Bob Rae, self-styled “jihadi” fighter

Juxtaposing comments from Liberal foreign affairs critic Bob Rae from the same Globe and Mail interview given on the edge of Rosedale at a noisy cafe,

A grey-haired man wearing a tweed jacket and tortoise-shell glasses sitting at a nearby table overhears our conversation.

“Bob, can I ask you a question?” he interjects. “What I’m interested in is Afghanistan. The point is, it’s all tribal. They don’t give a shit about democracy, so what are we doing there?” he asks.

Mr. Rae proceeds to unleash a complex argument about the futility of military adventure, the importance of our long-term political interests and the violent history of Western civilization.

[Rae] firmly believes that the Liberals can defeat the Harper government, and cannot wait to take the Prime Minister down.

It’s come to the point where you’ve got these 25-year-old jihadis in the Prime Minister’s Office. They are very, very focused on undermining, destroying. Attack, attack, attack. There’s no other way,” he complains.

[Link]

Now, more than ever

There’s an old adage that says that one is judged by the company they keep. While I think that this may be a bit too simplistic at times, I find that time and time again, the comments sections some of the media “of record” in this country reflect a readership at home.

Take for instance, this top comment at the CBC:

and this attempt at the Globe and Mail:

Those thumbs up/thumbs down votes are telling of the state of Canadian media these days. CBC and the Globe sing to the choir and the applecart of comfortable thought remains unturned.

Is there a market for Sun TV News? Fox News in the US has the most politically diverse audience (Republican/Democrat split) and I believe the same will be true for Sun News. Conservatives will find a home there to be sure, but left-wingers will also clamour to fight back the threatening barbarians climbing the gate of their mainstream, of their order now challenged.

Do you think there is a market for Sun TV News?

You know, if you keep using that word, it won’t scare Canadians anymore

The Globe and Mail’s Jane Taber writes about the latest poll showing the Conservatives climbing in the polls. Here are just the first five paragraphs. What’s the story here?

Stephen Harper, the piano man and economic manager, is making Canadians so comfortable they want to see him win a majority government, according to a new national public opinion poll.

The EKOS Research survey released to the CBC shows that the Conservatives’ substantial lead over Michael Ignatieff’s Liberals is solidifying – a lead that now has the Tories knocking on the door of a majority government.

According to EKOS, the Tories now enjoy 40.7 per cent support compared to 25.5 per cent for the Liberals, 14.3 per cent for the NDP, 10.5 per cent for the Green Party and 9.1 per cent for the Bloc.

Two polls last week showed the same upward movement for the Conservatives, edging them into majority territory.

But EKOS has gone farther by plugging their numbers into a seat projection model that gives the Harper Conservatives 167 seats, a clear majority. They now have 143 seats.

(emphasis mine)

Making the same point over and over again?

Jane Taber is spelling it out her downtown Globe readers who perhaps have not yet discerned the gravity of recent news.

The Tories are on the verge of M-A-J-O-R-I-T-Y.

Leaked CBC memo shows Mother Corp will ask for more cash

According to my source that sent me this unsent internal CBC memo, this was intended to hit the inboxes of CBC employees tomorrow:

(emphasis mine)

Of course, as noted, this occurs within the context of the global economic crisis. Despite this, CBC received $1.1 Billion from the taxpayer last year. According to the CRTC, CBC employs 10,200 people paying out $771,074,000 in salaries and benefits. This means that the average payout per employee at the CBC is $75,595.

Comparatively, the total numbers of employees at private broadcasters in this country is 7,402 with total salaries and benefits of $576,900,000. The average payout per employee is $77,938.

Is the CBC trimming the fat, or do they need some central planning from the government to help them do so? Months ago, it was reported that the executive VP for French-services expensed over $80,000 for travel, meals, and theatre tickets.

If any of this is making you sick, the next fact won’t make you feel any better. The CBC lost $15 million in 2006-2007 paying for 68,000 sick days for its employees.

In any self-respecting story about taxpayer abuse, there’s a no-expense-spared trip to Paris. The CBC doesn’t disappoint as that same executive VP that billed $80,000 in expenses also bought a $6,000 plane ticket to the French capital and billed over $2,000 in hotel, meal and cab expenses. Nice work if you can get it.

