Prime Minister Stephen Harper's first and perhaps most controversial Senate appointment has been confirmed by the Governor General.
The Prime Minister's Office has announced that Montreal lawyer Michael Fortier, a Conservative party organizer who was named Harper's unelected Public Works minister, has been called to the Senate.
Meanwhile, the NDP is calling for a full debate and parliamentary vote on the mission. NDP critic Dawn Black said MPs owe it to the members of the Canadian Forces to ensure that all the right questions are being asked about how long
they will be expected to serve in Afghanistan and under what conditions.
The Liberal critic, Ujjal Dosanjh, also wanted to know "what the exit strategy is."
First off - what was the exit strategy?
Dosanjh - perhaps you should ask your interim leader - he might know something about it. Did you skip that cabinet meeting perhaps when the issue was brought up?
Tomorrow's comment from Dosanjh - "why is the Canadian military still flying Sea King helicopters?"
At least I got the Sweden call right.
Quarterfinal - Switzerland vs. Sweden - 10:30am et
Sweden. 'Nuff said.
Quarterfinal - Finland vs. United States - 11:30am et
I'm predicting the US will 'upset' the Finns. The US played the Russians well yesterday in a physical game while the Finns will have lost some of their earlier edge and will be less comfortable as the favourite.
If it goes to a shootout - NHL ranking:
RK Goalie Team W L SA GA Sv %
6 RICK DIPIETRO NYI 4 3 27 8 .704
25 ANTERO NIITTYMAKI PHI 2 4 20 9 .550
Quarterfinal - Russia vs. Canada - 2:30pm et
When I look at the Russian team two things stick out - the skill up front and the names of their defence. Russia let in 5 goals against Slovakia and 4 against the US. They also scored 5 against both the Swedes and the US.
Canada will win.
If it goes to a shootout - NHL ranking:
RK Goalie Team W L SA GA Sv %
2 MARTIN BRODEUR NJD 5 1 23 3 .870
68 EVGENI NABOKOV SJS 0 4 13 8 .385
Quarterfinal - Slovakia vs. Czech Republic - 3:30pm et
Slovakia will take it for these reasons - surprisingly better goaltending in this tournament, better top line with Gaborik, Hossa, and Demitra, and the Chara/Meszaros tandem can keep Jagr's damage somewhat limited.
Regarding this move...
I wasn't impressed with Stairs whenever I watched him but was impressed with Buckler when I watched her on the CBC Politics panel.
Regarding Team Canada...
This game against the Czech Republic may give the team some focus. Having a game plan that includes shutting down Jagr's line will draw the teams attention away from their scoring problems.
Are the Senator's equipment manager and one of Ottawa's sports columnists doing their parts too?
He met with his riding board and blogged it.
I found these paragraphs important:
At the end, they agreed one person should speak for the group, so that the message would be consistent, so that people would know they supported their member. Despite his predilection for trouble. Despite his refusal to be cowed last week in Ottawa. Despite all.
Of course, listening, it was not lost on me at all that what they were doing was providing me with a mirror of national caucus – a group of different individuals, all agreeing on basic points after sharing many divergent views, deciding to speak to the outside world with one voice. That way, they concluded, their message would be safely delivered. Without freelancing.
I reflected on that – how could I do otherwise? I was the prime minister in microcosm, and they were acting as one group to assist me. For this I was grateful indeed. And I am sure Stephen Harper – at the end of this challenging and surprising week – is reflecting as well on the group that he counts on, of which I am one. Have I done enough for him?
So does that mean that there isn't going to be one member of the riding board going on CTV five times a day saying that they disagreed with what Garth was doing and that they might have to consider leaving the riding executive?
I thought this post from Angry was pretty good. If Turner did leave the Conservative caucus would he resign his seat and bring about a by-election where he could seek 'ratification' from the voters by running as an independant?
Of course, I told them in person I am not leaving the Conservative caucus. I will fight from within, speak out when it’s called for and do all I can to truly represent the people who gave me their authority to go to Ottawa.
UDPATE: A comment in Garth's blog had this quote:
It was typical media tactics and it made me think of a comment Brian Mulroney said one day. The Tories were about to bring in the GST. The country was in media haos. Protests were everywhere. The polls were a disaster.
Mulroney stood erect and impeccable at the podium in the caucus room. Outside, just beyond the double doors that sound-roofed the room, a phalanx of media waited, convinced some MPs would buckle under all the pressure, walk up to the forest of microphones, criticize their besieged leader and open the floodgates of party dissention. Just what any good reporter would want, of course. Blood.
And Mulroney said: “If you want to be a media hero, just walk out those doors right now, go down the hall and do it. I guarantee you’ll be on the front page of every newspaper tomorrow and the lead item on the CBC tonight. Go ahead. I’ll still be here. But if you want to be a hero for Canada, then you will stand by me.” He stared into the eyes of everyone in that room. Anyone who harboured the remotest thought of mutiny felt it evaporate under his gaze. Leadership.
