The Shotgun Blog
Wednesday, June 30, 2004
Earlier Damian Penny asked for predictions when the next election will be. He said 15 months. Bob Tarantino says it will be two years. It will be at least that. While everyone has their eyes on the Liberal-NDP seat total, the Bloc are just, if not more likely to prop up a Liberal government for two reasons. 1) Like the Liberals and NDP, the Bloc is left-of-centre on economic issues and 2) the Bloc is not likely to increase its seat totals and may, in fact, lose some if the Conservatives show that they are not scary in opposition and as the memory of Adscam fades. If the Bloc were to lose seats in the next federal election it takes the wind out of the sovereignty sails.
One last dig at Toronto
Sorry, I can't resist. I just picked up this little tidbit from Jonathan Chevreau from the FP Investing.
There is, in fact, one Liberal in the land who is actually committed to A Life Less Taxing, and even wrote a book on the topic. From the overview:
The Single Tax System was developed in 1988 by a group of passionate and dedicated Canadians from all walks of life.Two years later, in 1990, we released called The Single Tax, which described that proposal. Ten years later, after several studies, parliamentary submissions and reports, we're stepping up the debate on comprehensive tax reform with the release of our most recent effort, A Life Less Taxing.You'll be happy to know that he was the one and only Liberal to be defeated in Toronto. They elected NDP leader Jack Layton instead.
A Life Less Taxing is more than just a book; it's also a framework for debate.
We have continually said that Canada deserves a simple, fair, efficient and competitive national income tax system. This book provides a highly readable explanation of how Canadians can make that system a reality.
Would you like a Fatwa with that?
The Islamic Human Rights Commission has issued awards for leading Islamophobes:
Most Islamophobic Media Personality: Polly ToynbeeBarbara Amiel received a nomination for an award but was topped by Polly Toynbee for the Most Islamophobic Media Personality award.
Most Islamophobic International Politician: Jacques Chirac and Ariel Sharon (joint winners)
Most Islamophobic Media: The Daily Telegraph
Islamophobe of the year: George W. Bush
Wednesday Morning Quarterbacking
Yesterday the papers had a quote from one of Harper's strategists bemoaning that he “doesn’t understand Ontario”. Not quite. You don’t understand campaigning.
Face it if you go to war unprepared against a better equipped, better trained and desperate enemy you are going to lose. Just because you believe that right is on your side doesn’t guarantee victory.
The Conservatives better learn how to fight dirty or Steven Harper will (as I predicted some time ago) be this era’s Robert Stanfield.
Read the rest of my long winded post-election analysis here
Sad, but true
If you want some insight into a certain segment of urban Ontario check out this column by Earl McRae. He interviews three people at a McDonalds in Ottawa:
Given the Liberals' record of corruption, scandal, mismanagement, and squandering of taxpayers' money, why in the world would they vote Liberal rather than send them a message of integrity and accountability and vote against them?No, not all urban Ontarians talk like that. But enough do that these people don't feel embarrassed to say such things with full attribution to a newspaper reporter.
"I've always voted Liberal," was Heather Whelan's answer. "Besides, all that garbage, if it even happened, took place under Chretien, not Paul Martin."
"With me, it was Harper," said her husband. "The guy scared me. He gave you the feeling he was up to something he didn't want you to know about."
"I'm not sure, but Martin said he was and that was good enough for me."
"Martin," said St. Clair, "is a good man. He came across very honest. He wanted a chance to clean up all the s--t that happened under Chretien. I just didn't trust Harper. He came across too oily."
"Exactly," said Heather. "The scariest part for me about him is that he wanted to cosy up to the Americans. Can you believe it? The bloody Americans. I hate the Americans."
What do you hate about them?
"They're warmongers," said Don. "They're out to take over the world. They remind me of the Germans in World War II."
"They're not our best friends, they're our worst enemies," said Heather. "You can't trust them. I wish we had some other country as our neighbour, not those bullies. They're ignorant. They don't know anything about any other country. They'd just love to take us over if they could."
"I don't think they're all bad, I've got American friends," said St. Clair, "but Harper would've had us kissing their ass instead of telling them to screw off like Martin will do."
