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State of the Ontario Election Campaign

With around 2 weeks to go, Ontario voters are beginning to look more carefully and thinking a lot harder about whether they really want a Doug Ford led provincial government.  Some hard questions are now being asked about the promises Doug Ford has made and whether they actually will save Ontario  money (the answer appears to be no). Ford and the PCPO  also have some controversies popping up that have caught people’s attention.

That has led to some polls that shows the NDP and Andrea Horwath are suddenly being looked to as the  alternate “agents of change” in this election. It appears that progressive voters who are upset with the Liberals after 15 years in power and moderates who normally vote PCPO but are rather turned off by a Doug Ford led party are switching to the Ontario NDP, if these polls are an accurate barometer. We will of course have to see if other polls detect this trend or not.

Unfortunately for the Ontario Liberal Party,  their support is suffering as a result. They appear mired in the low 20’s in multiple polls, and the optics of Premier Wynne visiting and re-visiting ridings where the Liberals won by double digits in the last election (supposedly “safe” Liberal seats),  gives the perception the OLP is in survival mode of trying to keep their core seats.   I honestly believe that Wynne has suffered from the baggage of being in power for 15 years. If the government under her tenure had accomplished all that it – and she – did in its first term, rather then heading into its 15th year in power, she would probably be winning this election easily – even with the Hydro One decision being as unpopular as it was/is. I have a lot of political friends who are activists in the OLP who are doing their best to try and turn things around, but barring a major turn-around, the tide of change  appears to be too strong.

As it stands, the last Ontario Leaders Debate in the next week becomes unexpectedly crucial. Look for Horwath to be under double attacks from Ford (to try and get back his party’s flagging momentum) and Wynne (to try and stop progressives and soft Liberal voters bleeding any further to the NDP).  Look for attacks on NDP candidates and costing issues.

If Horwath can weather that storm (and she is able to effectively counter those attacks) that might be the clincher for her and the NDP.

(May I also state that if Christine Elliot or even Caroline Mulroney were PCPO leader right now. .they’d be winning this election in a walk)

 

The Ontario Regressive Conservative Party.

Voters eventually get tired of governments, and the Liberals have been in power for a long time; combine that with a particularly questionable policy decision on partially privatizing Ontario Hydro which dramatically increased Hydro bills. The government’s attempts to subsidize some of the bill’s costs to consumers did not particularly assuage anger over the original move – and many voters are looking for change. I get that voter sentiment is such in Ontario that the current Ontario Liberal government is in serious danger.

That said, Ontario voters need to carefully look at their choices come the June election – and in particular look at whether they really want a Doug Ford government in power that’s beholden to the social conservatives led by Tanya Granic Allen – whose support (and her supporters support) led to Doug Ford’s capturing the PC Party Leadership.

Allen’s views are about as regressive as they come. She appears to be anti-Muslim, anti-gay, and anti-renewable energy/possible climate change denier. She supports turning back the clock on Ontario’s sex-ed curriculum to somewhere circa the 1950’s (as does Ford). It is not just Allen either that should concern voters. There are other candidates running for the Conservative Party that have equally questionable views.

Rest assured if the Ford-led Conservatives (forget the “progressive” part in this party) are elected, they will attempt to implement policies I honestly believe the majority of Ontarions would not agree with. Be also assured that if Allen managed to get elected and the Conservatives won, she would be likely given a cabinet post.

Ontario voters may be angry and may want a change in government, but they need to seriously look at whether they really want these Regressive Conservatives as the replacements.

Q&A with Christina Monroe – running for LPC Party Secretary

The Liberal Party National Convention is being held in Halifax starting this Thursday. It will pass policy resolutions and hold elections for positions within the Liberal Party Board of Directors. One of these is Liberal Party National Secretary. This position (and many others on the BOD) are open due to the incumbents being “termed out”. The LPC BOD’s rules state that members may serve up to 2 consecutive terms (2 year terms) but no more – so they’re like the US President. They have term limits. 🙂

The job used to be called Liberal Party National Membership Secretary. The basic function of the LPC Party Secretary is to be responsible for all Registered Liberals – ie. ensuring Liberal EDA/PTB boards have meetings, making sure the Liberal constitution is followed, and so forth.

