Archive for April, 2011

Time to make election forecasts.

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Here comes the promised forecast.  It is more difficult than expected.  We are guessing that the Harper Conservatives will keep the minoritymobile running on empty for at least another two years.

But we expect the results of this campaign will cost Mr. Harper his job.  In two years, we are likely to have new leaders of all four major parties.  The Conservative and Liberal parties will change for the obvious reasons while Layton could be out because of his health and Gilles Duceppe because he has run his course. Canadian politics will be a very different ballgame at that time.

The key in this election is Ontario.  Without the breakthrough he needs in the Greater Toronto Area, Harper cannot pull it off.  In communicating with people in all parts of the province, we learn that there are not likely to be any dramatic changes.  Sure the Conservatives might win a seat in Brampton but they can just as easily lose the seat they were confident of in Babel (Barrie).  Nothing looks remotely like changing in Eastern Ontario.  The South West seems locked in a death grip.

The only thing fluid in the North is the beer in which the Conservatives will be crying after the election.  Best guess is that the Conservatives will come out of Ontario with a net loss of about four seats.  The Liberals will not be happy to only have some 43 seats in Ontario after the election but that is more than they had when they started.

The major shift of the election could be in Quebec.  Gilles Duceppe is tiring and there is little likelihood that his Bloc can hold more than 42 seats in the next house.  The Liberals could surprise everyone and come back with a total of 20 seats there.  It just means another small loss there for Mr. Harper.

The rest of the country has incremental wins and losses but the outcome will still be minor losses for Harper and minor gains for Michael Ignatieff.  Neither is a winner.  At the end of the game, Harper wins 130 to 135 seats and holds on to the government.  Liberals in the high 80s will not save Michael’s job.   And Jack Layton will not win enough seats to be able to support the Liberals taking over.  It leaves the Bloc in the catbird seat.

The one hope we have in this election is the younger voters.  They are annoyed.  They dislike Stephen Harper and they distrust him.  Ridings in major college areas could have some scares if not some outright upsets.  Combined with the women’s vote in those ridings, change can happen.  More women need to look harder at Mr. Harper and wonder why any woman would vote for as cold a fish as that.

On a more personal note, we feel sorry for Michael Ignatieff.  He disappointed many of us in the debates.  If only more people had seen his ‘Rise Up’ speech, we could have a revolution.  We need it!

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Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

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Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Ask Harper, the misogynist, to end primogeniture?

He will give the Brits the ‘No-way’ answer for sure.

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Babel: Canada in microcosm.

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Just a few metres from where we were seated at the Babel all-candidates’ debate there was a city councillor.  This woman is a Conservative who takes no prisoners.  She has a loud voice and uses it.  There was no mistaking what side she was on.

What she was loudest about was when the Liberal candidate corrected her Conservative candidate and the Liberal supporters were applauding and loudly razzing the Conservative.  You need more incidents such as that to stimulate debate but the candidates went back to being polite Canadians.

But politeness did not win the prize for the greatest gaffe of the evening.  That was left to the chairman who asked a question of the candidates to give their views on accessibility.  He gave them 30 seconds each to answer and said the Liberal candidate was first.  The Liberal threw up his hands.

The question was not only unexpected but colossal in its ignorance.  The chair asked a man who has been in a wheelchair for 25 years to tell them in 30 seconds what barriers he faced.  The Liberal should have asked the questioner if he could describe hell in 30 seconds because that is where he should go.  Readers should be aware that the man never gives in to his disabilities.  He has to overcome barriers everyday and rarely thinks about them.  It has been good that he was recently appointed to the city’s citizen accessibility committee and finds that he can be of help to others.

It is supposedly undemocratic to object to the fringe candidates attending a debate but  rules need to be adopted that keep these people under control.  The Canadian Action Party candidate never really explained what he was running for.  The Libertarian was beyond deciphering but we did clue in that his web site still needed some work.  The problem was the Marxist-Leninist who would continue to take the full five minutes of open debate if you let her.  Nobody had properly briefed the candidates and they sat like stumps waiting for the motor-mouth to finish.

It was a good thing that the Green and NDP candidates wanted to castigate the Conservative because the Liberal was far too polite to go after him as was needed.  The only concern is that if there is any increase in vote for the Green or NDP, those votes will be possible Liberal votes not going where they need to go to beat the Conservative.

In the two weeks that are left, voters of all orange and green stripes need to realize that the only way to stop Harper and his toadies from winning the election is to get behind their local Liberal candidate.

