis under the existing law - and if it's on viability then viability is subject to change based on medical advances,' he said.
'The longer we don't debate this, the less confidence the public will have that Parliament is doing its job which is reviewing and keeping in mind how scientific advances impact on public policy.'
Abortion law has always been altered through private members' bills tabled by backbenchers rather than by government in the past, with MPs voting according to their conscience. However the tacit support of the government is vital to get private members' bills through, making the views of the Prime Minister and Health Secretary crucial.
Hat-tip to Spector.

I concur 
Lysianne Gagnon's column today in the Globe captures some of the same thoughts as I posted last week:
Actually, the election results might even force the sovereigntists to renounce their dream of holding a referendum on sovereignty right after a provincial election victory.
Moreover, the prospect of a PQ victory over Jean Charest's Liberals is not as probable as it seemed only two weeks ago. The Conservative victory is providing much-needed fuel to the embattled Quebec Liberals, who greeted the Conservative win with unabashed joy. (Some provincial Liberal organizers discreetly gave a helping hand to the new Conservative MPs around Quebec City).
If Mr. Harper delivers on his promise to solve the fiscal imbalance between Ottawa and the provinces, and allows Quebec a voice in cultural international forums such as UNESCO, the Quebec government has a greater chance of being re-elected, and such a scenario would instantly send the sovereigntist movement into limbo for four more years.
If Mr. Harper plays his cards well -- and of course this remains to be seen -- Quebec could propel him with enough seats, next time, to a majority government. For this scenario to become true, though, he will have to govern from the centre, refrain from pushing socially conservative policies and act on his promise to decentralize. For now, Quebeckers are favourably disposed toward the new government, but Mr. Harper will be under close surveillance.

Toronto doesn't understand the rest of Ontario either 
This was at the end of a Globe and Mail article:
In fact, the Montreal business community from which Mr. Mulroney received much support isn't too sure yet how to handle Mr. Harper. According to one source, they are at a loss to understand how the 10 newly elected Conservatives, all of whom are from outside the Montreal region, were able to win without their financial clout.

The Montreal corporate community understands that the party's power base has shifted to the West and if its members are to have any influence on the party, their ties to Mr. Mulroney will not be enough to increase that influence. Many are beginning to prepare now for the next election where they intend to play a much more significant role in a party that they believe has the potential to once again become a force in the province.

Financial clout isn't the force it once was - with Chretien's election financing changes that limited personal and corporate donations and Harper's new plan to eliminate corporate and union donations and restrict personal donations even further - it's ideas that matter. You get money for votes and from grassroots supporters. That's why the power base has shifted.

'Social liberals' going to cause problems for the Liberal party? 
This search (ignatieff abortion) landed someone to my blog here for some reason.

Of course, this type of issue is going to be key for running for the new Liberal party. Paul Martin has made it a fundamental part of the party and its leader.

Maude, Buzz, and the people shown to the left are who Martin spoke to in the last weeks of the campaign and will undoubtedly be attempting to influence the outcome of the leadership race.

Maude herself wrote:

We will also be watching the Liberal party and its search for a new leader. After all, it is under the Liberals that Canada has agreed to continental harmonization and the creation of a "Fortress North America." Will the Liberals choose a right-winger such as John Manley or Frank McKenna, both supporters of deeper integration with the United States? Or will the Liberal party undertake the soul-searching it needs and help build a real opposition inside Parliament to the Harper agenda?
The moment is ripe for renewed cooperation of progressive forces inside and outside Parliament to protect decades of social progress. There is not a moment to lose.

Potential leaders like Stronach and Brison will probably even try to use it as a wedge issue much like Martin did - 'does McKenna support abortion? - yes or no? - YES OR NO?' It doesn't take long in Google to find this:
Premier Frank McKenna promised Dr. Morgentaler “the fight of his life” if he
opened a clinic in New Brunswick.

People have been so concerned about 'social conservatives' in the CPC causing problems. I think 'social liberals' in the Liberal party are going to cause just as big a problem during this leadership race and the convention that might follow.

It's not like the solibs didn't cause a stir in the last Liberal convention where they passed a resolution calling for legalized prostitution and proposed the legalization of marijuana.

If you have time... 
This CTV Toronto piece on Harper's Toronto roots is pretty entertaining.

Also from CTV is an interview Duffy had with Manning and Harris. It's very good.

It's surreal 
I was just at Stronach's campaign site. On the front page there is a description of how she won the debate. To emphasis how badly the Conservative candidate did, it says the following:
She also expressed her respect and admiration for what Harris did to Ontario.

“I believe Mike Harris made the most significant mark on Ontario and I did go to
him seeking advice.” — Belinda Stronach, Toronto Star, January 25, 2004.
If you have a second, read 'A Message from Belinda on Why this Election is also about National Unity'. The start:
This is one of those times in the life of the nation when we must apply smelling salts to clear the air of congestion.
I come from a part of the country north of Toronto where we cannot conceive of a Canada without Quebec. So, when my personal discomfort at the readiness of Stephen Harper to cut deals with the separatist Bloc Québécois reached the crisis point last May, I crossed the floor and joined the Liberal Party.
Now with an election looming my apprehension for the good of the country is stronger than ever.
Any future Conservative government could only logically be held in power in a coalition with the Bloc Québécois. The image is both surrealistic and unnerving – a federal government propped up by the will of the separatists.

Yeah - pass the smelling salts. Logically, the Liberals will be 'propping' up the CPC as Belinda takes a run at the leadership. Logically, a person discomforted by the thought of cutting deals with the Bloc wouldn't be so happy to receive the endorsement of Buzz while he is endorsing the Bloc. Logically, the best thing for Canada is to have Belinda switch parties whenever necessary to ensure she never is able to cause long term damage to it by actually being in government for more than a few months.

Sleepy thoughts 
What's going to happen? I'll tell you.

Cabinet will be much smaller.

Accountability Act first - before any budget.

The budget must contain the GST reduction and childcare allowance. The other measures - defence spending, capital gains tax, transit/sport tax credits - will be negotiated with the Liberals/NDP/Bloc. Harper will not work with only one party - he might shut out the Bloc somewhat though during discussions in order to show their 'impotence'.

Crime bill and Patient Wait Times Guarantee will come after the budget. The guarantee will need to be negotiated with the provinces - over the summer?

I'd guess they'll want to bring the SSM vote before the house in the spring. It won't be close.

Considering the Quebec election in 2007, I expect that Harper will want to give Charest some ammunition to stop the PQ. I'd guess that in the fall they'll start working on the fiscal imbalance issue and have something to sign in the first half of 2007.