This lagresse is offensive when private news outlets such as Canwest and CTVGlobemedia are slashing jobs, dropping bureaus and cutting expenses. For example, CTV opted out of the Parliamentary Press Gallery dinner this year while Canwest has cut 5% of their workforce and even asked reporters and staffers to voluntarily return their cellphones because the company can’t afford to equip everyone that needs one. Jobs have also been cut at the Globe and Mail. The news business is hurting across Canada and CBC asks the government for “financial flexibility”.

Media endorsements

Globe and Mail
“On balance, Mr. Harper remains the best man for the job in the tough times now upon us. He deserves if not four more years, at least two more years.”

National Post
“Faced with these high stakes, we believe, Canada would be best served if Stephen Harper’s Conservative government were to receive a second mandate, this time in majority form.”

The Economist
And yet, in a sinking world, Canada is something of a cork. Its well-regulated banks are solid. Growth has slowed but not stopped. The big worry is the fear that an American recession will drag Canada down with it. Mr Harper says, rightly enough, that his government has taken prudent measures to help Canada weather a storm it cannot duck: he has offered tax cuts and selective aid to help vulnerable manufacturing towns. But it is his seeming non-reaction to what is so far a non-crisis that looks likely to deny him the majority he was seeking, and could even let in the opposition. In what is the first credit-crunch election in a big Western country, Mr Harper’s ejection would set a dispiriting precedent that panic plays better politically than prudence.

Toronto Sun
While we respect all the national party leaders, realistically, Canadians Tuesday must choose between Stephen Harper and Stephane Dion to lead us through tough economic times. To us, the choice for prime minister is clear. It’s Harper.

Vancouver Sun
So on the ballot box question that’s on everybody’s mind – the slowing economy – we trust Harper to navigate the rough road ahead. A majority government for the Conservatives led by Stephen Harper is our choice.

Montreal Gazette
“On balance, however, we believe that considering the Conservative record and the goals, policies, and personnel of the other parties, it is the Conservatives who deserve to be re-elected on Tuesday. Amid all the unfair and misleading advertising of this campaign, one Conservative message is truer now than when the writ was dropped: Constancy and prudence with the country’s finances are even more important when we’re in the economic doldrums.”

Ottawa Citizen
“We believe that Canadians should return the Conservatives to government on Oct. 14, but not because Stephen Harper is an inspiring figure. He is not. There are no Obama-esque promises to repair the world. But Mr. Harper offers the steadiest hand and clearest judgment to steer Canada through the rough waters that lie ahead.”

Winnipeg Free Press
“Under the shrill cacophony of the opposition’s cries for action, Mr. Harper’s Conservatives have remained calm. Look at the last two years, the prime minister says, correctly claiming that he has offered generally competent government. In the face of this crisis, he promises more of the same. On Thursday, two major international financial institutions, the International Monetary Fund and the World Economic Forum, agreed with him, saying that Canada was on the right course to weather the storm. Mr. Harper’s economic policy is clear and practical and worth supporting on Tuesday. To turn the old saying on its head, this time, hard times should be Tory times. As The Economist said Thursday, if Canadians reject the Conservatives, it would ‘set a dispiriting precedent that panic plays better politically than prudence.'”

Edmonton Journal
“And in that real world, both Canada and Alberta in particular will be best served if Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are re-elected with the strength to be more than caretakers until we have to go through all of this again.”

Kitchener-Waterloo Record
Each voter will have to respond to this question as he or she sees fit. The way The Record’s editorial board views the situation, there are only two viable options, one coming from Harper’s Conservatives, the other from Stéphane Dion’s Liberals. And when we weigh things as fairly and carefully as we can, we conclude that Harper and his party deserve another term in government.

Ottawa Sun
In every election campaign there comes a moment when someone declares it to be the most important election in a very long time. This is that moment for us. What Ottawa and Canada need now is a strong Conservative government led by Stephen Harper.

Calgary Sun
But on the big question — who should be our prime minister — there’s no question. It’s Harper.

Edmonton Sun
Still, after assessing all the party promises, the Edmonton Sun believes the one that will inflict the least damage on our economy and way of life is the platform presented by Harper’s Conservatives.

Vancouver Province
Rather than roll the dice, protecting Canadians during these difficult and unstable times calls for proven, rational measures from a federal government that uses workable fundamentals, such as keeping taxes low, paying down debt and maintaining controlled spending. That’s why we are endorsing Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives and urge voters to give them a majority on Oct. 14, a majority incidentally that should include stronger representation from B.C.

