Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Leadership Convention Questions: Pt. 4

Here are the last five questions:

5. Where do Bob Rae's loyalties lie?

For either Gerard Kennedy or Stephane Dion to win the leadership convention, Bob Rae needs to drop off and endorse them. The question is whether or not Bob Rae is likely to do so. Does he still have loyalty to his old friend Michael Ignatieff? Would that loyalty supersede an ideological alliance with Kennedy/Dion? This may turn into the question of the convention. Unfortunately, only Bob Rae knows the answer.

4. Is the Ignatieff campaign going forwards, backwards or stuck in neutral?

You can find pundits who would say all three. Michael Ignatieff is unlikely to get to fifty percent by racking up endorsements. While an endorsement from Dion or Rae is possible, it also seems unlikely. For Iggy to win he's going to have to do it by bleeding support from all the camps. Forming a consensus, ideally before the last ballot. Thus, the question above. Does Ignatieff have the momentum to get to fifty percent before a one on one showdown? I'm increasingly skeptical.

3. Will Michael Ignatieff make a mistake in the next week?

I know. This is mean. But come on. This guy makes a gaffe every other time there's a microphone in front of him and their are going to be plenty for him this week. The question is can Iggy stay on message and get through this week without shooting himself in the foot. This is important not only to this leadership, but how he may perform in a national election. If I was Iggy's handlers I'd be talking social policy all week. Stay away from foreign affairs and Quebec nationhood where people have questions about his position. They probably won't listen to me, but I'll give them the advice anyway.

2. Are we on the brink of another civil war?

Is there a group at this convention with no second choice? Is there anyone in Montreal this week who plans to walk out of the convention wearing a black armband a la Jean LaPierre? For the sake of the party and the country I hope not. This is an appeal to all Liberals: Get behind whoever wins this convention, your country needs it!

1. Who wins the leadership convention?

Sorry, no prognostication. Conventions, as I think I've demonstrated with these questions are impossible to predict. So, we'll have to wait and see.

I will not be in Montreal this week. C'est dommage. When I signed up for an academic exchange for 2006-2007 the Liberals were still in power. Not that this would have altered my decision, but it simply wasn't a factor. Thus, I will spend the weekend far from the nations I love in the darkness of this small Swedish city. I don't intend to post much during the convention, leave that to people who are there. Maybe some short comments here or there. I will do a wrap up analysis next week.

One last plug. If you don't have a home on the second ballot, go talk to the Gerard Kennedy people. Talk to them in French if you need to, just go with an open mind. He would make a great Prime Minister, I believe that more today than I did six months ago when I decided to support him. This is a man of strong conviction who believes in this country and its promise. He can make Canada a better place to live. I believe it. He believes it. Please, join us in making a Canada we can be proud of.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Glen Pearson Elected in London North Centre

At 9:45 pm Eastern Standard Time (3:45 am where I am, no I really don't sleep), All Politics is Local is prepared to call the by-election races.

In Repentigny: Shocker! Raymond Gravel (BQ) will go to Ottawa. With about 45% of the results in, Gravel has earned 67.1% of the vote almost a full 50 points higher than his nearest opponent. Bad news for the Grits in Quebec. Liberal Christian Turenne currently sits 4th, behind the NDP.

In London North Centre: Glen Pearson (L) is elected. With about 85% of the results in, Pearson has an 8 point lead on Green Party leader Elizabeth May. Now, can all the "Liberals" who have been cheering for the Greens, get back to being Liberals, please? This is bad news for people who wanted the Greens to gain some credibility in the eyes of the mainstream media. Let's review all that went right for the Greens:
  1. They had their newly minted leader running.
  2. They were facing a Liberal Party which is much more concerned with their leadership race then by-elections.
  3. The Conservatives brought in a star candidate and split the vote
  4. The NDP wasn't very strong and thus didn't dilute the environment vote
  5. The Liberal candidate got no press coverage
  6. It's unseasonably warm in London
What more do you want?!?!?! Sorry, no national debates. Not until the Greens can win when a riding is handed to them on a silver platter.

