Bits and pieces

  • The Prime Minister’s website is now featuring kitten adoption profiles. We get it… not scary, ok?
  • Dollar rises above $0.965US, the highest since February 1977.
  • Jason Cherniak will not defend what he has not read, nor condemn it, but that won’t stop him from giving an opinion, thankfully.
  • Steve Janke is tracking Stephane Dion’s gaffe on Chinese-Canadian political history
  • Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition accuses Her Majesty’s Government and Defense Minister of propagandizing a military conflict. “Propaganda” is not exactly a reserved word as people have thrown it around at their political opponents on a variety of topics. However to juxtapose “propaganda” with our government on military/war related matters? If you had heard that an opposition party in a foreign country had accused their government of military propaganda, what would you think? Let’s be more responsible shall we?
  • Probably not the best of photo-ops for Republican Mitt Romney. Again, an obvious problem of juxtaposition concerning the question of loyalties. Whether it’s Canadian Liberals accusing the government of military propaganda, or a Republican candidate for president posing with a sign that suggests that Democrat opponents are as undesirable as Osama bin Laden, we ought to raise the level of debate so that we don’t blur the lines between the opponents who are working for a better country (but in a different party) and enemies that would destroy it.

Adjournment

Negotiations are currently underway, and barring some procedural snafu, the rumour is that we’ll see adjournment of the House either today or tomorrow. That’s the current word from the gossip-hounds on the Hill.

UPDATE: Peter van Loan, the government House leader has moved for emergency debate on two pieces of legislation. Yes, they’re pushing through to wrap up soon.

UPDATE (Friday afternoon): Alas, it’s not to be. Liberals and Conservatives (and journalists) are complaining that its the NDP that’s holding up the House. But good news, the latest consensus estimate is that the House will break after Monday with unanimous consent.

Dion, Stornoway and Laurier Club Liberals

Last night, members of the Liberal Party’s elite “Laurier Club” assembled at the residence of the Leader of the Official Opposition. The venue was the Stornoway mansion and the event was a garden party.

First, what is the Laurier Club?

The Laurier Club is a national organization made up of business executives, community leaders and those interested in sustaining the Liberal Party who also support the principles of parliamentary democracy and are interested in the public policy decisions affecting the lives of the citizens of Canada.

Individual membership contribution is $1000 and is in good standing for a period of twelve months starting on the sign up date. Membership does not include contributions made to local ridings, candidates, leadership and nomination contestants. Members can choose to make a one time gift or sign up for monthly contributions.

Laurier Club Members will:

* Receive invitations to Laurier Club functions with representatives of the Liberal Party of Canada;
* Attend Laurier Club functions in any region of the country;
* Attend any Party fundraising event at cost

Sounds like lots of fun for any Liberal, however, it was a Laurier Club event and to attend you must have been paid up to the Liberal Party of Canada to the tune of $1000 (if you’re under 30, you can get in for $500)

Stornoway is the property of the National Capital Commission (ie. the government). It’s not illegal to use government property in this way as a perk for top donors to a political party per se, but is it ethical?

The Prime Minister does not assemble top donors for parties or hold fundraisers for the Conservative Fund at 24 Sussex.

However, former Liberal leaders Bill Graham, Paul Martin and Jean Chretien have used Stornoway and 24 Sussex to fête top Liberal Party donors in the past.

dion-laurier.jpg

Liberals in violation of US Copyright Act

The famous YouTube video with a close up shot of a the shipping label on the boxes “returned” to the PMO by Mark Holland and Marlene Jennings was taken down from the popular video hosting website after the user “liberalvideo” made a copyright claim. YouTube user “liberalvideo” is of course the Liberal OLO and their muscling of content critical to their party sets a chilling precedent in this country.

Of course, the video itself was based upon footage gathered by the Liberal Party from their original video. Since the claimant to the copyright was “liberalvideo”, we can assume that “liberalvideo” is in fact the Liberal OLO.

Anyway. The derivative video produced (with the shipping label) constitutes fair use of the material and may even be classified as a parody of the original. Point is, there is no copyright violation.

