Pre-emptive pre-writ Liberal strike – radio style.

This got released yesterday on the radio. A nice little ad on the radio explaining why the Liberal Party is opposed to income splitting. Personally, I’m pleased to see we’re starting to fight fire with fire vis-a-vis the pre-writ campaign ads that the Conservatives have mastered in their attacking Stephane Dion and Michael Ignatieff (and not so successfully so far on Justin Trudeau. This ad, however, is based on policy, not personal attacks.

Take a listen

UPDATE: The Liberals have also released an ad on the radio today about Veteran Affairs – an issue that has been very prominent of late.


Internal CPC polling on Veterans Affairs issues must be terrible.

If the Conservative government – led by Harper in Question Period no less – has now decided they’re going to try to blame the Liberals for the current mess in Veteran Affairs (led by their mess of a minister Fantino),  polling and reaction to their current shabby treatment of Veterans must be pretty bad.

Their argument gets a tad undercut however when they’ve  had 10 years to fix any shortcomings (which Harper and party supported in 2005 and enthusiastically implemented in 2006), and are now in court trying to defend it against angry Veterans (and trying to use the argument the “moral obligation” to help returning vets was just political rhetoric).

There is other stuff going on in Veteran Affairs right now that can’t be blamed on the Liberal government from over a decade ago – such as cuts to the Department and over-worked caseloads for the remaining staff – that the Conservatives can’t deflect.. which is why they’ve been suddenly announcing “new hirings” in the department.

The Christmas break comes at a very convenient time for them.. this issue has dominated the airwaves for a couple of weeks now. Perhaps Harper will use the holidays to reflect that keeping Fantino on as Veteran Affairs minister is a bad idea, because this issue is not going to go away because of a 6 week holiday break.

In reality though, it won’t matter who Harper puts in there as Veterans Affairs minister as long as the Conservative government – and Harper – have a change of policy and a change of heart over how they treat Veterans oce they get home. Saying how much you support the troops rings hollow when you walk away from them, or worse, fight them in court over their benefits.

UPDATE: And we get more.

Tories warned of flawed Veterans Affairs caseload 2 years ago

As someone on Twitter said, that must be the Liberals fault too.


Interview with Diane Ballantyne, LPC Nomination Contestant, Wellington-Halton Hills

Small-Diane Ballantyne-# 14-ps-8x12A lot of Liberal candidates are up in Ottawa this week for more Campaign College training, but nomination contestants are around to be interviewed, and today I’m doing an interview with Diane Ballantyne, Liberal nomination contestant for the riding of Wellington Halton-Hills (the riding currently held by CPC MP Michael Chong). I’ll note of the interviews I’ve done she has one of the more detailed replies as to why people should vote for her/ support her (the last questions of the interview). I thank her for her participation!





For those that haven’t seen your website yet, can you tell our readers why you’ve decided to run for the nomination?

I have decided to run for the nomination because I am appalled at what the Conservative Party has done to our nation. Over the past decade, Canada has become more divisive and poorer – both in spirit and in reputation. There are many aspects of Canada that we spent over a century building, which are being systematically dismantled by the “Harper” government: the Archives, the scientists, the long-form census, our role in the UN, and the consistent violation of our own environmental policies…and we could go on. I have had enough of being embarrassed by the stranglehold Harper’s Conservatives have had on our riding, our economic and social policy, and our country, and I am running to provide a progressive alternative to the current Conservative MP.

If a Justin Trudeau government is elected (regardless of majority or minority) are there any issues that you’d like to champion in that government if you were elected as an MP?

Continue reading Interview with Diane Ballantyne, LPC Nomination Contestant, Wellington-Halton Hills


LPCO Team Trudeau Training in Hamilton, Santa Claus Parade in Brantford.