Leadership Convention Questions: Pt. 3

As promised, here is part three of my thrilling four part series. Today we look at questions relating to the top four contenders.

10. Does Stephane Dion have enough momentum to get ahead of Gerard Kennedy?

Dion may be the media's current darling (remember how they fawned over Michael Ignatieff six months ago?), but he still finds himself about sixty delegates away from being able to get into the top three. Dion's campaign will undoubtedly be focused on nothing else between now and the time of that crucial ballot with the top four candidates. The easiest way would be to get an endorsement from candidates 5, 6 or 7 (Martha's endorsement most likely doesn't do him any good). There are about 630 delegates available from Dryden, Volpe and Brison and all Dion needs is sixty more than Kennedy gets. Can he do it? Sure. It is possible that he receives endorsements from any one or more of the three candidates. This is one of those things that are impossible to predict. So I'm not going to try to guess if it happens. Too many variables.

9. Was Stephane Dion too negative?

Dion's path to leadership goes through a final ballot with Michael Ignatieff. There is a big question whether he can get enough support from the Rae and Kennedy camps to win the leadership. While there seems to be an ideological synergy between camps 2,3 and 4, Dion may be regretting his aggressive debating strategy on the last ballot. In the debates Dion went after everyone. If people can't forgive him for his attacks he may find himself going down to defeat on a last ballot. It is conceivable for Dion to get the endorsement of every other candidate and still lose. People don't like being attacked by their friends. I'm not saying this a likely scenario, but if it happens, the Dion camp should watch the debates to learn where they went wrong.

8. Is Gerard Kennedy more or less credible in Quebec?

Kennedy made a very bold move today. My comments are below. Whether or not this pays off with Quebec or Western delegates remains to be seen. Kennedy is going to need more than the 1.7% of Quebec delegates he currently has if he wants to win the leadership. The endorsement by Justin Trudeau may assuage some fears, but there are still a lot of questions. My take? Gerard is more credible in Quebec. I'm not sure if he's credible enough. He needs to go to every French delegate he can find and start a conversation in French. He needs to rehearse the French part of his speech ten times more than he does the English part. He needs to prove he can win in Quebec and this is his last shot.

7. Was Gerard Kennedy too positive?

Gerard Kennedy prided himself on staying away from the mud. If he loses, does he regret not getting his hands dirty? After all, sharp attacks would have been a great way to get more media coverage, something the Kennedy campaign needed desperately. Did he let his opponents get away with too many mistakes? Should he have made the differences more clear? If he loses, the questions will be asked. Frankly, I don't care. I think it's great that Kennedy ran a positive campaign. I hope that he runs a positive and issues based campaign if he wins. About the only thing I will say I like about Ontario PC leader John Tory is that he's stayed away from the mud. It makes him look Premierial (not a word, I know). We need more of it in Canadian politics. We aren't Americans; we shouldn't act like Americans. Kudos to Kennedy for staying clean.

6. Which Bob Rae is on the minds of delegates?

The key to Bob Rae's run to leadership is this question. Are voters looking at the man who ran one of the worst governments in Ontario history or the man who did good work on higher education and Air India. If the former is in the minds of voters, Bob could be done. On a last ballot Rae is going to be looking to appeal to over 800 Ontario delegates from defeated candidates. Can Rae overcome the gut reaction many of them have to his name? If Rae wants to win this weekend he needs to be talking about the future. Future, future, future. Rae has been short on ideas about what he would do as leader. He needs to outline a vision this weekend. He needs a vision that will make people forget about five years of Rae Days.

Tomorrow, the last five questions!

Side note: Dryden has now come out against the nation resolution. If the nation question becomes the question of the convention, does Dryden go to Kennedy? Just asking.

Is Michaelle Jean Quebecois? or Why Kennedy is Right

I have thus far decided against posting on the nation issue. Frankly, I think its a debate for 19th century sociologists. But since the majority of the country disagrees with me, I've given it some thought. I agree that 'Pur Laine' Quebecois constitute a nation. The problem is Quebec is a lot more than pur laine these days. It used to be fairly easy. Quebeckers who spoke French were Quebecois. Nowadays, however, with an influx of immigrants from Haiti, Lebanon, Cote D'Ivoire and other parts of the Francophonie, the distinction is less clear. Thus, the question arises is our Governor General Quebecois? If yes, then 'Quebecois' is not a national distinction, in the academic sense, since there is no shared history and culture and in the case of Lebanese Muslims, religion. If no, we have a problem.