Winnipeg Sun
Harper has also proven himself on the world stage. He’s unafraid to make tough decisions and, unlike the Liberals, committed to properly funding our military and giving it a clear mandate and mission, before sending our soldiers into harm’s way.

Brantford Expositor
Like many Canadians, we have been fairly satisfied with Harper’s government since it took office in January 2006. The Harper government has cut taxes and the national debt. It has promised to remove our forces from Afghanistan. It has belatedly responded to the crisis on the stock markets.

Calgary Herald
“Thus, the choice is simple. The Calgary Herald endorses Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives. They deserve to be re-elected based on their record, competence, and on the prime minister’s steady hand as Canada heads into uncharted, choppy economic waters.”

Windsor Star
“Harper has come under fire in some quarters for not empathizing more with Canadians fearful about their finances but Canadians don’t want their leaders to feign emotion and pretend to “feel their pain.” They want their leaders to alleviate it through sound policies rather than sound bites, actions rather than words. Canadians need sturdy leadership in these uncertain times and Harper offers it.”

Toronto Star
For all these reasons, Harper and the Conservatives do not deserve to be re-elected on Tuesday. We prefer Dion and the Liberals.

Double standard at the Globe and Mail?

In March of 2007, the Conservative Party of Canada held a training conference for its staff and campaign volunteers in Toronto. The conference was packed with seminars and panels designed to effectively educate Conservative Party activists on the best techniques known to win elections.

Six months later, Daniel Leblanc from the Globe and Mail got wind of a specific seminar at the conference that included information to optimize campaigning to reach out to multicultural groups for their votes.

Here is the above-the-fold front page story describing the Conservative strategy:

Click here to download the PDF of the front page
The opening paragraph of the story:

“Select ethnic and religious groups across Canada are being targeted by a previously unknown Conservative team that is bluntly gunning for votes in a bid to supplant the Liberals in multicultural ridings in the next election.”

Bluntly gunning for targeted minorities? Yeah… really.

Now, let’s move on to 2008. The blog Progress for Progressives describes a recent Liberal Party training course that the author had attended where… “targeting by ethnicity” is part of a seminar on voter contact.

Read this document on Scribd: Campaign Manager Training

Will we see alarmist headlines in the Globe and Mail? Who’s on it?

Leblanc? Laghi? Galloway? Anyone… anyone? Bueller?

Goodale’s office received “private sector feedback” prior to Income Trust Announcement

From today’s Globe and Mail, details of the RCMP investigation and interview of then Finance Minister Ralph Goodale surface:

Transcripts of RCMP interviews with Mr. Goodale and his staff show that, among other things, the Mounties scrutinized consultations between his office and private-sector investment players in the days and hours leading up to the trust announcement.

Mr. Goodale told the Mounties in a March of 2006 interview that two of his staff were tasked in the days before the announcement to “get some private-sector feedback” on the idea of a tax on trusts and other options.

He told the RCMP that his staff later assured him they didn’t disclose or signal which option the government would ultimately take.

“They would know having worked through budgets and other very confidential matters within the Department of Finance that there is no definitive information that is to be disclosed,” Mr. Goodale told the RCMP.

Mr. Goodale has repeatedly emphasized he made inquiries among his staff and department and was satisfied that no advance notice was given.

Daniel Leblanc and Steven Chase write that the Mounties were set to charge “at least one [more] federal official” surrounding the Income Trust leak but that (or those) official(s) were lucky because of a provision of the Security and Information Act was struck down in an unrelated case. It is not known who the RCMP was set to charge.

Back in February of 2007, Ralph Goodale said

“The investigation has indicated no involvement in this matter by me, my staff or any other political person”

and Stephane Dion in February of 2007,

“The RCMP income trust investigation exonerates the Liberal Party of Canada and shows that the Conservative and NDP allegations of a politically-motivated leak were false”

C-10, censorship, Liberal outrage and double standards

Jane Taber in the Globe and Mail today:

The Liberals acknowledged yesterday that they tried when they were in office to eliminate tax credits for offensive movies, but only to prevent a film about schoolgirl killers Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka.

Critics say that a similar move by the federal Conservative government is an attempt to censor the Canadian film and TV industry.

I tell ya, it’s never been easier to point out a double standard! While Taber does great work reporting on the Liberals coming forward first to suggest that they’ve done something similar, what she fails to mention is that the controversial section of the legislation limiting grants for subjectively offensive films is virtually word for word the same as the Liberal legislation!

