An EKOS poll has Conservatives still picking Harper over the others. Either members haven't moved on or they are setting a bar for the other candidates to live up to.
One would certainly hope that the next leader would be even better than Harper, let alone Prime Minister Trudeau.
In the poll, what bothers me is the other potential candidates that are missing, particularly Michael Chong and Michelle Rempel although over 1/3 of respondents didn't want to pick any of the given names.
28% Stephen Harper
23% Peter MacKay
17% Kevin O’Leary
5% Lisa Raitt
5% Don't Know/No Response
4% Maxime Bernier
2% Kellie Leitch
So even if that 17% Other was split among Chong and Rempel, they'd still be above Raitt, Bernier, and Leitch. With MacKay likely not entering this race, and O'Leary having a political ceiling, whomever this "Other" is, can take it.
In this sense, with one year to go, this EKOS poll is simply telling us that it's anyone's race, few see it's worth entering, it's wide open, and no one really cares right now.
I'll maintain that history dictates that whoever wins, won't be prime minister--which gives meaning to the leadership race following the next election. That's when you'll see candidates like Peter MacKay and Rona Ambrose entering, knowing they now have a legitimate chance at actually becoming prime minister. For Rona, she will be able to stand on her well-remembered time as the current interim leader, and she full-well knows she's currently gaining experience, building knowledge, and creating a national campaign network and future war chest to run for Conservative leader in 2021.
The risk, however, is if the leader elected in May 2017 becomes well-liked and runs a smooth campaign in 2019 to not only build on 99 seats, but in the four years following, becomes a palatable official opposition leader in order to be accepted as a credible prime minister, especially in a minority government. If that leader loses the 2023 election, then you have to jump up to nine years from now for the next opportunity.
But one thing we do know in Canadian politics, to become prime minister, you need to have deep roots politically.
For Ambrose and MacKay, those roots go way back, even from now.
Monday, April 25, 2016
Friday, April 15, 2016
With oil revenue dropping from $9 billion to just over $1 billion, no government, no ideology, no party, especially one that hasn't even been in power for a year would be able to quell out of the dire deficit situation.
s I liked in this budget are the small business tax cut from 3% to 2%. Let's admit there's at least that.
Let's also admit that the problem with this budget stems from the colossal expense of health care, which is well over half the budget and will continue to rise as the bulk of the population ages.
With that, there needs to be a fundamental change in the way health care is delivered and funded, otherwise, the big baby boomers now retiring will eat away at the future of their children and grandchildren. That said, it's already happening.
Over twenty years ago, if you read the book "Boom, Bust, and Echo", you'll know that the baby boomers made up a bulk of the population and during their time of highest income earning, they still paid much less in taxes than their children do now at that same time of earning, but they spent and built up our corporate and government social bureaucracy to a point of non-sustainability into future generations.
The plan under the Lougheed PCs in the 70's was to not depend on natural resource revenue for operations and infrastructure, but to make the Heritage Savings Trust so big, the gov't could use the interest to pay for the very things that recent PC and now NDP governments were trying to save.
We all know that the Klein government of the 90's slashed and burned to get to zero, but left the province with horrible infrastructure and a health system that appeared to be beyond the point of repair. Coupled with front-line worker wage cuts to teachers and nurses, in the long-run that policy didn't really get us anywhere. I maintain that paying teachers and nurses more salary isn't going to destroy our society or budget for that matter.
But the PCs under Stelmach and Redford didn't fair any better and continued to spend spend spend, with little real improvement.
Don't buy into the B.S. that there aren't areas in the government where efficiencies and common sense can't be found.
Why can Germany offer free health care at 10% of the cost per capita?
Yes, terrible oil prices are certainly having an effect on Alberta, but federally as well, with tax revenues down across the board.
And so here we are. Massive budget deficits, and a carbon tax on fuel that won't do anything to quell carbon output which won't do anything to quell global warming.
The answer isn't to raise taxes on the very middle class that are trying to create jobs and raise families in good communities. Once you raise taxes on fuel, the costs of everything go up because everything depends on transportation--you know, like FOOD, SHELTER, and CLOTHING. And a few hundred in subsidies aren't going to equal this out with lower income folks. They will still pay more over a year, not just in fuel, but on everything.