A rather busy weekend for me,  I was up in Hamilton  attending another LPCO event, which they billed as “Campaign College”. Basically, it was an expansion of the event that they held in London earlier in September. Without getting into any confidential details of what was said or done, The LPC staff are really emphasizing ridings and candidates to prepare now  and get ready now for an election at any time in 2015, as there is no trust in LPC circles that Harper will stick to his fixed-election law and wait until October 2015 to call one.   There was also training for candidates and their teams on various strategies  for communications and voter contact and so on.

There is one thing that did stick out for me from a speech Gerald Butts, chief adviser to Justin Trudeau gave: He mentioned about the muck and the mud that Conservatives were throwing at Trudeau and Liberals in general and he said, “We don’t have to hate Harper, we just have to beat Harper”.

With regards to my being there, I was up  there with the team from Brantford-Brant, led by Danielle Takacs, my friend, who as you know if you’ve read here long enough (and aren’t blind to her button on the sidebar) is the federal Liberal/Team Trudeau candidate for Brantford-Brant.   As in London, she was given the opportunity to give a presentation to the main group – her talk was based on how to attract rural voters to the Liberal Party and what her own experiences had been like. Her speech was very well received, (as was her Community Outreach speech in London, which is probably why she was asked to present on this topic here).

On Saturday night, I was also present at the Brantford Santa Claus Parade. Danielle was marching in that parade with Dave Levac, Brantford Liberal MPP (and Speaker of the legislature). It was a well attended event as would be expected, and I think everyone had fun. There weren’t even a lot of barbs being thrown at the politicians! I’d like to thank Danielle for inviting me to both events (I also, as an aside, would like to thank Dave Levac’s daughter for saving my duffel bag containing my tablet from an uncertain fate when the float initially raced away after the parade was done).

Brantford Santa Claus Parade

Brantford Santa Claus Parade


Brantford Santa Claus Parade

Brantford Santa Claus Parade

Brantford Santa Claus Parade


Quick question/poll

Is Julian Fantino (Minister of Veteran Affairs) the worst Cabinet Minister in the Harper Conservative government right now? That’s saying something in this government, but some folks are now openly asking if he should be replaced.  His department faced a withering Auditor-General report on the inefficiencies of the Department is getting aid and help to Veterans, but he was conveniently out of the country so he didn’t have to face the music.

The answer is yes, though I’m not exactly sure anyone who would replace Fantino would do much better. As always with the Harper government, unless public opinion polls (or private ones) show that their disregard for Veterans is being noticed by the public and could potentially hurt them in the polls, they’ll do nothing but try to shrug off the criticism. That said, perhaps the belated and rather quickly announced funding programs over the weekend and on Monday – seemingly in response to the story that the Veteran Affairs Department returned 1.13 billion $ of unspent money allocated to it back to the government rather then spend it on something to help Veterans –  is a sign that they’re getting some flak over it.

Long may that flak continue. This government has been loudly proclaiming for years  how its been the only party that supports the troops, but that seems to end when the troops come back from their missions (and don’t forget the old Veterans from World War 2 and the Korean War who are still with us).  These veterans deserve better!


Blog interview with Howard Rabb – LPC nomination contestant, Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas

Another in my series of blog interviews I’ve done with LPC candidates, nomination candidates – today I am pleased to have done an interview with Howard Rabb, one of the Liberal nomination contestants in the riding of Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas. That nomination meeting is coming up in a couple of days (Nov 25 I believe) so I thank Howard for taking the time away from preparing for that to answer these questions!


For those who haven’t visited your website yet, can you tell our readers why you’ve decided to run for the nomination?

I have been unhappy with the direction our country has been heading in for the past few years.  I made the decision that I would stand up and try and do something about it rather than simply complaining.  I believe that government can be a positive force in people’s lives and I want to be a part of that change.

If a Justin Trudeau government is elected (regardless of majority or minority),  are there any issues that you’d like to champion in that government if you were elected as an MP?