Being a media hero is easy, fun and has instant rewards, I thought. Belinda Stronach. Carolyn Parrish. Scott Brison. Getting on the front page of the Globe and Mail and the National Post is a breeze. Just say what they want.
Of course, I told the reporter Harper is our leader. We have only one leader at a time. The leader leads – it’s his job. A candidate’s highest job is to get elected.
The writer? Garth.
Garth replied to the the person that left the comment with this:
Ron: I defy anyone to read my very words that you have quoted and say Garth Turner does not support Stephen Harper. Who’s the hypocrite, my Conservative friend? — Garth
First off - You Garth. You've made your point how many times? You were on CTV again on Sunday - is that about a dozen appearances on that network alone? "Being a media hero is easy, fun and has instant rewards, I thought."
Secondly - Don doesn't like people who talk about themselves in the third person.
Third Glenn in 2006.
Second Middaugh in 1998, 2001, and 2005.
Lead Peter Corner in 2000.
Russ himself skipped Ontario in 80, 86, 87, 89, 91, 92, 93, and 94.
Martha will be a strategic candidate. She is the only one who has earned the right to attack Belinda. She will serve the Liberal party by bringing the dirt of Belinda to the table and making the grits aware of her. She will be supported by Liberals who want to stop Belinda if she plans to run.
On Martha's front page you can see her first shot at Belinda:
But I view 46 years of experience, substance and accomplishment, in various aspects of life, as counting for a lot.
And, also wrt the Liberal leadership race - from Coyne:
Party organizers can only hold their breath, because they do not want Mr. Martin to lead them into another election...
[T]o block an emergency comeback by Mr. Martin with the same tired crew of counsellors, executives are examining ways to select delegates well before the
convention. That way, the executives could rapidly organize an electronic leadership vote by those delegates, ensuring the party would have a new leader even if the government fell unexpectedly over the next few months. It's that bad.
I thought the entire Liberal party was going to rally together in the Emerson/Fortier aftermath?
And it's worth way more than $500 in my opinion.
UPDATE: Hide the children! There's an evil version too!
Given the current lay of the land, there will be probably be more Emersons than Stronachs in the future.
I don't see many happening in Ontario unless the Liberals really swing to the left - which might actually happen during the leadership campaign. Most of these MPs have been Liberal for 3 or 4 elections now - unlike Emerson.
Should we come up with a pool or something?
This just in from Ottawa: B.C. Conservative MP James Moore has been named parliamentary secretary to the minister of public works. This means Moore -- a top House performer who is bilingual, has a good grasp of policy and is quick on his feet -- will act as the Commons mouthpiece for the Tories' unelected cabinet minister, Senator Michael Fortier.
A smarter move would have been to name him the Minister? Not qualified? Would putting Fortier in cabinet only as a political minister for Montreal been unacceptable? So many questions.
On an intellectual scale or an accomplishment scale it would take roughly 925 Belinda Stronachs to equal one David Emerson.
This is possibly the smartest thing I have ever seen Harper do.
--The smartest thing said about David Emerson
Mr. Emerson said he was never a political partisan and only entered politics in 2004 because of former prime minister Paul Martin’s persistent urging.
“I nearly didn’t run in the last election. Mr. Martin encouraged me to run. I did so. Mr. Martin has now made his decision to move on and I was approached by Mr. Harper.”
--What I would add, the morning after, about a guy I've known for 25 years
David Emerson has a political tin ear and hasn’t a political bone in his body.
This shady manouver by Harper will now give his government new life as he clings to power. Right.
Emerson has never run a government department. He 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. He is unfamiliar with the day-to-day running of business in general and international trade in particular. On the face of it, knowledge of some or all of the aforementioned would seem to be prerequisites to oversee the International Trade portfolio. Without it, Emerson might as well be wading blind in a
minefield, at the mercy of the potentially self-interested guidance of partisan and bureaucratic handlers. ... If anything, he has spent his relatively short time in political life levelling the field to his own advantage, using his considerable wealth to offset his inexperience by buying the best mercenary advice money can buy.
But then, that is an approach to politics Harper would be hard-pressed to quarrel with!
No - doesn't sound right. Oops - it was about Stronach and Martin.
My posts on the Stronach defection are here and here.
The point of this - I wish I had more time to write it - is that I do believe the context of Emerson's switch compared to Stronach's is important. You cannot compare the value of the two in cabinet. The situation of Harper and Martin need to be considered.
Harper today outside of Rideau Hall:
So if grabbing Emerson has no consequence in terms of voting or the balance of power, why do it? Unlike Belinda, who became a cabinet minister in a portfolio for which she was not suited having spent her few months in Parliament in opposition, David Emerson spent the time since being elected in 2004 in cabinet as Minister of Industry. He holds a doctorate in economics, compared to Belinda's, well, nothing. He will be one of the only people on Stephen Harper's team with any experience in cabinet. So while putting Belinda in cabinet probably lowered the average quality of Paul Martin's cabinet, David Emerson potentially improves it.
