Sunday, August 30, 2009

Torqued Headline Of The Day Award Goes To.......

(drumroll) CTV, for this gem of the story not reflecting the title:Harper cabinet unleashes flood of patronage.

Seeing that headline I was thinking that the PM had just pulled a Chretien in naming hundreds of people with close ties to himself and the party to plum patronage jobs. A quick read turns up this: At least 20 of the 111 appointments made Aug. 4 went to identifiable federal and provincial Conservative donors and supporters. So roughly 18% of the appointments made had some type of ties to the Conservative party. I assume CTV thinks the PM should have avoided naming anyone who could be tied to the party. Actually I think the PM deserves credit for keeping that number so low. Perhaps someone should tell CTV to google the definition of patronage.

I just can't help but wonder what percentage of appointments made by previous Liberal governments would be. I'm guessing something closer to 99.9999999.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

New Poll Puts Conservatives At 39%

From the National Post via NNW:

OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives have surged to a big lead over the opposition Liberals in the eyes of Canadian voters, reveals a new poll, a trend that could dampen speculation of a fall election.

In a discouraging sign for the Liberals, party leader Michael Ignatieff trails the prime minister on bread-and-butter issues at the forefront of many Canadians' minds, such as the ability to steer the economy through recovery and rebalance the country's finances. If the trend continues, Ignatieff could soon be facing roughly the same poll numbers as his beleaguered predecessor, Stephane Dion.

The Conservatives now command 39% in support among decided voters, compared with 28% for the Liberals, according to the survey, conducted exclusively for Canwest News Service and Global National by Ipsos Reid. Since the last Ipsos poll two months ago, the Tories have climbed five percentage points, while the Grits have slumped seven points.

The NDP stand in third at 14% of the vote, up one point; followed by the Green party at 10%, up two points. The Bloc Quebecois posted 8% in support nationally, while 7% of respondents were undecided.

The poll comes amid speculation that the government could fall shortly after Parliament returns from summer break on Sept. 14. Last spring, Harper and Ignatieff averted a summer election by agreeing to form a bipartisan working gr

Elizabeth May Quickly Becoming John Tory Redux

Gotta love it. Dizzy Lizzy has displayed a John Tory-like tendency when it comes to being leader of the Green Party. Much like Tory, Lizzy is 0-fer in all her attempts at getting elected to Parliament. Choosing to run in a Conservative ministers riding, Peter Mackay no less, reeked of John Tory's bad decision to run against a provincial Liberal cabinet minister in the last Ontario election, with the same results on voting day.

After Tory's embarrassing loss, he had to scramble to find a riding to run in. He managed to get a Conservative MPP to step aside so he could run in what he thought was an easily winnable riding. The result was Tory lost the by-election, cost the party a seat in the legislature, and ultimately his job as party leader.

May has managed to take the Tory debacle and pick it up a notch. She recently announced she will run in the riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands, currently held by, wait for it, a Conservative cabinet minister. One who, by the way, won the riding quite handily. Political pundits have already been critical of May's latest choice of riding to run in, but now a new threat has emerged to May and her desire to run in the B.C. riding. That threat is coming from none other than another Green Party member:

"Green Party Leader Elizabeth May is being challenged by a member of her own party for the nomination in her chosen riding of Saanich – Gulf Islands, BC.

May will have to deal with newly-declared candidate Stuart Hertzog of Victoria, a Greenpeace activist who has been involved with the Green Party in Alberta and British Columbia since 1983, and who is the publisher of the website

In a blogpost published late yesterday entitled "Why I am standing as a nomination candidate", Hertzog says he became involved in grassroots activism because "Secret decisions were made behind closed doors, in cabinet or at private meetings with corporate CEOs and lobbyists," that could only be fought by winning the war for public opinion. However, unfortunately he has seen that "the same tendency towards anti-democratic centralisation has become dominant in Canada’s Green parties".