The Showdown He Asked For
Paul Martin's exploitation of Alberta's promised health reforms was the singularly most divisive tactic the Liberals used in the campaign. From the Toronto Star coverage;
The Prime Minister has been daring Klein to make his plans public and has accused the Conservative Alberta premier of cloaking his medicare-threat proposal in a bid to help his "silent partner," Conservative Leader Stephen Harper. Martin has been saying it was ominous that Klein, whom the Liberals described last week as a "public health menace," was proposing to release his plan on June 30, just two days after the federal election.
Klein finally responded, his Health minster stating that the new proposals amounted to little more than increased spending. But it had put Harper on the defensive at a time when the attack ad campaign was in full swing.
Well, congratulations Mr. Martin. It worked. You won. And now you get to back up your challenge that Harper wouldn't defend the Canada Health Act, and you get to back it up by taking on Alberta, just two days after your victory, and with your words fresh in the minds of the electorate.
This morning Ralph Klein unveiled the Alberta health reforms. There are some pretty drastic changes, including a user pay scheme and a 50% cut to health spending growth.
He accused the federal Liberals of cutting the public system on one hand, while delivering empty promises on how to sustain it.
"They keep saying they'll save medicare but they don't say how," he said as he rolled his eyes."The bottom line is we still need substantive system reform, and we need to know where the federal government stands."
Klein says nothing will be implemented unti the fall, after Albertans have had the opportunity to give the input.
After making the sanctity of public health care front and center in his campaign, what bigger political landmine than to face parliament at war with Alberta over the Canada Health Act, but unable to directly engage Klein about it (consultation period, Mr. Martin) - with the BQ on the side of defending provincial rights to control of health delivery and the NDP demanding he put the hammer down?
Balls in your court, Martin. Let's see what you're made of.
You know, if this were the US, and these were Republicans I'd almost be thinking a Rove rope-a-dope here.
From today's edition of NORMAN'S SPECTATOR
In international news, most papers front the transfer of Saddam Hussein to Iraqi sovereignty, if not custody, and his forthcoming trial.
At home, the Toronto Star editorial board is pleased that the NDP will press Paul Martin to deliver on his spending commitments, and in the lead editorial says that Stephen Harper must heed Ontario ’s message: his economic policies, too, are unacceptable.
The Globe and Mail’s Jeff Simpson believes the Conservatives should jettison their small government policies. John Ibbitson writes that Stephen Harper should do a Tony Blair which, in this case, means ditching the social conservatives; I am not aware that the trade unions have left the Labour Party.
The editorial board also offers the Conservatives some advice, and it is more astute; however, does one detect some nervousness about the Globe’s role in the outcome—a minority government subject to NDP influence? And they haven’t even begun to address the damage to national unity, which Lysiane Gagnon and Roger Gibbins (in the Ottawa Citizen today, too) assess.
Over at the Citizen, Paul Martin is on the front page rejecting any coalition with the NDP; Paul Celucci is on the same page warning against a delay in the anti-missile defence decision. On the inside pages, David Pugliese reports on the implications of David Pratt’s defeat. Susan Riley writes that Paul Martin should get new staff, and that the Conservatives should get a new leader who “loves our flawed but promising country.” David Warren, who predicted the Conservatives would win 70 seats in Ontario, writes that the hinterland has changed and is no longer conservative. In other CanWest papers, the Montréal Gazette also fronts Martin’s rejection of any coalition with the NDP. Josée Legault would like to see Gilles Duceppe take over the PQ from Bernard Landry, who fired her as an adviser.
The National Post fronts Jack Layton’s demands—no PetroCan privatization or accelerated debt payments. The editorial board says the way to make a minority Parliament work is through free votes. Its advice to Stephen Harper is remarkably similar to that offered by the Globe. David Frum assesses the tactical errors of the Conservative campaign, but says that Stephen Harper should stay on. Andrew Coyne says the Conservatives through away the election and the secret for success is for Stephen Harper to become a “Trudeau Reformer.” (I kid you not.) On the front page, Lorne Gunter writes that Harper is not being petulant but is simply rationally examining what would be best for the Conservatives; he opts for Harper staying.