The Bloc won't want a federal election before the provincial one - they can't risk another loss of momentum. That means Harper will get two budgets in if he wants.

The Liberals will have a new leader for the fall session. Harper may, I think mainly depending on the Quebec situation, engineer his governments defeat next winter. Neuter the Bloc prior to the Quebec provincial election and campaign on his key promises that he's delivered.

A majority Conservative government will follow on the strength of 40 Quebec seats and a few gains in Ontario. Charest will be re-elected in Quebec a couple of months later.

Harper starts constitutional talks in 2008 and Quebec signs later that year.

Who indeed 
That was a dynamite victory speech. On second thought, it's worth repeating: Who would have thought he could become prime minister? Who would have thought his party could beat Paul Martin's in Quebec? And who doubts he accomplished it, at every step, through diligence in the face of long odds? The odds are going to stay long. One presumes he will remain diligent. He has already accomplished extraordinary things.

Pretty close to what I expected.

Nice to see the Bloc down to 51. It will never be that high again btw.

One question - is the charter burning party tonight or tomorrow? Ha, ha - just kidding.

One quick thought - Ontario disappointed me. I was confident that we would give the CPC 50 seats - if we did it would have been a strong minority as opposed to the slender one it is.

This parliament will last some though - the Liberals will need some time to rebuild. That means Harper will be PM during the next Quebec provincial election. That will be one of the most key issues during this mandate.

Anyway, looking forward to hearing from our new PM - it's almost 1am now.

Retirement Party 
I was invited to my neighbour's place tonight for the election viewing / Leafs-Sens tilt on the picture-in-picture. They're calling it the Paul Martin Retirement Party!

Sounds good to me!

AtC reader predictions 
I'd like to know what my readers think will happen tonight.

My prediction when the campaign started:

Liberals 94
Conservatives 117
NDP 37
Bloc 60

My prediction today:

Liberals 97
Conservatives 119
NDP 31
Bloc 60

UPDATE: A co-worker, who I haven't heard say anything about the election before, told me today that there is a Chinese saying - When a wall is falling, everyone pushes.

UPDATE2: At work here there is a little pool going on - the average currently stands at:
Liberals 90
Conservatives 130
NDP 32
Bloc 54

I'll wait for Monday night 
Until I see the numbers from Ontario here I will not presume that the CPC has survived the disgusting Liberal attack ads and Martin's baying of all abortion all the time in order to scare the uniformed.

More from Honest Ed 
CTV story and video can be accessed here.

Here is something else he said during the press conference:

It's the Liberals now who are making this absurd and hypocritical attack on the NDP. They of all people. Trying to say that they are standing up for "progressive" Canadians.

I was furious when I saw Paul Martin last night on television saying this.

I saw Paul Martin during the 1990's - after we had surplus after surplus - building up surplus' while a million of our kids went hungry to bed every night, while thousands of Canadians went homeless and we were the only G8 country without a housing program. Doing nothing on the environment. In fact, George Bush doing more on the environment than Paul Martin and this man now, hypocritically in my view, has the nerve to suggest that they - these Liberals - these cynical manipulators who appoint - continue to under Mr. Martin - appoint a Manitoba bagman of their party to the Senate - a political hack as ambassador to Costa Rica

These are not progressive people. The only time they talk about being progressive is in the dying days of an election campaign - it's the only time they use the word! - is in the dying days of an election campaign when they try to go after the votes of ordinary Canadians - people who are indicating they are going to vote for the NDP. Well, I can tell you that this time it's not going to happen.

Broadbent's statement 
This guy has more credibility and integrity in his baby finger than Paul Martin has left in his entire body....

Good morning. I expect this will be my final press conference and I want to speak about the opportunity that Monday’s election presents to working people.
I’ve been in politics a long time. I entered in the election that elected Pierre Trudeau as Prime Minister. I worked with Mr. Trudeau on the Charter of Rights and I’m appalled at Paul Martin’s treatment of it as if it is a prop.
I know many long-time Liberals are looking at the Liberal Party they see and concluding they cannot in conscience vote for it. They are right.
No matter how unethical, undemocratic and unprincipled the Liberal Party becomes, the team of insiders at the top can simply not imagine people choosing to take power away.
It should be taken away. The Liberal Party thinks about itself more than working people. Its conduct in office has not been ethical. Its contempt for Parliament is rivaled only by its manipulation of voters.
In this election, Mr. Martin is asking voters who find Liberal behaviour unforgivable to vote for them all the same. And to those who choose a better option, he dares equate that with supporting the Conservatives. He should be ashamed.
I sat in a caucus with Tommy Douglas. With David Lewis. And with Jack Layton. For 40 years, I’ve seen New Democrats work for working people in Parliament. And we have the medicare system, pension system and a new budget to show for it.
Yet Mr. Martin accuses the New Democratic Party of partisanship. Were it not for the NDP putting its interests aside and putting working people’s interests first, the Liberal Party would have been fed to voters last spring.
It now is. And it has run a campaign that at best is incoherent, and at worst is deeply offensive. To women. To members of our armed forces. And to people who long for intellectual honesty in politics once more.
It is clear the Liberal Party no longer has the moral authority to deserve people’s votes. It is, simply, not the party it used to be or the party it portrays.
Mr. Martin’s team is running a campaign based on intellectual dishonesty. Cynical manipulation. And recklessly using significant issues for the sole purpose of continuing Liberal entitlement – which we know is used to benefit Liberal insiders, not working people.
For those reasons, I urge people to look at the option presented by Jack Layton and the New Democratic Party. And this once, vote for the kind of change you want. Vote NDP, for the kind that puts working people first.

I never expected such an honour! 
When asked about his vision of Canada in the CBC Your Turn special last night, Harper started his answer had this line:

I guess it began when my mother handed me a puzzle when I was about 4 years old, a map of the country, and I built it and I've taken a keen interest in All things Canadian ever since.

It's at the 1:13:30 mark - video can be accessed here.

Reality Check time: This blog has only been active for 2 and a bit years and since Mr. Harper is 46 his numbers simply do not add up. He's got a 42 year hole in his numbers!

UPDATE: Michael Moore made a statement today on our election - he starts...
Michael Moore is currently in production on his next movie. As an avid lover of all things Canadian, he has issued the following statement regarding Canada's upcoming election on Monday

What an ass. The 'a' in All things Canadian... should be capitalized.

