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Thursday, November 27, 2003

NOT SURPRISED

No I'm not surprised in the least.

http://www.canada.com/national/story.asp?id=BB9CFEF4-0FA3-432B-BCCC-26E3B265F5A5 - Full story below

http://www.canada.com/national/story.asp?id=9D91AA32-6859-457E-80E3-E90BEA944031 - Full story below.

The Question Must Be Posed Now

I ask all fellow Tories now: Is this REALLY the face you want to put on? Is this really what you want the Canadian people to see when they think of the party of which you are a member?

This could not have come at a better time. It is a wonderful demonstration of what will happen if the Tories and the Alliance merge. The Canadian political landscape will look so: Liberals in the centre, the NDP on the left, and an extremist party that no one will vote for on the right. And even if the majority of people within the new Conservative Party don't hold those views, all you need is one idiot to ruin the entire brand name. I think that was proven in 1988, 1993, 1997 and 2000 with Reform and its successor the Canadian Alliance.

I saw Stephen Harper's reaction, and I was a little bit irritated I must say. For a man who has just finished waging an all out war against gays across the country with his fierce campaign to stop same-sex marriage, he seemed very conciliatory.

I saw an interview, also, with Nova Scotia PC MP Scott Brison, who pointed out something very interesting. Stephen Harper campaigned as the libertarian candidate to beat the fundamentalist Stockwell Day in the CA Leadership race. Harper has since moved so far to the right that he is off the radar of most Canadians, and is certainly no libertarian. He has become Stockwell Day without the flamboyence, and his reaction to this irresponsible slur, which was not nearly severe enough, is proof of this. He should have fired Spencer from caucus outright, period, with no chance of returning unless he truly demonstrated that his views had changed. That is, if he wants his party to be considered mainstream. If you want your party to be considered a mainstream party, you simply cannot tolerate things like that, and from a political point of view, it looks very bad on Harper, the Alliance, and the eventual Conservative Party, if he does not dismiss this MP with extreme hostility.

The Conservative Party doesn't even exist yet and already it's been tainted. Once again, this is very timely, as it should give many Progressive Conservatives pause before the merger vote next month. All Tories need to seriously ask themselves - do you want the NDP to be the only progressive alternative to the Liberals? That's a scary thought, isn't it? And yet, if the right unites under the Alliance, that is what will happen.

Of course, I doubt this will be enough to stop the merger. Too many Alliance members have joined the Tories in order to influence the vote anyhow. But this is a testament to just how big a mistake Peter MacKay has made. Brison also said in that interview that the social libertarians can't flee; we have to stay in the party and fight for a socially moderate agenda. I admire his courage, but I am sceptical that social libertarianism will have any true place within this new party. It all remains to be seen, I suppose.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

OTTAWA -- Canadian Alliance MP Larry Spencer was fired Thursday as the party's family issues critic and temporarily resigned from caucus after making controversial remarks about homosexuals.

Alliance Leader Stephen Harper said Spencer's comments on homosexuality were unacceptable and do not reflect the party's stance on gays.

Spencer had told the Vancouver Sun that homosexuality should be outlawed and cited a "well-orchestrated" conspiracy that began in the 1960s and led to recent successes in the gay-rights movement.

The Saskatchewan MP said the conspiracy included the seduction and recruitment of young boys in playgrounds and locker rooms and the deliberate infiltration of North American's judiciary, schools, religious community and entertainment industry.

The movement's progress in gaining public acceptance for homosexuality would have been slowed if former prime minister Pierre Trudeau had not legalized homosexuality in 1969, said Spencer, a U.S.-born former Baptist pastor.

He also said he thinks "it's so sad that we have to take an issue like this and be asked to put the Good Housekeeping seal of approval on it without being allowed to tell the truth and talk about facts."

One of those facts is that homosexuals, due to AIDS and other health problems, have a far lower life expectancy than straight men, Spencer said. "Let's just say if . . . anybody that used Colgate toothpaste, their life expectancy was lowered by 10, 15 years. What do you think would happen to Colgate toothpaste? It would be outlawed. Well, we know that's what happens to men living a gay lifestyle."

Spencer told the Sun there will soon be strong pushes to legalize polygamy and pedophilia.

He also said people who have been practising homosexuals for most of their adult lives, like New Democratic MP Svend Robinson, could transform themselves into heterosexuals.

He pointed out that someone could hate long-distance running or weightlifting but then train themselves in that area and learn to love it.

"So the human body can be sensitized or desensitized. The mind or the conscience . . . can be sharpened against right or wrong. It can be desensitized to think that whatever is wrong that's around us is nothing but natural and we begin to accept that."

Spencer represents the riding of Regina-Lumsden-Lake Centre.

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Thursday, November 27, 2003

MP Larry Spencer says gay conspiracy began in the '60s

CREDIT: Regina leader-Post

OTTAWA -- Canadian Alliance MP Larry Spencer, his party's family issues critic, says he'd support any initiative to put homosexuality back in the Criminal Code of Canada.

