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Miscellaneous Guelph campaign stuff.

Well, it looks like Liberal bloggers are on the same page as Scott Brison in our various descriptions of what the Conservative caucus acts like:

“I was shocked to read Ms. Kovach’s comments in (the Guelph Mercury Tuesday) on the Truscott case,” Brison said. “Her refusal to comment on an important issue to people in this area and in Canada . . . actually qualifies her very well to be part of the Stephen Harper team, because Stephen Harper likes MPs he can muzzle, he likes MPs he can silence and he likes MPs who are able to subordinate their own opinions and defer to his judgment. “Her fear of […]

Liberals out in full force in Guelph.

Frank Valeriote officially opened up his campaign office in Guelph today.  Here are some pictures of the event:

Marva Wisdom, Scott Brison, Frank Valeriote

Marva was one of the folks running for the Liberal candidacy in Guelph, and she was at the event today to show her support for Frank, and was joined by Scott Brison, who also came to Guelph to show his support.

Gloria Kovach, Conservative Candidate, was asking where Brenda Chamberlain, the outgoing Liberal MP for Guelph was, and whether she supported Frank’s candidacy. Her campaign picked that up from the Guelph Mercury, and their political reporter at the Mercury’s blog re-asked that question. Here would be your answer:

Brenda Chamberlain, Marva Wisdom, Frank Valeriote at official campaign office opening.

She was at the official office launch showing her support. That’s where.  I hope that puts that whisper campaign to rest. Finally, here’s a group of enthusiastic Liberals listening to Frank addressing them.

A group of enthusiastic Liberals listens to Frank's remarks.

So things are officially rolling in Guelph for the Liberals.

[email protected]:15pm: Here’s another blogpost with some more pictures of the event.

I disagree with Red Tory and Steve!

It seems our blogging comrade, Christian Conservative, a Blogging Tory member in Guelph, didn’t like Steve calling Gloria Kovach (and by extension, the rest of the Conservative caucus) trained seals over her lack of independent thought on an issue without first getting guidance from the PMO.

Red Tory responded he preferred the description of “Sock Puppet” (and I certainly agree with his analysis over there that Blogging Tories and Conservatives like to mudsling at others, but when they get return fire, they get all whiny about it. Can dish it out.. but can’t take it apparently).

Personally, I disagree with both of these folks descriptions of the Conservative caucus, and by extension their candidates. I think they’re rather like this:

Public purse for propaganda update.

I wrote back a few blogposts ago about the Conservatives using the public purse for propaganda in their advertising blitz – mainly to ridings not currently held by them. I also mentioned that locally, Dave Mackenzie had been sending out flyers to his own constituency here in Oxford in his name. I had stated that I was going to look into whether other Conservative MP’s from other ridings had done some “courtesy flyers” into this riding as well, but in the meantime, it seems Mr. Mackenzie has also engaged in this practise of throwing flyers into other non-Conservative ridings (or at least, the PMO has put his name to this ad, whether he was willing or not).  Garth Turner points out this ad that’s been mailed out to voters in Liberal MP Mark Holland’s riding of Ajax-Pickering, on the other side of Toronto.

I don’t know yet whether Mr. Mackenzie followed the rules of only sending these out to 10% of the constituency in Mark’s riding. Let’s presume he did,  for arguments sake. You still have Mackenzie and others like him  participating in a national Conservative scheme that has cost anywhere from 8 – 10 million dollars of the public purse in order to send out pre-electioneering propaganda – a mass paper spamming campaign, if you will.

Meanwhile, you also have figures that the Globe and Mail obtained which shows the Consevatives had doubled Ottawa’s advertising budget to over 80 million dollars in the first year of their government  – all of this in an effort to try and convince Canadians  to give the Cons. a majority.

All of this propaganda spending as it’s revealed the Cons. have been running over a half a billion dollar deficit in the first quarter of this year – which the “10 percenter ad campaign” and general advertising budget for this year has no doubt contributed to.

Fiscal prudence? That’s the Cons. reputation? More like fiscal recklessness, and spammers to boot – all in the name of trying to fool enough Canadians to give them their majority government.  I look forward to Dave Mackenzie and others like him trying to explain that strategy of “fiscal managment” to their local voters.

[email protected]:50 pm: Well.. we have another ad splurge into Guelph today. Courtesy of Matthew Hayday, it’s now Ted Menzies turn to send in Conservative ads. Menzies is the MP for Macleod from southwest Alberta.

Just a coincidence I’m sure that these show up on everyone’s doorstep there while there’s a bylelection going on in Guelph. 🙄

Troubling signs from someone who wants to be an MP.