In the longer term, the government will realize that their carbon tax policy will have an overall net negative effect on the economy.
But in four years, they won't be around to see it anyway.
at 4:30 PM
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
There's so much going on it's difficult to clear away the mud.
The NDP party had their convention just down the street from me and there were big splashes made by the members.
1. Adoption of the Leap Manifesto, which wants to move Canada from carbon-based energy toward alternatives
2. The sacking of Tom Mulcair as leader
I believe the two go hand-in-hand. There was an obvious concerted effort to move the NDP back to the left from where
Angry Friendly Tom took them toward the bigger centre during the last federal election, although that's not really why they lost. The Leap Manifesto which is the brain-child of author Naomi Klein, and Stephen Lewis' son, Avi "calls for an overhaul of the capitalist economy to wean the country quickly off fossil fuels. Among other things, it calls for no new pipelines, which Notley told delegates are crucial to revive Alberta’s resource-based economy." (source).
So here we have an NDP party in Alberta that moved to the middle with populist anti-PC policies and won big time and now a premier who is defending the need to build pipelines as they realize resource and corporate tax revenue from this industry "ARE CRUCIAL" to building the economy, providing jobs, and spending on social programs like, you know, free health care.
Of course, we knew this all along.
But by "we", I don't mean the federal NDP members who voted for this manifesto.
So with this huge rift in probably the most major policy direction a party can decide on, Alberta, including the NDP here (or maybe just the premier and finance minister) are isolated from most of the country once again.
Why did Tom lose but Rachel won?
Back on the point why Tom lost and Rachel won. Despite there being similar disdain for the status quo between the Alberta PCs and Harper's CPC, and despite both Tom and Rachel taking their party campaign promises toward the mushy-middle, there are two points that differ:
1. In Alberta, the usual middle occupied by the Liberals and also the Alberta Party were no where near to a capable political threat to anyone, allowing the NDP to grab centrist voters. Where federally, the strong Trudeau Liberal campaign engulfed the increasing vacuum from the left (see next point), and tired blue liberals who'd been voting Harper instead of Ignatieff and Dion previously.
2. The Notley NDP campaign was flawless, where the Mulcair campaign was flawed and it bled support to Trudeau.
With debate zingers from Notley to Prentice like "math is hard", that feisty Albertan character is well liked by all.
Federally, the NDP war room was non-existent and eventually took a beating from both sides without response. There were no feisty zingers from Tom, just awkward smiles. Thomas (as he was formally known) Mulcair became NDP leader because of his Quebec pedigree, his respect as a tactful parliamentarian, and because of his angry moniker. At his core though, Tom is a Charest Liberal, not a socialist and even Dippers know it.
Many early soft NDP supporters were hoping Tom would continue to ride the coattails of the lovable, late, great Jack Layton, who, EQUALLY took the party toward the promise-land of the policy centre, but Tom's campaign didn't seem genuine, nor was it effective, unlike Jack's triumph to Official Opposition for first time in party history.
In this sense, Rachel successfully pulled from the Book of Layton and won huge, whereas Tom didn't execute and the NDP were reduced back to where they traditionally were known for--third party socialists.
Because of that, it left the door open for the actual socialists (or anti-capitalists as they like to negatively call themselves sometimes) to retake the party, which they did last weekend in Edmonton of all places.
Weak NDP = Conservatives remain in opposition
For Conservatives, this just sucks. Having a stronger NDP ensured competition with the Liberals in order for CPC candidates to "shoot up the middle" in a pile of ridings to take the crown. And because of that, this will further ensure the reestablishment of the long-standing Liberal hegemony as the seemingly most successful political party in the history of democracy.
And further to that, prime minister Justin Trudeau, in true Liberal form, is successfully playing both sides on this great debate. Sustainable environment populist selfies on one-hand, and back room handshakes on Energy East pipelines on the other. Politically, it's a novel, diplomatic approach, but time will tell if it plays out successfully, or if it continues to be bashed back and forth like a shuttlecock.
Conservative Leadership Race
Now moving from the centre to the right, the Conservative leadership "race" got an injection of libertarianism with the expected announcement from former cabinet minister and current Quebec MP Maxime Bernier that he's seeking the leadership.