In Babel, we have a situation where a strong finish by the Liberals can take the riding.  The voters are expressing the animosity the Conservative has earned himself through his constant junk mail campaign.  His campaign people have obviously done some polling or they would not be trying so hard to smooth his rough edges.  It gives us hope.

We told the powers that be in Ottawa a few months ago that the Babel Liberal is a likely winner.  We are not running the campaign so that we cannot make a promise.

But then we are not influencing what is happening in Ottawa either.  All we know is that the best debater the Liberal party has had as a leader since Pierre Trudeau was blown off in a debate he should have won in a walk.  Go figure?

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Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

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Sunday, April 17th, 2011

To understand elections, ask people an easy question,

Do you know anyone who’s changed voting direction?

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In Ontario did Stephen Harper decree.

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

Thank God, it’s almost over.  The Canadian General Election of 2011 will soon go down in history as a boring and badly orchestrated waste of time and money.  What is the concern about it is that Canadians have so much to be pissed off about but have no clue as to what to do about it.

We can only hope that the voters are not stupid enough to vote for the Conservatives but they have fooled us before.

These Canadians are paying outrageous prices for gas to oil companies who do not know what to do with all their profits.  Yet Canadians do not blame the oil companies’ friend, Stephen Harper.

Maybe they have not bought a loaf of bread lately?  That wheat is grown in the Canadian Prairies where they vote en masse for the Reform/Conservatives to put down those Eastern bastards.  And those Eastern bastards subsidize shipping us the wheat so that they can make more money.

They must not be worried about the smelly environment?  Mr. Harper makes sure the people pumping out the oil sands and polluting the environment make even more money.

Mr. Harper wants to give billions in tax relief to oil companies, banks, television networks, while giving pennies—maybe—if he is elected—to families.

Mr. Harper is a cold fish who hates the East, hates Medicare, hates Quebec, hates the Atlantic, hates women and tries to make fools of the people in Ontario.

And it is in Ontario that Harper has to win to get a majority government so he can do what he really wants to do.  Give Mr. Harper five years in a majority government and you will never recognize Canada again.  We will look like Americans without the liberalism of New York State and Massachusetts.  We will all be just like Sarah Palin.

With a majority, Harper will not have to pander to the ethnics.  Watch multiculturalism wither and die.  He does not like spending on culture either.  Thank God, he does not mind hockey!  Watch him kill the CBC, bring back the noose, ban abortions and stiff us with costly two-tier Medicare.

You think this sounds alarmist? These are all things he has written that he wants to do.  And the extremists in his party agree with him.  And there are Canadians who are so stupid that they want to vote for him!

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Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

Comment for today.

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Last night in Babel we had a debate,

Now candidates consider their fate.

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The art of debate suffers serious setback.

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

The debates are over.  Thank goodness.  That was like putting four unruly little boys in the same playpen.  It was an opportunity for them to be nasty.

It really is too bad that Gilles Duceppe of the Bloc Quebecois is not as good a communicator in English as he is in French.  In the English debate, he went right for Harper’s jugular vein like a pit bull smelling lunch.  The only problem was that Harper could ignore him.  Harper hardly feels he has to make nice with a francophone separatist.

In fact, Harper ignored everybody.  With his warm and heavy makeup job and so perfectly coifed hair, he looked like he was afraid to move.  What left us cold about his style was that he never looked at anybody.   On Tuesday, he particularly ignored the moderator Steve Paikin—who let the English-language session get out of control.

Harper took whatever time he wanted. Ignatieff and Layton actually indicated to Paikin—practically raising their hand as though they wanted to go to the washroom.  Harper butted in whenever he wanted to.  Duceppe spoiled his presentation by getting red and angry with Harper.

The disappointment in the debate was the one guy who actually should have had the most debating experience at the university level.  Michael Ignatieff was over-prepped for the event.  His advisors should have left him alone.  It was obvious that they had fed him too many sound bites—which he finally garbled—and stopped him from listening to what others were saying.  While Harper could hardly care what they said, Ignatieff needed to win the damn debate.

He did not.

If we had renamed the show “Three and a half men,” Jack Layton was the half.  He was the earnest little boy allowed to play with the big kids. He appeared to be standing there throughout the debate looking admiringly at Harper.  Why he chose Ignatieff’s support for our troops in Afghanistan and attendance in the House of Commons as subjects on which to attack Ignatieff, we can hardly guess.  Ignatieff is the party leader and leader of the opposition.  He is in the House when he has to be but he has a lot of other work to do.