Quebec Liberals supporting the CPC 
I read this on Babble:
There's a Radio-Canada story out of the the Lac-St-Jean area about a Liberal organiser in Jonquière-Alma (where the LPC is polling in the single digits), who has defected to the CPC. The Liberal candidate refuses to take offense. In the radio clip, he stops just short of saying that he's going to vote CPC himself.
The web story is here.

UPDATE: The Globe expands:
A Liberal candidate in the heart of Bloc Québécois country has conceded defeat with four days left in the election and is urging his supporters to throw their support behind the Conservative candidate in the riding.

My lawn sign was kicked in half (incriminating footprints confirm the method of destruction) last night. The other Conservative sign on my block was gone this morning too.

The other party's signs seem to be all up.

I'll have to go to Keith's office on the way home and replace it I guess.

UPDATE: I went to pick up a new sign and I was asked if I wanted one of the big ones. I now have the biggest sign on the block! I'm the coolest!

My rant on childcare policy 
We know the Liberals won't allow independent verification of their platform numbers while attacking the Conservative numbers.

They love to attack the Conservative child care allowance.

Then they put out flyers like this - from a reader....

Here is what we got in mail in Oakville from Bonnie Brown under the heading "Investing in Canada's Children & Families":
"Will create up to 625,000 new, high-quality day-care spaces (25,000 in Ontario by 2008)"
"Bottom Line: ELCC establishes safe, regulated facilities; trained, licensed instructors; affordable, high-quality care with learning, available to both working and stay-at-home Canadian parents coast to coast."
Isn't this a joke! 25,000 spaces in the whole of Ontario with 10,000,000 people, but even for that you need to wait 3 years. The other thing is the statement that it is available to "stay-at-home" parents, sure but why would they use it? They are full-time day-care, not part-time or casual spots. Unless the parents are the well-to-dos in Oakville that would otherwise hire a nanny so that the children don't interfere the with shopping and social events.
Of course the Liberals want to mislead Canadians. Martin's says every day that he's created the first national social progrum (he says progrum - not program) in a generation.

There are roughly 600,000* children in Ontario between 0 and 4 years. The Liberal plan is to create 25,000 spaces by 2008. Currently there are about 125,000 spaces* in Ontario. The Liberal plan will not be subsidizing the cost to the parents of those spaces.

He compares his daycare program to Medicare. Imagine - his solution for Medicare would be to increase hospital spaces by 20% - to total 25% of the patients and then make them still pay for it.

It's not a national program. It's a sound bite and a photo op.

The Conservative policy isn't a national program either - they don't claim it to be one. It's a small government solution to help address an issue that most Canadians agree needs to be addressed - helping parents.

We know that creating a real national daycare program would cost billions more than what either the NDP or Liberals have proposed. It would put more pressure, through increased taxation on the working parent and from societal pressure, to have both parents in the work force. Is that good? Is that bad? I don't know.

I do know that we don't quantify the benefit that a stay at home parent provides to our society. Helping out at our schools, helping the libraries and community centers, and helping to care for elderly parents are just a couple of the things that come to mind.

It doesn't actually matter as no party is proposing such a national program.

I think the Conservative plan is better, realistic, and more honest than either of the other parties are proposing.

Say and do anything 
After difficult reflection, I reached a conclusion," Stronach told reporters in Ottawa. "I cannot exaggerate how hard this was for me, but the political crisis affecting Canada is too risky and dangerous for blind partisanship."
She also said Conservative Leader Stephen Harper is not sensitive to the needs of all parts of the country, and is jeopardizing national unity by allying himself with the Bloc Québécois.
"The country must come first," she said.

There was a certain Buzz around Belinda Stronach yesterday, and she can only hope it generates votes in next Monday's federal election.
Buzz Hargrove, head of the 240,000-member Canadian Auto Workers and a long-time NDP supporter, continued his nationwide campaign to block a Conservative win by endorsing Stronach's Liberal re-election bid in Newmarket-Aurora.

The CAW head seemed to suggest that Quebecers should even vote for the Bloc Quebecois if it meant keeping out the Conservatives.
"I would urge them to stop Stephen Harper in any way they can," he said, adding that Canada will be a "meaner place for most Canadians" with Harper as leader.
His comments come a day after Harper made a strong appeal to voters in Quebec, where polls show the Conservatives have made surprising gains.

Real nice 
Martin allies Buzz Hargrove and PSAC (the largest public sector union) have both come out in the past two days endorsing the Bloc in Quebec.

Martin will silently encourage this in order to reduce Conservative gains in Quebec even though he has publicly declared this a referendum election for the Bloc and the Tories are mainly beating up on the Bloc in francophone Quebec.

More Liberal campaign literature 
To follow on the Chicken Little strategy book the Liberals are distributing this to households...

Maybe the Liberals should have read to the end of the book before trying this strategy!

A little break from the campaign 
Patrick of Shamrocks posted Martin Luther King's most famous speech on Monday - it was MLK Day in the States.

I bought a CD set years back of the World's Greatest Speeches and I love listening to that amazing speech - it gives me goosebumps every time. You can listen to it here.

Here you go 
This recently came to my attention: ' it would be a good idea to put up the conservative policy's so that the people can come and see them instead of Liberal bashing'

Me? Liberal bashing?

Here are the priorities of a Conservative government:

Harper says Canadians will choose the composition of the next Parliament. Should Conservatives lead that Parliament, the Conservative Party will pursue the following five priorities:
- Clean up government by passing the Federal Accountability Act;
- Provide real tax relief to working families by cutting the GST;
- Make our streets and communities safer by cracking down on crime;
- Help parents with the cost of raising their children; and
- Work with the provinces to establish a Patient Wait Times Guarantee.

Full platform here.

Let's use the comments for discussion. Now, back to the regularly scheduled bashing.....

UPDATE: Two readers have sent me this link from Canada AM.

The interview starts as follows:

Beverly Thomson, Canada AM: The Liberals say the Conservatives can't possibly afford this - that they're going to plunge us into deficit - that they're going to have to cut spending - one of the two, it has to happen. Does it sound to you, and you've looked at the numbers, that the Harper campaign and the promises they've made are affordable.
Dale Orr, managing director of the economic consulting firm Global Insight: Yeah, I think they are.

Tip for Martin - stop doing media interviews 
You're not helping yourself...

Listening to Paul Martin being interviewed on As It Happens during my commute home tonight was painful.

I have just witnessed the most dissmisive interview between a network news anchor and a standing Canadian Prime Minster in my life.