This may spell trouble for the Liberal Party as they are in violation of the US Copyright Act. Section 512(f) states:

512. Limitations on liability relating to material online

(f) Misrepresentations. – Any person who knowingly materially misrepresents under this section -

(1) that material or activity is infringing, or

(2) that material or activity was removed or disabled by mistake or misidentification,

shall be liable for any damages, including costs and attorneys’ fees, incurred by the alleged infringer, by any copyright owner or copyright owner’s authorized licensee, or by a service provider, who is injured by such misrepresentation, as the result of the service provider relying upon such misrepresentation in removing or disabling access to the material or activity claimed to be infringing, or in replacing the removed material or ceasing to disable access to it.

Liberals have expressed to me that the removal of the video and copyright claim was shortsighted and “dumb”.

Martha’s parachute

Today, Liberal Party leader Stephane Dion handed Martha Hall Findlay the safe Liberal riding of Willowdale to replace retiring MP Jim Peterson. As I said in December, even though I disagree with her ideas, I was quite impressed with Findlay as a candidate for Liberal leader.

Saying this, I believe that she could have fought and won a contested nomination campaign and a competitive riding.

This is also good for the Tories and NDP because it removes a competitive candidate from the field.

Today, Dion said:

“Martha, through her tireless traveling of our great country, first as a leadership candidate and now in her role as Platform Outreach Chair for the Liberal Party, has come to represent Liberal renewal.”

It is unfortunate that Liberal renewal doesn’t include a departure from appointed candidates.

In fact, the Liberal democratic body in charge of holding a nomination contest abdicated its duty enthusiastically:

“Our riding association overwhelmingly passed a motion requesting that Mr. Dion appoint Martha as our candidate,” said Willowdale Federal Liberal Riding Association President Joanne Pratt.

It’s too bad she’s not challenging Stronach’s nomination in Newmarket-Aurora.

BREAKING – Grits to walk out

I’m hearing a rumour that the Liberals are going to walk out of Question Period today in protest of Stephen Harper’s reading of that Vancouver Sun article yesterday which cast a shadow on the reputation of Liberal MP Navdeep Bains.

If the House cannot function as it should in a democracy, how can we get a democratic solution the important issues surrounding this debate (Air India, Anti-terrorism act)?

The Grits should stay and debate. After all, I once heard that 15 minutes of time in the House of Commons costs taxpayers $75,000.

UPDATE: The rumour turned out to be untrue.

UPDATE: Well… not exactly. I’ve learned a bit more. The Grits were indeed going to walk out of Question Period. That is, however, until Stephen Harper came down the stairs, flanked by members of the Air India families and then scrummed with reporters (which is rare). Likely not wanting to offend the families (which would sit in the gallery during Question Period and hold a press conference at the National Press Theater to back Harper’s position on the Anti-Terrorism Act provisions) the Liberals in the opposition lobby filed into, and stayed, in the House for Question Period.

CTV’s Canada AM makes a poor edit

Last week, I was watching Canada AM and would have spit out my coffee if I had been drinking some at the time.

I had just seen the program’s Seamus O’Regan interview Liberal Party leader Stephane Dion about climate change, the oil sands, the terror threat against the oil sands and then finally a potential election. It was a standard four minute interview which ended with some rhetoric from Stephane Dion, saying that Harper wants to make the country right-wing, Republican, far right, evil, etc… par for the course and standard fare for Dion. The Liberals have recently been pushing that very message in every QP breath they take.

At the top of the hour, they replayed a clip of the Dion interview which described the Liberals as a moderate alternative to Harper’s “far right” party. Again, inaccurate, but expected. Immediately following this clip, the anchor goes to the next news story to describe “far right” nutjob Ernst Zundel being convicted in Germany. It’s almost as if Dion teed up the ball and CTV drove it 350 yards.

Take a look (Youtube video):

In CTV’s defense, the same “far right” descriptor was used to describe Zundel in the previous top-of-the-hour news update (before Dion had given his interview – Dion went live at 7:40am EST). However, who cuts a clip of Dion describing Harper as “far right” and then gives the anchor text on Zundel describing the Holocaust denier as “far right”?