Hertzog says he disagrees with the decision of the Green Party of Canada's Federal Council to make electing the leader its overarching priority, saying that:

"[T]he ‘leader’ of a Green Party is supposed to be a spokesperson, not a dictator. The cult of leadership and its promotion by the corporate media is not Green. I believe that getting the leader of the Green Party elected won’t change anything, except to guarantee the flow of funds to central party coffers and reduce the Green party to being seen as just another bunch of untrustworthy politicians that make self-serving deals...."


Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Poll Nobody Reported????

No, not the latest Nanos attempt at Liberal spin, but the latest Ipsos-Ried poll. Now one would think that with the msm constantly speculating on a fall election, a poll that shows the Conservatives in the 40% range might be worth a headline or two. Well, I've dome my own polling, and nobody was aware of this recent poll and it's numbers. The only way it came out is in Don Martin's editorial in today's Calgary Herald where he talks about the possibility of an election occurring during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Included in that editorial is this:

"Yes, avoiding an election based on the men's hockey team landing gold is a tad odd, but so were reports Prime Minister Stephen Harper will base his campaign on seeking a majority mandate, at least until a new Ipsos Reid poll came out Friday that showed the Conservatives surging ahead and flirting with 40 per cent voter support."

Could be a rogue poll, but most certainly worth mentioning, especially giving Nik wrong on the numbers Nanos latest spin about Canadian's warming to another minority government.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Torqued Headline Of The Day Award....

Today's example of MSM spinning a story with a torqued headline award goes to

"Poll suggests many would like to see Elizabeth May in Commons"

So reading the headline would appear to imply that most Canadian's want Dizzy Lizzy in the HoC. Problem is when you start to actually read the story it says over 40% want her in Parliament. No exact number, so I'm guessing it's probably 40.?%. So what is the number who don't want her there? Try 36%.

"OTTAWA - A new poll suggests that just over 40 per cent of Canadians would like to see Green Party Leader Elizabeth May win a Commons seat.

The Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey indicates that only 36 per cent of those surveyed don't want her in Parliament.

A plurality supported May's election in every region but Quebec, where 45 per cent were opposed."

So 40% is many and 36% is only. It's funny, but every poll showing the PM's leadership numbers always seems to state the number who are against his leadership, and that's usually what the details of the poll reflect on. So Lizzy has 4% more that think she should be in Parliament than do not. Hardly impressive. Then there's that margin of error thing:

"The poll, part of omnibus phone survey, questioned just over 1,000 people July 23-26 and is considered accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times in 20."

I think this even surpasses that other headline about the supposed Tory loyalist who wants to run for Iggy in the next election. Problem is he has never ran for office, or held a key role in the party. Keep spinning guys.

Monday, August 17, 2009

National Newswatch Officially Joins Liblogs....

Just kidding. NNW is still my favorite news aggregator. But I find it a little hard to figure out out why a supposed news aggregator would include a Liblog (BigCityLib), as being newsworthy. I might understand it if the blog posting was based in fact, or related to a specific error made by the government, or even criticism of a government minister for errors they have made carrying out their position.. But this link features none of that.

"Is Harper continuing to use Marquee Tourism Events Program funding announcements to punish/reward members of Team Tory? After all, Lisa Raitt and her Sexxxy Isotope show have been in the news again recently, and not in a good way."

What it is is in fact baseless gossip by a Liberal blogger on whether Conservative ministers are punished by being left out of funding announcements. Of course it fits the narrative of Lib conspiracy theories, but it seems quite lacking in being newsworthy. The fact that there were only two comments left on the blog at the time of this posting by me shows how actually newsworthy it is/was.

Perhaps NNW might enlighten me as to how this was deemed worthy of mention, and who made that decision. Perhaps I'm having a seniors moment, but perhaps they could also point out similar links from blogs of other parties on the left and right of the political spectrum.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Globe & Mail Takes Journalistic Integrity Another Notch Lower...

Amazing. I see this headline from the G&M on National Newswatch- Veteran B.C. Tory eyes run for Parliament with Liberals, and I think, wow, this could be big. Igantieff and the Liberal's have managed to get a current or former Conservative MP to run as a Liberal in the next election. Then I read the actual story, and find this:

“I'm not a professional politician by any stretch. I've never run for anything in my life. And I'd like to give it a shot,” said Mr. Veniez, who has asserted he was fired by the Harper government because he was forcing coal companies to pay higher shipping rates."

