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This and that on a Sunday.

– I said I was very pleased to have a guest-blogger here to comment on the Chalk River/AECL/Linda Keen fiasco, and that column will appear on Monday morning. A little hint as to who it is: all of you who read here and elsewhere on the blogosphere know of this person, and who the person is. This person has blogged before, but is not a blogger. The person is fairly well known in political circles.

– This is a very interesting assessment of the John Manley-led Afghanistan panel by Haroon Siddiqui:

The John Manley panel Ė stacked with people keen on keeping Americans happy, at all costs, to preserve our trade Ė will present its own spin in the next few days.

– Hillary Clinton “wins” the Nevada Democratic Primary, but due to some oddball voting setup, Obama actually won more delegates then her. This isn’t the first primary to have this happen either. In Iowa, Edwards narrowly finished ahead of Clinton for 2nd place, but was given less delegates then her; A pretty bizarre setup they have down there to select a Presidential candidate, if you ask me.

The Afganistan panel farce about to end with the conclusion everyone knew it would come to.

This news is about as surprising as being told that Christmas will occur this year on Dec 25, 2008. The Manley Afghanistan panel believes in the status quo:

Many people who have contributed submissions to the panel say they came away with the impression that Mr. Manley and his fellow members are essentially in favour of staying the course in Afghanistan.

Even less surprising; the fact that the panel had already essentially decided that to be the course of action while listening to submissions:

“I basically said we should stay and continue our role,” said Canadian military historian and author Jack Granatstein, summarizing his submission to the panel last month. […]

More commentary on Chalk River – and notice of an upcoming guest blogger

I note the Toronto Star said in it’s commentary today that in the old days, cabinet ministers resigned when debacles happened in their departments on their watch, but nowadays, they tend to blame everyone else but themselves for the mess. This is in reference to Natural Resource Minister Gary Lunn’s performance (helped by that image consulting firm) at the Natural Resources Committee earlier this week.

I could say a lot more, but I’ll save my fire for another day, as I’m pleased to get confirmation that I will be having a special guest-blogger who will be blogging their commentary of the Chalk River fiasco. I’m not sure when exactly, but […]

Trying to change the channel.

There has been some discussion lately on what Stephane Dion said or didn’t say about what we should be doing with regards to Pakistan in the fight against terrorism. The interpretation of this has been jumped on by the Conservatives and their Blogging Tory supporters, led of course by their leader, Stephen Taylor, which has caused some bloggers on the Liberal/Progressive side to go after Taylor, as well as wasting time trying to defend Dion for what he said or didn’t say.

As I argued at the one site, this is actually nothing more then the Conservative government’s attempts to change the channel on both Helena Guergis’s breach of security […]

Judged by the company one keeps.

My title could be taken literally as well as figuratively, when describing what the Toronto Sun discovered (yes, the Toronto Sun) with regards to the circumstances surrounding Resource Minister Gary Lunn’s grilling by the Natural Resources committee yesterday:

Taxpayers shelled out to pay a private image consultant to coach Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn for his televised appearance before a Commons committee in Ottawa yesterday.

At least we have an idea what Minister Lunn was doing while being incognito all these weeks; he was being coached on the proper spin for replies to tough questions, as well as stalling tactics to run the clock out on hostile questioners, but it […]

Memo to public servants from Stephen Harper: Be a shill for us or be fired. (PS Liberals: this screams for a non-confidence motion)

Unless you’ve been out all day, you’ll know that Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources, finally resurfaced after a couple weeks of being incognito, and decided to fire Linda Keen from her job as Chairperson of The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. That announcement was made at 10 pm Tuesday night; long after the media and MP’s had gone home from Parliament Hill, and the press release put out near midnight; the day before Gary Lunn AND Linda Keen were due to testify at the Natural Resources Committee on the very topic of Nuclear Safety and how the Minister etc. had handle things. Quel concidence!

Kady O’Malley was good enough to liveblog from the hearings today, and I think one of the better points today was made by Liberal MP David McGuinty:

David McGuinty is on fire. On fire! He goes down the list of independent commissioners, officers of parliament and other troublemakers – Marc Mayrand, William Corbett, John Reid, etc – who have run afoul of this government, and paid the ultimate price. “Anyone who tries to do his job in this town tends to lose it,” he notes, calling it a “Republican tactic” never before seen in Ottawa.

McGuinty nails it. The Bush administration over the past 8 years have turned political appointments from being non-partisan civil servants into highly partisan, highly politicized yes-persons for the government willing to parrot the Bush Administration’s positions without question. Harper and his Conservative government are showing off another tactic they’ve decided to clone from their American Idols down south in attempting to do the same thing. Either blindly follow our partisan position, or get canned.

I’ll add one other thing from above: the timing of this firing was designed, I believe, with the hope of silencing Keen for now. She made it well known in her letter’s rebuttal to Gary Lunn’s clumsily leaked correspondence that she would fight any firing of herself from her CNSC chairperson’s position in court, and I don’t doubt the Harperites were hoping that her lawyer would advise her to stay silent and not testify in front of today’s committee for an impending court case so that her side of the issue would for now not be heard and that we’d only get Gary Lunn’s rather biased version of events. For now, they’ve succeeded, but I think Ms. Keen has a very good case here for wrongful dismissal; I wouldn’t even bother trying to get her old job back (I understand she remains on the Commission as a member) she should sue the pants off Lunn and Harper and this government.