Meanwhile, more popular candidates like former PC leader and CPC justice/defense minister Peter Mackay and Trump-Canada's Kevin O'Leary continue to remain in the mainstream spotlight, while Calgary MP Michelle Rempel continues her social media journey in the wilderness gaining interest with her Calgary-ghost town jobs fair.
All that said, very very few folks I know are talking about the CPC race, likely because their immediate attention and desperation is on Notley and Trudeau to make nice and let Energy East happen...
not on great leap backward rainbow manifestos.
at 2:10 PM
Tuesday, March 01, 2016
.#elxn2016 #supertuesday #gop #dnc
This has been one of the weirdest U.S. presidential nomination races in recent memory and the GOP race has been a disappointment. Four years ago, I watched most of the debates, as they at least had a semblance of dignity and poise. Now, as my recently passed grandmother said, "It's a zoo. A total zoo." And that was back in August.
This race has entirely become a popularity contest of differing styles without any meaningful debate on principles.
Even if you take out Donald Trump, are any of the candidates truly worthy of being president?
Trump is probably one of the most enigmatic, non-conventional front-runner candidates to ever grace either party. His bullying-style is unprecedented yet seemingly refreshingly welcomed by many.
Supporters have been seen as ignorant of his contradictory stances, crude and opinions of convenience. It doesn't matter. Brush it aside.
This has brought to light the big problem with American politics -- campaign financing and influence. Until this is changed, nothing will change.
Meanwhile, on the other hand, the only candidate in this whole race on either side who has had a strong unwavering stance on a myriad of issues is Bernie Sanders. The straight-forward manner in which he projects his views from banking reform, social justice, education, health care, minimum wage, military funding, and the broad spectrum of social-democrat policies are all issues which American candidates need to seriously discuss.
While strongly painted by opponents with a socialist brush, from my view, he is the only candidate providing any sense of hope and inspiration.
But as he battles Hillary Clinton on the regular delegate count, she absolutely owns all the superdelegates--those party insiders and elders who control the party.
Her campaign is funded by the big banks and she controls the party. In essence, Hillary's campaign is single-handedly showing what I said earlier on what is wrong with Americans politics.
The democrats are anything but democratic. And that's the way they like it.
Oligarchy not a democracy
And so throughout this race, American voters are seeing what political system their country actually is--an oligarchical republic.
And because of that, many see Trump and Sanders as the anti-oligarchists against Queen Hillary, the mega-establishment candidate who pushed and rode the coattails of husband William Jefferson, including turning aside during his transgressions.
Every move she has made since decades ago has led to her current rise to power. She has said and done whatever it has taken to get here. She became a NY senator. Lost the Democrat nomination to Obama eight years ago, but became his Secretary of State for a while.
Then even after the Benghazi tragedy, confusion on emails, and a well-timed movie release, she appears unscathed.
And as crude and loud her opponents on the left and right have been, it only makes her stronger as the moderate choice of American voters, particularly women, where Trump hasn't been women or immigrant-friendly by any means.
Because of that, I have always wondered if the Don wasn't a plant by the Clintons to sour the GOP race. He did donate to their campaigns before.
When he wins the Republican nomination and she wins the Democrat, the debates will be something to watch. His crass style will surely turn off moderates. But will anti-establishment Sanders supporters flip to Trump to rally against the Clinton oligarchy? I'm not holding my breath on that.
House of Cards
This Friday, another season of House of Cards on Netflix begins. While you watch Frank Underwood, played by the brilliant Kevin Spacey, politically maneuver around the DC Beltway, pretend Underwood is actually Hillary, and then you'll see why she will win it all.
And all will be well in the American oligarchy.
at 2:35 PM
Friday, February 19, 2016
|Peter Mackay and Stephen Harper merge parties back in 2003|
Something I knew was afoot many years ago during riding nomination races and seeing bus-loads of supporters show up to the vote. And after cross-referencing, many resided from the same business address--a definite no-no.
I just wonder about the hundreds of people, who, perhaps do not have a credit card, or even a chequing account, or for someone to buy memberships via credit card on behalf of others, say your parents or kids. Will the party really be that stringent on cross-checking the name on the membership slip with the name on the Visa?
That said, this is a bold and smart move to prevent stacking a particular campaign with supposed supporters and then just paying their membership fee by cash. It's an old dirty trick that was sometimes effective. Ask what's his name... you know .. the guy who was premier of Alberta for a bit there.