Also, what’s with the kid gloves Seamus? If Dion uses language to describe Canadian conservatives that CTV reserves for Holocaust denial, aren’t you supposed to call him on that? The proper response would have been “now wait one second there, Mr. Dion…”

For the record, this is editing on live television. I don’t think that there was any malice intended on the part of CTV… the result was just unfortunate. If this had been a pre-packaged broadcast, I’d be quite upset. With that said, I do believe that lessons above (and in the video) regarding language and kid gloves should be considered by CTV.

UPDATE: Should we instead be disappointed with Dion for twisting the misnomer (on all fronts) for his own agenda? Haven’t we heard Dion describe Harper as a ‘far right climate change denier‘?

Garth the Grit

Garth Turner just switched over to the Liberals.

A few quick notes

  • He’s Dion’s problem now

  • Doesn’t change the balance of power since Garth was independent
  • Garth should have gone Green Party if he believed in action on the environment instead of Dion’s fiction.
  • Another alpha personality who has a fixation on leadership lines up behind an unlikely man who isn’t one but has that title. That dam is going to break soon.
  • No more “will he or won’t he” speculation
  • from Garth’s townhall last year when he polled his constituents on what he should do:
    1. Resign your seat – zero

    2. Negotiate back into caucus – 17
    3. Join the Liberals – zero
    4. Go Green – 17
    5. Stay independent – 31
  • PromisesKept.ca – Page not found (and never launched past the “coming soon” phase)
  • Garth is releasing a new book in a few weeks. Sure to be a hot seller!

UPDATE: Blogging Tory RepoCreepo had advanced intel of Garth’s flirtation with the Halton Liberal riding association.

Liberal vs. Conservative narratives

in 2007 and post Liberal leadership, we’re seeing two narratives emerge on the federal political landscape. The Conservatives are telling us that Stephane Dion is not leadership material and the Liberals are pushing the idea that the Conservatives are weak on the environment and the Liberals will save the day.

Today, it’s about -21C (much colder with the windchill) and a friend of mine emailed to say that he counted just 56 Liberal MPs in attendance. Who can blame them, it is really cold out. But, that’s just part of the problem for the Liberals when it comes to their message. The environment as an issue became much less of an important issue for Canadians when they finally started to chip ice off of their windshields. The Liberals didn’t have enough dedicated members to carry Dion’s singular message: that Stephen Harper isn’t doing enough to keep the Earth from warming.

That brings us to the Conservative narrative: that Stephane Dion is not a leader. I believe that this narrative will be much more effective than the dual-citizenship of the Liberal leader. On the surface, Dion does not instill confidence. Back during the leadership convention, I met the man who would become Liberal leader and found him to be a very nice guy however, at the time I wrote that he’s not the kind of commander to lead his troops over the hill. Pundits at the time gushed that the two Steve’s would bring policy to the fore, leaving politics behind. Well, the honeymoon is over and politics is always a constant in this town.

Dion’s full investment in a single issue also makes his leadership a liability to the Liberal party. If the Conservatives are able to make progress on some green issues, show that the Liberals would be just as bad, or accomplish some from column A and some from column B, they will disarm this Liberal iteration and in my opinion, they will accomplish this soon.

Former Liberal leadership contenders are still passively organizing behind the scenes? Bob Rae just announced that he’ll be running as a candidate in the next election; the former Ontario NDP premier doesn’t want to miss the second act of the Liberal leadership contest. It is clear to anyone paying attention that leadership runner-up Michael Ignatieff doesn’t have much confidence in Dion. He almost looked ill after having to stand up and parrot Dion’s environmental attack on the Conservatives. Clearly, there’s much more that the former Harvard professor wants to discuss than how Stephane didn’t get it done and how Stephen won’t get it done.

The Conservative narrative is more likely to resonate with Canadians while polling shows that Canadians believe that the Liberals are just as bad as the Conservatives on the environment. The difference, Harper is in a position and appears so much more capable of getting it done.