Continue reading Blog interview with Howard Rabb – LPC nomination contestant, Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas


Despite the end result, a good night in Whitby-Oshawa

IMG_0392I’ve sufficiently recovered from lack of sleep Monday night to comment on the byelections Monday evening and specifically the Oshawa-Whitby byelection, where LPC candidate  Celina Caesar-Chanvannes came up just a bit short in her efforts to win the seat.  Still, it should be considered a good night for Liberals.  Their vote total jumped from 14% in 2011 against Jim Flaherty to 41% – a 3x increase in votes (in the Yellowhead Alberta riding, they went from 3% to 20%). If we get a uniform increase of those types of numbers in targeted and priority ridings in 2015, combined with a collapse in NDP vote, which has a couple of pundits saying the NDP and Mulcair are in trouble, the LPC will be doing well as a party for winning seats and power, I daresay.

As for Whitby-Oshawa, considering we had a first time political candidate in Celina against the former mayor of Whitby, this is a great achievement. It will set up Celina well for name recognition in the riding if she chooses to return as a candidate in 2015. I got to briefly chat with her at the after-election party at her HQ, and while she was a bit emotionally drained, it sounded like to me she would return – and that’s good news for the LPC in this riding.

I’ll just say on a personal note, I was up there not only to observe and blog about it, but I got put to work as well helping to canvass potential Liberal voters and also scrutineer 1 of the polling stations poll booth counts.  It was interesting to see how that operation is run.  The one thing I am a bit discouraged about (tho I suppose I should have expected this) was the very low disappointing turnout – only 32% of eligible voters bothered to show up at the polls to vote. I judged the Liberal ground game to be very good here – both a couple of weeks ago when they were canvassing and on the day of the by-election trying to pull the Liberal vote. I really don’t know if the LPC ground game could be any better – if people can’t be bothered to vote, there’s not much more they could have done (it will however give them an idea for this riding in 2015 who voted and who didn’t and what polls in the riding they need to improve their vote totals)

I’ll also say  it was a good lesson  to see how a ground game on the day of an election works.  I was up there again with Danielle Takacs and some other folks from Brantford-Brant, and I think everyone got a good eyeful as to how things operate.

I’ve included some photos from the night. You’ll see among others Celina, Dr Kirsty Duncan, the MC for the night and MP from Etobicoke-North, Justin Trudeau, several LPC candidates, (including Danielle, Jennifer Stebbing for Flamborough-Glanbrook and Salma Zahid, candidate for Scarborough-Centre), and yours truly.

Continue reading Despite the end result, a good night in Whitby-Oshawa


I support turning Remembrance Day into a national statutory holiday

Canada’s Parliapoppyment has a private member’s bill going through Parliament right now that has government support into turning Remembrance Day into a national statutory holiday. It has a good chance of passing. For added pressure to do this, there is a petition going around on to be sent to the Canadian government showing support for this measure. As of this blogpost at this time , there were 54 000 + Candians who had signed/supported this.  You can add me to the list.

I know there will be arguments about how kids will just take the day off and not go to services, but bluntly, that is what parents are for.  My view is: you’ll still get the crowds you normally get on Remembrance Day anyhow,  so the crowds won’t go down –  they can only go up. Besides.. if you close everything down, like on Christmas and so on, people wont be able to go out and shop.. maybe more Canadians will tune in the services on TV even if they don’t go out to the local Cenotaph, so I don’t see the downside there.

I can’t think of a better and more appropriate holiday to add to the calendar as a statutory holiday – one  where religion or creed doesn’t matter.



Canvassing in Whitby-Oshawa with Celina Caesar-Chavannes

IMG_0363This past Saturday, I had the privilege to be part of a small group to travel to Whitby-Oshawa and visit Celina Caesar-Chavannes campaign office (there was a bit of pre-travel angst on how I was getting there, but it worked out, thanks to a couple of understanding people).  Celina is the Liberal candidate in the Oshawa-Whitby byelection that is being held on next Monday, November 17, that was called with the untimely passing of Jim Flaherty, former Finance Minister.

