NDP also seeks ice-time with voters

I was forwarded this email by a friend of mine who is on the mailing list of the Jack Layton Party (my sarcastic comments are in bold):

Dear Canadian hockey fan, (hey, that’s me!)

The final round has begun — and Canadians from coast to coast have been captivated by the story of an underdog (parallel to be drawn soon) team that has exceeded early expectations, faced off against tough opponents, and is now poised for a success that few had foreseen. (where is this going?)

Oh, and the Calgary Flames are in the final round of the Stanley Cup playoffs (oh, he was talking about the NDP! Genius!)

I want to tell you how excited we are to have this election finally underway. With Jack Layton (this guy has idol status in his party, but is generally unknown nationally) as our team captain (groan), the NDP is off to a great start! Our message of new ideas and positive energy (blaming Paul Martin for killing homeless people may not qualify as “positive energy”) is scoring big points (I like hockey!) with the Canadian public. Now we urgently need your support so we can continue to turn up the heat. (Flames are hot… with me so far? Cause here comes the empty netter)

Click here to make an online donation to support the NDP election campaign.

On Saturday night we’re going to hit the airwaves in a big way (wow!), when we launch our new TV ad on the CBC broadcast of Game 3 of the Stanley Cup playoffs from Calgary. We’re going to reach the biggest Canadian audience ever with our vision of new hope and a Canada where no one gets left behind.

It’s expensive, yes, (it would get even more expensive with Jack as PM) but like the Calgary Flames, we’re giving everything we’ve got (I’m getting teary-eyed). And we have to. The other parties are pouring million of dollars ([sic]) into their own radio and TV campaigns.

I hope you’re ready to go the distance with us, and that you’ll give us the support we need to keep our positive momentum going. Please click here to make a secure online donation today (if they win the election, this won’t be the last time they ask you to open your wallets).

Sincerely,

Bruce Cox

Campaign Director

Canada’s NDP

p.s. Don’t forget to watch for our TV ad on Saturday night’s game (wasn’t this the main point of this very short letter?). And don’t forget that we need your support to continue getting our message to as many Canadians as possible.

I sometimes don’t know if the NDP approaches their communications in a “fun” way but whenever I read any release by the NDP to the electorate, I feel as though Jack Layton thinks that, as a voter, I’m dumb. The Jack Layton Party uses catchphrases so we can all better understand complicated issues like Adscam and the economy.

Daily Video Roundup

Paul Martin’s plan for cities meets skepticism (video)

Stephen Harper speaks in Saskatoon (video) part 1

Stephen Harper speaks in Saskatoon (video) part 2

John Crosbie and Shiela Copps go head to head, again (video)

Gagliano sues Paul Martin

Stephen Harper says that Paul Martin would continue to prevent Atlantic Canada from flourishing economically (video)

Low Blow

Jack Layton ratcheted up the rhetoric a notch yesterday when he declared that Paul Martin is directly responsible for the death of homeless people in Toronto.

“I believe that when Paul cancelled affordable housing across this country it produced a dramatic rise in homelessness and death due to homelessness. I’ve always said I hold him responsible for that.” — Jack Layton, Leader of the Jack Layton Party (the NDP)

Paul Martin says it’s a low blow and says that Mr. Layton’s comments reflect more upon Mr. Layton than they do upon him. Stephen Harper says that Layton’s comments were over the top.

This is not the first time that Layton has politicized dead homeless people against the Liberals. I remember watching a waterfront announcement by Liberal incumbent Dennis Mills (who, by the way, is running against Layton for the same seat). The press conference was upstaged by a throng of ‘activists’ making lots of noise. One reporter immediately suspected a Layton stunt and asked one woman about it. Her response? “Jack Layton? I don’t know uh… PEOPLE ARE DYING IN THE STREETS”. This woman not only yelled it, she howled it. Mills’ response to the demonstration? He calmly tried to explain that the money has been earmarked for the homeless, it just has to go through the bureaucracy first.

The stunt was particularly obvious and particularly sickening.

The issue of homelessness is concerning to everyone, yet there is a forum for constructive debate of the issues. Jack Layton’s brand of guerrilla activism and outlandish personal attacks debases not only the issue of homelessness, but also the very people at the centre of it.