However, with the $25 fee, the party may find fewer folks buying memberships on there own. I guess they would have to be rather serious and a strong supporter to do so. Maybe I'm just cynical over a $10 difference.
All that in mind, when the two sides of the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservatives (i.e. Stephen Harper and Peter Mackay) originally got together to negotiate the merging of the parties, the last point of contention was on leadership selection. Eventually the PC-side rightfully won on their point of each riding having an equal weighting based on 100 points if that riding had a least a certain number of party members. As opposed to a one member-one vote scenario. I was in favour of the PC system because like in a federal election, parliament is won by number of riding seats, not total vote and it best mimics how a federal campaign should be run--nationally. Otherwise, a leadership candidate could spend most of their time in densely populated areas and win rather than a majority of the ridings.
My point is, even with preventing the buying of memberships, say, in a pile of ridings with 1000 members each, that pile is equal to another pile of ridings with 100 members each.
How this will affect leadership candidates is too early to tell, but it will change the strategy for many who relied on mass numbers and for those who had the cash to buy mass memberships.
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
#cpc #cdnpoli #cpcldr2017 #cpcldr
It has been a long time since the CPC membership elected a leader. You'll have to go back to 2004 when Stephen Harper won the race, making this particular election 13 years since. No different, really, then when Paul Martin took the reigns from Jean Chretien.
During Harper's time, the Liberals had six leaders:
- Paul Martin (elected) - Prime Minister
- Bill Graham (interim)
- Stephane Dion (elected)
- Michael Ignatieff (elected)
- Bob Rae (interim)
- Justin Trudeau (elected) - Prime Minister
Again, no different, really, than what Chretien faced against six different conservative opposition leaders:
- Preston Manning (Reform, elected)
- Deborah Grey (Canadian Alliance, interim)
- Stockwell Day (Canadian Alliance, elected)
- John Reynolds (Canadian Alliance, interim)
- Stephen Harper (Canadian Alliance, elected)
- Grant Hill (Canadian Alliance, interim)
Stephen Harper (Conservative, elected) - Prime Minister
For this new race, the feelers have been sent out. With 16 months, that gives any hopeful enough time to build interest and momentum, fundraise, organize a national campaign team in every major city and region, and campaign.
However, if we are to consider the above pattern of opposition leaders, we could surmise, whomever wins this race, would not become prime minister, but would lose the next election in four years, spurring a new race, then again that leader not winning. It would theoretically be on the third elected leader who would have a chance at becoming prime minister.
That is not to say those who are interested should make a run for it now to get their name out there and the beginnings of a very long-term campaign organization.
But to think that Trudeau is a one-term prime minister, for a Conservative, is overly optimistic. The NDP leadership is in a vacuum and Trudeau will continue to pull from the left. Further, Chretien and Harper won three elections with their party remaining in power for about 13 years. It is not unreasonable to think history won't repeat itself and we'll see the following.
2017: Elected Leader 1
2019: Election loss
2019: Elected Leader 1 steps down. Interim leader chosen.
2021: Elected Leader 2
2023: Election loss
2023: Elected Leader 2 steps down. Interim leader chosen.
2025: Elected Leader 3
2027: Election WIN
What would be telling, and different is if the 2019 and/or 2023 elections had a minority government. Then it's difficult to say how the rest of the pattern works out, because remember, Harper lost his first election to Martin, although Martin won with a minority. Harper then won a minority. This was a long transition period for Canadians to move from Liberal dominance to a newly merged Conservative Party.
My point is, whoever is running to be leader now or later, has to play the long game, as Stephen Harper was so brilliant to achieve for his electoral success.
Monday, January 18, 2016
It's been about three months since we looked at the Conservative Party leadership
race thingy. You could say there isn't much happening other than feelers, and to be honest, I'm not feeling much here.
Let's review where the potential candidates are.
Previous cabinet ministers and current MPs (in alphabetical order):
- Rona Ambrose - Alberta -- She's the current interim leader and doing a good job as opposition leader, but has declined to run.
- Michael Chong - Ontario -- Not hearing much here.
- Tony Clement - Ontario -- Hearing a little more from this guy.