In 2003, Sheila Copps, the Liberal Minister of Heritage introduced the following:

(3) The definition “Canadian film or video production certificate” in subsection 125.4(1) of the Act is replaced by the following:

“Canadian film or video production certificate” means a certificate issued in respect of a production by the Minister of Canadian Heritage certifying that the production is a Canadian film or video production in respect of which that Minister is satisfied that

(a) except where the production is a prescribed treaty co-production (as defined by regulation), an acceptable share of revenues from the exploitation of the production in non-Canadian markets is, under the terms of any agreement, retained by

(i) a qualified corporation that owns or owned an interest in the production,

(ii) a prescribed taxable Canadian corporation related to the qualified corporation, or

(iii) any combination of corporations described in (i) or (ii), and

(b) public financial support of the production would not be contrary to public policy.

Guidelines

(7) The Minister of Canadian Heritage shall issue guidelines respecting the circumstances under which the conditions in paragraphs (a) and (b) of the definition of “Canadian film or video production certificate” in subsection (1) are satisfied. For greater certainty, these guidelines are not statutory instruments as defined in the Statutory Instruments Act.

and here’s the analogous parts of C-10, the Conservative legislation:

(3) The definition “Canadian film or video production certificate” in subsection 125.4(1) of the Act is replaced by the following:

“Canadian film or video production certificate” means a certificate issued in respect of a production by the Minister of Canadian Heritage certifying that the production is a Canadian film or video production in respect of which that Minister is satisfied that

(a) except where the production is a treaty co-production (as defined by regulation), an acceptable share of revenues from the exploitation of the production in non-Canadian markets is, under the terms of any agreement, retained by

(i) a qualified corporation that owns or owned an interest in, or for civil law a right in, the production,

(ii) a prescribed taxable Canadian corporation related to the qualified corporation, or

(iii) any combination of corporations described in subparagraph (i) or (ii); and

(b) public financial support of the production would not be contrary to public policy.

(7) The Minister of Canadian Heritage shall issue guidelines respecting the circumstances under which the conditions in paragraphs (a) and (b) of the definition of “Canadian film or video production certificate” in subsection (1) are satisfied. For greater certainty, these guidelines are not statutory instruments as defined in the Statutory Instruments Act.

In February 2004 (under Liberal PM Paul Martin’s government), the following guidelines describing “ineligible genres of production” (those that do not qualify for a tax credit under the program:

a) news, current events or public affairs programming, or a programme that includes weather or market reports;
b) talk show;
c) production in respect of a game, questionnaire or contest (other than a production directed primarily at minors);
d) sports event or activity;
e) gala presentation or an awards show;
f) production that solicits funds;
g) reality television;
h) pornography;
i) advertising;
j) production produced primarily for industrial, corporate or institutional purposes;
k) production, other than a documentary, all or substantially all of which consists of stock footage; or
l) production for which public financial support would, in the opinion of the Minister of Canadian Heritage, be contrary to public policy.

Double standard? Yes, I think so.

Liberals back down from fundraiser, choose to follow the law…

… after being caught.

Timeline:
February 8th: News of Liberal fundraising scandal breaks on this website
February 12th: Conservatives demand answers
February 13th: Story “breaks” in MSM
February 13th: Liberal hypocrisy exposed in House of Commons

For news on the Liberals four days earlier, read stephentaylor.ca. For Liberal editorials, read The Globe and Mail.

Dion to apologize to Dimitri Soudas or get sued

Lawyers for Dimitri Soudas have filed notice to Liberal leader Stephane Dion for what they claim is defamatory libel against their client. Attached below is the letter on behalf of Mr. Soudas that was hand-delivered to Stephane Dion this morning. Soudas is the deputy press secretary to Prime Minister Harper. According to the National Post, over a year ago Mr. Soudas arranged a meeting between Public Works and Rosedev, a development company from Montreal. Conservatives reject this as well and insist that Soudas only requested information from ministerial staffers with respect to a court case. Despite this assertion, impropriety has been alleged regarding the meeting, which Soudas rejects. Dion, in his classic communications style may have bitten off more than he can chew.

Mr. Dion is quoted in the Canwest papers this morning:

“That means that there was an attempt to extort taxpayers funds to benefit a party supporter and therefore change the decision process and (they say) it’s not important because it didn’t succeed. I think the prime minister has a lot to explain.” — Stephane Dion

UPDATE: Dion says he’s sorry, sort of