Paul Martin finally issues a statement

Perhaps realizing that issuing a form letter statement from a government department might be a little cold, Paul Martin finally issued a statement from the PMO this afternoon (5:45pm).

“Like all Canadians, I am distressed by the destruction and loss of life wrought by Hurricane Katrina. On behalf of the Government of Canada and all Canadians, I offer our sincere condolences to the American people. During this most difficult time, Canada stands with you, and we are ready to provide whatever support you may require in the days, weeks and months ahead.

Even before the enormity of the devastation became clear, I asked Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan to lead the Government of Canada’s response to any requests for assistance. We are continuing to monitor the situation closely. I know that she and a number of her Cabinet colleagues have been in touch with their American counterparts and have begun to determine what assistance Canada can offer. We have made it clear that we are prepared to offer any and all possible assistance, and we will continue to work closely with our neighbours as they deal with this terrible event.”

Doesn’t the last paragraph leave you with the sense that felt that it was necessary to explain his lack of a response before now?

Better late than never…

Finding vs. looting – press bias

Here’s some press bias for your Wednesday afternoon. Let’s compare two similar situations.

findingvslooting1.jpg findingvslooting2.jpg

(h/t)

That bread’s going to go bad anyways and these people will likely need it. Both are looting, yet justifiable in this dire situation. Perhaps some clarification is necessary.

For example, your family can’t eat that looted television:

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This is the looting that the press is looking for:

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Hurricane Katrina – Canadian response

After the most costly natural disaster in American history and certainly the most tragic event that has faced Americans at home in the past few years, how do Canada’s political leaders respond?

Conservative Party of Canada leader Stephen Harper:

“On behalf of the Conservative Party of Canada I would like to express our sympathy to all the victims and their families of Hurricane Katrina. As my wife Laureen and I watched news reports of the disaster with our children we were shocked by the magnitude of their loss.
As Leader of the Opposition, I extend our support and offer of any assistance that we can provide. Natural disasters such as this remind us that when our close friends and neighbours are in trouble we, as Canadians, are always ready to help out.” — Stephen Harper [link]

NDP leader Jack Layton:

Still no statement at this time [UPDATE 8/31 ~6pm]

Prime Minister of Canada and Liberal Party of Canada leader Paul Martin:

Still no statement at this time [UPDATE]

Apparently, the Prime Minister’s appointment of both his lawyer and his secretary to the Senate merits a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, yet when crisis hits our American friends, no statement.

If we dig a little deeper, we find a statement from a department of the Government of Canada written by a staffer which quotes Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Anne McLellan.

Where’s Paul Martin?

New Political Blogging Tool: MP Blog Tracker

mp-blog-tracker-header.jpg

I’ve been working on a new tool that ranks Canadian MPs by the buzz that they’ve generated in the blogosphere.

Technorati is a website that tracks over 16.2 million blogs (at the time of this writing). The difference between a search engine such as Technorati and Google is that Technorati indexes posts as they happen. Therefore, the website provides a live look at the current buzz surrounding any query.

I’ve written a program that queries Technorati’s search engine with the names of each of the 302 currently sitting MPs. The program receives the number of posts that discusses each MP and then sorts them in descending order.

I’m still tweaking the program, but so far, the results are quite intriguing.

The top 40 MPs by blogosphere buzz (# posts as of 5am this morning):
1. Paul Martin 19103
*. John Williams 9153
2. Stephen Harper 8354
*. Michael Savage 3912
3. Jack Layton 2957
4. Belinda Stronach 2737
*. David Smith 1982
5. Bill Graham 1401
6. Carolyn Parrish 1280
*. Richard Harris 1251
7. Peter MacKay 1251
8. Ujjal Dosanjh 1100
9. David Anderson 1081
10. Irwin Cotler 1025
11. Gilles Duceppe 984
12. Gurmant Grewal 919
13. Anne McLellan 902
*. Derek Lee 882
14. Pierre Pettigrew 812
15. Ralph Goodale 791
16. Stockwell Day 745
17. Judy Sgro 727
*. James Moore 725
18. Joe Volpe 670
19. Scott Brison 652
20. David Kilgour 645
21. Monte Solberg 595
*. Tony Martin 581
22. Andy Scott 484
23. John Reynolds 480
24. Larry Miller 467
25. Keith Martin 466
26. John McKay 465
27. Ken Dryden 448
28. Scott Reid 448
29. Jean Lapierre 434
30. Jason Kenney 430
31. Ed Broadbent 325
32. John Duncan 306
33. Tony Valeri 285
34. Randy White 268
35. David Emerson 264
36. Liza Frulla 255
37. Jim Peterson 249
38. Pat Martin 235
39. Joe Comuzzi 231
40. John Godfrey 229

* I’ve dropped a few names out of the list for various reasons (John Williams is a world-famous movie score composer, Michael Savage is a polarizing radio host in the US, David Smith is a very common name, Richard Harris was Dumbledore in the Harry Potter movies etc.). I’m not sure how to refine the results for these MPs without biasing the entire methodology (ie. adding “MP” reduces the number of results for both David Smith and Belinda Stronach).

I’m going to add to the program so that results are gathered on a weekly basis and results will be compared on a weekly/monthly/yearly basis to determine the MPs that are rising in the blogosphere.