- Jason Kenney - Alberta -- I'm not hearing anything, but I'm not really paying attention to him.
- Kellie Leitch - Ontario -- Nope. Nothing.
- Rob Nicholson - Ontario -- Yeah, I dunno.
- Pierre Poilievre - Ontario -- Haven't really heard anything.
- Lisa Raitt - Ontario -- A little bit, but not much.
- Michelle Rempel - Alberta -- I'm hearing a lot from her and she's currently impressing me with her social media communication and outreach
Past cabinet ministers and past MPs:
- John Baird - Ontario -- He looked like he was about to hop in, but then he didn't.
- Maxime Bernier - Quebec -- This guy is definitely running and could win. He's currently on a speaking tour everywhere.
- Peter MacKay - Nova Scotia -- There are rumblings and it seems likely he'll jump back in.
- James Moore - British Columbia -- I'm not sure. I think he'll try, but he won't get too far.
- Brian Pallister - Manitoba -- He's busy provincially.
- Preston Manning - Alberta -- Some have mentioned to me that he could make a come back. I don't think he really wants to.
Past premiers / past federal leaders:
- Jean Charest - Quebec -- Declined.
- Bernard Lord - New Brunswick -- Declined.
- Christy Clark - British Columbia -- Too busy in B.C.
- Brad Wall - Saskatchewan -- Says he's too busy in Sask, but he could declare after the upcoming Sask election, which he'll win, so that doesn't look good jumping out of there unless he's made out to be some sort of saviour.
- Doug Ford - Toronto city councillor -- Please don't.
- Ben -- ?
- Caroline -- declined
- Mark -- declined
- Kevin O'Leary - Ontario businessman -- There are now very strong rumblings all over that he's going to "trump" all the others. Please.
- Peter Mackay - he currently leads the few polls out there by a wide margin.
- Jason Kenney
- Maxime Bernier
- Michelle Rempel
- Lisa Raitt
- Tony Clement
- Kevin O'Leary
- Doug Ford
- Kellie Leitch
- Peter Mackay - he helped create the party, was a good minister, is smart, capable, charismatic, well-known, deep party roots
- Maxime Bernier - a bit of an outsider, but has a solid libertarian-conservative vision, is charismatic
- Michelle Rempel - well-liked, capable, charismatic, and becoming more and more well-known
- Energy: Energy East Pipeline needs to happen. The East needs to depend less on foreign oil and more on Alberta/Sask. The U.S. is doing it under Obama. Why aren't we?
- Economy: Make Canada a friendly place to invest for business and individuals again, especially for Canadians within the country.
- Taxes: Restore TFSA limit to $10k as it actually does help lower and middle class folks invest for the future. Continue to reduce the income tax rates.
- Transportation: HIGH-SPEED RAIL. People said the trans-national railway in the late 19th century couldn't be built but it was, and it united the country coast to coast. No reason we can't do it again and make travelling this great country affordable without flying over most parts of it.
at 5:21 PM
Thursday, December 10, 2015
During the last lengthy election campaign, the shrill and vitriol from Dippers and Liberals about Stephen Harper went to a whole other crazy level. Claims he was undemocratic and a dictator were far-fetched considering a full democratic election occurred and his democratically lost the election.
Now, as promised by Trudeau mind you, Liberals want to introduce proportional representation.
Tasha Kheiridden wrote a good article on why the preferential ballot method of proportional representation doesn't properly represent the people. She writes:
In the recent federal election, this would have benefited the Liberals significantly, because Liberal and NDP voters were more likely to name each other as their preferred second choice. In contrast, most Conservative supporters had no second choice, which means their votes would have been counted once, and if they didn’t achieve the magic 50%-plus-one mark, dropped out of the equation altogether. The Council of Canadians published a simulation run by ThreeHundredEight.com, based on the 2015 results and found that under a ranked ballot, the Liberals would have elected 224 members instead of 184; the Conservatives, 61 vs. 99; the NDP, 50 vs. 44; the Bloc 2 vs. 10. Only the Greens would have obtained the same result: 1.