Currie on working class voters 
Read Jay's post - the ending:
It is not in the least surprising that the old working class, the guys pounding nails in civil servants’ island getaway homes which they could never afford, are less than impressed with the Liberals or the NDP. The last thing they want is endless taxes, endless debt and money being poured into social programs their kids are never going to have a chance to get into.
So they are going to vote for Harper and no one should be in the least surprised.

Keeping Martin in the dark 
They don't want him to get depressed? Leadership.

From Hebert's column:

Since last week, Martin is being spared the daily onslaught of negative news and numbers, the better to focus on what has become a life-or-death campaign.
Thus, the Liberal leader is presumably unaware that his post-debate counteroffensive has so far been a bust. He is not kept abreast of the editorial support that is starting to come Harper's way. He may not know that his message is as routinely derailed by Liberal gaffes as Conservative leader Harper's was in the last campaign.
But Martin cannot ignore the new tack of the media queries. Since the debates, he is being asked daily whether he would resign rather than serve as leader of the opposition and whether he regrets that he waited so long to engage in the campaign.
Martin also knows he is spending a lot of time in Liberal strongholds, places no Liberal leader has had to go to shore up support in the dying days of a campaign in the recent past.
He is well aware that no Liberal plan ever envisaged the notion that he would spend the last stretch of the campaign in Quebec fighting Harper rather than the Bloc Québécois.

UPDATE: Martin was asked about this by a reporter today and his response was that he does read the newspaper - that he sometimes doesn't agree with the stories - that he didn't read the newspaper yesterday because he was busy. I'm serious. That was his answer.

Mansbrige: I, for one, welcome our new Conservative overlords. 
Had to laugh at this.

BTW: You do know what the title of this post was refering to - right?

NDP warns of Liberal "phone scam" tactics in Ottawa-Centre 
From the NDP candidate's website:
Dewar Campaign Warns Voters to beware of another "Mahoney Phone Scam"
Ottawa - The voters of Ottawa Centre need to be mindful of the Mahoney campaign’s record of sending out pre-recorded phone messages to residents of Ottawa Centre that are designed to smear their opponent and mislead voters said the Paul Dewar Campaign today.
"I am specifically reminding voters about the message sent out on Election Day 2004 by the Mahoney Campaign to smear the reputation of Ed Broadbent. I believe that if the local Liberals used this tactic last election they could try and do it again," said Paul Dewar's Campaign Manager, Rob Sutherland.
On the last Election Day (June 28, 2004), the Mahoney campaign in Ottawa Centre paid for a phone message that was sent to thousands of Ottawa Centre voters. The phone message alleged that Ed Broadbent was willing to resign his seat in favour of Jack Layton and therefore people should not vote for him. The message attributed the source of this lie to Mike Duffy of CTV News (Ed Broadbent was already on public record as having said that he would never consider giving up his seat in Ottawa Centre).
In fact, on Election Day in 2004 Mr. Duffy's producer confirmed to Rob Sutherland, Ed Broadbent's Campaign Manager, that they got information from "a Liberal source" and reported it without confirmation, something Mike later apologized for on-air.
Thus, the 2004 scam worked like this:
• A "Liberal source" set up a reporter (Mike Duffy) with a false rumour.
• The reporter reported the tip.
• Immediately the Mahoney campaign sent out a pre-recorded phone message smearing the reputation of their opponent using the reporter as the source.
"This kind of elaborate scheme shows the real ethical standards of the Mahoney Campaign. If Mahoney's campaign was capable of a phone scam last year, there is a good reason for voters to be very careful about the reliability of the information they receive from that campaign this time around," said Rob Sutherland, both Broadbent and Dewar's Campaign Manager.

Election Day (June 28, 2004) Mahoney Campaign Phone Message

Liberal playbook unveiled 
Conservative strategist Tim Powers got a copy of the Liberal top secret playbook and showed it to the nation on CTV on Friday.

Here it is:

The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

As Jack said last week:

"We know what the Liberals will want you to be thinking. They will be saying that everyone in Canada has to vote Liberal or life will end on planet Earth. The Liberals will say that if everyone in Canada doesn't vote for them, the sun won't rise, the spring won't come and volcanoes will destroy the earth," he told the Toronto rally Saturday.
"That's all they've got left. That's the Liberal campaign at this point."

Challenge picked up 
Andrew has already raised close to $400 this morning on his site.

Here are the candidates for the Conservatives in Ontario - pick one and help out!

Here is the donation site for the national campaign.

More from 416 

Steve Posen, a 20-year resident of St. Paul's, a member of St. Paul's Jewish community, co-founder of the Canadian Coalition for Democracies, and until a few weeks ago a member of the St. Paul's Federal Liberal Riding Association Executive and advisor to Carolyn Bennett on issues related to Israel, stepped out of a symbolic big blue tent which back-dropped the news conference and announced that he is supporting Peter Kent for Member of Parliament.
David Asper and his family have been well-known for their past support for the Liberal Party. In his statement, Mr. Asper said in a preparedletter of recommendation that, "the need for a man of Peter's integrity became even more clear to me after hearing the Prime Minister say during the last English language debate that 'we've got to have a more intelligent debate. Enough is enough: this idea of drive-by smears doesn't make it true', and then the next day launch a series of Liberal advertisements that are some of the most insulting, base attack ads that I have ever seen. The Prime Minister is correct. Enough is enough. It's time for a change and Peter Kent is someone who represents not only change itself, but change for the better."

Hat-tip to the Standard.

Around Ontario - Part 4 - A view from inside the beast - 416 
'Adam' lives and works in downtown Toronto - his view on the campaign, Harper, Liberals, etc. Also, I've added some to and fro we had after he sent me his post....

I live in downtown Toronto (Trinity-Spadina, if you're interested), but my official residence is at my parents' place in a suburb of Ottawa.
Consequently, my actual vote (Ottawa) doesn't affect me at a local level (Toronto). The advantage/disadvantage of this is that I really don't pay too much attention to the local races, but focus almost exclusively on the election at a national level.
In any case, my parents' riding (Carleton - Mississauga Mills) has gone almost exclusively PC/CA/Conservative (and will continue to do so), so there wouldn't be a heck of a lot of point in dwelling on it.
The downtown scene is a lot more interesting, however. In the last 2 elections, the Reform/PC/CA/Conservative candidates have really been non-entities in any discussions/debates that I've had with colleagues/friends/co-workers (most of which were under 30). In fact, even the local media seemed to ignore those candidates (well, except for the Sun). What I find to be very different about this campaign is the increased level of interest/support for the Conservatives. Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying they're going to sweep Toronto, but the more affluent areas (Eglinton/Lawrence, Don Valley West, for example) might be up for grabs.
I obviously can't authoritatively claim why this trend has occurred, but it seems to me that the following conclusions have been reached:
1) Liberals are behaving badly
2) They should not be rewarded with another election
3) Stephen Harper is not 'so bad'
Step 3 is what is different from the last election. People were generally unhappy with the Liberals before, but were freaked out by Harper. I think that the combination of a more 'relaxed' Harper and additional ordure from the Liberals has reached critical mass. I don't think that people will be that 'turned off' about voting Conservative this time around.
I still expect the Liberals to sweep downtown (with Jack Layton taking Toronto-Danforth), but if downtown Toronto can shift right (even slightly), then I wonder how pronounced this tendency will be across the rest of southern Ontario.
As an aside, my favourite riding to watch will be Toronto-Danforth, featuring Jack Layton and Deborah Coyne. You all know who Jack is, but Coyne is a star candidate that has been parachuted in. Should be entertaining......
For the record, I voted Green last time and will likely vote NDP this time around.