In the Sun chain, Doug Fisher assesses prospects for the minority Parliament. Greg Weston says the Conservatives should find a new leader. Peter Worthi ngt on writes that Paul Martin “is old, tired, bankrupt of ideas, kind of a retread who missed the early boat, but decent.”
Martin rules out coalition
You might recall how much fun the media had with Cheryl Gallant, the Conservative MP from Renfrew. There is no question she serves up indelicate comments that serve the media well in portraying this rural MP, and by extension her party, as unsophisticated bumpkins unfit to sip a chardonnay or nibble on brie at their social gatherings. They even spent a long time hanging out in her riding trying to goad her into saying something they could have some fun with. But naturally they didn't scrutinize the level of discourse of her opponents, but listen to this uplifting rhetoric from her NDP opponent, Sue McSheffrey:
You, know, if Cheryl were a bra, I think she'd be a size 32 push-up bra, making mountains out of mole-hills. It's the Tory-Alliance way. Rob Jamieson would be a size too small because his cup runneth over in true Liberal fashion. And me, well, I'm a size 50DD with wiring to support the fallen and uplift the masses. That's the NDP way.I can see why they like to pick on Cheryl. She's such a rube, unlike her sophisticated, thoughtful, articulate opponents.
That's how long I think Martin's mandate will last, before we're back campaigning again. Anyone else care to make a prediction?
Tuesday, June 29, 2004
With a minority government whose life expectancy seems quite limited, I guess we have a rematch in the making. Chris Taylor is already thinking about the next campaign and offers some interesting tips for the next campaign of the Conservatives.
Making it up as they go along
The Eastern Canadian media seems to still be in election fiction mode with CTV apparently making up a story--out of whole clothe it would appear--about Stephen Harper considering stepping down as leader of the Conservatives. The headline, Harper raises possibility of stepping down, implies, well, that Harper raised the possibilty.
All together now, "Oh, b--lshit!"
Seems a reporter tossed out the question, and Harper answered:
"I'm always willing to serve, so I'm going to take a little time with my family... And obviously, I'm already talking to people across the country."
How this equates to quitting, I'm not sure. So I think the CTV nitwits started playing it up, obviously trying to stir up trouble and cause some division in the ranks, like the Globe and Mail did after the 2000 election with the "the Alliance hired a spy" story. Remember that? Yeah? The spy story? Fine bit of James Bond writing that. Canadian journalism at its finest. 'Tis to larf.
Still waiting for these hotshots to ask Jack Layton whether he is considering stepping down. After all, he lost, too. What's that you say? Don't hold my breath? Why ever not?
Taking Back The Language
The defining moment for me during last night's election results was this one: Newly elected Liberal MP in Kings-Hants (NS), Scott Brison:
"There's not a lot of room for Red Tories in a party with a lot of red necks."
This morning, I'm wondering where the outrage is.
There is none, of course, because it's acceptable in the media to use cultural slurs against Western Canadians.
And sadly, it's been acceptable to us for too long. Or it never occurs to us that the slur is serious, intentionally dehumanizing and directly aimed at core conservative values and belief systems integral to our heritage and western history. A couple of weeks ago I took a swipe at the CBC's Michael Enright for "criticizing the media for assuming" that the conservative Fraser Institute was the Droolers and Knuckledraggers Association. He never did "get" it. He was incapable of recognizing that his use of those terms, in and of themselves, to describe conservative thought was dehumanizing, whether or not he was defending the Fraser Institute in this instance. He wasn't criticizing the marginalization of conservatives by the media, he was criticizing them for automatically dismissing the Fraser Institute as part of that "drooler" crowd.
The biased conduct by the national media during this campaign has been brazen. From day one, a blatant double standard has been applied to the Conservative party members who dared open their mouths and express personal conservative values. Socially conservates in the Liberal Party enjoyed a situation where their "gaffes" were unreported. The backgrounds of Liberal advisors went unexamined.
The media drove the agenda, hijacked the campaign and framed every discussion on so-called "social issues" as an "us vs them-who-would-kill-gays and enslave women". Stephen Harper was branded as "scary" . Apparently, Liberal corruption at the senior civil service isn't "scary", but invoking the constitutionally entrenched notwithstanding clause is the chainsaw massacre of Canadian Politics.