Actually two problems. The first problem is what good is a distinction of a Quebecois nation if not even the entire Bloc caucus is included in the definition. The second is that it runs contrary to the very nature of the country Canadians love. This kind of racially defined distinction runs contrary to Canadian traditions of multi-culturalism and diversity. The Liberal Party prides itself on being the party for new Canadians. Immigrants have a place in our party and our country and should not be made to feel excluded no matter where they live. When we start dividing up our country along racial lines we destroy the greatness of this country. Stephen Harper's resolution divides this country along 19th century European lines. Lines that are not relevant in today's Canada.

This is why I say Gerard Kennedy is right in his assessment of the nation question. That said I think it was an incredibly stupid thing for Kennedy to say. In this situation, the right position is also the one most likely to cost you votes. This is true both at the convention and in a future general election. The sentiment in the country (with the possible exception of Alberta) is that we should recognize the Quebecois nation. Going against the grain on this issue is politically dangerous. I respect Kennedy's decision. I think he's right. However, this may cost him the leadership.

P.S. I'll get on with my convention questions later today.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Liberal Leadership Convention: 20 Questions pt. 2

Another day, another set of questions. For questions 15-20, please scroll down. Don't know why I did 6 questions yesterday, five would have made more sense. Well, what's done is done. To make up for it and because I'm feeling lazy, only four questions today.

14. Whither Joe Volpe?
I really don't want to give Volpe credit for any influence in this convention. Unfortunately, he has delegates and given the close race between Rae, Kennedy and Dion, his delegates could impact who ends up on the last ballot. So when and where does Joe Volpe go? Well, on the when side I'd say there are two possibilities. One, he makes an angry speech and drops out without endorsing anyone. Two, he waits until he's the last name on the ballot (my guess after the second ballot) and is forced to drop off. In this case, he could make no endorsement or he may endorse Gerard Kennedy. This is really just an educated guess. In the first scenario, he makes no endorsement because nobody wants his endorsement. Otherwise, he endorses Kennedy because Volpe has said that he's running for immigrants and who has the most comprehensive immigration policy? Kennedy. He has repeatedly attacked both Iggy and Rae for their lack of Liberal experience so I don't see him going there. As for Dion, while I admit the possibility, I don't see much convergence of ideas between the two. Even if Volpe doesn't endorse Kennedy, his delegates may find a home there for the reasons stated above.

13. How long does Ken Dryden last?
Ken Dryden will decide how long this convention lasts. There's a chance he could go no ballots and there's also a small chance he could go three ballots. I'd say the most likely scenario lies somewhere in between. I think how long Dryden lasts depends on what kind of offers he's hearing from the four front-runners. If he doesn't hear an offer he likes after the first ballot, why should he drop off? My guess is he finds a deal he likes after the second ballot and allows the real convention to begin.

12. Who does Ken Dryden and his delegates endorse?
The quick answer to this is I have no idea. I think there are very good arguments why he would back each of the four candidates. This is a huge wild card and one of the reasons conventions are so hard to predict. There's one interesting thing to note. A good proportion of his ex-officio and elected delegate support comes from Manitoba. Lost in the Justin Trudeau endorsement, was the endorsement Kennedy received from the leader of the Manitoba Liberals. Now, I know very little about Manitoba politics and I have no idea what kind of pull Dr. Gerrard has. If he does have influence though, Kennedy may be able to get some support from Dryden delegates with or without Dryden.

11. How many ballots does it take to get to the final four?
This is really a question that is about the media more than anything else. We need this convention to end in time so that the victory speech is on Sunday night news or at very least in time for the Monday papers. A all-nighter like the 1996 Ontario convention would be bad news for the party. We need all the good press we can get. The length of this convention is decided by how long it takes to get to four candidates. Once that happens it should only take two or three ballots to finish the deal. I have no idea what the answer to this question is, I just hope the bottom four candidates keep it in mind. My guess? Two, which wouldn't be that bad.