One of the candidates for Liberal Party National Secretary is Christina Monroe – you can find her candidate bios at her website. She took some time to answer a few questions I had to her regarding her candidacy and the position she is running for.

Continue reading Q&A with Christina Monroe – running for LPC Party Secretary

New Blogsite URL – change your bookmarks for Scott’s Diatribes.

Just an administrative notice: I have changed my domain server after having been on canflag.com for basically a decade. I want to thank the owner of that domain for his longtime hosting of my site.

The new URL address is going to be: http://scottdiatribes.ca — the old canflag.com site will redirect to here for a bit before being disconnected.. but make sure you edit your bookmarks/change the URL to the new one before that.

A big thanks to Kelly John Rose – a former blogger affiliate of mine at Progressive Bloggers – for getting me set up on the new domain.

How to beat a Doug Ford led PC Party in Ontario.

The whole process was almost farcical at times, and it appears Christine Elliott still has it in her thought to perhaps contest the results in court,  but for now, Doug Ford is the new PC Party of Ontario leader.

In my opinion, the Ontario PC Party has just given the Ontario Liberal Party and Premier Kathleen Wynne some life for the next election. Will the OLP win? It will still be very tough and still uphill.. but I am certain beyond a shadow of a doubt they’d have had no chance against Elliott. Doug Ford as leader gives them a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. I certainly don’t underestimate him, as Warren warns, but I still think that he has given the OLP a bit more of a chance then what they would have had if Elliott or even Caroline Mulroney would have been elected.

So, how do you defeat Doug Ford? It would be tempting to go after him tooth and nail, as a couple columnists have done so already.

However, others preach caution. One of my friendly Liberal political colleagues who I chat with from time to time made this list on what he would do to campaign against Doug Ford and the PCPO Party if he were advising Premier Wynne and the Ontario Liberals. I’ve quoted him verbatim.

1. Your campaign should be positive, forward-thinking and centered on a small number of policy initiatives that will tangibly improve the quality of life of ordinary Ontarians. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

2. Defend your record without being defensive. There is much to be proud of and which can be useful in appealing to voters who have voted Liberal previously and those who might otherwise vote NDP: pharmacare for those under 25; an enhanced Canada Pension Plan (which Wynne was instrumental in making happen); a higher minimum wage; reduced tuition for lower-income students; the coal phaseout and associated elimination of “smog days”; a strong economy and improved fiscal position…remind voters of these accomplishments and argue that you need to be re-elected to consolidate and build on them.

3. Embrace the role of underdog and, to a certain extent, campaign against the media and pollsters. Much of the commentariat and pollsters have been dismissing Wynne’s Liberals as the walking dead for years now but voters don’t like being told ahead of time how an election will end. That’s supposed to be up to them after all. Challenge the narrative and remind voters who owns the newspapers and media outlets and what interests they represent.

4. Wait until Ford actually says or does something unambiguously sexist or racist before accusing him of being a racist or sexist. Usually guys like Doug Ford employ dog whistles, so you may have to be patient. Deploying racist/sexist accusations prematurely and/or too frequently will result in people tuning out.

5. On a related note, the comparison with a certain politician south of the border is an obvious one that voters will pick up on themselves. You do not need to belabour the point. HOWEVER every time that Doug Ford says something demonstrably untrue you should fact check the %#*€ out of him. That’s fair and legitimate and speaks to basic competency.

6. Understand that when you (or the media) dismiss Doug Ford as a clown or an imbecile many voters who relate to him will hear that as a dismissal of them. Let the NDP do that. The anxieties and anger that animate the right-wing base are rooted in some legitimate fears and are not limited only to PC partisans. Ford’s potential universe of voters are all those Ontarians who feel threatened by the rapid changes of modernity and look back nostalgically at a seemingly simpler (and mostly imaginary) past. It is also all those who resent the better-educated “elites” who they feel condescend to them. This is a potentially large pool of voters not to be dismissed. Contempt will only breed contempt and energize his base. Ford’s chances of winning increase the uglier the election becomes.