I would really like to know - and my readers would too I'm sure - what a person living in Toronto thinks of Harper. How has the common perception changed if it has?
What are the reasons you want the Conservatives to win, etc?

As for why I want the Conservatives to win, it's pretty straightforward with me.
I believe that the Liberals *have* to lose. No two ways about it. Their corruption appears to be endemic, and the only way to change that is to toss them out. That being said, I hate the attitude of 'anybody is better than the Liberals'. That's just stupid. If that were the case, why bother voting?
Unlike the last election, I'm a lot more comfortable with the idea of a Conservative minority. I think that they've got a lot of fresh ideas to bring in, but their minority status would temper any stuff that I would deem 'crazy'. OK, crazy is too strong a word. I'm generally referring to policy that I consider to be religious-based (bear in mind that my religion is generally a lot more conservative than the Conservatives, so cut me some slack on this).
I also believe that if the Conservatives were to win a minority government, they wouldn't stray too far right, as the Liberals would be ready to call an election in about 18 months (after they picked a new leader and got him 'known'. God, I hope it isn't Ignatieff).

And if they might get a majority?
Would you vote liberal if you thought it would stop a conservative majority but maybe end up giving the liberals a minority?

Good point. I don't see the Conservates getting a majority, but if they do, I wouldn't have a huge problem with that (I'd still have a problem with it, but I'd still be happy with the election).
I'm not a huge fan of the Conservative policies, but I recognize that they're not crazy.
That being said, I really don't expect a majority from them. There will be too many 'strategic' voters to prevent that from occurring, particularly because if the Conservatives have such huge support a dozen days from the election. People will see that and change their minds (like we haven't seen that before....).

You can see the other Around Ontario posts here:
Around Ontario - Part 3 - '905' North
Around Ontario - Part 2 - '905' West
Around Ontario - Part 1 - An NDP view from Waterloo

Cosh's question for Paul Martin 
You know Martin wants to change the Charter by removing the Notwithstanding clause. Colby asks:
"Prime Minister, you are now concentrating all your energy on attacking a core provision of the Charter of Rights. Your Conservative opponent finds himself defending that Charter, root and branch, from a Liberal leader waving an X-acto knife. How the hell did it come to this? Even principled conservative critics of the Charter have generally admitted that they have an uphill battle against the popularity of the document. Isn't there a characteristic smell telling you right now that your head is stuffed somewhere it shouldn't be?"

'I'm not making this up' 
The Liberal party launched the most vicious, largest set of personal attack ads in Canadian history.

They end the ads with "We aren't making this up."

Where did the heck did they get that from?

Dave Barry's catchphrase?

George Bush last week?

I'm not making this up.

Keep working 
The SES/CPAC poll out today shows a CPC lead in Ontario of 7 percent.


One thing worries me. The Best PM scores for Martin has increased which, being the nervous person I've become in this election, makes me think the Liberal ad barrage may have some chance of working in this province.

It's extremely important for Conservative supporters to keep doing what they have been doing. Support the candidates and the party.

As an aside, Mike Duffy went up in my books last night. The nerve of the Liberals to claim that the disgraceful ad wasn't released when my co-workers were looking at them yesterday afternoon is typical of the leadership of that party.

Blogging Tories Challenge 
The new Liberal ads released today are outrageous attacks on Stephen Harper.

Martin said in the debate last night....
"Now, I do not believe there should be personal attacks."

The next day he launches the largest series of negative personal attacks in Canadian history.

I challenge all the Blogging Tories to highlight to their readers several times during the next week the ways they can support financially, or through volunteering, their local campaigns and the national campaign.

Martin won a minority government last time partially due to the Liberal's use of extremely negative ads. Let's give the Conservative party the resources they need to fight back.

Here in Ottawa-Centre, Keith Fountain has run an effective campaign and is a three way battle with the Liberals and NDP. His website has links to donate or put yourself down as a volunteer. I just donated $40.

Donate to the national campaign here.

Liberal ads go nuclear 
It's all there on the Liberal website.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

UPDATE: Read this comment by 'Don' at Calgary Grit...

The ads work.....for the 2004 election. I don't think they'll work for 06, however, because the Liberals have lost the "Sweet Spot"

As my Ad Executive buddy in Toronto tells me, the "Sweet Spot" is when a product truth meets a consumer truth. The Liberal's product truth is "Stephen Harper is very scary" Had they run these adds in 2004 (although they went negative in 2004 nothing as nuclear as this), I think the Liberals could have destroyed Harper and formed a majority. He was new, people were unsure about what he stood for, and they didn't know him.....product truth meets consumer truth. In fact aren't these the ads Kinsella kindly suggested they run in 2004?

The Liberals have since lost their edge in the consumer truth.... People are more omfortable with Harper, he has defined himself, and he has a message....hence no more "Sweet Spot" or for negative ads should it be the "Sour Spot"? Hence, their consumer truth will not be heard.

The Conservatives on the other hand have found their "Sweet Spot" in 2006: Consumer Truth = The Liberals are tired and corrupt, Product Truth = We have a plan to bring change and accountability.

Hope so.

I'll highlight a couple of things to add to all the poll/debate talk....

1. Andrew caught this post by StageLeft:
STEVE PAIKIN: Ok, let me do a follow-up here. M. Duceppe, if Canada is divisible, is Quebec divisible?
HON. GILLES DUCEPPE: We came as a whole, and…no, the answer is no. Because we came as, in the federation, as a whole,

StageLeft: This is a map of Canada at the time of Confederation, please do note the size, shape, and boundries, of la belle province in 1867 when “Quebec came”.