Tomorrow, I deal with questions directly related to the top four candidates. So stay tuned!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Liberal Leadership Convention: 20 Questions pt. 1

In one week, Liberals will be gathered in Montreal and voting on who they want to be leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. For your consideration, here are twenty questions which will help determine who leads the party into the next election and back into government:

20. Is there a sympathy vote for Martha Hall Findlay on the first ballot?
Ex-officio delegates have the opportunity to make Martha's defeat a little less embarrassing. If they do so, we may not see the strength of the top four candidates as clearly as we'd like on the first ballot.

19. Who does Martha endorse?
She may not have that many delegates to take with her, but her endorsement will likely come first and may demonstrate who has the big Mo at the convention. In a recent interview on The Agenda with Steve Paikin she identified the environment and finding a solution in Afghanistan as her top two issues. The former appears to favour Stephane Dion while the latter would favour Gerard Kennedy. However, she really could go to any of the top four candidates.

18. Who makes the speech of the convention?
The person who is able to make the best speech might not win but it will do a lot for momentum going into the vote. If its Martha or Scott Brison, it would position them very well for a future run.

17. Do all eight candidates last to the first ballot?
It often occurs in conventions that people use their speech to bow out of the race. Conceivably, any of the bottom four candidates could drop off but I'd say Martha and Brison are the most likely. If Volpe wanted to do something for the good of the party he would have left a long time ago and Dryden figures to play a significant role in deciding who ends up on the last ballot. Martha and Brison who are possible future contenders would also be inclined to do something to ingratiate themselves to Liberal bosses who don't want this thing ending at 4am.

16. How loyal are the delegates?
This question could very well shape the nature of the convention. This applies not only to retention capabilities of the top four but also how much an endorsement by a bottom four candidate will mean. If Brison endorses Ignatieff but his youth delegates go to Kennedy, his endorsement isn't worth quite as much. This is just one scenario, although I think a likely one. His right of centre base may like Iggy but the whole new generation of politicians group may take Kennedy. This question leads perfectly into number 15 which is....

15. Who does Scott Brison endorse?
The assumption seems to be that the right of centre Brison will endorse the most right leaning candidate, Michael Ignatieff. It's a decent assumption. There are a couple of other possibilities. He goes to Dion because he sees him as the most pro-business. He goes to Kennedy because he sees him as the next youngest and the one most likely to provide a new generation of leadership. Still, I think odds are Brison goes to Iggy. Then the question is how loyal are his delegates? Do his youth delegates go to Iggy? What about his Quebec delegates? Surely, they knew about Iggy when they chose to support Brison, maybe they wanted someone else?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Flaherty's Fuzzy Figures

Big news! The Tories plan to eliminate the federal debt in 15 years! Great news, right? Well it would be if it were possible. Flaherty has said that all budget surpluses will be used to pay down the debt. So let's see what will those surpluses look like for the next five years? Hmm... looks like they only add up to $14.4 billion or 3% of the $480 billion debt. So we pay off three percent over five years and 97% over the remaining ten. Great plan Jim.

Fifteen year economic projections are suspect in the first place. But come on, you could at least choose a feasible date. How about 2050? That seems to be a favourite date for this government and plus at least that I would have kind of, almost, believed. More hot air from the Tories. It's disgusting. We need to get rid of these guys and quick.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Good News Everyone!

I don't usually do cheerleading stuff for the Kennedy campaign, but this story I like. I met John through a mutual friend this summer and spent a few hours with him distributing literature for his council run. At that time, he was a dyed in the wool Iggy supporter. In spite of this, he was clearly a very smart young man. I am happy to hear that he has seen the light, and decided to join the Kennedy campaign. He is a great addition to any team. Hopefully, he will bring some of his Iggy people with him. It is just one delegate but he moved in the right direction. It makes you wonder exactly how loyal the rest of Iggy's delegates are? Anyway, congrats to John Laforet and the Kennedy Scarborough crew that undoubtedly helped him make the decision.