I’ll end this by saying over the years I’ve not exactly always been enthralled with the OLP did for policy, leading back to when Dalton Mcguinty was Premier, but I certainly do not want a Doug Ford-led PCPO party in power, particularly when he owes his victory to those on the religious right of the Party. We just sprang forward an hour with Daylight Savings Time, but Doug Ford and the PCPO seek to turn back the clock in Ontario.

UPDATE: Christine Elliott has decided to abandon any legal challenge and has conceded to Doug Ford.

Conservatives fuming over Omar Khadr lawyer Federal Court appointment.

So this happenned:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau‘s Liberal government has appointed one of Omar Khadr‘s former lawyers as a justice in federal court. The appointment of Toronto-based lawyer John Norris was announced by Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould Monday. Norris is also an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law and has worked with several legal advocacy organizations over the years.

Not surprisingly, that enraged Conservatives like MP Candice Bergen. You can almost see the smoke coming out of her ears.

A lot of Conservatives  still seem aggrieved over Stephen Harper’s long losing streak in court cases in the Federal and Supreme Court, but Omar Khadr and anyone who defended him (or defends him) earns extra venom and more enmity then usual from them.

A couple of nice responses from those on social media responding to the likes of Candice Bergen and other Conservatives:

..”promoting a lawyer who worked pro-bono for someone who had their Rights trampled by successive governments and wins means that he isn’t qualified to be a judge? I want a judge to understand what our Charter Rights are.”

and

 …it isn’t as though Trudeau and Wilson-Raybould pulled this appointment out of nowhere. Federally appointed judges are recommended through Federal Judicial Advisory Committees, which are rigorous bodies containing representatives from the bar, the bench, and the public at large. Secondly, there are over 1100 federally appointed judges in office. They are an overwhelmingly capable group, but …some degree of controversy can come with the territory for a litigator who is effective at their job.

I also would respond to a Conservative in this thread who claimed that this decision would undermine confidence in our “already troubled judiciary”

My response to that is: Perhaps Conservatives are troubled by the fact they can’t break the Constitution and law with impunity, but the more rational of us folks would call a lawyer or Judge who made sure that rule of law and Charter Law was followed was not only being prudent and important.. but would make sure the Judiciary was “working as (constitutionally) intended, and there was nothing “troubling” about it.

I would ask Conservatives this, as another person on social media also did:

Other than representing Khadr, is there actually a legitimate reason Conservatives can point to that would make him unqualified for the bench?

 

 

Will gun control become the issue that puts the nails in the coffin of the Republican Party?

-Another school shooting. More needless deaths from a semi-automatic weapon.

-An inane proposal from the President that teachers should be armed and that would stop all these deaths.

– At the Conservative Political Active Conference (CPAC),  the National Rifle Association spokespeople are even more unhinged and looney then normal (the quote from NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch claiming  the national media loves the mass shootings because white women crying make it a great story was particularly outrageous).

– Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio. after getting taken to task for his NRA donations and refusal to support tougher gun laws, claims on Twitter that people advocating a total ban of semi-automatic rifles was outside of the US mainstream public opinion.

“Mainstream Americans” may have had enough:

  • 67 Percent of US people polled by Quinnipac now support an assault weapons ban
  • A Maris Poll shows that 71% of Americans want tougher gun laws in general. Among registered voters, 85 percent said their vote will be influenced by the candidates’ position on gun laws. Of those, 59 percent said it will be a major factor in their decision.
  • Many businesses are disassociating themselves from the NRA.
  • Student walkouts are happening across the US. A lot of these students will be eligible to vote in US midterm elections and so forth.

Republicans seem to be gravitating between doing some half-measure proposals of raising the age limit to own a gun to the widely discredited and insane proposal to arm teachers from President Trump. The conservative activists are also trying to attack Parkland students who survived the mass shooting as actors.

At this point, those measures and attacks seem to be not having an effect.  The Republican Congress was already in trouble (at least in the House of Reps) but this shooting and their lack of empathy, common sense and being in bed with a wacko gun association may be the clincher for removing this lot from Congress (and from state assemblies as well).