Another interesting note is that the popularity of an MP’s name in the blogosphere is not entirely desirable. Scandal is more often buzz-worthy than praise as Carolyn Parrish, Ujjal Dosanjh and Gurmant Grewal are all familiar with this.

I’m also going to be playing with a few extensions to this idea, such as tracking election issues and future leadership contenders (such as Michael Ignatieff).

A CBC poll? Interesting results!

You can almost hear the rush of right-wing punditry rushing to cover this story posted on CTV.ca today. In fact, Ravishing Light and ALW have already weighed in.

In a poll conducted by Decima Research, the effect of the CBC lockout was gauged on a random sample of about 1000 people. Here are the numbers:
61% – no effect on their lives
27% – minor inconvenience
10% – A major inconvenience

Particularly fun are the reports admissions of the political implications surrounding the lockout.

“The poll is powerful ammunition for CBC critics who resent the broadcaster’s yearly taxpayer contribution of more than $900 million.”

The number is precisely $933 million. This is the money that comes in, every year to a network that only really serves 10% of a captive population. Here’s a chart showing how much the CBC takes in from the government (ie. the taxpayer), year after year.

cbc-funding-time.jpg

That’s almost $1 Billion a year. Ask CTV/Global/CHUM how much they similarly receive from the government. Should this crown corporation be competing with the private sector?

Both CTV News and Global National News reported related audience boosts. (due to the lockout)

Another interesting and not at all surprising fact was uncovered by the poll:

Those who said they were most inconvenienced by the lockout tended to be Liberal and NDP voters or older people, the poll found. Most other respondents said they had not been affected.

From the other side of the political debate comes Ian Morrison of the association called “Friends of Canadian Broadcasting” with a threat.

“The impact will be much greater if the lockout extends into October when Hockey Night in Canada and other programs typically attract millions of viewers”. — Ian Morrison

For the 10% of the Canadian population that have had their lives turned upside down, rest assured that if hockey doesn’t end the lockout, the Corpse will be back on the air before the election.

Stephen Harper shows leadership on softwood – Where’s Paul Martin?

If you’ve ever had the feeling that Paul Martin is a reluctant leader, (save his decade-long campaign to replace Chretien), if you’ve ever thought that he’d take a poll to figure out whether he likes butter or margarine on his white or whole wheat toast or bagel in the morning, your suspicions can be confirmed yet again.

Q: Where is the PM on softwood?

A: He’s watching as Stephen Harper steps up and provides tips on how to be a Prime Minister.

On US Ambassador David Wilkins declaring that the US would ignore a NAFTA ruling in favour of Canada, Harper said,

“I think the U.S. ambassador is way out of line … But a big part of the reason this has happened is the Liberal government has allowed communications with the Americans to break down entirely … The prime minister should be calling the president. He should be calling him now to make sure this is being dealt with at the highest levels … Canada has to be prepared to take a strong stand. But we also have to keep lines of communication open. It’s very difficult to have influence when you allow a relationship to break down … I don’t think there should be negotiation. I think the prime minister should call the president directly and I think he should indicate what measures Canada is prepared to take and what they could do together to move this situation forward. It’s up to the prime minister first of all to get in contact with the president to get the ball rolling.”

If you ever wanted leadership, there it is.

Paul Martin? He’s probably “very, very, something, something”…

Where’s Paul Martin’s leadership? Martin has not indicated whether or not the Liberal government will negotiate with the Americans. However, as Harper explains, this might be difficult due to our perennially contrarian stance with the Americans. One of Stephen Harper’s favourite talking points is that “we must stand shoulder to shoulder with the Americans in order to see eye to eye with them when me must”.

According to the National Post, Martin has explained that he’ll call the President “after the Liberal government has finished talking to the provinces and members of the softwood industry” and after looking “for further input and support from the negotiators of the original 1989 free trade agreement, including former Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney.”

The softwood lumber industry has been waiting a long time for answers and Paul Martin is still not prepared to give them. Stephen Harper is the only federal leader providing true leadership and he’s the only one that is standing up for Canadians.

Where’s Paul Martin? – Put this button on your blog

The Conservative Party has a new mini web campaign called “Where’s Paul Martin” and it contrasts Stephen Harper’s extensive summer tour with Paul Martin’s relative absence.

I’ve created this button that you can use to link to the Conservative website’s Paul Martin feature. If you can, copy it to your own server and link it to the following address:

http://www.conservative.ca/EN/other_stories/paul_martin_%96_missing_the_action/

Or, just use the following code:

<a href=”http://www.conservative.ca/EN/other_stories/paul_martin_%96_missing_the_action/”>
<img src=”http://www.stephentaylor.ca/archives/wheresmartin.gif”></a>

LSS Podcast – Tasha Kheiriddin

I’ve been neglectful of my podcasting duties! There are a few more podcasts from Peter Jaworski’s Liberty Summer Seminar to release and this one is at the foundation of the conservative movement as Tasha Kheiriddin discusses the infrastructure of liberty. This Ontario director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation is co-writing a book with fellow Blogging Tory Adam Daifallah on establishing and supporting conservative/libertarian foundations in this country. The book is called Rescuing Canada’s Right and will no doubt be intensely promoted on Blogging Tories when it is released.

You can get the podcast by subscribing to the Blogging Tories podcast feed (instructions are here)

Or, you can download and listen to the audio file directly