The same thing happened to health care. No rational debate of private vs public ever occured. It was good vs evil, right vs wrong, Canadian vs the evil baby-killing American system. During the Klein health care frenzy nobody turned a camera east to the blatant Canada Health Act violator - Quebec.
The Conservative campaign has to take some blame for that. They shied away from those direct comparisons. In the well-predicted hindsight of a zero seat performance, it was an opportunity squandered to put Paul Martin's challenge under a public microscope and pound home the message of "double standard". They didn't, and why they didn't I will never know.
If Canadian conservatives, both big C and small c, are ever to find a voice in this country and rescue it from it's headlong collapse into international disintegration - we must begin at both the top political echelons of the party, and the grassroots, by reclaiming the language and demanding our own share of protection under political correctness guidelines. It is not a silly "get even" suggestion. It is critical, if we are to remove this tool from the hands of the opposition.
The most obvious first target is to eliminate the use of the word "redneck" as an acceptable tactic to stifle debate before it occurs. Make the use of the word "redneck" as unacceptable as "redskin", "raghead" and "frog". Then we can go to work on "hillybilly", "cowby" and all the other sniggering cultural insults as they surface. It's an easy one to attack because it's so common and used so casually. Tackling "redneck" would seed doubt in the minds of moderate Canadians that maybe - just maybe - it is not appropriate to marginalize conservatives with cheap namecalling tactics.
This week Conservative party officials should hold a news conference. That news conference should have a sole purpose - to demand a public apology from MP Scott Brison for his derogatory cultural slur against Western Canadians.
Get this namecalling issue on the table. Stop allowing the left to write the Encyclopedia of Political Correctness. Point out just what terms like this are intended to do, and that their use is a cheap device to avoid debate. Until that happens, western Canada will remain vulnerable to political dismissiveness as uneducated, unintelligent, unsophisticated, and untrustworthy. And so long as we permit it, we have no one but ourselves to blame.
It's time to demand respect, and to settle for nothing less than 100% compliance in the language of both the left and the media.
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em
While it might have been preferable to have honest, responsible government we have to live in the world as it is, not as we wish it would be. So rather than expending effort earning a living, paying taxes only to have all your effort redirected to supporting Liberal friends and their clientage, a similar effort by creative, innovative people dedicated to milking their largesse would probably be more profitable. As a starting point, check out the Canadian Subsidy Directory:
It is the perfect tool for new and existing businesses, individuals, foundations and associations.This Publication contains more than 2000 direct and indirect financial subsidies, grants and loans offered by government departments and agencies, foundations, associations and organisations. In this new 2004 edition all programs are well described.The Canadian Subsidy Directory is the most comprehensive tool to start up a business, improve existent activities, set up a business plan, or obtain assistance from experts in fields such as: Industry, transport, agriculture, communications, municipal infrastructure, education, import-export, labor, construction and renovation, the service sector, hi-tech industries, research and development, joint ventures, arts, cinema, theatre, music and recording industry, the self employed, contests, and new talents.There's gold in them thar hills. Why be the last fool paying into these boondoggles rather than finding a nice inviting government teat, make yourself comfortable, and suckle it?
The Con Vote
Any word on whether the Canadian Convicted Felon community influenced any of the outcomes?
We have a tie!
As of 11:30 PM in B.C., there's a last minute fly in the ointment for the NDP and Liberals.
In New Westminster-Coquitlam, Tory Paul Forseth has won a squeaker!
That leaves these numbers:
Chuck Cadman (until yesterday a Tory MP) 1
Despite this, David Anderson was quoted as saying, earlier this evening, "We will govern as if we have a majority."
The Conservatives are up to a elected/leading of 99 sans Chuck Cadman. But the Liberal-NDP total no longer makes a majority. Totals and lots of stories at the Globe and Mail.
That was fun
Same time, same place, say, 2 to 2 1/2 years?
Trust the masses, I guess, because the Election Prediction Project was the closest: Liberals 121, Conservatives 105, NDP 29, BQ 52, others 1.
