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Mass hysteria.

Remember what I mused about in the prior blogpost about the Blogging Tories members and their allies on the net seemingly obsessed with what Garth Turner says and does? Well, we find out from Garth that the right-wing wackos at Free Dominion (he called them the new “reform Party” – he’s being much too generous with that description of them – a more apt description would be the lunatic fringe of the far right-wing in Canada) are now in on the act, or perhaps its part of a concerted campaign against Mr. Turner:

We must be out in force at his meetings to remind people of his past. The […]

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A skewed interpretation of democracy.

This is pretty funny: According to one Blogging Tory who showed up at one of Garth Turner’s income trust town hall meeting, public gatherings shouldn’t be held in Conservative ridings if its being hosted by someone other then a Conservative:

Nathan Macmillan’s assignment Wednesday night was to get himself to the Queensville Community Centre, there by the ball diamond, and expose my Town Hall meeting. By the time QP started with the small but robust crowd, Nathan was on his feet, shooting directly into people’s faces. Are you from the CBC?, I asked. “No,” he said. “I’m from the Blogging Tories.” …He also volunteered it was wrong for me, a Liberal MP, to invade the riding of a Conservative, in order to hold a public meeting.

I trust that also holds true for Stephen Harper when he’s making policy announcements in non-Conservative ridings, Nathan? Next thing you know, he’ll be asserting that all opposition party leaders can’t campaign in Conservative MP’s ridings during an election campaign (but of course, that wouldn’t be true for Steve doing it in reverse, because he’s the Prime Minister).

By the way, I am rather amused at a lot of the BT’s almost obsessive fixation on Garth. It seems to mirror the Conservatives in the House, who always go after Garth in QP harder then most, and try to make reference of him being a turncoat and so on (conveniently forgetting he was kicked out by them.. and was an independent MP first, unlike Wajid Khan or David Emerson, who directly crossed over).

I guess standing up to the control freak Harper angers them or something.

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Another new poll, another dead heat. Optimism for Liberals according to Decima

Yes, yes, the 2nd part of the title is partisan, but I’m only repeating what Decima says in their new poll:

While the Conservatives and Liberals remain in a dead heat in political support, a new poll suggests the Liberals have more room for growth..The Decima survey, made available exclusively to The Canadian Press, says 80 per cent of voters are decided or leaning to one of the five federal political parties, but almost a quarter say the Liberals would be their second choice… Anderson said…the survey suggests that the Conservatives will have to out-campaign the Liberals and hope that NDP and Green support stays solid if they are […]

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Gary Doer – the equivalent to Tony Blair circa 1997?

I see that the expected happened in Manitoba yesterday with Gary Doer winning yet again, cementing that he is one of the most popular Premiers out there, and also I daresay one of the most successful NDP politicians since its formation from the old CCF.

If there was a scenario where Jack Layton decided to step down as a federal NDP leader (ie. after the next election where the NDP  lost seats), Gary Doer should be someone the NDP rank-and-file seriously consider, or try to persuade to run for the job.  He is more of what I would call a “centrist NDP’er” (if that term makes sense), and I believe he would give the moderate middle voting electorate  of this country a lot of reasons to vote for him.  He could be to the NDP what Tony Blair was for the Labour Party in the mid-1990’s. Blair of course dragged Labour from its far-left ideology and  out of the grasp of the ideologues in that party, and moved it more to the middle. British voters liked that, and liked Blair’s personality, and he has been very successful since.

Doer, I feel,  has the same potential for the NDP that Blair does. I’m not saying I think he would lead the NDP to victory or anything, but I think he would have the potential to achieve a large breakthrough in winning seats.

By the way, at least one  of my Liberal colleagues think if he made the jump to federal politics, he’d run for the Liberals, because they say, “Gary Doer likes power”; implying  he wouldn’t lead a party with no hope of winning.  I’m not so sure – perhaps the chance of growing the NDP’s support would be something he would enjoy the challenge of doing.

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Karzai: Of COURSE we don’t torture here.

One of my commenter’s in the prior blogpost -Slg- made the prediction that Harper was probably in Afghanistan over the detainee issue, and that he’d probably get President Karzai to say there is no torture or something.

Slg, like Ralph Goodale, has apparently also figured out Harper or got an appointment with Harper’s psychic image consultant. Look what Karzai had to say today:

Karzai eagerly tossed Harper a lifeline on the detainees issue that has given the Conservative government an almost-daily pounding from the opposition in Ottawa. ..”I’m aware of the news and the consequent controversy in Canada,” Karzai said, with Harper beside him. “I made personal calls to the people concerned in Kandahar … We do not have any such case of torture.” He said it wasn’t clear whether the more than two dozen torture victims mentioned in a Canadian newspaper report were even prisoners held by the Afghan government. Karzai offered no guarantee that torture never occurs in Afghanistan, but he said reports to the contrary were “probably” not true.

Not bad Slg.. not bad.

By the way, is it just me, or am I the only one not willing to take Karzai’s assurances at face value? This is similar to the Tories in the House announcing a few weeks ago that the Afghan’s would “investigate themselves”whether any cases of torture were going on. The opposition was incredulous then that we would take them at their word, and I’m skeptical at Karzai’s assurances now.