The U.S.-born former Baptist pastor also argues that the gay- rights movement's recent successes in areas like same-sex marriage stem from a "well-orchestrated ... conspiracy" that began in the 1960s.

The conspiracy included the seduction and recruitment of young boys in playgrounds and locker rooms and the deliberate infiltration of North America's judiciary, schools, the religious community, and the entertainment industry, he said.

The movement's progress in gaining public acceptance for homosexuality would have been slowed, however, had Pierre Elliott Trudeau not legalized homosexuality in 1969, according to the MP.

"I do believe it was a mistake to have legalized it," Spencer (Regina-Lumsden-Lake Centre) told The Vancouver Sun.

While he said no Canadian government would likely have the "courage" to reverse Trudeau's decision to remove the state from the nation's bedrooms, Spencer would support any bill that advocated such a move.

"If somebody brought a bill in the House to do that I'd certainly vote for it. Yeah, I'd like to see that [to] be the case. It's not that I would want spies in everybody's bedroom or anybody following anybody.

People who have been practising homosexuals for most of their adult lives, like New Democratic MP Svend Robinson, could transform themselves into heterosexuals.

"I believe he could. I believe he would struggle with it," said Spencer, pointing out that someone could hate long-distance running or weightlifting but then train themselves in that area and learn to love it.

"So the human body can be sensitized or de-sensitized. The mind or the conscience that we have can be sharpened against right or wrong. It can be de-sensitized to think that whatever wrong that's around us is nothing but natural and we begin to accept that."

"I just wish that there was some way that society could stand up and say, 'This is not right.' "

But Spencer said any MP, and especially someone from his party, risks being labelled "a redneck or a hate-monger or homophobic" if they even mention such views in Parliament.

Spencer's pronouncements come at a difficult time for his party, which is stickhandling a merger with the Progressive Conservative party.

Delegates from both parties are due to vote on a ratification of the merger Dec. 6.

He made his comments during an hour-long interview after The Vancouver Sun obtained a copy of an e-mail from Spencer to a Canadian citizen outlining his conspiracy theory. The Sun requested an interview so Spencer could elaborate on his views.

"I'm being very, very free here to talk with you against all advice probably that I should ever talk to any reporter to this kind of link," he said near the end of the interview.

"But you know I'm feeling very, very deprived, you know, of my rights in that I cannot say openly -- I dare not say it in the House of Commons, even -- the full extent of what I really believe on some of these issues."

Spencer said the conspiracy began with a speech by a U.S. gay rights activist in the 1960s whose name he couldn't recall.

"His quote went something like this ... 'We will seduce your sons in the locker rooms, in the gymnasiums, in the hallways, in the playgrounds, and on and on, in this land.'

"It was quite a long quote stating what was going to happen to the young boys of North America."

Spencer said one of the major steps was to encourage followers to enter the ministry of various churches and to infiltrate North America's schools and teaching colleges.

"The activists that organized in those days (encouraged) people of their persuasion to enter into educational fields, and to do this with the feeling of a mission, you know, of going out there as pioneers in a -- quote-- human rights area, and I think they were successful as we've seen."

He said those who sympathize with homosexuals in today's judiciary, educational system, the entertainment industry, and churches aren't directly linked to the people who launched the conspiracy.

"I would think that is so long ago that we're seeing the outworkings of it decades down the line. And to say there's a conspiracy now is going to raise eyebrows, and (people will) say, 'Well, I don't think so. It's just the natural evolution.'

"But there are things, like what we're talking about, that once you set in motion, it's like shoving a snowball off the edge of the barn roof. Once you set it in motion you don't have to keep pushing. It sort of keeps going. It's that slippery slope that we talk about."

Trudeau, while justice minister, announced sweeping changes to the Criminal Code in 1967 that included legalizing homosexual acts done in private involving consenting adults. The bill wasn't passed until 1969, when the late Trudeau was prime minister.

Previously, those convicted of buggery or bestiality could be sentenced to a maximum 14 years in jail.

"There's no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation," Trudeau said famously after tabling the bill.

Spencer said he wouldn't want homosexuals to ever go to jail as a result of their "choice" to engage in homosexual acts.

"I wouldn't even suggest that there would be a penalty. I just think it's so sad that we have to take an issue like this and be asked to put the Good Housekeeping seal of approval on it without being allowed to tell the truth and talk about facts."

He said one of those "facts" is that homosexuals, due to AIDS and other health problems, have a far lower life expectancy than straight men. (A search by The Vancouver Sun's library failed to find evidence supporting Spencer's statement.)

"Let's just say if ... anybody that used Colgate toothpaste, their life expectancy was lowered by 10, 15 years. What do you think would happen to Colgate toothpaste? It would be outlawed. Well, we know that's what happens to men living a gay lifestyle."

Spencer said some of his constituents fear the proposed Alliance-Progressive Conservative merger could make it more difficult for the merged party to take strong positions on social conservative issues.

"It may be more difficult to carry through with a strong family stand."