Blame game II
In a way socons are responsible for some Conservative losses. For instance, Bev Shipley would have beat Rose-Marie Ur in Middlesex-Kent-Lambton if the CHP did not run a candidate. Shipley lost by 198 votes and the CHP garnered more than a 1000 votes.
Monday, June 28, 2004
I like the National Post best
The National Post currently has the Conservatives at 98. With Chuck Cadman, they'll have 99.
Stephen Harper, the leader of the opposition amidst much bally-a-hoo, stepped to the podium and he said, well he said the obvious. Preaching to the choir he declared. “We the loyal opposition of this country will continue to hold them accountable,” cue pop. “We will continue to…” insert party platform here.
A hard fought campaign was over. I got within arm’s reach of the Conservative leader. The man’s face, though draped with a smile, definitely showed defeat. He wasn’t answering questions from us media types, and really I can’t blame him. But I was looking for a reaction as to what happened in Ontario. Jim Prentice, newly elected MP for the new riding of Calgary North Centre deflected my question about the Ontario factor focusing on the positive. “This is a party that is barely six months old. We’ve made a footprint in Ontario and in the days ahead we’re going to do what Stephen said, we’re going to do: our job, our responsibility, which is to keep Canada on track.”
Harper spoke of greater accountability, and pledged to keep “fighting that the voice of the west is someday heard and accepted.”
Well then, is this Reform Party rhetoric, or were the balloons and confetti unleashed on the hip-swaying, clapping party loyalists after Harper’s speech warranted. As the anonymous young man next to me said to his adoring partner, “We’ll get even in 6 months. This was a test.”
The party died quickly. The band is playing a slow blues-jazz-esque piece with a muted trumpet solo as I write. A few people mingle in the hall, and an older couple walks out with a couple of paper plates filled with food, wrapped in plastic. Going home to snack.
There was a lot of serious discussion in the lobby outside the main hall, but it was usually between two and in low tones, and I couldn’t get close enough to pick up anything of substance. Lots of flipping of cellphones.
Back in the media room much the same thing. A few reporters shouted questions as the TV announced this or that tight race was still undeclared.
Game 7 and the Flames. Canada’s hope, dashed again.
Oh well, time to start filing those Freedom of Information requests and start digging. Now maybe the media will have some time to think about that story that broke on Friday about Paul Martin and his company’s $82 million profit from changes to the pension legislation that Martin had a hand in.
The story is not over. Our country can be saved.
Well, Saskatchewan Did Our Part
As it stands right now, Saskatchewan has delivered 13 Conservatives and Ralph Goodale. NDP were swept from the province. With his own razor thin majority, Lorne Calvert must be feeling very, very alone tonight.
Caveat - In Palliser, Dick Proctor is 90 votes behind, but there are 4 polls and special ballots to come in to be counted.
At one point, they had declared Lorne Nystrom elected. I don't know why the media never learns - the rural polls come in later than the urban ones - you never, never project a win on the basis of a few urban poll results - not in this province, at least. A healthy lead dwindled and evaporated for Nystrom.
That gives the Liberals a current total of 135 and the NDP 20 seats... They do not have a safe majority, even in full co-operation with the NDP. They need a speaker.
I don't have any thoughts federally, or even any knowledge of what's going on in Alberta or BC as I"ve been working in my shop all night listening to the night on local radio, which has mostly provincial coverage.
Listening to the nights events though, I can't help but wonder when the unofficial slogan of Western Canada is going to change from "The West Wants In" to "The West Wants Out".
Busted flat in Baton Rouge...
Got nailed trying to bring a drink into the media room. Some guy dressed like a Shriner—only wearing a Stetson instead of a tassled Turkish coffee can—pushed me back into the main hall with a “No no no.” And so I was stuck by the doorway, holding two drinks while all these women—where did all these good-looking women come from? Were they waiting for the music cues?—started filing in as the band started playing, “Get your kicks duh duh duh on route duh sixty six.”
So I’m standing by the door holding these two drinks when the guy standing beside me turns around and says, “You drink scotch?”
“Uh, yeah, but now I’m drinking rye,” says I.