2. Comment over at Alan's site (2nd link on this post to a NDP supporting site - see, I'm working on this olive branch thing too)
I wandered over to Google News first thing this morning and my eye was immediately drawn to an International Herald Tribune headline: "PM responding to stimuli, moves limbs". It took a full second for me to relize they were talking about Ariel Sharon and not Martin.

3. The NDP, Liberals, and Conservatives have still not released their costed programs. The Conservatives say they will by the end of this week. All of the Conservative announcements are here.

The sign fairy, er, the evil sign fairy put it there. 
I don't know if I believe this - probably just telling the candidate what he wants to hear....
In the past two days alone Paul has spoken with at least two different people who had liberal signs on their lawns that actually weren't supporting Mahoney. In fact both of these voters told Paul that they were leaning towards voting NDP. They said they hadn't actually requested a sign and that a liberal sign had just appeared on their lawn without their consent.

From the NDP candidate's blog.

Minority parliament 
Harper responding to questions about a Conservative minority government:

In a message clearly aimed at his rivals, particularly NDP Leader Jack Layton, Harper said he's willing to make compromises in dealing with them.
"I have a history, in terms of reuniting the (Canadian) Alliance and the Conservative party in being able to bring people together without asking people to sacrifice their most fundamental beliefs," Harper said.
"That's what you have to do in a minority Parliament. You do have to make compromises, but they can't be compromises that ask your own party or other parties to stand on their heads and swallow themselves whole."
Implementing his party's five key priorities, which include a comprehensive crackdown on crime, cutting the GST, an annual child-care benefit, a patient wait-time guarantee and a federal Accountability Act to help clean up the federal government, is his starting point.
If elected, he's willing to enterain Liberal and NDP ideas as long as they fall within the Conservatives' "general philosophical framework."
Harper said he takes encouragement from the fact Hamm has managed to find so much common ground with New Democrats _ something that might be transplanted to the federal level.
Only recently, with the Conservative upswing, has the seat projections shown that a CPC/NDP combination would have the 155+ seats required to pass legislation.

Combining the latest three national polls provides this projection:
The national seat breakdown looks like this:
Conservatives 139
Liberals 82
Bloc 65
NDP 22
In Ontario, the Tories lead the Grits 61-33 in seat totals. In Quebec, the Tories pick up 2 seats. Liberals still dominate Atlantic Canada, but are shut out in Alberta.
Lots of time left in this thing.

"to ensure that deficits do not occur" 
So, it appears the Liberals have analyzed the Conservative platform and decided it's going to lead to a deficit. Just like they did last election.

Call me a skeptic but I'd prefer that someone other than Liberal strategists do that.

For instance, Paul Darby, Deputy Chief Economist of the Conference Board of Canada was given the full platform and declared:
The Liberals are lying in their ads and in their speeches about the cost of the CPC program. At least they're consistent.

Weird things 
I got tagged by a couple of cool bloggers so I'll put down five 'weird' things about myself:
1. I was born without one of these. Really sucks for arm wrestling with that arm.
2. The Hogmanay man came to our house this year.
3. I don't read many books. I get too obsessed about the book usually and I have to keep reading it until its done - so it really gets in the way of things.
4. Um, running out of things here... I'm going to the women's compulsary's for the Canadian figure skating championship tonight. Hey, we live nearby so give me a break.
5. Every year our family does a Christmas parade before opening presents - banging pots and yelling 'Merry Christmas' around the house.
Has every blogger been 'tagged' now? If you haven't, you're it.

How bad will it be? 
The Option Canada fallout? According to the Star:
Quebec sources said the most recent book, slated for release Jan. 12, contains explosive allegations based on previously unreleased documents. The book will form the basis of a series of reports on the television network TQS, where Lester now works.
That's two days after next week's french debate and only 11 days before the election.

UDPATE: I've figured it out!
The Tories had success with their policy a day strategy before Christmas so the Liberals will try a scandal a day program this week!

Childcare experiences 
Harper was being asked questions after highlighting the party's childcare policy this morning...
Do you think that you and your wife can relate to ordinary voters, so called ordinary Canadians, more than a retirement age, millionaire shipping tycoon like Mr. Martin. (other reporters laugh)
I'll just say that Laureen and I come from a middle class background and our experience with child care is fairly recent and it's in the modern era (reporters start to laugh - Harper grins) so we do understand - we have those experiences as part of our life. I don't mean it as a put down on anyone else. Every leader brings different sets of experience to this job.

What's Martin's childcare experience?

He has three sons. His wife never left him alone with them because he 'wasn't comfortable' with it.

(I can't find a link to show you where this came from - I think it's from a Susan Delacourt column in the Star)

Around Ontario - Part 3 - '905' North 
Here's part 3 of my Around Ontario series. It's from 'farmer's daughter' who lives in a high profile riding:

It is an interesting showdown in my riding of Newmarket-Aurora. For the Liberals, the candidate and incumbent is Belinda Stronach. For the Conservatives, the candidate is Lois Brown. I know that there are also candidates for the Green Party, the Progressive Conservative Party, and the NDP (may be others) but the race seems to be between the Conservative and the Liberal candidates.

The Liberal candidate, Belinda Stronach, is the current Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. It is well known in the riding and across the country that Belinda traded her membership in the Conservative party to cross the floor to become a Liberal Cabinet Minister. She claimed that this was in the best interests of her local constituents and enabled her to better serve the country. One only needs to look at her history to easily start to wonder if it is difficult for Ms. Stronach to stick with a commitment. Many of the local residents are unhappy that she switched to the Liberal Party when she was voted in as a Conservative member. I only see Conservative signs on the street that I live on – this was true in the last election as well. One of my neighbours has put up an election sign that was used in the last election for Conservative Candidate Belinda Stronach next to the election sign for this year’s Conservative Candidate Lois Brown. It is an effective daily reminder of Ms. Stronach’s betrayal.

The Conservative candidate, Lois Brown, was in line to be the Conservative candidate in the last election until Ms. Stronach decided she wanted to run. Ms. Brown’s campaign signs simply say: “It’s about trust.” No kidding! I don’t trust Ms. Stronach and I don’t trust the Liberals. I do trust Ms. Brown and I do trust Stephen Harper.

The Conservatives won the last election in this riding after being a Liberal riding for the past few elections. The Conservatives won by 689 votes, if I remember correctly. A slim margin for sure. It is tough to predict whether the riding voters will be sickened enough by Ms. Stronach’s betrayal to not vote Liberal; whether the riding voters will be outraged enough by recent government corruptions to not vote Liberal; whether the riding voters will be discouraged enough by provincial Liberal broken promises to not vote Liberal; and whether the riding voters will be hopeful and trusting enough to instead vote Conservative. I hope that my neighbours and fellow riding members will “stand up for Canada” and vote for Ms. Brown. Let’s see what Ms. Brown and Mr. Harper can accomplish!