Monday, November 20, 2006

My Two Cents Revisited

Back in July I gave my assessment of the then 11 candidates for the leadership for the Liberal leadership. With but one week left until the convention, it is time to update the list. Once again I will go from least desirable to most desirable. Not a whole lot has changed in my thinking but I thought it would be good to explain my support for Kennedy one more time before the convention At the end of each comment I will post odds of winning. So once again from worst to best the eight candidates for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada:

Joseph Volpe: Where to begin? Volpe has been to this race what the sponsorship scandal was to the last two election campaigns: a persistent distraction from the important issues. From accepting campaign donations from children to signing up the dead to vote for him, Volpe has disgraced himself and his party. I don't know how Volpe got any delegate support on Super Weekend but he did. Chances are his support will not be sought to overtly by any of the major camps and therefore he will play a very minimal role in the convention. Thank God for that. Do us all a favour, use your convention speech to retire from politics. Chance of victory: Infinite to 1.

Ken Dryden: What went wrong? That has to be the question Ken Dryden has been asking himself for the last few months. How did such a promising candidate become an afterthought? Well, it starts with a total lack of charisma. I'm sorry, that does matter. Add to that Dryden doesn't really bring anything new to the table and you got a large yawn from most Liberals. His "Big Canada" looks far too much like Martin's defeated 2006 platform. Full of pretty words and spread too thinly across policy areas. At the end of the day, he was a man of the past and it doomed him. Chance of victory 250,000 to 1.

Martha Hall-Findlay: Martha was a breath of fresh air. Unfortunately, that was about all she was. Her platform involved finding out where her people were going so that she could lead them. The grassroots approach is nice, but some sort of coherent vision of Canada would have been helpful (Kennedy got the grassroots thing right). Combine that with a total lack of recognition and money and Martha's campaign was doomed from the start. She will be the first one off the ballot. I don't believe it's mathematically possible for her to get on the second ballot. Chance of victory: None.

Scott Brison: I briefly flirted with the idea of supporting Scott Brison but quickly realized he was unelectable and decided against it. I don't know if he was hurt by the income trust e-mail debacle last December, but I'm sure it didn't help. He talked about strengthening the economy which was a necessary voice to have in the debates. However, he is still a little to the right of the party and it showed. However, he's young and could very easily reinvent himself between now and the next leadership convention. I am prepared to take a serious look at him next time around, I'm sure I'm not alone. Chance of victory: 400,000 to 1.

Michael Ignatieff: The more I see of Michael Ignatieff the less I like. The man has done a very good impression of Mr. Dithers at various points in his campaign and that should send off alarm bells in a lot of Liberal minds. He is still fundamentally not a politician and really not in tune with the feelings of his home country. His absurd proposal to reopen the constitution proved that to me. Yes, from an academic perspective, it would be nice to get Quebec into the constitution but I'm not willing to break up the country trying. We can't spend the next election getting the foot out of our leader's mouth and hmming and hawing over Quebec's nationhood. We need to be worried about issues that face Canada today like the aging population and the environment not issues of fifteen or twenty-five years ago. Mr. Ignatieff would be a disastrous choice for leadership. The NDP would have a good chance at getting 50 seats, heck, the Greens might elect a member or two. Liberals win when they campaign on the left, Iggy can't do that with any credibility. His age is also a concern. Harper will once again look like the young decisive leader against the old dithering Liberal. Notwithstanding all I've said, there's a very good chance he will lead the party. Chance of Victory: 5 to 2

Bob Rae: I like Bob Rae. Or at least I like the Bob Rae of 2006. I don't like the Rae of 1990-1995. This may or may not be a major issue in the mind of the voters but it will be in the minds of Tory strategists. If Rae is leader, we will spend the next election trying to justify the miserable Ontario NDP regime of the early 1990's instead of where Canada can go in the new millennium. Mr. Rae has done admirable work since his days as premier. He has proven himself on issues from education to Air India. He has run a well organized campaign and chances are good could run a very efficient campaign. I am still unconvinced that he can win in the suburbs and small towns of Ontario so crucial to the next election. Would he increase the margin of victory for Liberals in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal? Probably. Can he pick up new seats? Probably not. The other major problem with Rae is that he is a bit of a tabula rassa on new ideas. What would a Rae platform look like? I have no idea. Sorry Bob, in politics, very few people get a second chance. Your record as premier means that you don't deserve one. Chance of victory 4:1