No matter, the guy says, and pours about 2 ounces of straight scotch into my half empty glass. “Now dump some of the full one in there,” he instructs. The women with him start laughing. One of them says, “But he’s already double fisted!” No matter. He fills up the other one with a pile of scotch.
Mustafa, who works the phone room at the Western Standard, comes by and I send him into the media room to tell Cyril to get out here, otherwise I’m toast if I have to quaff this.
Then the big bus pulls through the big bay door and the rock ‘n roll starts. Harper is in the building. This place was built for events like this. The could’ve sailed the QEII through that door. I left Cyril with his (surprisingly strong) drink and told him to listen and write about the speeches.
A different point of view
Right now it sounds like I’m filing from the deceased Montreal Forum as a baritoned singer belts out O Canada in both of our proud native languages. But alas Guy Lafleur is nowhere to be seen. However this partisan crowd has let out a few pops despite the inevitable result of the evening. Mostly when Preston Manning showed up on the big scream decrying the choice of Ontario, the choice of yet another scandal-laden government.
Not to worry though, says Jamie Niessen, who works as a law firm marketing director here in sunny Calgary. Niessen says a Liberal minority is best for conservatives - partly due to a lack of a Conservative policy and partly because any government that runs a minority is in for a rough ride. “We get what we vote for and we get what we deserve, let the Liberals try to govern with this, let the Liberals make the best out of a fiscal conservative policy and make the best out of social policy of the NDP.”
Martin takes back all those things he said about the NDP
Voting for the NDP, apparently, will help the the Liberals more than the Conservatives, contra what Paul Martin has been saying for the past two weeks. The NDP now holds the balance of power (scary thought). Jack Layton's bargaining position, however, isn't that great. All Martin needs is a third of the statist Bloc to join him on any given vote. And the Liberals may not want to go too much further Left knowing that anytime, with any missed step, they will have to face the electorate again.
The blame game
I'm sure that social conservatism will be blamed for the poorer than expected showing today for the Conservatives. But overall, the Ontario contingent is about evenly split for the Tories (and all but one pro-life Liberal won re-election on Ontario); I've never been convinced that social conservatism is the electoral albatross that the media, political strategists and libertarians believe it to be. The Conservatives lost for a constellation of reasons but the most important, I think, is the issueless campaign that Stephen Harper ran. The Canadian people were never given a reason to vote Conservative; the best we offered was that we weren't corrupt Liberals. That, we've learned the hard way, just won't do.
The little engine that couldn’t
Cyril just bought a drink. He's a good man.
Jack Layton was giving his balance of power victory speech, but no one in the hall was listening really. A few people looked on with grimaces on their faces, but mostly just chatter from the crowd The lineup for drink tickets is getting long. (Luckily, I saw that coming and made an early preventive strike.)
Look, in a couple of years, judging by what I see when I do the web scan for Ric Dolphin’s Provincial & Territorial Report (one of my moonlighting gigs I have to do to keep myself in mittens) Ontario will be a basketcase of bureaucracy in a couple of years. Sure, there’ll be a new layer of blacktop on the 401, but that will be about the only improvement compared to the layers and layers of new rules regulations, studies, commissions, blah blah blah. That engine will start to choke on its own exhaust. Right now, only Ontario and Alberta are net contributors to confederation. What is a coalition of federal robberbarons going to do when Ontario starts to gag?
Cheer just went up when CTV announced Winnipeg’s Glen Murray’s defeat. A blow against opportunism. Someone just yelled Hawn has moved ahead of McLellan. He must be reading a web site because the hall does not respond. Big cheer for Stronach.
The good news
Solidly conservative Conservative Andrew Scheer is poised to beat NDPer Lorne Nystrom in Regina Qu'Appelle. And Conservative Dave Batters is ahead of NDP incumbent Dick Proctor in Palliser. Two less socialists in Parliament.
Short term gain for long term pain
Jack Layton has just hinted that it is time to see how interested Mr. Martin is in proportional representation in his remarks just now.
It may be tempting to Mr. Martin to bring in a PR referendum to secures his government for a year or two. But, I would argue that PR is a poisoned chalice that Mr. Martin must not drink from.