One other thing: I’ve seen others calling for this incident as a prelude to a non-confidence motion in the government. I’ll even re-print what the motion should read, as posted here originally:

Whereas the government has:

shown itís disregard for the safety of Canadians;

– disregarded the independence of an arm-length regulatory agency charged with protecting the safety of Canadians;
– attempted to intimidate the head of the independent agency to have the agency ignore itís legislated responsibility to protect Canadians safety;
– introduced and passed legislation placing Canadians safety at risk;
– put the economic interests of a private corporation before the safety of Canadians;
– showed disrespect to a Parliamentary Committee by acting on an issue prior to itís study by the Committee and interfered with the independence of the Committee by firing the head of an independent regulatory agency immediately prior to her testimony before the Parliamentary Committee;
– eliminated the independence of the regulatory agency by putting it under the direct control of the government via an Assistant Deputy Minister;

Be it resolved that this House has lost confidence in the government.

I’ll point out that point #3 isn’t a good one for this motion because all parties did agree unanimously to pass the legislation designed to override the Canadian Nuclear Safety Board’s decision. The rest of the motion I don’t have any problem with. This is as good a reason as any to throw the government out – it has shown its incompetence and its willingness to exert political interference within the previous non-partisan civil service.

Mittmentum!

MSNBC is apparently projecting that Republican candidate Mitt Romney will win Michigan, and liberal blogs in the US everywhere are celebrating. A graphic example of this would be this cute logo at Daily Kos I saw in one of the message threads:

Now, there will be more then a few saying that the liberal blogs call for Democrats to vote for Mitt in Michigan had little impact: I believe I saw somewhere that said between 7-10% of voters in the Republican primary were Democratic voters, but Marcos of Daily Kos dismisses such talk:

If Romney wins by less than 7% , then that’s all we needed. The idea […]

Key Republican Primary in Michigan

Michigan votes today – or at least for all intents and purposes the Republicans in Michigan vote today, as the Michigan Democrats face censure from the DNC for trying to move their primary up and violating DNC rules, and their delegates may not even be allowed to be seated at the Democratic Convention.

We will find out a few things: whether John McCain can keep up his presidential campaign’s apparent rejuvenation after New Hampshire, whether Mike Huckabee has any strength amongst the evangelical crowd outside of Metro Detroit, and whether the “Mittmentum” campaign, which involves asking Democrats to crossover and vote for Mitt Romney as encouraged by Daily Kos and some other liberal blogs in order to help Mitt Romney win – with the goal of causing the republican presidential race to continue to be a toss-up and from their POV, continuing the GOP internal warfare -† is a success or is a failure (Michigan is an open primary – you don’t have to be of the same party to vote for someone else’s candidate – your only restriction is you can only vote for one ballot or the other, not both).

Although last-minute stories like this aren’t going to help Mitt’s campaign much, 2 late polls in Michigan have him leading McCain by 5-8 points.

A tad late

My parent’s got this in the mail (regular mail) from their Oxford County MP, Conservative Dave MacKenzie:

Nothing unusual about constituents receiving a flyer or note at Christmas from their local MP wishing them a Merry Christmas, except that this was received by my folks in their mailbox this morning on January 14, 2008*. It didn’t even get here in time for Orthodox Christmas, let alone traditional Christmas. I have yet to go around to my neighbours to see if they also received the same flyer.

I’m not sure whether this was Canada Post bungling up, or some staffers of Mr. Mackenzie’s in Ottawa or Woodstock didn’t look at […]

On trying to monopolize patriotism

I could talk this morning about Secretary of State Helena Guergis jeopardizing Stephane Dion and Michael Ignatieff’s security and possibly their lives while they were in Afghanistan under news blackout – all in the name of hyper-partisanship (and by extension Stephen Harper and his Conservative strategists in the PMO jeopardizing their lives – because in this control-freak environment they run, no one releases a press statement like this without their knowledge or approval), and I could talk about how hypocritical it makes Guergis look after her past statements of wanting decorum in government, but there are others out there who have ably covered that angle.† Instead, I’m going to focus on the fact that this is another playcall out of the Republican playbook that the Conservatives have decided they’re going to employ as a tactic up here. That strategy has been employed before, which is for the Conservatives to try to claim only their party loves and supports the troops, and everyone else are Taliban lovers.

The attempted politicization strategy of the Canadian Armed Forces has been going on for awhile with this bunch, but this latest salvo that comes from Guergis and her Conservative puppet masters is beyond the pale, even for this sorry lot. As others have said, it is usually tin-pot dictators who politicize the army, not Western democracies.

However, because their mentors in the US of A have done it and had success with it in the past, and this sorry Conservative bunch worships the ground George Bush and his strategists walk on, it’s no surprise that they would stoop to new lows in demonizing the Opposition and trying to imply their stance on Afghanistan somehow makes them disloyal or not supportive of our troops.

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