Martin’s top adviser gave advice on McGuinty budget

Team Martin will find it difficult to distance itself from Team McGuinty’s controversial budget and tax increase according to reports from the Toronto Star.

Robert Benzie reports that the McGuinty’s people hired top Martin adviser, David Herle, to do pre-polling and give advice on a budget which handed down the first tax increase in Ontario in about 10 years.

According to one senior Liberal insider:

“The McGuinty Liberals knew that the budget had to contain tough measures. They also knew they’d receive complaints about those measures from their federal cousins… So they made the smart strategic move of hiring Martin’s campaign co-chair to work for them… On the subject of health premiums and breaking (election) promises, Paul Martin’s closest adviser said: ‘Go ahead and do it.’

McGuinty and Martin both play for “Team Liberal” and Martin’s top adviser gave advice to break Liberal election promises.

While Paul Martin may say that Harper “wants to do to Canada what Mike Harris did to Ontario, which is cut taxes prematurely, then have to cut social services to pay for them and leave the province very heavily indebted.”, Andrew Coyne notes:

“In the immediate aftermath of the McGuinty budget, Martin tried to turn it to his advantage, saying in effect, Mike Harris made him do it, owing to his “premature” tax cuts. The suggestion was that Harper’s tax cuts would force some future PM to do the same thing. Yet it’s just statistically untrue that Harris starved Ontario of revenues: The Harris government collected more revenues, even as a percentage of GDP, than either of its predecessors, and more than any government in Ontario history in real dollars per capita. You can look it up:

Average Revenues/GDP, fiscal years 1986-1995 (ie Liberal and NDP gov’ts): 14.6%

Average Revenues/GDP, fiscal years 1996-2004 (ie Conservative gov’ts I & II): 14.7%”

Vote Stephen Harper and you get fiscal conservatism. If you vote Paul Martin, which of his promises will be broken? (or “abandoned” as that is now the Liberal party’s preferred euphemism)

We interrupt politics to bring you hockey, sort of

It seems that both the Conservatives and the Liberals, like most of us outside of Calgary, are jumping on the Calgary Flames bandwagon. I, for one, can include myself in this group of fans eager to see Lord Stanley’s Cup returned home for the first time in 11 years. A solid performance by the Flames was cheered by all tonight as they confidently pummeled the Lightning 4-1.

My favourite political laugh of the day came from, of all place, the San Francisco Chronicle:

Calgary Flames President Ken King’s cell phone rang in the final minutes of the playoff-series clincher over the Sharks. He was told it was Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, calling to congratulate the first Canadian team to make the Stanley Cup Finals in a decade. According to the Canadian Press, King responded, “Yeah, I’m Daffy Duck and I’ve got a hockey game to watch here,” and hung up. (The PM did call back.)

Ahem, we now return you to regularly scheduled Stanley Cup Final (and politicizing thereof)

Conservative.ca under pressure

It seems as though the website of the Conservative Party of Canada is experience a flood of hits and is struggling to make itself seen to visitors. Also, my hit counter says that I’m getting a lot of visitors looking for information on the “Conservative Party of Canada” so I’ve decided to mirror the most important information while the IT guys and girls down at headquarters add some more servers to carry the heavy load.

The Issues

Accountable Government
Accountable government is a pretty simple idea. It means putting Canadians’ interests first. It means taking responsibility for the past. A Conservative government will hold accountable those who waste, misuse or mismanage public funds. And we will do more. A Conservative government will be accountable for the promises we make and the actions we take. Demand Better. Demand accountable government.

Controlling Spending
Government waste affects all of us. The billions wasted on the long-gun registry, the HRDC boondoggle and the Sponsorship program could have gone into priorities such as health care, lower taxes, or our military. A Conservative government will control wasteful and corrupt spending. We will put money into your priorities. Demand Better. Demand an end to wasteful spending.

Access to Health Care
Canadians depend on our public system of health care. That’s why the Conservative Party supported the federal-provincial Health Accord. A Conservative government will cooperate with the provinces to ensure adequate funding, shorter waiting lists, and more doctors and nurses. We will improve access to health care for all Canadians, regardless of ability to pay. Demand Better. Demand improved access to health care.