In other words, all Emerson can offer to Stephen Harper is experience and representation in one of Canada's major cities, both things in short supply in Stephen Harper's Conservatives. Increasing both makes for a better government.
What Emerson doesn't offer is power. And I think that makes a difference.
"During the last parliament as I sat across from the government benches, I was consistently impressed with David Emerson," Harper told reporters after being sworn in as Canada's 22nd prime minister.
"He is a man of great intelligence, a man with a stellar record in the private sector, who is clearly committed to public service.
"I asked Emerson to join Canada's new government and he accepted. For this I am grateful and I know Minister Emerson looks forward to continuing to serve the people of British Columbia and all new Canadians in the next parliament."
Didn't realize Emerson's resume was so impressive:
A question for you - did Vancouver Kingsway vote Liberal or for David Emerson?
David Emerson ... Bachelor of Economics degree ... Master of Economics degree ... Ph.D. in Economics.
... researcher for the Economic Council of Canada ... became Deputy Minister of Finance.
... President and Chief Executive Officer of the Western and Pacific Bank of Canada ... Deputy Minister to the Premier and President of the British Columbia Trade Development Corporation.
... President and Chief Executive Officer of the newly created Vancouver International Airport Authority
... President and Chief Executive Officer of Canfor Corporation
.... directorships included: Terasen Inc; Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada; Vice-Chairman of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives; Chair, British
Columbia Ferry Services Inc.; and Chairman and Director of Genus Resource Management Technologies Inc.
Quebec 5, Ontario 8 (plus LeBreton?), B.C. 4, Alberta 4, Man/Sask 2, Atlantic 3
Women 6, Vizmin 1 (Oda. Chong? Clement? How viz is a min?), Gay 1, Disabled 0
Hello, my name is Colleen Belisle and I have a question for Stephen Harper regarding the accountability issue. In the past 18 months, I have noticed a number of MPs crossing the floor after the election. This makes me wonder why I should, as a voter, go and vote when my MP can change parties after the election. Mr. Harper, are there any policies that you plan to enforce after the election regarding this issue? Thank you.
My short answer is no. And I understand the voters' frustration. You can imagine I feel that frustration as much as anyone. I was the victim of a number of the particular incidents that the voter is referring to, that Colleen's referring to, but the difficulty, Peter – I know that many members of Parliament have put forward various proposals that would restrict the right of MPs to cross the floor, force elections, or whatever. I haven't seen one yet that convinces me that it would create anything other than a situation where party leaders have even more power over the individual members of Parliament. And, as you know, I've said that, of course, I've said that for a long time that I think our members of Parliament need more authority, need to be able to represent their constituents' views, and they may make very bad decisions in crossing from a good party to a bad party or, more particularly, a winning party to a losing party. But that all said, I haven't seen one yet that I'm convinced creates a bigger problem than it's actually trying to fix.
Do you think voters are as uncomfortable as Ms. Belisle points out when these kinds of things happen? Because if they are, one assumes that they are looking for direction from their political leaders to prevent this from happening. As you pointed out, some parties, the NDP has said it would force an immediate election. Do you think something has to be done?
Let me give a concrete example of an alternative situation. The Conservative Party of Canada, the new Conservative Party was created because people left actually no less than three separate old caucuses, two old parties, and joined with a new party, and I think there is widespread consensus among not just members of the old parties, but members of the public as well that this was a good thing to create a stronger opposition, to end the fragmentation of the conservative movement in the country.
Now, you know, this kind of law could have forced us into a situation where we were having 75 byelections. So, you know, that's a problem with any of these proposals. We understand, I understand why people want them, and, believe me, there's a couple of cases that have happened where I'd love to have a law like this, but there's also a lot of downsides when you think it through. As I say, in a practical matter, I could see how party leaders could really abuse that particular provision to make it even more difficult for members who may disagree legitimately with their party to operate within the party.
She answered the third question this way...
En anglais s'il vous plais.Right.
UPDATE: Somebody needs to update her Wiki entry...
She speaks English, French and German fluently.
UPDATE2: Wiki updated by 22.214.171.124
Also, the Globe reports the question this way:
UPDATE3: Because it's such a joke
However, Ms. Stronach was not off to good start, unable to answer a reporter's question in French. The reporter asked her whether she was considering a leadership bid, and she had to stop and ask him to repeat it in English. He walked away.
It reminded me of what Paul Wells wrote after the first french debate in December:
Dozens of ambitious politicians and aspiring politicians will watch the French debate tonight and tell themselves that if they only learn really good French, then one day they'll have a golden chance to win a prime ministerial debate. Then they'll put off doing their French homework yet again.
Stronach announced her intention to run for the Conservative party leadership over two years ago. In her very first speech she said a few lines in french and said she would learn.
This was a very funny comment:
The funniest thing was the WAY she said it, followed by the word “Ya”. It was as if she didn’t realize the meaning of the phrase she was saying, just the approximate meaning.