Preferential or ranked ballots thus don’t create a more proportional system; if anything, they tend to increase the proportion of seats taken by the dominant party. And in a country like Canada, where there are three parties, one on the left, one in the centre and one on the right, it is most likely that in any election, the second choice of either “extreme” would be the middle, not each other — thus entrenching successive Liberal governments.The Trudeau Liberal government appears to be moving forward with this dangerous proposal without putting such a sweeping change to our democracy and society to the people in a referendum.
Or is that too undemocratic?
at 3:07 PM
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Earlier this year, no one would have thought carbon-rich Alberta would ever bring in a carbon tax.
Not even the NDP thought it.
So much so, they didn't even put it in their election platform. Why? Because they knew Albertans wouldn't buy it. Well, centrist Albertans who were tired of the PCs and wanted change. But they never thought Rachel Notley would ever bring in carbon tax.
With the Keystone XL pipeline nixed by President Obama, TransCanada turned around and laid off a whole pile of people. Enbridge just did the same thing.
She knows the NDP only have one shot at this over the next four years with a majority government. Because I just don't see how they'll get elected again with the way the economy is, the job losses, the energy sector decline, the lack of investment, and mounting debt.
Yes, the price of oil is low, so wouldn't you think of trying to help businesses and consumers reinvest in the economy by not taking more money away from them?
Well, except for the government party. Few know one of the first things NDP MLAs did was give themselves a fancy 7% raise.
Premier Notley now says the average Albertan won't feel the pinch of the carbon tax. This raises pump prices, which for shipping and other logistics, the costs get passed on to the consumer. Food prices will go up--well, pretty much everything.
For the first time in my life living in this province, and I'm sure many of you do now, I feel like this is Dis-Advantage Alberta.
All the while, nothing will change with climate change, except maybe more Albertans will seek a change in scenery.
at 3:18 PM
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
#cdnpoli . I have been watching intently how newly-minted Justin Trudeau has been conducting himself and his words at the G20.
I'm conflicted on whether it is appropriate for him to have G20 bureau-gawkers take selfies with him, but at the same time, he is connecting with people from around the world. This brings emotion, which is not such a bad thing. The attacks against him saying he wasn't at the big boys' table but instead having these photos taken is not true.
He did, in fact, speak with President Obama, and then Vladimir Putin as well, where I was most impressed with his confronting him on telling the Russian President to cease operations in Ukraine and vehemently showing Canada's support of that country. That puts to rest those Internet memes about not being able to do that.
On whether Canada should continue bombing ISIL using the old and decrepit CF-18 fighter jets is another matter. Few know that the bombing will continue until March 2016. Honestly, wouldn't that be enough? Along with France, the U.S., and Russia, being involved there, does Canada really need to be doing the bombing?
I also liked his comment that our national security approach already in motion isn't going to change and ramp up further because of the Paris terrorist attacks. Remember that the Liberals in opposition were in support of Bill C51 on security, but they appear to be wanting to amend it.
But to continue to support the coalition war on ISIL, Trudeau has now pledged ground forces to help train Northern Iraqis to defeat ISIL. I'm not so sure about this being effective, as many ISIL members are former Iraqi and Syrian forces themselves, but it still keeps Canada "at the big boys table".
On the Trudeau government wanting to process 25,000 Syrian refugees by January 1st is a very tall order and Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has asked the Prime Minister to hold off on that while Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said her province can take in a few thousand.
It is easy to cut off refugees when the allegations against them are that these terrorists were among those fleeing Syria. From what I've read, this is not true and the terrorists' passports were fake, but were instead from Europe, one particularly from Belgium. So, my knee-jerk approach will not give-in to fear here. The refugees are fleeing from these very terrorists.
And of course there are the usual ignorant masses who blame Islam in general for these terrorists. For terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and ISIL, they constitute less than 0.01% of all Muslims. So put your broadstroke back in your pocket and note the countless Islamic groups and Imams who have condemned these attacks. And don't ever forget the hundreds of thousands of Muslims who have been killed by terrorist attacks either.
For Trudeau, Canada appears to be returning to the usual Liberal middle-power approach on international issues. This means we are not going to be necessarily leading as much as it did with Harper, who, despite the campaign b.s., garnered much reputation for Canada as it continued to try and punch above its weight as was remembered during the World Wars and the Korea War.
I think Canadians can live with us being somewhat participatory in fighting ISIL, but not full-out like France is now engaged in.
But would that change if the unthinkable happened?
at 1:07 PM