Tax Relief
The Liberal government is collecting about $1,500 more in taxes per Canadian than it did ten years ago. That is an annual $6,000 increase for a family of four. Ask yourself, are you getting more value for that money? Should taxes stay this high when the government is wasting so much? We believe the answer to these questions is No. That’s why The Conservative Party will reduce your taxes. Demand Better. Demand tax relief.

Supporting our Canadian Forces
They do us proud. Whether serving here at home or on peacekeeping missions abroad, Canada’s military is a great source of pride. But unfortunately, pride is not enough. The Liberals are starving our armed forces. A Conservative government will invest in our military and provide them with the quality equipment they need to achieve the difficult tasks we ask of them. Demand Better. Demand support for our military.

Lower Taxes
The Conservative Party will fight for tax relief. We will work for lower and fairer taxes for hardworking Canadians and their families.

Support for our Canadian Forces
The Conservative Party will fight for our armed forces. We will ensure our armed forces are properly funded and equipped to do the difficult and dangerous work we ask of them.

Safe Communities
The Conservative Party will fight to reduce crime and violence. We will scrap the long-gun registry and redirect the money to law enforcement.

Canadians on Fixed Incomes
The Conservative Party will fight for low-income Canadians. We will increase support for Canadians on fixed incomes, including seniors, who face rising costs of living.

Investing in Infrastructure
The Conservative Party will fight for infrastructure investments. We will redirect federal gas taxes into roads and other critical infrastructure.

Access to Higher Education
The Conservative Party will fight for students. We will modernize the student loan program to help students overcome the financial barriers to education and training.

Definition of Marriage
The Conservative Party will fight to give a greater voice to Parliament. We will ensure that issues like marriage are decided by parliament, not the courts.

Canada’s Place in the World
The Conservative Party will fight for Canada’s national interest. We will stand with our allies and international bodies against terrorism and for the basic values of freedom and democracy.

Auditor General
The Conservative Party will fight for accountable spending. We will give the Auditor General an expanded role to root out waste and mismanagement, and we will act on her recommendations.

Support for Agriculture
The Conservative Party will fight for farmers. We will protect farmers against conditions outside their control and vigorously defend them in international trade negotiations.

Defending our Fisheries
The Conservative Party will fight for our fisheries. We will decentralize fisheries decision-making and ensure that EI provides adequate income protection in case of job loss.

Immigrant Credentials
The Conservative party will fight for immigrants. We will work to ensure speedier recognition of foreign credentials and prior work experience.

Cleaner Environment
The Conservative Party will fight for a clean environment. We will propose workable solutions to make Canada a world leader in clean air, clean water and clean land.

Protecting Children
The Conservative Party will fight for our children. We will replace the Liberal’s “public good” defense for child pornography with a zero tolerance policy.

Canada – US Relations
The Conservative Party will fight for our primary producers in trade disputes. We will stand shoulder to shoulder with the US when we can so that we can sit eyeball to eyeball when we must.

Harper speaks for and with Québec

harpermontreal.jpgThe Harper Express pulled into Montreal yesterday to address a crowd of about 500 people in a downtown hotel.

Harper underlined one of the key points of conservatism which is the even and fair distribution of power to the provinces. Yet, the preservation of the French language across Canada, in all of its federal institutions will be maintained.

You have my word. A government led by Stephen Harper will always believe that French in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada is a national priority.” — Stephen Harper, leader of the Conservative Party of Canada

The voters of Québec are seeking to dethrone the Liberals after sponsorship scandal has unfairly cast a shadow over that province. The voters there rightly believe that it is rather a Liberal scandal instead of a Québec scandal. However, the electorate is looking towards their usual voice of protest, the Bloc Québecois. Many Quebeckers are torn over how best to boot the arrogant Liberal party from office. The Bloc still maintains sovereignty as a principal policy position, yet many voters, who believe in Canada, see that party as the only viable option for removing the Liberal party from power.

Indeed, voters in Quebec are voting against the Liberals rather than voting for the Bloc. Gilles Duceppe remarked that while the Bloc cannot form the government, elections aren’t about win or lose; elections are about voters voting for people to represent constituents. Sovereignty is a dead topic in Quebec and Quebeckers may come to realize that their issues are being addressed and their values defended by Stephen Harper. Therefore, voters in that province may just vote for their true voice of opposition to the Liberals in Canada: the Conservative Party of Canada.