But he pointed out that most of the Tory caucus voted with the Alliance in opposing the Liberal government's plan to legalize same-sex marriage.

Spencer said he would welcome gay Tory MP Scott Brison, who supports the merger, but has voiced concern that the party could be perceived as socially intolerant, as a caucus colleague.

"He's a great guy and he's got a lot of great ideas. If he can live with us we can live with him."

Spencer, 61, was born in Missouri and moved to Canada in 1974. He became a Canadian citizen in 1999, a year before he narrowly beat former New Democratic Party MP John Solomon.

Among his other comments during the interview:

- He said there will soon be strong pushes to legalize polygamy and pedophilia.

"Polygamy is next on the list. More than one (spouse) ... We'll see that within the next very, very few years. Pedophilia is being pursued as we speak ... Some will say down to an eight-year-old, they think it's okay."

- He said he believes homosexuality, rather than being part of someone's nature, is something that is developed by young people who struggle with their identity in relation to a parent, such as an "overbearing mother" or cold father.

poneil@cns.canwest.com

- - -

In a wide-ranging interview with The Sun's Peter O'Neil, Canadian Alliance MP Larry Spencer outlined his views and beliefs on homosexuality, modern mores and the law. Below are excerpts.

"At some of those [gay liberation] conventions in those days [1960s] it was discussed what some of those approaches would be, and one of the things that's happened is they've infiltrated the education systems of North America, in particular the education systems that prepare educational people. In other words, teachers."

"We have a number of churches that have begun to endorse the alternative lifestyle, as they would call it, and that too came about because, you know, they've been working at this for a long time and promoting their members to take up ministry, et cetera, et cetera . . . ."

"I don't say that they would have said, 'We're all going to go out here and this is what we're going to do.' He was saying, 'This is inevitable to happen' because for this group of people to express themselves sexually, they're going to have to do the recruiting and a lot of the recruiting is going to come illegally. It's going to come by seduction."

On what he said to gay MP Svend Robinson at a parliamentary committee meeting discussing gay marriage:

"You had a right to marry. You proved that to us all sitting here because you were married. Now you are complaining that you do not have the right to marry. But you do have the right to marry. You can marry any woman you choose, just like I can marry any woman I chose . . . .

On homosexuality being a "lifestyle choice":

"I know another person that I was acquainted with in Texas. He lived this lifestyle a number of years, overcame that, was changed, has seven kids and a wife and has totally no inclination or desire to go back to that. So to say that people do not have a choice or that it's genetic has not been proven."

So, could Svend Robinson make himself straight?

"I believe he could. I believe he would struggle with it. You know, the human body is a magnificent creature, it's a magnificent machine. Our human bodies can be trained to appreciate . . . and really enjoy something that would be just miserable to me, i.e. long distance runners. Our bodies can be trained to, as I say, enjoy certain sensations."

Explaining why the conspiracy can draw young people into homosexuality:

"You're being told this is good and normal and that you shouldn't think that there's anything wrong with it, which is what's happening to our young people now in our schools. So they start looking and they start checking and they start experimenting, and this is what I'm talking about . . . an orchestrated recruitment plan. So you back it down to the impressionable and vulnerable and then bring it all the way through their life, and you know, this is quite understandable how this can happen."

- - -

MP' S HAVE SAID IT ALL AND MORE

The issue of homosexuality -- not to mention same-sex marriage -- has often been hotly debated in Parliament. Here are some quotes from members of Parliament over the past three years.

"I think all of the levels that you would find in a heterosexual marriage, you find those same ingredients in a same-sex relationship and marriage. A sense of partnership, sharing, commitment. It's all there."

- NDP MP Libby Davies (Vancouver East)

"Obviously, there is a division within the country. On the other hand, the courts have spoken and government cannot discriminate ... But one thing should be very clear and that is that no church -- not my church, no mosque, no synagogue -- will be asked to perform marriages in any way other than as they see fit."

- Prime minister-designate Paul Martin

"If we aren't able to be flexible enough to change with our society, then we probably shouldn't be in this House."

- Progressive Conservative MP Rick Borotsik (Brandon-Souris, Man.)

"Believe me, for someone of my generation, born and brought up in the Catholic rural Quebec of my youth, this is a very difficult issue. But I have learned over 40 years in public life that society evolves and that the concept of human rights evolves more quickly than some of us might have predicted -- and sometimes even in ways that make some people uncomfortable."

- Prime Minister Jean Chretien

"It's like a father who tells his daughter, 'I'm not a racist but I don't want you to marry a black person,' or a husband who says to his wife, 'I'm for equality but I don't want you to have the right to work.' Isn't there a point somewhere when you have to walk the walk?"

- Bloc Quebecois MP Real Menard (Hochelaga-Maisonneuve)

"This is a bogus human-rights issue. Trying to equate the black civil-rights movement [and] the women's rights movement with the demand for same-sex marriage is specious logic, at best."

- Liberal MP Pat O'Brien (London-Fanshawe, Ont.)

"It's like suggesting you have water fountains or washrooms -- they're equally equipped, et cetera -- but one is for blacks and one is for whites. You're still segregating."