For awhile now, I’ve been keeping my eyes on the Guelph Mercury,  the main newspaper in Guelph, to see whats been going on with byelection coverage, as well as their Guelph Votes! election blog. I have a special interest in that by-election, because Guelph is where I went to University and graduated from.  I was also involved in one of the Liberal candidate campaigns there last year, so I’ve been observing with keen interest this race.

Today, I came across this rather amusing letter to the editor received this past Friday at the Mercury’s website.  The lady who wrote this LTE was at a recent Guelph City Council meeting on whether or not Guelph Hydro (which is municipally owned) should be allowed to merge with a Hamilton hydro company. According to her, city councillor Gloria Kovach – who was elected installed as the Guelph Conservative candidate to run in the September 8 byelection -  only had 1 question comment for the entire meeting on this rather crucial decision facing Guelph city council near the end of the presentations. And what was this comment? Nothing to do with the meeting at hand:

Her comment (it wasn’t a question) was regarding the uneven grass at Springfield Park and how it was ridiculous that the two companies mowing the lawn are in such a dispute. That was it. No question about the merger. I couldn’t believe it.

The lady concluded at the end of her LTE that Ms. Kovach must have been at the wrong meeting. I’ll add that if this series of events at the meeting as told by this letter to the editor is true:

a) Gloria is worried more about how the grass gets cut then the fate of public utilities in Guelph.

b) More importantly, the voters of Guelph-Wellington need to wonder if that’s a trend she’d take to Ottawa with her if she ever got elected as MP for this riding.

I’ll expand on that last point: It sounds to me as if she’d be the perfect back-bench Conservative MP that Harper uses to lob soft-ball questions at his Ministers or himself in Question Period in an effort to either let his ministers pat themselves and their government on the back for some supposed great deed they’ve done Canada, or else to attack the opposition parties with the answer.  She’d also be good for those “Member Statements” before QP where designated Conservative MP’s get up and attack Stephane Dion and any other member of the Official Opposition for all that troubles Canada.

Also, whether she knew of the action or not, Kovach will owe the national Conservative Party and Harper big-time for them doing a coup-d’etat on Brent Barr, the democratically elected candidate of  the local Guelph Conservative riding and removing him (after he defeated her in that nomination race),  for no other reason then they preferred her as the candidate.

When we take that also into account, and if she doesn’t take important issues for Guelph that seriously now, would she really fight for Guelph issues at Ottawa? I’m not so sure she would.  Guelph voters need to take that into account, as well as the current Harper goverment’s neo-conservative policies and whether they really think Harper’s government has been good for Guelph-Wellington, when they mark their ballot on Sept 8th.

What do young Liberals in Guelph do on a Saturday afternoon?

Why, they go out and help campaign and door-knock to help Frank Valeriote – Guelph Liberal candidate – get elected:

Photo courtesy of Kyle Mitchell

Pretty nice turnout, it appears.  Ground game is going to be essential in this byelection, because despite the Conservatives trying to downplay they have a shot at winning this riding, they are making an all-out attempt to win this riding.  A lot of prominent national Cons. have dropped by in Guelph the past couple of months, so efforts like this help the Liberals counter that.  More efforts like this will be needed leading up to the Sept 8th voting day.

It’s like shooting fish in a barrel…

I was talking to one of my friends last night who graduated with me in Political Science from The U. Of Guelph. He now works as a Conservative Party staffer, and is more “conservative” then even what the official Conservative Party orthodoxy is right now which they are trying to present to the Canadian public. So, we don’t see eye to eye on Canadian politics, to say the least.

However, our discussion was about the Obama-McCain race in the US. I made the remark that I felt Obama was going to slaughter McCain in the presidential race – that it wouldn’t be close, and that he’d win 300 electoral […]

Using the public purse for propaganda.

If you’ve read some of the blogs on the progressive side of the blogosphere today and yesterday, you’ve seen blogposts from bloggers reporting that people in ridings who are not currently being held by the Conservatives are getting flyers in their mail from other Conservative MP’s outside of the riding in an effort to spread Conservative propaganda – presumably in an effort to sway voters there to vote for the Conservatives next time an election is held.  This is a rather questionable use of their advertising/communications budget, not to mention of taxpayer’s funds, but it is a concerted strategy on the Cons. part. (As an aside, I find it amusing in Wandering Coyote’s blogpost’s case that they’re sending in a flyer attacking Dion’s Green Shift plan to an NDP-held riding. Apparently, the Conservatives hate the Green Shift worse then the NDP does.. so you need to vote for the Cons is the apparent message by the Conservative braintrust in sending that flyer to that particular riding).

It’s been happening, for example, in the aforementioned riding of Guelph which is about to get a byelection. Matthew, a fellow blogger at Prog Blog who is currently unaligned in his voting preferences, was kind enough to send me these 2 scans of  2 different flyers he’s received at Guelph in the past month.