Stephane Dion: It's not easy being green. Just ask the Green Party. I like a lot of what Stephane Dion says. We do need to fight greenhouse gases in a way that promotes economic growth and yes, the plan he has would probably work. The problem with the Dion campaign is that Stephane Dion is at the head of it. Leaving his suspect English aside, this is the man who introduced Quebeckers to the Clarity Act. Gilles Duceppe is just waiting for the opportunity to remind Quebec of that insult to La Belle Provence. Is the environment important to Quebec? Sure, but he is not the only one who can campaign against the Tory environment plan. I mean anyone can do that. Even Joe Volpe could do that. It's just that easy. Anyone who watched the last debate in Toronto, has to have some pause about Dion. He reminded me of Jack Layton during the 2004 debates: rude. He seemed far too eager to drive the party apart in order to win. In too many ways, Dion is a remnant of the Chretien-Martin era. He's a street-fighter like Chretien, we really don't need another one of those. The civil war is supposed to be over. Chance of victory 6:1

Gerard Kennedy: As was true in July, my choice for Liberal leader is Gerard Kennedy. The former Ontario Minister of Education, continues to defy the media reports of his impending political death. A lot of the criticism that have been brought up about Gerard are similar to the ones brought up about Harper. His French isn't good enough. He has an abrasive leadership style. Therefore he can't win? Well, Harper won and did so beating (in the popular vote) a flawlessly bilingual Liberal leader in Quebec.

As for the positives? Well, the main reason I decided to get involved in the Kennedy campaign was that he was talking about the impending crisis which is coming to our social programs and our country in general. No, not global warming, Western aging. Kennedy has a plan to cope with the retirement of the baby boom. He has a plan that does it through that most Liberal of Canadian institutions: immigration. Making sure immigrants get credit for their credentials is not only morally imperative but also crucial to the future success of the country. If this was Kennedy's entire platform, I would support him. However, he is much more. He put forward a clear, reasonable and pragmatic position on the Israeli-Lebanon conflict and Afghanistan. He recognizes the imperatives presented by global warming. He invited debate on his policy positions. Debate? Yes, Prime Minister there is such a thing.

He proved as minister of education that he can handle hard jobs. Take a look at the record. In the four years before Kennedy was minister three different people held the position. In the six months since two people have held the job. Kennedy held the position for three years and did the impossible: he brought labour peace. Anyone who like me went to school in the Harris era knows how crucial that labour peace was. Liberals underestimated Harper and paid the price. People underestimate Gerard at their own peril. He has the ideas and track record to lead this party in the right direction. Can he win a general election? Well, time will tell but nothing says definitely not, not even his French. That isn't true for the other seven candidates. Chance of victory: 5 to 1.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The World Will Get Hotter

That is the only conclusion I can reach at the end of the Nairobi talks on climate change. Aside from the ridiculous decision to put the issue on the back burner until 2008, the conference perpetuated the single largest flaw of the Kyoto protocol. According to cbc.ca:

" China received assurances that future meetings would not result in mandatory emissions cutbacks for developing nations."