- Liberal MP Hedy Fry (Vancouver Centre)

"Regarding sexual orientation or, more accurately, what we are really talking about, sexual behaviour, the argument has been made ... that this is analogous to race and ethnicity.... (For) anyone in the Liberal party to equate the traditional definition of marriage with segregation and apartheid is vile and disgusting."

- Canadian Alliance leader Stephen Harper (Calgary Southwest)

"I understand ... that homophobia is a problem in our society and I think small steps like Bill C-250 [which includes sexual orientation in Canada's hate propaganda law] may address that in the future. I have friends who are gay and they've certainly faced harassment."

- Alliance MP James Moore (Port Moody-Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam)

"This is an issue I've had to wrestle with and I must say this has not been an easy decision. What has certainly tipped the balance is the decision that the courts have taken is that this is a rights issue and you cannot discriminate."

- Paul Martin

"I think what we want to do right now is minimize the harm and damage to anyone, particularly the gay and lesbian community. We don't want, in this country, to give a perception of intolerance."

- Progressive Conservative leader Peter MacKay (Pictou-Antigonish-Guysborough, N. S.)

"When it comes to people who wish to live together, whether they are women or men, why do they have to be out here in the public always debating that they want to call it marriage? If they are going to live together, they can go live together and shut up about it."

- Progressive Conservative MP Elsie Wayne Saint John, New Brunswick

Saturday, November 22, 2003

PROMISES PROMISES

http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1069456208367&call_pageid=1012319932217&col=1012319928928

Let me first say: Ontario's Election 2003 was a screw-over waiting to happen. We'd either get the incompetent and directionless Tories, or the Liberals who were promising at least some form of change. Let's face it - even if you don't beleive in public healthcare, it's still better than NO healthcare, which is what the Tories were offering.

Of course, now that the Liberals are in power, they're proceeding to break their promises. But I'm surprised at how fast they're doing it - usually governments wait a few months before they start screwing people over. I got a wonderful testimonial from a fairly average Canadian. My mother, a typical politically apathetic middle-class woman:

"The assholes, I wish I'd never voted for them. They're raising all sorts of taxes. Hydro's going up, cigarettes are going up. We were better off under the other guys."

Couldn't have said it better myself. They're breaking their promise not to privatize medicare, though I'm not too concerned about it. They're even alienating their environmentalist leftists, by proceeding with the development of the Oak Ridges Moraine.

Food for thought: I wonder what would happen if they tried to use the ORM to build social housing. Would we get one group of leftists protesting and counter-protesting another? The idea amuses me. Actually, maybe we should use the Moraine for low-cost housing. What left-winger can object to giving people a place to live?

But my particular form of political sadism causes me to digress.

I'm terribly disappointed with the Liberals on one hand, but happy they're breaking some of those promises. I suppose I can't be too hard on them - they were left with a $5.6 billion deficit by Tories who claimed the books were balanced. They need to make up the loss somehow.

Still, it doesn't do a lot for political apathy when people are given a reason to be cynical. Regardless of whether or not I agreed with them, I think they should at least try to keep their promises.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

LEADERSHIP ANALYSIS

Like I promised...

STEPHEN HARPER

The obvious front-runner in the Conservative Party leadership race, before the race has even started - in fact, before the party even exists - is also the current leader of the Canadian Alliance. Stephen Harper is an avowed conservative, and has no qualms about stating this openly to any audience. It is common wisdom that, at the moment, Harper commands at least a plurality of support from conservatives, if only because of his current role and title as the leader of Canada's largest right-wing party.

Harper's performance in the House of Commons is impressive. He is aggressive during Question Period, and has a reputation as a policy wonk - a perfect foil for Paul Martin. However, performance aside, what does his unabashed conservatism mean for the party's chances in a general election?

Well, it doesn't look good. Harper polls well out west - and only out west. He is one of the most popular politicians in Alberta. But what happens when one travels east is dismaying for Harper, and frankly, not the least bit unexpected. Stephen Harper is a western Alliance member through and through. He embodies the values presented by that party - socially conservative values that, frankly, central and eastern Canada find unattractive.

Despite the fact that he is the current front-runner, Harper is clearly not the best choice for a united right-wing party. He may well be able to ward off the Martin juggernaught out west, where he and Martin are both popular figures. But once you hit Manitoba, things begin to go a bit more in Martin's favour. And of course, in Ontario, his only hope to win any significant number of votes would be a strong NDP performance splitting the left-leaning vote. But this is unlikely for two reasons. First off, Martin is not left-leaning at all, and will likely attracted huge numbers of centrist and centre-right voters.

Also, one need only look at what happened in 2000. The NDP saw its support plummet in Ontario because of the very real threat of a Canadian Alliance government led by Stockwell Day - left-leaning voters were able to stomach voting Liberal in order to keep the right-wing western special interest party from forming a government. If the Conservative Party led by Stephen Harper gained any ground, NDP voters would likely head over to the Liberals and overtake the Conservatives by sheer numbers.