I was there with Danielle Takacs, my friend and of course the Liberal candidate in Brantford-Brant, as well as one other volunteer (Brian, pictured here with Celina, who I thank for letting me catch a ride with him). The purpose of our trip was to essentially observe how Celina’s campaign office was organizing and running things,  and also to get some knowledge on the campaign canvassing tools they are using here, which will be fine-tuned for every riding when the general election is called next year.  I’m not obviously going to be specifically saying what the Liberals are using for easier canvassing tools, but I’ll say that our small team was able to actually go out and test it first hand as we were assigned a section of streets to canvass for Celina.  It was a good opportunity for everyone – myself and our other volunteer to get the hang of what was being used, and for Danielle to do some talking to people at the door, which she is doing in her own riding and will be doing a lot more of.

My judgement on it after the canvassing was done is that the tools being used are  very convenient and fairly easy to operate once you get used to it. It also helps to have some good people to easily explain how to access it/use it, and we did in the person of Brandon Sage, the newly acclaimed VP of Organization at LPC (Ontario). His approach was not to get into the theory behind their tools, but to just give visuals on what you needed to do to access it and what to click/slide/press to do it correctly.. and I liked that approach.

As for the by-election itself, Celina is still going to be the underdog here to win in a riding that gave Jim Flaherty 60%+ in 2011, but in our limited canvass, we found a lot of people who were undecided yet as to how to vote (I  heard a couple of other canvass teams saying they had heard the same things at doors), and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing for Celina’s chances.  I also believe if she doesn’t win but gives a credible showing, it will set her up well in the riding for the 2015 general election, but as with all byelections, “get out the vote” will be very crucial here.

I will say this as well; if Celina doesn’t pull it out next Monday, it won’t be due to poor organization or lack of enthusiasm there, as both were excellent as far as I could see (and it’s likely I will be going back with Danielle along with some others to observe how they run things on e-day, again for observation/tips  as well as to help where we can)

Below the fold are some pictures I and a couple of others took while there, including a nice group shot of myself with Danielle and Celina. My thanks to their team for their hospitality and their help, and to Danielle for inviting me along to observe and participate.

Continue reading Canvassing in Whitby-Oshawa with Celina Caesar-Chavannes


Interview with LPC nomination contestant Joy Davies – South Surrey-White Rock

Here is another in a series of interviews that Liberal candidates or nomination contestants have done with me; this time it is with Joy Davies, a Liberal nomination contestant in the BC riding of South Surrey-White Rock. I thank her for participating and giving Liberals out there and nationally her views on the questions I submitted to her


For those who don’t know you/haven’t visited your website yet, can you tell our readers why you’ve decided to run for the nomination?

 In April 2014 one of my riding association’s Directors at Large asked if I would consider putting my hat in the ring to become the Candidate.  I spoke with my family who were thrilled with the idea.  They have always supported my political choices. It didn’t take me long to respond as I was aware of our Open Nomination process. Justin Trudeau was reaching throughout Canada to encourage Canadians to stand up and serve their country.  Justin’s leadership is the main reason I decided to submit my nomination papers. I love his style, his openness and his compassion. He is the best person to lead the Liberal Party into government in 2015. Inspiring & principled, he IS grounded, he lives our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, he “gets it.” He understands what is wrong in our country and he is putting together the strongest team so we can create solutions to the overwhelming number of problems that the Harper Conservative Government has dropped on tens of millions Canadians. As I considered and reflected, I knew that Justin needs me to be part of this team—that he needs my political and community experience, my creativity, my passion, my perseverance, and my commitment to Canada. At the moment I made the decision to step up I understood the reasons for the numerous political trials and tribulations that I have lived.  They were my building blocks to better serve Canada.

 If a Justin Trudeau government is elected (regardless of majority or minority). Are there any issues that you’d like to champion in that government if you were elected as an MP?

Continue reading Interview with LPC nomination contestant Joy Davies – South Surrey-White Rock

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