Smile for the camera
I was yakking with the photogs outside having smokes waiting for Harper to show. One guy from Reuters was saying that he thought Harper would show up looking like a winner.
And Martin? I asked. “Oh, he show up looking like a winner, too,” came the reply.
I noted that Martin had a pretty hectic travel schedule yesterday, and I wondered if he would be heavily made-up for his appearance to cover any trace of exhaustion. No answer. Does heavy makeup, I asked, show up on photographs? No, he said, but it does on TV.
There were two Reuters photogs there. The other guy, Pat Price, started his career working at the Calgary Report (before it merged with the Edmonton Report to become the Alberta Report) back in the seventies. We jawed a bit about the old magazine, and I moved on. These guys were looking bored.
As I got done quaffing rye number three and my wandering eye settled down I noticed on the big screen M Doucette leader of the BQ step up to the podium for his congratulatory speech. The French flowed ever elegantly from the separatist’s mouth as my attention shifted focus before the translator kicked in to the latest polling numbers at the bottom of the big screen: Liberals 134, Conservatives 90, BQ 56. “Hmm,” I thought, “What if Harper had lassoed those separatists into the fold?” Well, I figured, the Conservatives might have a chance.”
As I turned over to ask the guy standing next to me his opinion on my little hypothesis he bellowed out at that big screen, “Speak English!” My answer came before I could ask. Maybe the guy has ESP or maybe there is no room for French separatists on the right.
On behalf of all Ontarians, I'd also like to apologize for the Liberal's continued strength in Ontario. We all had a job to do and we clearly dropped the ball. Heck, even my money honey, Belinda Stronach, looks like she'll lose. At least we did one thing right: Olivia Chow lost.
If anything, this proved my long held contention that Ontario's "conservatives" were never conservative. Anyone who belonged on the right had joined the Reform or Canadian Alliance years ago leaving only those who didn't know they were Liberals left in the Progressive Conservatives. The fact that the popular vote for the right dropped in 2004 -- when compared to combined CA/PC votes from the last election -- proves that. Sure, we voted Mike Harris but that was in reaction to bad provincial goverments by the NDP and Liberals. We've "recovered" from that bit of madness apparently.
Just talked to Jason Kenney and asked him about the results. He says he's obviously disappointed. "But it means a more accountable Parliament." Let's hope. As I was standing in the main hall hauling on my drink, I spoke with one older fellow who declared that he was pretty happy. He's hoping for a 100 seats for the Conservatives. The conversation is growing louder in the room. Party mood is starting to set in. The kids bussing the empties are coming through with full trays of empty plastic cups and beer cans.
The Globe and Mail has updated its site. According to the actual declared elected, Liberals lead the Conservatives 82-50, with 43 Bloc and 6 NDP.
The children are our future
The children are our future
It’s 25 degrees outside, the sun is shining, girls are wearing their sundresses and the fish are jumping, but all that doesn’t prevent, Eric Gerrard 18, Philip Butcher 18, Jon English 18 and Gil Lewinsky 19 – four average youth-type fellas from southeast Calgary - spending their night at the luxurious Calgary Stampede Round Up Centre, anticipating their boy, Stephen Harper becoming Canada’s next Prime Minister “It’s time for a change,” says a ticked off English, “the Liberals have been in power for too long.” “We’re distancing ourselves away from America,” shouts out Lewinsky. These guys say they reflect an average sample size of guys their age, maybe, maybe not but at least they’re out showing their support behind something. It’s almost refreshing, but if these kids are the future of Canada the latest results show that that future is not tonight.
Death, death for the West
Someone on one of the TV monitors in the main room just held up a sign “Liberals + NDP.” Yikes. A few groans from the floor. So it’s corruption + taxation. The people have spoken. Run.
First, we better get a little fuel to warm up our shoes, mixed with cola. In the hall they're cheering the locals.
So much for my predictions. Anyway, the Liberals currently have elected/lead in 140 ridings, the NDP in 24. If this holds up -- it may not, many Liberal candidates are leading by just 100-200 votes -- the Liberal-NDP coalition, whether formal or informal, may be able to govern for more than a year to 18 months. Bill Davis once governed with a mere plurality of the seats, without a formal coalition, for four years.