Liberals tearing the country apart 
We Conservative supporters can find some short term happiness in the latest Liberal scandal that the RCMP is looking into but there is a lot of work to do to repair the damage the Liberals have done to this country.

According to the Globe and Mail:
However, an official at Canadian Heritage said the department called in the police after hearing that Option Canada was the focus of an upcoming book by Quebec investigative journalist Normand Lester.
From a quick glance, it seems Normand Lester is no fan of this country. More ammunition for the separatists.

Another addition to the Chretien/Martin/Liberal legacy.

Momentum sustaining 
I think today's announcement will really help push things in Ontario. Here's a couple of reactions on the Globe and Mail article:

Carl Eric Codere from Canada writes:
I am a convinced liberal and have always voted as such, being pro-Kyoto, being anti Iraq war. But i want change, so with was Harper saying lately, i may vote for him to see what happens... I don't think he can destroy Canadian values that much with one term, especially in a minority governement...

J L from Toronto, Canada writes:
Harper did well today, I was leaning towards the Liberals but I think I have shifted towards Harper's way now.I do now believe he is starting to "get it" and he has changed for the better.

Quite the endorsement 
Tony Cannavino, President of the Canadian Professional Police Association, spoke this morning on Parliament Hill after the Conservatives made their Security policy announcement:
In conclusion, the Conservative Party’s Security Platform as unveiled this morning by Mr. Harper offers a multi-pronged approach that for the most part, would go a long way in helping police officers to better combat and contain urban violence; violent offenders; and the use, production and trafficking of illicit drugs; and to better defend our national security and the rights of victims of crimes. These social and law and order issues must be dealt with by our politicians to ensure the safety and security of our communities.
The Canadian Professional Police Association hopes that all political parties involved in this electoral campaign will take the opportunity in the weeks ahead to further discuss their “law enforcement platforms” in the public arena and demonstrate, like the Conservative Party, their commitment in making Canada a safer place to live.

Around Ontario - Part 2 - '905' West 
Here's a view from the 'Halton Hills-billy' - part 2 of my Around Ontario series:

Halton Hills-billy reporting on ridings of Halton and Oakville

The riding of Halton takes in north Oakville and Milton and surrounding rural/sprawl areas, with the Oakville part being growth section of the city (mostly built in last 10 years). Oakville is the rest of Oakville, the more established and affluent parts of the city. These ridings are both two-horse races: Liberal versus Conservative. The NDP are a fringe party in both. Historically they can go Liberal or Conservative. Both have incumbent Liberals running.

In Halton it is Gary Carr (L) versus Garth Turner (C). Gary Carr was a Mike Harris MPP (and Speaker*) but switched to Liberal colours and won the riding federally last election. Garth Turner is financial publicist and former Brian Mulroney Progressive Conservative MP and cabinet minister. The last election was relatively close in this riding. Turner has a bigger profile than the last candidate and has been working hard. Carr is a back-bencher. Halton was one of the ridings to stay Progressive Conservative last provincial election. I put odds on Turner winning this seat with a comfortable margin.

In Oakville it is Bonnie Brown (L) versus Terence Young (C). Bonney Brown was a former mayor of Oakville and is running for her fifth term as MP (came in with Chretien in 1993). Despite this long tenure she remains a back-bencher and seems to be loyal to Martin. Young is a former Mike Harris MPP* for Halton Centre but lost the nomination to Gary Carr in the provincial riding realignment/reduction. In the last election the Conservatives were disappointed by how large the Liberal win was. A last minute election campaign announcement of $$$ for the resident Ford plant likely helped shore up the Liberals. This election the Conservatives are a team with the Alliance/PC merger difficulties now seemingly behind them (they were problem last election) with former Alliance and PC candidates co-chairing Young's campaign. Even though Brown seems tired and unenthusiastic it will be tough for Young to close the gap as Oakville seems comfortable with the old Liberal shoe even though it is ripped and stained. I put odds on Brown winning this seat with a narrow margin (likely her last campaign). Oakville seems too "Toronto" for Young to swing this time.

*There were some corrections - see comments - thanks to Joan Tintor for the correct info. Check out her blog if you haven't yet - it's grrrrreat.

Another thing on Quebec 
This comment from a previous post....
I was talking to a lady this weekend from Montreal who said her friends say they are voting BQ even though they are federalists because Ontario won't throw out the Liberals so they will do it.
Hopefully, by the 23rd of January they will feel there is an alternative way to throw the Liberals out while not having to vote for the Bloc. As Harper says, Quebecers need an alternative to either corruption or separation.

Conservative support in Quebec 
Three polls out in the last two days - all showing some gains for the Conservatives in Quebec - from a little to a lot:

Ekos shows the most:
In Quebec, where Harper has spent an unusual amount of time, the two parties are in almost a dead heat with the Liberals at 21.9 per cent and the Conservatives at 20.2. The Bloc Québécois is well ahead at 43.8, but the increased Tory support has come at the Bloc's expense. The shift shows Quebec voters are eyeing a federalist alternative other than the Liberals.

The Strategic Counsel poll:
The Conservatives are showing some growth in Quebec. Here's how voters there would allocate support (percentage change from a Dec. 20-22 poll in brackets):
Bloc Quebecois: 52 per cent (unchanged)
Liberals: 26 per cent (-3)
Conservatives: 13 per cent (+5)
NDP: 5 per cent (-3)
Greens: 4 per cent (+1)

And the SES Research poll from yesterday:
Bloc Quebecois: 52 per cent
Liberals: 27 per cent
Conservatives: 12 per cent
NDP: 6 per cent
Greens: 3 per cent

If you average them and then put them into a voter migration tool then you see the Liberals being reduced to 10 or less seats in the province. The Conservatives would be very close to taking ridings like Pontiac just across the river from Ottawa where they are running the reputable Lawrence Cannon and the riding of Louis-Saint-Laurent where Josee Verner is running again.

With my barehands.... 
Paul Martin today:

"Let me tell you, I am very proud of having started with a small Canadian company, uh, a small Canadian company, which today, uh, build, uh, most of it's ships in Canada…."


I thought you were hired as Maurice Strong's personal assistant - the family friend who was head of Power Corp - who owned CSL. You then were put on the board of CSL, then President, and then the next year, in a sweet-heart leveraged deal, bought the company for $190 million.