While this likely wouldn’t bring in any new gun control legislation due to President Trump’s veto and the situation in the Senate.. it would serve as a backdrop to the next Presidential and Congressional Elections in 2020, where the purging of the Republican Party from the levers of power could then be a real possibility

 

 

 

 

Falling dominoes.

A flurry of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct allegations,  and convictions for rape have dominated the political, sports and entertainment world of late.  It may turn into a flood before its all over, but that’s good.  For those found guilty, the sooner the filth is washed away, the better.

It is regrettable that someone who had multiple sexual misconduct allegations against him still got elected to the highest political office in the US last year, as the bitter partisan divide in the US made people with their partisan blinders on overlook the charges, dismiss them as being untrue,  or simply not care about it – a discredit to them and their nation, though Roy Moore’s defeat gave me hope that perhaps there is remorse starting to take shape there.

Perhaps a tiny bit of good came out of it – Trump’s election appeared to  outrage and galvanize  those who have been suffering in silence for many years  to break their silence – and the #Me-too movement was born;  Now those who used their positions of authority and power to victimize multiple people are now finally paying the piper for their actions.

I suspect there will be more coming –  from all political parties and positions of authority.  This is not going away any time soon. Nor should it. The way to stop or end  evil is to expose it to the light.

Conservative Christmas Grinch

A loyal reader of this blog sent me a picture of this. It’s apparently an insert that was put into a well known Conservative MP’s Christmas Card that this MP sent out. If anyone else saw or got this, you’ll know who the MP is.

Our Conservative colleagues were well known in government for trying to politicize anything they could – it appears that being in opposition has not dampened that, when you’re using Christmas to send out partisan barbs.

(I particularly am charmed by the barb sent Environment Minister’s Catharine McKenna’s way – “a  White Christmas” haha.. hilarious.. that will prove to her there’s no such thing as climate change, ha ha)

Andrew Scheer & the Conservative Party have to be nervous. The NDP as well.

A rather good night for the Liberal Party last night. They held all their seats, and were able to win away a seat from the Conservatives in Surrey, BC, which elected a Liberal as an MP there for the first time since 1952. The Conservatives under Andrew Scheer have now lost 2 by-elections since he became Conservative leader. Perhaps a sign that Canadians aren’t exactly comfortable with a smiling clone of Harper with farther-right positions then him?

It has been pointed out that Gordie Hogg, the winning Liberal in Surrey, was a very popular candidate.  I will acknowledge that to those who know him, but as Eric Grenier said in his analysis of the victory today, “good candidates only run for parties they think they have a chance of winning, and right now the Liberals are recruiting the better candidates”.  I will also say that if I grant Mr. Hogg was popular, he still had the Liberal brand and Trudeau’s brand identified to him, and people still came out in bigger #’s to vote for him, to take away an opposition party held riding that had a former Harper Cabinet Minister running in it to defend it.  Does that happen in every scenario like say in Provincial politics in Ontario in the current political climate? I would say no.

As for the NDP, they didn’t have a much better night then the Conservatives,  who can at least cling to the fact their vote share went up everywhere but the seat they lost.  The NDP lost vote share everywhere.  Not that anyone at NDP HQ will take my advice, but perhaps Mr. Singh should rethink his .. shall we say.. complacency about getting into Parliament.  He can be out on the road visiting his supporters, but his best public exposure comes at Parliament Hill.  (The Conservatives are probably hoping the same thing. Depressed NDP turnout/vote draw is a disaster for them).

UPDATE:  I get these every week from Nanos, the pollster. New #’s out; also reflecting an upward trend for the Liberals

Every week Nanos captures the political pulse of the nation and is the authoritative go to data source. Here are this week’s Nanos political tracking highlights:

Ballot – The latest Nanos federal ballot tracking has the Liberals at 40.7 per cent support, followed by the Conservatives at 30.3 per cent, the NDP at 17.5 percent, the BQ at 3.8 per cent and the Greens at 6.7 per cent.

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