This is because, if Harper wins, it will be seen as an obvious take-over of the Progressive Conservatives by the Canadian Alliance, and voters who may have considered voting for the PCs in this election (and the PCs have been polling neck-and-neck with the NDP in Ontario for about a year, with the Alliance lagging way behind) will be repulsed. They will see it as a repeat of 2000 - Liberals or right-wing extremists.

It may be hard for Harper and many Alliance loyalists to swallow, but Harper simply has no appeal east of Manitoba. He is and will always be seen as a man representing the interests of a western special interest party with a right-wing agenda unappealing to most of Canada. His recent performance in the gay marriage debate, may have been skillful - a lesser man, like Stockwell Day, would have allowed the party's attacks to degenerate into a series of homophobic slurs - but he is on the wrong side of the issue in central and eastern Canada. And don't even think about Quebec.

Harper's short time has passed. If he wants the Conservatives to do well in the 2004 election, he'd best let someone with a more broad-base of appeal take the helm of leadership.

PETER MACKAY

In many ways, Peter MacKay is a weaker candidate than Stephen Harper. He and Harper share the same position on a plethora of issues - from drugs to the death penalty to taxes to gay marriage - but MacKay is a bit more moderate. MacKay would be able to hold on the Tory base in the Maritimes, but would he be able to break through out west? Well, he could certainly make a strong showing with the Alliance behind him, but if regional politics play a role, and they always do, he could find himself losing support to the more popular Paul Martin.

Either way, it would appear the conservatives will lose some of their base - Harper would lose the Tory base, MacKay would lose the Alliance base.

Like Harper, MacKay is also a strong performer in Question Period, boding well for his performance in the all-important leaders debates, though is inability to communicate well in French would be a definite blow for the French-language debate, which Martin will, frankly, dominate, with perhaps a bit of competition from Gilles Duceppe. (Assuming of course the Conservative leader isn't fluently bilingual.) Quebecois do not have a tendency to vote against favourite sons, though.

Peter MacKay, as great a performer as he is, simply does not have the charisma to convince Canadians of his positions.

And he has been tainted twice already within his brief 5 1/2-month tenure as PC leader, first with the "betrayal" of a deal with David Orchard, and then with his almost immediate betrayal of THAT deal - and a refusal to admit he was wrong in either case.

MacKay's time is done. Like Harper, he served only as a vehicle to get the two parties together. Now that this has happened, it is time to step aside and let someone who can lead take centre-stage.

BERNARD LORD

Well, what can be said about Premier Bernard Lord that hasn't been said already? The man is a living legend in the making, should he choose to accept this call. He was unwittingly nearly drafted into the Tory leadership race this past spring, so forcefully in fact that he had to repeatedly refuse. Let's face it - Tories desperately want this guy to be their leader. And he wouldn't be a bad choice, either.

Lord would win in the Maritimes. He'd poll strongly in Quebec - being fluently bilingual and moderate. He'd do well in Ontario, also - polling well with moderates who do not want to vote Liberal, and possibly even attract some NDP environmentalists. And out west he'd be able to at least challenge Martin.

Lord has already developed a reputation as a moderate concensus-builder; a compassionate conservative; a level-headed politically savvy man who has obviously captured the hearts of Tories everywhere. In short, he's perfect for the job, and could easily give Stephen Harper a run for his money.

The only problem? He currently holds the barest of majorities in New Brunswick: 28 to 26 seats, with the NDP holding 1 (their leader Elizabeth Weir). If Lord were to run for the leadership of the federal Conservatives, and win, he would have to give up his seat in the Legislature. That would trigger a bi-election. And if the Liberals managed to win that bi-election, the balance would shift to 27 for the Tories and 27 for the Liberals, with the NDP's 1, giving the Liberals the ability to get Weir on their side and form a majority coalition of 28 to 27. This would give the Liberal-NDP coalition a bare majority, the Tories would fall from power (and would not longer dominate the governments of all four Maritimes provinces - no small feat) and Liberal Danny Graham would become premier of New Brunswick. There's just no way to spin your way out of that.

For Lord, I say: give it time. After he completes his second term as New Brunswick premier, he could very well run for the leadership. But it's simply not good timing for him politically at the moment.

JIM PRENTICE

Jim Prentice has many advantages.

He is a Tory, so the merger avoids looking like a take-over.

He is a westerner, so the Alliance doesn't have to worry about losing its base of support.

He is an outsider, so he isn't bound by political favours.

He came in second in the Tory leadership race last spring, showing he has the ability to campaign.

He is so well-liked by the Alliance that they were willing not to run a candidate in his riding in 2004.

He was the mainstream pro-merger candidate in the leadership race (the fringe lunatic being Craig Chandler).

He is centre-right, favouring policies the Alliance and the Tories find amicable, and is able to appeal to westerners (small-c conservative local boy), central Canada (socially moderate - pro-gay marriage, pro-marijuana legalization), healthcare lovers (supports universal health), and Maritimers would appreciate the fact that he's a moderate centre-right Tory.