New Conservative website

conservativefront.jpgThe new Conservative website went live today.

It has a clean and professional look and has a tabbed feature which allows rapid access to the most important information on the website: headlines, issues, “blog”, and calendar.

Most of the website is blue and feature red accents, however, the solid Liberal-red button “refer a friend” seems to pop off the page.

I was glad to see that the party didn’t stick with the old amateurish version of the site and instead replaced it with this very professional version.

ndpfront.jpgOn a side note, it seems as though the NDP has headed in the opposite direction: their website looked great before. What happened? It looks like an Irish clown vomited HTML and the head of Jack Layton.

Harper in Brockville

Stephen Harper kicked off his campaign today by visiting Brockville Ontario at the centre of a riding which went Liberal in 2000 by 58 votes (the pain of that defeat was compounded conservative vote splitting). Indeed, a good place to begin: here’s a riding in which the Conservatives should win.

I was in attendance helping out with the Kingston and the Islands candidate, Blair MacLean, who was introduced at the event along with four other Conservative candidates from the area. Included among these candidates was Gord Brown, the candidate for this very winnable riding of Leeds-Grenville.

Harper’s speech underlined the platform effectively, focusing on government accountability, the gun registry and healthcare.

Other notable: when the members of the media arrived in their bus, a few of them immediately crossed the street to photograph and interview the eight people, most likely sent by the Liberal incumbent, to protest the Conservative gathering. I remarked to one journalist that the real story that they wanted was over on our side of the street as the large crowd behind shook their heads angrily at the disproportionate attention given to the obvious Liberal plants.

Other notable II: I met Paul Wells when he was hanging out in the parking lot killing time before the campaign event got under way. We talked a bit about the campaign, the campaign bus, and what he would expect from Harper’s speech. He also told me that he saw my Liberal Monopoly spoof via Andrew Coyne and told me that Coyne should be back blogging soon enough (he’s working on a book right now).

Other notable III: During his speech, Harper remarked that the Liberal incumbant of Leeds-Grenville is an Elvis impersonator. Harper then went on to impersonate the impersonator (to Heartbreak Hotel) “since my voters left me…” I gasped as he raised one eyebrow and started singing that line as I thought I was witnessing the beginning and the end of the Conservative campaign all rolled into one. But the impression elicited loud cheers from the crowd (and some nervous applause from his support team), so I guess he pulled it off.

It finally happened

Paul Martin called the election.

The writ was dropped at about 1:30pm EST today in Ottawa as the Paul Martin asked Governor General Adrienne Clarkson to dissolve the 37th Parliament and to set an election for June 28th.

Paul Martin wasted no time in defining what he believes will be the ballot box question: What kind of Canada do you want?

Martin assumes that to be Canadian, one has to be a member of the Liberal party. Again, the Prime Minister tried to instill fear into Canadians about what Canada would be like under Stephen Harper instead of appealing to their hopes as to what any politician could do to benefit Canada.

Actually, it was all rather boring and this may indeed be indicative of the Liberal strategy: Drop the writ during the long weekend, when nobody is paying attention, for an election date during everyone’s summer vacation.

The polls have been bad and perhaps the Liberals want us to just relax, take it easy, and forget that anything bad happened at all.

However, Stephen Harper, Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe were hardly silent today.

“After all the scandals, after 10 years of broken promises, after bad Liberal governments in B.C., Quebec and Ontario, people are asking themselves: ‘Do Paul Martin’s Liberals really deserve another four years?'” — Jack Layton, leader of the NDP

“There is a stark contrast between the Liberal Party and Bloc Québécois, but the choice is clear, Jean Chrétien’s Liberals and Martin’s Liberals have never hesitated to undermine the Quebec difference…the Bloc Québécois has demonstrated a determination to protect the Quebec difference” — Gilles Duceppe, leader of the Block Québecois

“You know in this country you can be Canadian without being a Liberal. The government seems to forget that. That’s why they need to be defeated. It’s that kind of arrogance that leads to the waste, mismanagement and corruption that we’ve seen. Martin must answer for the sponsorship scandal, the bloated gun registry and other wasted billions” — Stephen Harper, leader of the Conservative Party of Canada