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At the Dion farm rally in Wallaceburg, Ontario

Ok… so I’m not liveblogging this event as I had planned. As Paddy Torsney found out, (more about her later), I’m Blackberry deficient – I typed a few keys off of her Blackberry that she kindly offered me, and I got frustrated (the weather wasn’t helping matters) so I wrote a few notes on paper (hopefully that doesn’t get my blogging license revoked) and a lot of this is from my memory and impressions of what went on.

A very wet rainy cold damp day here today as I mentioned earlier. The owners of the farm where the farm rally was held had a tent pavilion up, and it barely […]

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Random Monday Morning thoughts

– We are getting moderate to heavy rain here, and will be for most of the day. Hopefully the organizers down here have backup plans for the events to be held inside today for the Dion rally, (or get him a good raincoat). I’ll try and do some blogging of the event if I can.

– Former US Ambassador to Canada Paul Cellucci was often criticized up here for making statements that seemed to be meddling in our affairs, but I’ll give him some props for backing Canada’s Arctic sovereignty claim, even though the reasoning behind it (security, “stop terrorists”) seems to me to be a bit of a stretch. […]

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Harper hopes Canadians don’t read the Washington Post.

.. or enough of them anyhow to make a difference, else they’d cringe:

“It’s not necessarily sexy stuff, but it’s essential to our security. It has to be done,” said Roger Noriega, Bush’s former assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs. “And it just so happens that Mexico and Canada have renewed themselves with the election of two right-of-center leaders who see the world a lot like Bush does.”

I doubt Harper wins too many votes pushing that to Canadians in an election campaign, that he’s a follower of his American Idol’s views on the world. I think I’m going to keep that quote for future use.

[…]

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Dion in my neck of the woods on Monday.

Not too often is Chatham-Kent and the surrounding area the centre of any major political activity. That changes Monday when Stephane Dion makes a visit to the area. In the Chatham-Kent area specifically, he will be talking with farmers and farm groups. He’ll be meeting in closed session with the farmers/farm groups Monday morning, looking at some test plots down near Chatham at Hwy 2, and then coming north to a farm just south of Wallaceburg around 2pm for a rally. He’ll be joined by the regional Liberal candidates of the area at probably both events, and hopefully a few other Liberals from farther afield to listen to the farmer’s concerns. (If you’re interested in attending, write me, and i’ll pass along the details and who to contact).

This is an area that was rather lean of Liberals after the last election, and it will be a tough nut to crack again this election as the rural ridings have a tinge of social conservatism to them. That being said, its reasonable to say the farmers of this area and in other parts of Southwestern Ontario aren’t exactly overjoyed with Canada’s New’ish government, so they will be presenting their case to Dion and no doubt hoping to hear some specifics of what he would do to help farmers in general and farmers in this area specifically.

Having grown up in a rural farming area, I know farmers are generally fair-minded. If Dion and the Liberals can show some commitment and show something beyond sympathetic words to helping farming areas out with their various struggles at maintaining a livelihood, they might be willing to give him and the party a shot and return the farming vote to Red.  Here’s an interview that Dion did with the London Free Press talking a bit about the visit and the public’s seemingly improving perception of him as Liberal leader here.

Oh… and needless to say, I’ll try and get out to one of the rallies, if I can. I’ll blog the event if I’m able to.

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Things I learned in Toronto, Part 2.

– John Manley supports Via Rail. David Graham (of The World According to cdlu)  and I saw him taking the train to Ottawa while we were waiting for our own respective trains in Union Station. (He  takes first class, no surprise there). We thought of introducing ourselves, but then we said.. nahhh… we’re just a couple of lowly nothing bloggers. He won’t care.

– Pro and anti MMP bloggers can sit in a room or talk in an eating place without erupting into invective (at least, those from the same party) and are still actually friendly in person. There is some concern on all sides some of this is getting too personal and that we’re going after the people on the other sides, not the ideas only. I don’t know how much influence I have with any or all of the bloggers who are in the Prog Blog group who are actively engaged in the debate,  but I would ask from here on in that both sides  can maintain a civil discourse on this debate. In the end, bashing other bloggers isnt going to matter – its the voting public that counts.

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Lapdog or ideological soulmate?

Either way, all you need to know about Harper’s relationship with the US is stated in this single paragraph this AM in the Star:

Harper now stands virtually alone among U.S. allies in not condemning or even criticizing the Guantanamo prison camp, which even the administration here concedes has become a stain on America’s reputation worldwide.

..wouldn’t want to criticize his American Idol in Bush and get him ticked off at us, now would we.

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MMP is NOT being forced on Ontario by the political elite

I’m going to have to disagree with Aaron’s posting here where he claims MMP and the Charlottetown Accord are more or less the same situation where “honest people set out to solve a problem facing them. In both cases, they arrived at a solution that much of the political class approved of”.

There are a few differences here. First, I’d sure like to see what “political class” in Ontario is supporting MMP. The recommendation was picked by the Citizen’s Assembly, 103 regular people – none of them politicians. In addition, Election law is forcing the parties to stay neutral on the question. Sure, there are a few Liberal Cabinet Ministers […]

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A new “green” Liberal

This has been brewing for a few weeks now, so now that he’s officially made the jump, I’m able to officially welcome Mark Francis, better known as the blogger at Section 15, but who has also held some positions in the Green Party of Ontario,  over to the Liberal Party fold, and as a new Liberal blogger.

He’s also unsurprisingly a new blog addition to the Liberals For MMP group; as with Kate Holloway he didn’t leave his yearning for electoral reform behind him with the Greens. He brought it along with him and will be, I know, helping to lead the fight to convince Ontarions that a better electoral system is needed on October 10, and MMP is that system.

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What qualifications did Harper look for when he picked his new Indian Affairs Minister?

Apparently, he decided to pick someone who had the most anti-First Nations statements in his past, and the winner was Chuck Strahl:

Here’s the best (or worst) of the lot:

On gravel excavation by the Cheam Indian band: “I do not even think the land they scalped the gravel from is theirs.” (The Canadian Index, May 17, 1999, Volume: Vol. 10, No. 14)

That’s a comment I expect to see from the far-right wackos in blogging land, and I dont expect to see someone who’s uttered it as an MP (which is bad enough) to then be picked to represent the Indian Affairs Department. A real ugly pick there […]

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Best wishes to Bob Rae.

It’s a good thing they found this in time:

Former Ontario premier and Liberal leadership contender Bob Rae will undergo surgery next week in Toronto to repair a major blood vessel near his heart. The surgery is to deal with an aneurysm which is developing on his aorta. Doctors estimate he will need six weeks to recover.

My best wishes to Mr. Rae for a successful surgery and a speedy recovery.

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