Frankly, of all of the candidates that are likely to run for the leadership, Prentice probably has the most potential in terms of winning elections. Even if he doesn't win in 2004 (and I don't think anyone would be able to beat Martin in 2004; it'll be the next election that's crucial) he would be able to put up a fight in 2007, 2008 or 2009.

I would personally endorse Prentice for leader of the party. Either him or...

SCOTT BRISON

Scott Brison I think would have about the same chances as Jim Prentice. His economic policies are definitely right-wing enough to appeal to traditional Alliance voters, as well as true blue Tories, but his social policies are moderate to libertarian in nature. A Brison-led party would allow for an historic oppurtunity for libertarians to have a representitive of significant power in Ottawa.

Brison does of course have the wild card. Yes, "that" wild card. I'm well aware that he doesn't like to be labelled as "the gay politician", but such a label is often unavoidable, unfortunately. And if I refuse to address it, it would be like ignoring an elephant in the living room, to use a cliche.

The disadvantage to that is obvious - there are a lot of closed-minded Canadians out there who might not vote for him. The obvious advantage is that, if were leader of the party, the Liberals would not be able to portray the Conservative Party as homophobic in any way, realistically. In fact, if the Liberals were stupid enough to insist on raising the issue, Brison would likely be able to turn it around on them - Martin's support for same-sex marriage has been tenuous at best.

Personally, I'd rather not speculate on the effect it would have. I see it as being a slight advantage, if only because social conservative voters would have very few other options, unless they wanted to vote for the Christian Heritage Party and throw their votes away, or just not vote at all, and he could definitely attract a score of liberal-minded Canadians with his libertarian social policy.

I think he has a decent chance of winning the leadership. Like I said, his economics are very right-wing, and his view of federal-provincial relations can be simply summed up by saying, "He's for provincial rights," something Alliance voters are very much in favour of. And that would also play well in Quebec, as well as Alberta and BC.

If Brison doesn't win, I do hope me makes a strong showing, either runner-up or a close third-place king-maker, in order to give the social libertarian wing of the party a strong voice.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Conservative Party Leadership Watch

Who's running for leader of the new Conservative Party, assuming it goes through? Well, no one knows yet, but there are some ideas being circulated. I've taken all the names I've heard floated, and given a brief analysis of each. I'll go into more detail with the more likely ones later. Here's the tenative list:

(Note: "General Election" means their odds of winning in a General Election, with 0 being nil and 5 being very good.)

STEPHEN HARPER
Currently Leader of the Official Opposition; Leader of the Canadian Alliance Party
Odds He'll Run Almost Definitely
Odds He'd Win Very Good
General Election 3/5

PETER MACKAY
Currently Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party
Odds He'll Run Likely
Odds He'd Win Poor
General Election 2/5


MIKE HARRIS
Currently Senior Fellow at Fraser Institute; Former Premier of Ontario; Former Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario
Odds He'll Run Nil
Odds He'd Win Almost Definitely (had he run)
General Election 2/5


BERNARD LORD
Currently Premier of New Brunswick; Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick
Odds He'll Run Unlikely
Odds He'd Win Very Good
General Election 5/5


JIM PRENTICE
Currently Lawyer in Calgary; Former PC Leadership Candidate
Odds He'll Run Likely
Odds He'd Win Fair
General Election 4/5


SCOTT BRISON
Currently PC Finance Critic; Former PC Leadership Candidate
Odds He'll Run Likely
Odds He'd Win Fair
General Election 4/5


STOCKWELL DAY
Currently CA Foreign Affairs Critic; Former CA Leader
Odds He'll Run Unlikely
Odds He'd Win Very Poor
General Election 0/5


PRESTON MANNING
Currently Former Reform Party Leader; Founder of Reform and CA Parties
Odds He'll Run Next to Nil
Odds He'd Win Very Good (had he run)
General Election 3/5


BRIAN MULRONEY
Currently Former Prime Minister; Former PC Leader
Odds He'll Run Nil
Odds He'd Win Fair (had he run)
General Election 1/5


DIANE ABLONCZY
Currently CA Citizenship and Immigration Critic; Former CA Leadership Candidate
Odds She'll Run Unlikely
Odds She'd Win Very Poor
General Election ?

GRANT HILL
Currently CA Health Critic; Former CA Leadership Candidate
Odds He'll Run Unlikely
Odds He'd Win Very Poor
General Election ?

DEBORAH GRAY
Currently CA National Defence Critic
Odds She'll Run Next to Nil
Odds She'd Win Poor
General Election 3/5


BRIAN PALLISTER
Currently CA Human Resources Development Critic
Odds He'll Run Unlikely
Odds He'd Win Poor
General Election ?


MONTE SOLBERG
Currently CA Finance Critic
Odds He'll Run Unlikely
Odds He'd Win Poor
General Election ?