Harper tried to make something of the fact that he is now the longest serving minority Prime Minister since Mr. Pearson was Prime Minister from 1963 to 1968.  The difference is that Canadians liked Mr. Pearson and he accomplished a great deal during his time as Prime Minister.

Harper also reminded us of our blog about stump speaking.  The only difference is that Harper, as a speaker, is the stump.  The man has no passion nor feelings nor emotion.  Poor Laureen Harper!

After the two debates, the only conclusion is that Canadians need to take Stephen Harper to the woodshed.  He needs to understand that going way off topic to avoid answering questions does not always work.

The rest of them need to learn that a debate is not a bickering session.

The only humour in the entire two hours of English was when Gilles Duceppe had Jack Layton squirming, trying to get out of appearing to support the notorious Quebec language law (Bill 101).

The silliest question was from an obvious Conservative supporter in a small town in British Columbia about safety on the streets.  (Do they have a street there?)  Harper enjoyed the question.  Once again, we heard how he is tough on crime and easy on guns.

By the end of that first two hours, the leaders were tired, nobody had won anything and the audience was saying, “We missed regular programs for this?”  A sad result.

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Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

Comment for today.

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Elections and erections have similar descriptions,

When done, you are in need of STD prescriptions.

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Give me that old-time politics.

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

A political era is ending.  The stump speech will soon be a thing of the past.  We used to judge politicians by their ability to give a stump speech.  The name comes from when they found a suitable tree stump for a political orator to stand on while addressing local voters.  These speakers were able to involve the listeners in their oratory and were judged on their ability to enthral, convince and hold their audience.

One of the best of the breed of stump speakers in Ontario, that we knew, was J.J. “Joe” Greene, MP and Minister of Agriculture for the Pearson Government and then Minister of Mines and Resources in the Trudeau Government.  Joe was not as smart as Pearson or Trudeau but give him a simple stand-up microphone and an audience and he could wrap the audience around his little finger.  The world lost a great orator at when Joe died in 1978, at just 58.

Another great orator, in our estimation, was the late Don Jamieson.  A Newfoundland broadcaster who had opposed confederation with Canada, Don served in all the Trudeau Government cabinets before finishing as Minister of External Affairs in 1979.  He was our loyal and proud Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom from 1983 to 1985.  Other than one particularly corny joke about a manure spreader that he used too often, Don was a delight to listen to.  He was always in demand as a speaker.

We were very impressed with how Michael Ignatieff was coming along last summer when he brought his bus tour to Babel.  He spent the afternoon at a garden party at our provincial MPPs home.  His speech won hearts and minds.   Sure, he was preaching to the choir but there were more than a few of us there who could review the speech for its content, credibility and quality of delivery.  Because the audience was Liberal and interested, it was quite long.  There was a point where it was obvious that he was bridging between two different speeches.  Nobody complained.  It was his audience.

What made the event a stump speech is that it was made without a lectern, without a note and without a teleprompter.  He was talking to that audience about the things that he needed to say to it.   It was a great sales pitch for what he believes is the inclusiveness of the big red tent.  He was selling the breadth and depth of Liberalism.  He succeeded.

It is interesting to note that Justin Trudeau MP is a comer as a stump speaker.  He is good.  When he was here in Babel speaking to supporters, we were comparing him to his father.  His father never was a good stump speaker.  He was too intellectual and needed the stimulus of the audience to really communicate.  Without that stimulus, Pierre Trudeau could be boring.  We will be looking for great things from his son.

But a stump speaker has serious competition today.  We have been seeing it on television news almost every night.  We are into the era of the teleprompter.  Jack Layton was the surprise on this.  He is not that bad a speaker but because of his various health problems, his handlers seem to have added the teleprompters to keep him from tensing up or flubbing.  They are using the reflective glass prompters that are to the right and left at the front of the stage.   He is just getting used to it after some weeks of practice.  He had a tendency at first to look like he was trying to follow a tennis match while speaking.

We noted that we had finally found Harper’s teleprompter the other day.  The media have been so tightly controlled that it had not been visible.  The Conservatives are using a large screen television prompter for him that is parked just in front of the television cameras.  It was not seen until a cameraman finally got behind the tame audience for a back shot of Harper.  The Conservative leader is such a control freak that he probably also memorizes the key points of his prepared remarks.

We have not seen Ignatieff with a teleprompter yet but when he gets to be Prime Minister, he will also have to learn to use them.

Teleprompter support will not be there tonight at the leaders’ first television debate.  This event is staged but not managed to that extent.  It is actual reality television.

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Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

Comment for today.

Monday, April 11th, 2011

The NDP’s program has now been heard,

Layton knows it’s no good to come third.

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