Your typical rags to riches story right. Right?

I still chuckle to myself when I read this post I wrote near the end of the last election - I quoted the following:

"I wanted to go the Third World and Maurice Strong was very actively involved in the Third World and I really wanted to get involved in environmental matters ... and he was a leading environmentalist," Martin says.
He met with Strong at his home near Geneva.
"And I said, `Look, I want to get a job in the Third World.' And he said, `That's all we need in the Third World, another lawyer. I can't think of anything more useless. Go into business, learn a little bit about business, and then you can go.'
"I said, `That makes sense,' so I went into business and I stayed."
It's a story told so often, it is part of the Martin legend.
But Strong says "it is not quite true." He says he didn't suggest Martin go into business.
"He was interested in getting business experience and he came to ask me about business and about what would be good preparation for that," says Strong in a telephone interview. "I did tell him that if he continued to be interested, I would be happy to see what I could do and be as helpful as I could."
Which he did. In 1966, as president of Montreal-based Power Corp. of Canada, Strong hired Martin as his personal assistant.

Lots of Martin and CSL details on Wiki. I didn't even know this piece of trivia:
His declaration of assets upon entering Parliament included ownership of dozens of companies around the world, thirty-three ships, office buildings, apartment blocks and movie theatres. In 2004 Forbes.com estimated Martin's personal wealth at $225,000,000 (USD).

Around Ontario - Part 1 - An NDP view from Waterloo 
I'm asking some friends and readers to send me their thoughts from various regions in the province. The first one here is from Ian - an NDP supporter in Waterloo. He's planning on doing some canvassing next week and will supplement this post with one later to tell what he's encountered 'on the streets'.

If I get too many non-CPC supporting posts, I'll just edit them. Okay?

Take it away AtC reader 'Ian':

Kitchener-Waterloo is an interesting riding. Mired in technology, and in social conscience. Where do we sit in Southwestern Ontario politics, and how can we define ourselves in an otherwise red landscape? In 2004, the Liberal candidate, Andrew Telegdi won a large victory outpacing his Conservative threat by 9000 votes. This race should prove to be a much closer affair, however Liberal red still lingers in the air and on the streets.

My orange NDP sign is rather lonely on my street, actually situated between a couple of CPC blue signs. I think I saw something red on a front lawn around the corner, but it may have been a Remax sign. It is difficult to tell where the sentiment is in Kitchener-Waterloo, for it is so silent, and so concerned about itself as opposed to the rest of its surroundings.

I have some advice, perhaps amateur advice, but certainly well-meaning and oriented towards a positive outcome of this election, Vote NDP. Kidding. Actually I really think that this region is uninformed. After participating in numerous political bulletin boards in Waterloo over the last few months, I am certain that the majority of the people in riding 146 don't care who the candidates are, and what the issues are. We are experiencing unparalleled development, in terms of residential, technological, and industrial. We are a very strong economy in Ontario, heck, even Canada. All these people want is for all of this to continue for themselves.

What the voters here need to do, is inform themselves as to what the issues are in our region, then look nationally and see the same issues. Environmental concerns, Violent Crime, Health Care issues, Child Care. We need to find the party which best addresses out local concerns, AND those of Canada. Visit the candidates websites, or the party websites. For goodness sake, inform yourself.

If nothing else, look at the CBC blurb on each candidate

My vote is obviously with the NDP, that certainly won't be everyone's choice. My wish is that all NDP supporters across the country will vote this way, rather than change from orange to red in fear of the Conservatives. If they do, then the NDP has a chance at 40 seats, or at least 30. I don't want the CPC in power, but I do want NDP seats. The only way the NDP can be effective in a CPC minority is to possess enough seats to be of value. Almost lost out last government, with only 19 seats. In fact, across Canada, the NDP lost 16 seats by less than a thousand ( that's only 1000 people) votes in each riding. I am positive that some of those losses are due to strategic voting. Vote your beliefs K-W, and Canada! A minority is still very powerful, if the other parties are well split. Send your votes to where your beliefs lie.

For me Orange is the colour of a successful K-W and Canada.

The view from Kitchener-Waterloo; CPC/NDP 
James Bow is sensing Conservative gains in Ontario and makes this prediction:

I sense that most Canadians, including Liberal voters, realize that the current governing party has become tired, complacent, arrogant. Corruption has infiltrated Liberal back rooms and may be sitting on the front benches, and the party is being led by a cadre of individuals for whom power is its own end.
.... In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and predict the next parliament will be aligned as follows:
Conservatives 120
Liberals 85
Bloc Quebecois 60
New Democrats 43
Under this arrangement, Prime Minister Harper can realize my dream of his governing with the cooperation of the New Democrats.

Resident complainer Yoda said in a comment below:
So now the CPC is going to be fine trying to form a Gov't with the help of the NDP?
It's fine when the Cons side with the NDP and take their views into account but if the Liberals do it, it's just wasting money.
Hypocrits the lot of ya.

Is it hypocritical?
If Harper allowed the NDP to force a budget with the largest increase in spending in a decade then I'd agree with Yoda.
If the two party's work on combined priorities like reform of accountibility and progressive tax cuts like the GST proposal, which the NDP used to support, and put in some of the NDP priorities while keeping overall spending in line, unlike the Liberals, then I don't think it's hypocrtical.
Also, keep in mind that there was a difference in opinion on the Adscam developments. While the Conservatives intially supported the budget, it was before the worst of the Gomery testimony came out. After the NDP re-wrote the budget, after we heard of the envelopes of cash, etc, the Conservatives felt that not only was the budget flawed but the government no longer had the confidence of their party to continue to govern - and criticized the NDP for making the deal. The NDP basically said they would wait for the Gomery report - and when that report did come, they too no longer had confidence in the Liberals (we'll ignore their last minute Health Care grab in which they might have still supported Martin)

Attack Ad recap 
This has been mentioned on quite a few blogs already but I'll repeat it here regardless...

Remember the Liberal attack ad from last election - the one that misrepresented Conservative military spending plans, the Conservative positions on gun control, the environment, etc?

Here's what the ad could sound like today.

Reason for voting strategically 
Andrew asks for personal stories of strategic voting.

I liked this comment by Mitch:
My mom is considering it. Sudbury is a riding where a yellow dog can win as a Liberal. This time, the NDP is mounting a strong challenge. If the NDP candidate is close in the polls leading up the election, she will probably change her vote to NDP. She'd rather have a commie in opposition than risk a crook in government.

They're at the line... 
UBC site here.

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