JANET ECKER
Currently Former Ontario Finance Minister (PC); Lost Seat in 2003 Election
Odds She'll Run Unlikely
Odds She'd Win Poor
General Election 3/5


JIM FLAHERTY
Currently Former Ontario Finance, Enterprise Minister; Former Ontario PC Leadership Candidate; Retained Seat in 2003 Election
Odds He'll Run Moderate
Odds He'd Win Unlikely
General Election 1/5


TONY CLEMENT
Currently Former Ontario Health Minister; Former Ontario PC Leadership Candidate; Lost Seat in 2003 Election
Odds He'll Run Moderate
Odds He'd Win Fair
General Election 3/5


JEAN CHAREST
Currently Premier of Quebec (Liberal); Former PC Leader
Odds He'll Run Next to Nil
Odds He'd Win Very Good
General Election 5/5


CHUCK STRAHL
Currently CA Heritage Critic and Deputy House Leader; Former Deputy Leader of PC-DRC Coalition
Odds He'll Run Moderate
Odds He'd Win Poor
General Election 3/5

JOHN TORY
Currently PC Strategist; Former Rogers Cable CEO; Runner-Up in 2003 Toronto Mayoral Election
Odds He'll Run Unlikely
Odds He'd Win Fair
General Election 4/5

ERNIE EVES
Currently Former Premier of Ontario (PC); Retained Seat in 2003 Election
Odds He'll Run Next to Nil
Odds He'd Win Very Poor
General Election 1/5

VIC TOEWS
Currently CA Justice Critic
Odds He'll Run Unlikely
Odds He'd Win Poor
General Election 2/5

Sunday, November 16, 2003

OUTRAGE

I won't bore you with the details.

William Sampson. Maher Arar. What do these two men have in common?

They both pay Canada's outrageous tax rate, so you'd think they would also receive the protection of this government.

No such luck. Unfortunately for Arar and Sampson, Canada's foreign policy is so pathetic, we can't even get our own citizens out of jail overseas. How dare this government take such soft positions on Canadian nationals. How dare we have a complacent policy on our citizens, Canadian tax-payers, being tortured in third-world hell-holes? And shame on this government for not immediately holding a public inquiry into either case.

We need a Conservative government in power if only so that we can beef up our defences and actually have some international clout, even if it's immediately defeated by the Liberals in the next election (which it almost certainly would be). Because that's what this comes down to. You never heard about this sort of thing happening to American citizens, because Middle-Eastern countries are scared of America. We need to be threatening to. We can't give up our international role as a peace-maker, but when push comes to shove, we must, we absolutely MUST, be willing to stand up for ourselves. To be colloquial, we have to send a message that, "When you f**k with one of us, you fuck with Daddy."

Though I think, as a post-script, It should be noted, ammusingly, that the Canadian Alliance picked up the defence of William Sampson, while the NDP used Question Period to hammer the government on Maher Arar. Says something about the parties, wouldn't you say?

FLORA MacDONALD COLUMN

Worth a read:

http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&call_pageid=971358637177&c=Article&cid=1068765011262

No future for PC party
Proposed right-wing alliance would violate the progressive and moderate traditions

of its former leaders


FLORA MACDONALD

On my return to Canada from Afghanistan where I work with groups of war widows, I was surprised to receive a call from a CBC reporter asking for my views on the merger. Thinking she was inquiring about some amalgamation of business interests, I explained that since I had just returned to Ottawa, I wasn't up to date on the latest business ventures.

I was, to put it mildly, appalled to be told that she was talking about the merger between the Progressive Conservative party and the Canadian Alliance. In fact, I protested that this just couldn't be since Peter MacKay had clearly indicated on many platforms during his leadership campaign that this was not a process he would endorse.

MacKay was not my first choice at the June leadership convention — I supported Scott Brison on the first two ballots but after that I gave my vote to MacKay because I took him at his word. He said he would support the strongly endorsed decision of the party at its national convention in Edmonton in the summer of 2002 that there would be 301 Progressive Conservative candidates in the next federal election

My reaction to the agreement in principle, signed secretly by MacKay and Stephen Harper in October, 2003, was first of all one of incredulity, then anger that the party decisions so strongly expressed in Edmonton and endorsed by MacKay during the leadership campaign could be so easily jettisoned. Further, the fact that he would willingly preside over the demolition of a historic 150-year-old institution that has done so much to build this country leaves me asking how he defines integrity and principle.

In speaking at a fundraising dinner in Toronto recently, MacKay quoted an earlier leader:

"I believe time is the ally of leaders who placed the defence of principle ahead of the pursuit of popularity.

"And history has little time for the marginal roles played by the carpers and complainers and less for their opinions."

Where and how has he defended principle? And are the carpers and complainers he refers to all those who disagree with his actions? Those who have played only "marginal" roles within the party?

I speak only for myself (but I know there are many others who feel the same way) when I reject the qualification of having played only a "marginal role" in the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.

Prior to 1959, national conventions of the Progressive Conservative party consisted of a gathering of some 300 souls who came together to effect their own re-election to that select group. The then-leader and prime minister, John Diefenbaker, made it clear such a process did not support his populist views about the way in which a modern Canadian national party should operate.