They do allude to him being a "“self-proclaimed bag carrier” for three Mulroney-era ministers", whatever that's supposed to mean. So here is a tip for the Glop and Pail. Brian Mulroney hasn't been PM for a very long time. This gentleman has never run for public office. He has no ties to the current Conservative Party other than having been appointed to a government panel.

Perhaps you might want to ease up with the Torqued Headline BS.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: New Attack Ads Being Planned Slamming Iggy

So it appears all the media pundits were right. Michael Ignatieff and the Liberal Party will be facing a barrage of attacks of Ignatieff''s previous writings and positions on things such as the Iraqi War in the next election campaign. Ignatieff''s extended absence from Canada will also be front and center in the next campaign, helping to point out Iggy's demands for such things as EI reform ring shallow as he wasn't in the country during the current rules being implemented. I can't wait to see Tom Clark, CTV, CBC, and various journalists such as James Travers declare that this type of attack on Ignatieff''s character are turning Canadians off of politics. The funny thing is, it's the NDP planning to attack Iggy over these subjects.

"OTTAWA — NDP National Director Brad Lavigne set the stage for an election war for the left with the Liberals by suggesting Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff was into torture, into Iraq and out of the country.

Lavigne made the comments in Ottawa where he said the NDP will use this weekend’s conference in Halifax to build an “election ready” NDP primed to fight Prime Minister Stephen Harper, should his government tumble in the autumn.

“Mr. Layton has written a book about investing in Canadians and their communities. Mr. Ignatieff has written books defending torture,” said Lavigne.

“Mr. Ignatieff has defended and supported the war in Iraq … If Mr. Ignatieff or Mr. Harper were prime minister in 2004, Canada would still be in Iraq today.”

Lavigne also scoffed at Ignatieff’s proposed changes to reform the Employment Insurance system saying the Liberal leader was “out of the country” when the system Canada has today was crafted."

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Because $874,999.80 Isn't Enough....

In one of the more bizarre stories recently, Chicago Blackhawks young superstar Patrick Kane is alleged to have beaten and robbed a Buffalo cab driver over 20 cents:

"BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane was charged with attacking a cab driver in his home town Sunday, a beating police said was triggered when the driver did not have 20 cents in change to give the player and his cousin.

Buffalo police said the 20-year-old Kane and his 21-year-old cousin, James Kane, had apparently caught a cab from the city's downtown nightclub district at about 4 a.m. ET. The cab driver suffered cuts to his face and his glasses were damaged, police spokesman Michael DeGeorge said.

Both men were charged with felony robbery and misdemeanour counts of theft of services and criminal mischief. Patrick Kane, who earned US$875,000 last season, pleaded not guilty in local court Sunday, WIVB-TV reported. It was not immediately clear when James Kane will appear in court."

Seems like a rather weird circumstance, but I think it might not be an isolated incident. You see, a friend of mine was dating the sister of a Tampa Bay Lightning defencemen. This guy was bringing in $2 million a year in salary, and yet had the audacity to tell me autoworkers are way overpaid, and he should be earning double his $2 million salary. And this guy routinely stiffs

The Toronto Star Never Let's It's Own Facts Get In The Way.....

Uber-Liberal so-called Newspaper the Toronto Star does it again, succeeding in bashing the Conservative government even though it's own editorial contradicts itself. The Star ran an editorial about the July job losses as reported by Statscan, with 45,000 jobs reported lost. So how does the Star paint this? well, they try and give the Liberal (NDP) EI proposals a push with this BS:

"The rolls of the unemployed in Canada continue to grow – by another 45,000 last month, according to a Statistics Canada report yesterday. Many or most of them won't be eligible for employment insurance (EI), due to the program's Byzantine eligibility requirements. There are 58 regional variations, with the minimum hours of work required to be eligible for EI ranging from 420 to 910.