Global announcer said Belinda Stronach, who was supposed to win handily, got "caught in this Liberal wave." I thought it was going to be a wave good-bye, but apparently, well, Ontarians are idiots.
On behalf of my fellow Ontarians
Apparently Ontarians will never learn. To those on the sane side of Canada -- almost everyone west of the Ontario/Manitoba border who does not live in Winnipeg and Vancouver -- I'm truly sorry.
Old media -- some older than others
David Kilgour, the safer of the two Edmonton Liberals, is currently trailing.
Get your mind of the gutter. Belinda Stronach is 1% behind the Liberal in Newmarket Aurora.
Finally some emotion
Finally some emotion
Well, 15 minutes have elapsed since my last post and in that time Kevin has bought me one of what will hopefully be many drinks, not to drown my sorrow so much but as to… Anyhoo, the magic that is the Shotgun allows me to update my previous assertion that the mood was somber. 8:15 p.m., saw the first reaction out of the crowd: Martin’s trailing his BQ counterpart. A few moments later one of the talking heads mentioned Harper easily won his seat garnering another cheap pop from this partisan crowd.
So the East has fallen once again. Methinks regionalism is rearing its ugly head once again as does Carl Schwartz a tax accountant taking in the festivities hear in lovely Victoria Park , Calgary. “It doesn’t matter, they can be crooks, liars, thieves, everything under the sun, we still put them in and we still get screwed.” In the eyes of Schwartz, it’s not that Harper’s scary to Ontario, but why would they give up there balance of power to the West?
Count Floyd just announced a minority for Martin and the boys based on their projections.
After Cyril went into start typing his post, I stood at the same table, sucking up my rye. One guy next to me, yelled (in a moment of silence) “Boo Ontario!” I shot back my drink and came in here, expecting to see a room full of busy bees. Only a few sitting around.
One guy just yelled, “Layton lost his seat!” The few of us in here just keep typing. Then he yells "Chow is losing as well." Some respond to this in surprise. Two women next to me don't really seem to care what is going on. Their drinking and yakking. Wonder where they are from? Think I'll ask, but I won't get them in trouble.
Three networks have called it a Liberal minority.
The Bloc is currently leading in Chretien's old riding.
It’s early, it’s early
8 p.m. MST. Looking around the Round Up Centre one can’t help but feel somber. All the inflatable clappers are silent, no whooping from the crowd. You could almost say the mood around here is well, conservative.
CTV’s Robertson announced the Liberals are ahead by 15 percentage points in Ontario. Oh well, what are you going to do? So close, yet so far for Conservatives, for the West. I guess Harper really is scary in the eyes of the average Ontarian. But maybe I’m being too skeptical, after all, to quote the mood here, “it’s early.”
I asked a barkeep how booze is selling. "Good," he said.
"Getting drunk out of sorrow?" I asked.
He smiled. "They'll get drunk either way."
Vote for best coverage
I think it is CTV. What do you guys think? I am liking the information provided by Global on what are essentially exit polls, though.
Prediction from CPC insider
Conservative source emails me that they think Liberals will win minority with 133-138 seats. While results are based on a small number of polls reporting, there is disappointment that the Conservative vote is about 9% lower than the combined CA-PC vote in 2000.
The end is here!
CTV is showing the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada leading in one riding.
(Actually, as I write this, they just lost it. Never mind.)
Okay, I’m in
Hooked up and ready to go, staring at a wall. The media room here at Calgary Roundup Centre on the Stampede grounds is almost perfectly square, tables with phones line the walls. Everyone is filtering in, opening up their laptops and trying out the wireless connection. Three televisions at one end, CTV’s Count Floyd has the floor with sound. CBC chunters away silently. Man, these guys have some expensive looking equipment. The guy beside is from the Western Producer and he’s carrying two Canon 10-Ds. I’m green with envy, sitting here with my little Kodak DX4330.
Heavy voter turnout says Count Floyd. Everyone starts drifting towards the TV. The television crews have left the room, drifting out into the hall. Atlantic Canada to the Liberals.