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When in trouble on Afghanistan, take a trip there and get a photo-op.

There apparently was an interview with Ralph Goodale last week, in which he was asked what we can expect from the government this week, while not in the House. He said, “Oh, I think we’ll see a surprise visit by the PM to Afghanistan” (I’m still looking for that interview to see if its online anywhere I can link to – several people have mentioned it).

I dont’ know if this Conservative government and Harper are turning predictable in their actions, or if Ralph just took a shot in the dark and got lucky, but lo and behold, where is Harper today? Why, in Afghanistan:

Harper’s surprise visit comes against the backdrop of rising Canadian casualties – 44 since March 2006 – and increasingly divided public opinion over the merits of the mission. But he insisted that his visit here wasn’t motivated by domestic politics or a desire to boost his party’s own stalled popularity.

Of COURSE he isn’t there for those reasons. According to the Star, the trip has been in the works “for weeks”. That means it was being planned during the Afghan detainees controversy. Coincidence? Oh, and Defence Minister O’Connor is there as well. Isn’t that interesting?

The fact of the matter is, the Conservatives have a history of taking photo-ops trips to Afghanistan and loudly proclaiming support for the troops when they get public heat over some aspect of the Afghanistan issue. A few examples of this: In March of last year, Harper paid a “surprise visit ” to Kandahar after he was getting grilled over his refusal to allow any debate on Canada’s role in Afghanistan. After O’Connor’s first misleading of the House over the Red Cross supposedly reporting detainee abuse to Canada, he took off to Afghanistan and Kandahar as well. He was followed in early April by 3 more Conservative Ministers (Guergis, Day, Toews). There are others as well, which I wont document here, else I’d take up the entire frontpage.

The point is, the pattern of taking “secret” or “surprise” trips to Afghanistan in order to deflect or mute public and opposition criticism of them and the Afghan mission is well established by this government. I don’t believe Harper for a minute when he insists it has nothing to do with domestic politics.

UPDATE: Thanks to Radical Centrist for finding the link where Ralph makes his accurate prediction here. Maybe he was able to get an appointment with Harper’s psychic hairdresser or something… but great call, Mr. Goodale.

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Interesting poll: Canadians overwhelmingly support negotiations with Taliban.

Jack Layton and the NDP has taken a fair bit of heat from the Conservatives (and some Liberals) for his stance that we should be negotiating with the Taliban an end to the violence in Afghanistan – even so far as to earn the nickname ‘Taliban Jack” (which I find personally to be ridiculous, and I don’t care who says it of him – be it Liberal or Conservative).

Well.. It appears that Jack is on the right side of Canadian public opinion, and overwhelmingly so:

In The Strategic Counsel poll conducted for CTV and The Globe and Mail, there was almost two-to-one support for the notion: Net good idea: […]

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Happy Victoria Day everyone.

Not only will I wish that to all of you, but I’ll also provide a history lesson for you about it – since most of us call it May 2-4 weekend, I thought it would be nice to show where the origins of this holiday came from:

..a Canadian statutory holiday celebrated on the last Monday before or on May 24 in honor of both Queen Victoria’s birthday and the current reigning Canadian Sovereign’s birthday..Since 1901 the date of May 24 was known throughout the British Empire as Empire Day. An amendment to the Statutes of Canada in 1952 moved the holiday to the Monday before 25 May. In 1958 Empire Day was renamed Commonwealth Day. In 1977 Commonwealth Day was moved to the second Monday in March, but Canadians continued to celebrate Victoria Day in May. Though, as a federal holiday, it is still an official holiday in Quebec, the Quebec National Assembly has dedicated the same day as a provincial holiday: National Patriotes Day (Journée nationale des patriotes), which commemorates the English-Canadian and French-Canadian Patriotes of the Lower Canada Rebellion of 1837.

Thus ends your Canadian history lesson for the day. Whatever you might call it, I hope you all enjoy your day off, and enjoy the fireworks if you have celebrations in your communities or are off to see them.

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Canada’s team 1 win away from advancing to the Stanley Cup

Yes, that would be the Anaheim Ducks – the team  with the most Canadians on their roster of the 3 teams still in contention – who won in Overtime today.

Hopefully, they’ll finish the Dead Things (er.. Red Wings) off next game.

(Hey, its the Victoria Day weekend.. A lack of politics to talk about (unless you want to discuss internal blogfighting.. which I doubt you do) so I think I’m entitled to discuss sports).

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Cheering for the Sens because they’re “from Canada” is a silly reason to do so.

First, A true Leafs fan would NEVER cheer for the Senaturds.

Second, this “Cheer for them because they’re from Canada” stuff is misplaced patriotism. As others have said, the team with the most Canadians playing on it right now is Anaheim.

This is the NHL, not the World Cup or the Olympics.

It’s city-based team vs city-based team… not country vs country.

I’m not particularly fond of Detroit, because their “hockey-town” moniker is WAY overrated, and their fans can be annoying, so I’m obviously hoping that Anaheim gets to the Finals. Regardless who wins the West however, I’ll be cheering against Ottawa vociferously.

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