But the Conservative government in Ottawa continues to play political games with this issue. And the premiers failed to address it in any meaningful way at their annual conference this week in Regina.

In June, the Conservatives made a deal with the opposition Liberals setting up a joint task force to consider reforms to EI. It is now obvious, however, that the task force was no more than a political feint to avert an election this summer. After just its second meeting this week, a Liberal member was reported saying that the Conservatives were not bringing any ideas to the table."

No mention of the current rules being put in place by the Liberal government of Chretien/Martin at a time of 10%+ unemployment. Quoting a "Liberal member" for criticism of the Conservative government as fact. Gee guys, ever heard of political partisanship? Both valid points when critiquing the editorial. But here is the biggest problem with the whole thing. It's this line here:

" Many or most of them won't be eligible for employment insurance (EI), due to the program's Byzantine eligibility requirements."

Most of them won't qualify for EI? Really. The problem is in the Star's ongoing quest to praise anything Liberal, including Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty, they add this gem: "McGuinty has good reason to seek reform, given that barely one-third of the unemployed in Ontario qualify for EI. In this respect, Ontario trails behind other provinces, notably its neighbour, Quebec – even though Ontario now has a higher unemployment rate (9.3 per cent, compared to 9 per cent in Quebec)."

Hmmm, Might be a bit of a problem now. So the Star claims Ontario workers only maintain a 33% rate of qualifying, and Quebec workers fare far better. Statscan reported that the majority of the jobs lost, 38,100, were in Quebec. So the Star says we need EI reforms as proposed by Iggy. States that Ontario gets a raw deal in EI qualifying compared to Quebec, who have a much easier time of qualifying. States that most of those workers who lost their jobs won't qualify for EI. Never mentions almost all the jobs lost were in Quebec, and does state that Quebec's workers find it much easier to qualify. So if Ontario qualifies at a rate of 33%, and Quebec is much higher, how is it that most of those laid off workers in July won't qualify?

Maybe the next time the Star writes an editorial, they could be a little more accurate with the actual facts and numbers, and a little less zealous in their partisan attempts at helping the Ontario and federal Liberal parties. And they wonder why readership numbers are in the tank.

p.s. Maybe it's just me, but can anyone explain the reference to the rules as Byzantine, which is a name given to the Roman Empire?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Karlheinz Schreiber Finally Gets The Boot....

After years of abusing the Canadian courts at taxpayer expense, Schreiber will be finally be on his way back to Germany. Perhaps Robert Thibault or Paul Zed can drive him to the airport, seeing as they have more time to themselves after the last election.

"Karlheinz Schreiber's decade-long fight to stay in Canada came to an end Sunday afternoon in a Toronto courtroom.

The embattled businessman was ordered to return to Germany after his lawyer, Edward Greenspan, spent the day unsuccessfully arguing Schreiber's case to the Ontario Court of Appeal.

The 75-year-old faces charges in Germany of fraud, bribery, corruption and tax evasion. The federal government ordered Schreiber to surrender himself into the custody of a Toronto detention center by 5:10 p.m. ET.

Schreiber has fought extradition since August 1999. Most recently, his extradition was delayed so he could testify at an inquiry into his business dealings with former prime minister Brian Mulroney. But public hearings ended last Tuesday."

Saturday, August 1, 2009

James Travers Does It Again, Go Figure....

Another day, another James Travers PM bash of an editorial. This guy is a complete joke. It took me all of 30 seconds to discount this most recent example of journalism. You see, Travers latest rant is about shipbuilding contracts that are about to be tendered. Of course this also fits in with the conspiracy theories on the Irvings Telegraph-Journal apology, but enough has already been written about that lunacy anyways.

So today Mr. Travesty seems to infer that the government investing $40 billion over 30 years is some type of reason why the PM should be turfed from office. Travers asserts that the PM is floating from one government handout to the next, selectively picking winners and losers. Of course one could ask why Travers never took issue with the Liberals doling out billions to Bombardier, but let's just focus on shipbuilding for now.

"Deep down, Stephen Harper surely has a soft heart. Nothing seems to stir the Prime Minister's protective instincts quite like a faded industrial beauty.