I was closely involved in the drafting of a new constitution ensuring that the basic attendance at future national conventions would comprise representatives from all constituencies and that there would be ample time at these conventions for free and open discussion of the policies of the day. And even though that initial constitution has been amended on a number of occasions since 1959, it has always been done by members of the PC party at a properly constituted national meeting.

I have never considered that my involvement in the Progressive Conservative party has been marginal, nor that I fall under the rubric of "carper or complainer." From the days of my initial involvement with the party as an employee in the early months of 1957, I have taken part in every general election up to the most recent one, as well as in provincial elections in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta, and numerous by-elections at both the federal and provincial levels.

At the request of the party and its candidates, I have spoken on behalf of the Progressive Conservative party in most of Canada's 301 constituencies. I have run for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative party (the first woman to do so) and proudly represented the historic constituency of Kingston and the Islands, the riding of the founder of the party, Sir John A. Macdonald, in the House of Commons for 16 years.

I do not consider that I have played a marginal role, nor am I a carper or complainer when it comes to the place of the Progressive Conservative party in the history and development of Canada. I have earned the right to speak out when the future of the Progressive Conservative party is being threatened by betrayal at its current highest levels.

The party's future lies not in some right-wing alliance that would violate the progressive and moderate traditions of its former leaders, but with a renewed emphasis on the values that the great majority of Canadians feel represent their views.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Flora MacDonald is a former minister of foreign affairs now involved with a number of international humanitarian groups.


Ms. MacDonald speaks the truth. Even if the PC Party merges with the Alliance, and they win a few seats, or even an election, it can't last. The Alliance is just too right-wing, and once in power, people would see it for what it is. If they don't already.

Liberals must be feeling very good about the new party. In 2000, they were able to crucify the Alliance, leaving it with no legitimacy remaning in central Canada. The only party that would be capable of taking on the Liberals in 2004 here (besides the NDP) is the Tories. But with the Tories dead, Ontarians and Quebecois will see a repeat of 2000 - the Liberals versus the right-wing extremists from out west. And it will be a slaughter.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Apologies... my computer died on me. It was gone for quite some time. I will return to updating this shortly.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

FAIR REPRESENTATION

I decided to sit down and do a little number-crunching...

PROVINCE - POP in 1996 Census - RIDINGS IT SHOULD HAVE* (RIDINGS IT DOES HAVE)
Newfoundland and Labrador - 512,930 - 6 (7)
Prince Edward Island - 135,294 - 2 (4)
New Brunswick - 729,498 - 8 (10)
Nova Scotia - 908,007 - 10 (11)
Quebec - 7,237,479 - 73 (75)
Ontario - 11,410,146 - 115 (103)
Manitoba - 1,119,583 - 12 (14)
Saskatchewan - 978,933 - 10 (14)
Alberta - 2,974,807 - 30 (26)
British Columbia - 3,907,738 - 40 (34)
Yukon - 28,674 - 1 (1)
Northwest Territories - 37,360 - 1 (1)
Nunavut - 26,745 - 1 (1)

*dividing pop by 100000, rounding up

Very Underrepresented: Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia
Very Overrepresented: Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan


What do these numbers prove?

That the theory that the west is underrepresented in the House of Commons is absolutely false.

In fact, the only provinces that are underrepresented are Big Bad Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia. Yes, Alberta and British Columbia are both western provinces, but Ontario as a whole is lacking 12 of the 115 seats it should have, where as Alberta and BC together are missing 10 out of the 70 they should share between them. Ontario is still getting a worse deal.

I know I would be hung by westerners for pointing this fact out, but it has to be said. Of course, I didn't make this post just to take a shot at western semi-nationalists. No no, I want to illustrate a different point; a proposal right from the heart of Big Bad Ontario that the west would simply love.

First of all, give Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia the number of seats they should have - and at the same time, lower the seat counts for overrepresented provinces. Representation by population means just that. Looking at Elections Canada's data, it would seem that 70000 people in PEI is the same as 100000 in Ontario. Unfair? Indeed.

Now, after this is done, the provinces should be more fairly represented.

And yet, Ontario would still provide over half of the seats necessary for a majority. It is indeed unfair that the west and the maritimes should have no say in anything; that Ontario and Quebec be the kingmakers in every single election.

Canadians, we have an archaic, anachronistic, useless Senate sitting right there, just begging to be reformed. Why not use the American system? Equal representation amongst the provinces.

As for proportional representation... that needs to be worked in somehow, also. Personally, I like the Australian system for electing the House of Commons - preference voting. It's similar to the ballotting used by our political parties. If peoples' first choice does not add up to 50% plus 1, the second choices are then counted, and added to the first choices, until someone receives a clear majority. For the Senate, how about 10 seats per province, equaling 100? Factoring the territories in is an option, equaling 110 or 130, depending on whether or not to include them as separate or collective entities. For every 10% captured in a province, a party would get a seat.

In the interest of fairness, let's have real rep by pop in the House, and real rep by region in the Senate.

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