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These were sent into Guelph on behalf of Joe Preston, MP for Elgin-Middlesex-London, and Colin Mayes, MP for Okanagan—Shuswap, in BC to various mailboxes in Guelph.  You can see the two different messages they are attempting to use – the familiar “Dion’s Tax on Everything!” bit, as well as the “we’re tough on thugs and crime” – which is the exact same thing Bev Oda shipped into Kitchener (see links above).

I’ve also got an email of a flyer scanned and sent to me from the Burlington Ontario riding of Mike Wallace, who’s also sending out flyers to his constituents attacking the Green Shift – not unexpected, but people in that riding are also getting the same or similar message from the infamous Rob Anders, who is of course nowhere near Burlington, but out in Calgary (scan on that document pending and will be posted once I receive it), so Mike is apparently getting a complimentary propaganda boost in the Burlington riding from good ole’ Rob.

I should mention I’ve received a flyer today from my local MP, Dave Mackenzie, which is using the exact same flyer/document template as these other flyers.. but his message is trying to trumpet Conservative product safety measures. I don’t know yet whether there were some other flyers sent into Oxford from external Conservative MP’s.. but I’ll be checking that out.

So to recap, we have Conservative MP’s sending in flyers on their behalf to non-Conservative held ridings (which is allowed, I understand it, as long as it only is sent to 10% of the riding, and if you look at Garth Turner’s link above, that wasn’t followed in his case – by coincidentally, the aforementioned Mike Wallace), and we’ve also got Conservative MP’s sending out flyers as a “courtesy” and on their behalf to other Conservative-held ridings, which if I’ve read correctly online and in the news is part of the bone of contention as to whether this is following the spirit of the House of Commons rules or not.

All of this pre-election propaganda blitz (some of it rather questionable) done at taxpayers expense.

[email protected]:06 pm: I received a rather interesting response to this article from someone who has been up on the Hill: It briefly said: “under rules that have a return address – free to your MP but clearly marking that it is going to Cons Caucus – a whole other kettle of fish!” So, I’m going to see if I can find out what exactly that comment is referring to with what I presume is with regards to the return mail address on these flyers being sent to an MP ‘c/o Government Caucus Services’ and the rules that are supposed to govern that.

UPDATE [email protected]:11 pm: The person wrote back fairly quickly and said this in their own words in the email to clarify the first email they sent:

“You have the right to mail postage free to your MP at their Hill office… ie. (name of so-and-so MP), MP House of Commons, Ottawa. Mail arrives directly (to MP’s) office (well, after being sorted at some depot). It does not clear Liberal Caucus, PMO, PCO etc. It’s between the MP (and staff) and you. There is no free postage to Liberal Caucus office, Liberal Party etc. Only free to MP. Any MP you like. All of them if you like. This envelope/flyer would suggest it is free to them c/o someone else? Huh?”

Very interesting indeed.

UPDATE #[email protected]:57 pm: Wandering Coyote highlights even more Conservative spam from out-of-riding Conservative MP’s he received today. This one was on arctic sovereignty – one I haven’t seen before now – which seems more in-tune with what the Cons. might target an NDP-held riding with. It sure does seem like a popular riding for these outside ads.

Byelections date set for Sept 8th

Just saw this come over the newswire as well as in an email from a high-ranking Liberal that the byelections in Guelph, Westmount and St Lambert are set for Sept 8th.

Guelph will be of particular interest to me, since I went to University there and lived there for a good stretch, and because I was involved in the Liberal nomination race there from a distance.  It will be interesting to hear the local Conservatives explain how Brent Barr wasn’t apparently a good enough candidate for the national Conservatives, who removed the democratically elected candidate by the local riding association  in a coup-d’etat in order to install Gloria Kovachs in there, who they had preferred from the outset.  Apparently, they think she gives them a better chance of winning that riding, but we shall see.

Why Obama won’t visit here before the US Presidential Election

Bob Hepburn writes this morning in the Toronto Star asking Obama (figuratively) to come and visit Canada, arguing it would help him “hone his views” on Canada and policy towards us. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happenning. He doesn’t need to use Canada to practice his foreign diplomacy skills, as his tour to the Middle East shows he’s more then capable of handling that.   He also has little incentive to visit a country whose Conservative government tried to sabotage his presidential nomination run in Ohio with those “leaked” documents, in a clumsy attempt to either help defeat him in the Democratic primary or failing that, give the Republicans something to try and weaken him with.

That will change if he becomes President – but it will be interesting to see if Canada is the first foreign country he’ll pay a visit to if that were to occur. Traditionally this country has been a first stop for newly elected presidents. George W. Bush broke that trend when he was elected. Whether Obama follows suit may depend on whether the Conservative government is still in power or not. That’s not a reason to de-elect Harper – there are many better reasons to do so – but his government’s attempted hit on Obama won’t likely be forgotten.

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