Shipbuilding is the latest to feel the gentle, generous touch the auto sector first experienced last spring. Over the next 30 years, the few remaining marine yards will be cutting up $40 billion in public cash – if they can get their acts and contracts together.

It's a heartening, wave-the-flag story. Distressed and in decline for decades, the industry now has a chance to escape the boom-and-bust cycle driven by a glacial defence procurement process prone to political reversals.

But wait, as they say in those breathless TV ads, there's more. By ordering right now, the federal government may someday get ships badly needed today. Better yet, with another election looming Conservatives will be seen stimulating sensitive political regions from the Maritimes through Quebec and Ontario to British Columbia.

Of course, there's tiny print the ruling party hopes no one will read. What's most transparent about the proposed new bidding process, the one discussed behind closed doors here this week, is that it's open to skulduggery. Linked to that is the worry huge premiums will come attached to the made-in-Canada label."

Very interesting. Of course one would think that a supposed credible journalist might delve into what the other parties positions are on the subject, and also look back on the history of the industry. Let's start with the history. Under the Chretien/Martin years, the Canadian shipbuilding industry was decimated. Travers might have noted that the Liberal government of the time actually paid taxpayer dollars to close the plants and put workers on the EI line:

"In the summer the Irving family announced it was closing its Saint John shipyard. The company is trying to decertify unions representing workers at the facility and is planning a new use for the facility.

At a recent Ottawa press conference NDP leader Jack Layton urged the Chretien government to reveal details of a $55 million secret deal with the Irving company to shut down the yard. Layton expressed outrage that the Irving family had contributed $100,000 to Liberal leadership frontrunner Paul Martin's leadership campaign. Layton urged Martin to make a much better effort to help workers, if he wants to be prime minister"

So paying a billionaire conglomerate taxpayer funds to CLOSE plants isn't worth mentioning, eh Mr. Travers? Now let's look at the current position of the parties. All of the opposition parties, the Libs, NDP, and Bloc are pushing for federal funds for shipbuilding contracts and jobs. Again Travers saw this information as unneeded in his piece:

" The federal Liberals have joined the call for a national shipbuilding strategy to ensure the future of the industry.

Marc Garneau, the party’s industry critic, said too many large shipbuilding contracts promised by Ottawa have stalled.

"Shipbuilders are fed up with not being listened to by the Conservatives and we are concerned that this strategically important industry is under threat," Mr. Garneau said in a news release."

Then there is this press release from the Liberal MP from Dartmouth-Cole Harbor just a month ago:

"DARTMOUTH, NOVA SCOTIA – The Government of Canada must work with shipbuilders to develop the national shipbuilding strategy needed to secure the future of the industry in Canada, Liberal Industry Critic Marc Garneau said today.

“Too many of Canada’s large shipbuilding contracts are stalled in the water,” said Mr. Garneau. “Shipbuilders are fed up with not being listened to by the Conservatives – and we’re concerned that this strategically important industry is under threat.”

“Despite announcing new ship purchases to great fanfare, these projects have suffered setback after setback due to the Conservative government’s failure to consult the industry.”

Mr. Garneau was joined by Liberal MPs Scott Brison, Geoff Regan, Mike Savage and Judy Foote in a meeting with labour and management representatives of the Canadian shipbuilding industry today in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia as part of an ongoing dialogue to inform the shipbuilding policies of a future Liberal government."

NDP leader has taken the shipbuilding spending a step further, demanding the government invoke rules to protect Canadian shipbuilders that would most likely result in WTO disputes. Gilles Duceppe has also been vocal about getting federal funds to aid the industry in Quebec, including opening shuttered facilities that used to employ thousands.

But scouring Travers column, there is nary a peep or mention of any party other than the PM, aside from one passing remark about the Liberals and the Chalk Lake reactors. And Travers also infers that shipbuilding would be money wasted. Perhaps all those Toronto Star readers in the Atlantic provinces might want to let Travers know that they are hard-working, deserve help from all levels of government to resurrect a once great Canadian industry