This means that the world's emissions are not going to go down. If developing nations like China and India are not brought into the fight against global warming it is doomed to fail. The West can fight as hard as it wants, it will be to no avail. China's exclusion also perpetuates American criticisms of the environmental regime and significantly reduces any chance of bringing reticent nations like the US and Australia into the fold. Canada may have drawn the most criticism, but the entire Nairobi conference gets an F in my book.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Muni election Aftermath

Some quick thoughts on Ontario's local elections:
  • David Miller's reelection is a sad day for the city of Toronto. The man deserved to be defeated, or at least a candidate who would have given him a run for his money. The weak showing by Jane Pitfield and the joke of a candidacy fielded by Stephen LeDrew, makes Toronto seem small time. Adam Vaughan and Michael Thompson ducked questions about their possible future mayoral candidacies last night, I hope they don't them four years from now. Both would make excellent candidates.
  • Liberals like me in Toronto-Danforth should be even more depressed than usual this morning. The good news is that Case Ootes won. The bad news is that the total unknown who the NDP backed came within 20 votes of unseating the former Mayor of East York and Deputy Mayor of Toronto. Now, admittedly Ootes is to the right of the Liberals (more of a John Tory PC from what I can tell) but the NDP being able to mount a strong charge in the northern half of Toronto-Danforth where they are supposed to be weak and getting weaker, is bad news. This is especially when it is coupled with Paula Fletcher's cakewalk south of the Danforth.
  • An equally depressing day for students. In Toronto's Ward 43, U of T student John Laforet finished fourth. Kudos to John on a well fought and honest campaign. In Kingston, Bill Glover was elected in Sydenham Ward. This is terrible news. Not only did the student candidates lose but Glover is well known for being anti-student and will make any issues between students and the city much worse come next fall. Queen's students clearly still don't want to bother to register to vote in Kingston instead of their hometowns (usually not Kingston). As long as this is true, there is going to be a major gap between Queen's campus and city hall, even if it is only a ten minute walk.
  • In other bad news, Rob Ford and Howard Moscoe are back. Yuck, yuck, yuck. We need to do something about this incumbency problem. If jokers like that get huge pluralities the system is seriously broken.
  • On the bright side, Adam Vaughan was elected. Okay, this guy has more hype than Barrack Obama but if he's half the councilor people think he's going to be, he's a blessing to the new council. He also beat Olivia Chow's lapdog Helen Kennedy and proved to the NDP that they don't own Trinity-Spadina. Also, hurricane winds continued to blow in Mississauga as Hazel McCallion was returned to an 11th term. Hazel understands GTA politics better than anyone and is a strong voice for people in Mississauga and across the GTA.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Toronto Election: How you should vote

Because I feel like being important, I will now instruct Toronto voters on how to vote in the upcoming municipal election in certain races.


You ever go to a restaurant and realize there's nothing on the menu that looks good? Well, voters are going to have that feeling tomorrow when they look at the 30+ candidates running for the top job in Toronto. More people vote for the mayor of Toronto than for any other position in the country and yet there's not a candidate out there who deserves your vote. Let's run through the main three:

David Miller: Let's see. Well, he scrapped the island airport bridge at a huge cost to the taxpayer. He hasn't done anything to address Toronto's extraordinarily large garbage problem. Say it with me now: incineration. The budget's a mess. Property taxes are going through the roof. The waterfront revitalization is moving at a snail's pace. The expo bid imploded. He let Howard Moscoe botch the TTC negotiations and didn't try to remove him from his post. He used dirty tactics to get rid of a popular police chief because he disagreed with him. Have I mentioned anything that makes you want to vote for Miller? No? Then don't.

Jane Pitfield: As you can see from above, there's plenty of room to attack Miller. Pitfield has done nothing to advance her position on any of these issues. She seems to be most concerned about homelessness. Homelessness is a major problem, unfortunately Pitfield seems to take her cues from Jim Flaherty i.e. she wants to criminalize it. This is a horrible solution. For taking a golden opportunity and turning it into a joke, I cannot support Jane Pitfield.

Stephen LeDrew: Um... he ran the Liberal Party once, right? Yeah. I think you need a profile to be mayor. He had potential but has been a complete disappointment. No vote for you! Next!

Therefore, who should Toronto voter for? Well, the first name on the ballot is Michael Alexander. I know nothing about him and he doesn't seem to have a website I can locate but if you vote for him it will probably make him happy. So, Michael Alexander for Mayor: He has two first names!


Who you should vote for:

Ward 29: Case Ootes. The deputy mayor under Lastman is my councilor and deserves another kick at the can. He's strong voice of opposition to Miller and his dipper allies. He's also a good local representative working hard for the ward. The former East York mayor deserves another term on council.

Ward 43: John Laforet. This is an open race and I say give John Laforet a chance. Sure, he's young and has little to no experience but frankly this city could use people on council who haven't spent 30 years fighting battles over potholes. He's smart, he's Liberal, he's been campaigning since before the incumbent dropped out and everyone rushed in. Give him some love.

Ward 20: Adam Vaughan. I think this is a no brainer for most progressive minded people. He's smart. He knows the city inside and out. He's passionate about doing what's right for the city. He's responsible only to himself and his constituents. Send him to city hall.

Who needs to be sent home:

Ward 2: Rob Ford. Can you say Conservative nut-job? I can. I can also say turf him. The Star likes Kevin Mark. I'd take a street light over Ford.

Ward 15: Howard Moscoe. What is it with Eglinton-Lawrence and embarrassing politicians? I think Moscoe might be more embarrassing than Volpe. TTC wildcat strike? Moscoe. Corruption? Moscoe again. Let's get some self respect back for Eglinton- Lawrence and send this guy packing. The Star likes Ron Singer. Why not?

School Board:

Just two endorsements:

First, in my home ward. Elect Gordon Crann in Toronto-Danforth. He's a Liberal and has a strong record in the community. Send him to Yonge and Sheppard.

Second, in the ward where I went to high school, St. Paul's, return Josh Matlow. He's involved in the schools and listens to all the stakeholders including students. He is also a big proponent of the rebuilding of my decrepit old alma mater. Back to the board with the young man.

Oh, and if you live in Mississauga, vote for Hazel McCallion. I know I didn't need to say that, but come on, it's Hazel, who doesn't like Hazel?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Woman Two Heartbeats Away from the Presidency

The Democrats appear to have won back the House of Representatives in the land of the free. This makes Nancy Pelosi the Speaker of the House and subsequently the person third in the presidential succession. This isn't really all that important except that its the highest a woman has ever been in the presidential succession order. In other woman as presdient news, Hillary Clinton rolled over Republican x in her coronation for the US Senate seat in New York. The former first lady can now devote her attention full time to a possible (ok, probable) White House run in 2008. Possible Republican presidential candidate on the other hand George Allen appears to be done. Even if he somehow beats James Webb in his reelection bid(which seems unlikely at this hour), his hopes are, well, stuck in macaca. Rick Santorum's (R) future ambitions have also been quashed by his humiliating defeat to Bob Casey Jr. (D). In other midterm news, two foreign born governors were easily reelected. In California, Ahnold rolled over Phil Angelides and in Michigan, Canadian born Gov. Granholm cruised past her Republican opponent.

Only one comment on the polls regarding the leadership convention. I was surprised to see Stephane Dion's poor showing in delegates who plan on attending the convention. After all, the convention is being held in Quebec where Dion got most of his support. There were bloggers who speculated that Kennedy would be hurt when his delegates from the rest of the country failed to show up, apparently geography is less important than it used to be. Kennedy came first in delegates who plan to attend.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Thoughts after a Halloween Snow

It snowed on Halloween here in Lund. This made me happy and sad at the same time. Anyhoo, the course work is done for a little while so back to the blogosphere

  • I know nothing about income trusts. I think this puts me in the same group as 99% of Canadians. I can see a flip-flop when I see one. Good or bad policy, I can't say. I can say that they should have stuck with the decision they made.
  • Why is it that the federal Tories are bad at not creating taxes? I don't remember the last Liberal tax hike federally. Here we have a tax-hike that sends the market into a tailspin. Aren't they supposed to be the business guys?
  • David Miller will win the mayoral election in Toronto in spite of:
    • Inaction on the issue of the last election: garbage
    • A failed expo bid
    • A horrible decision on the island airport that is bad for the economy and the environment
    • A budget mess
    • 58% of people thinking its time for a change
    • Complete bungling of TTC negotiations by his buddy Howard Moscoe
  • This is evidence enough for me that municipal politics need some serious electoral reform
  • The Liberal leadership is mercifully almost over. Nothing new to report. Go ground war go!
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