The latest polling data and what it may mean

Today, SES research in its daily rolling poll indicates that the Conservatives and the Liberals are statistically tied in the wake of the news of the RCMP criminal investigation into the apparent leak on income trusts.

The poll shows the Liberals at 35%, the Conservatives at 34% and the NDP at 14% with a 3.1% margin of error. Thus a virtual tie exists between the two front runners.

Is this good news or bad news for the Conservatives? It could be bad news if the Conservatives break through this early. During the 2004 campaign, soft NDP support became anxious when the news media (and Stephen Harper) predicted that a “Conservative Majority” was in sight.

But this time has been different for the Conservatives as they’ve been running a policy heavy campaign, floating real and positive ideas to the Canadian voting public. Most importantly, the campaign has been one for positive change in lieu of one that demanded that Canadians punish the Liberals. Over the first half of this campaign, the Conservatives were on a daily mission to remove every single rational reason that Canadians could think of to not cast a Tory ballot on January 23rd.

Meanwhile, the Liberals have been running a catchup campaign responding to Conservative announcements and losing media attention when they present their also-ran policy. Further, as many observers have noted, perhaps a significant element of the Grit campaign was to wait and let Stephen Harper shoot himself in the foot. You almost thought that they expected the Conservative leader to take the bait over the handgun ban. However, the Conservatives handled the announcement with agility as they pointed out that the ban had been effectively on the books since the 1930s. Police chiefs and victims of gun-related crime also lambasted the Liberals on the shallow policy.

Here we are in late December at the end of the first half of the campaign. Paul Martin must feel like a kid who thought he could study from old exams and pull it off at the last minute. However, the test is a lot different this time and Mr. Martin must feel like he’s got a lot of cramming to do.

Now, as the Liberals team are facing scandal after scandal (the most recent being the RCMP investigation of the income trusts), the Liberals will find it difficult to offer anything positive while they fend off what could turn out to be a mini-Adscam during the final half of the campaign.

In fact, the Liberals will also find it difficult to go negative against Stephen Harper while the Canadian electorate perceives a completely different situation unfold in front of them in the news media.

Paul Martin and his team are panicking at this stage of the campaign while the Conservatives must be breathing easier as they can take comfort in having run a clean and professional campaign thus far.

Will the polling number give voters a reason to pause? And if they do pause, will it be to see a scandal-plagued Liberal campaign that has run off the track? Will Canadians instead see a Conservative minority government as a real possibility and become accustomed to this idea over the next few weeks. If they do – and this is highly speculative – we might see a late-breaking trend: bleeding Liberal support going NDP to hold the Conservatives to account.

You don’t need to be a pollster to see that the Conservatives have gained momentum whereas the Liberals have clearly lost it.

Becoming a judge in Ralph Goodale’s Saskatchewan (updated)

Ralph Goodale is one of those cabinet ministers from the West that Paul Martin believes that by mere appointment will do much to mitigate western alienation.

Appointing Ralph Goodale also keeps the Liberal light flickering in Saskatchewan. Remember that Goodale was the Leader of the Saskatchewan Liberal Party from 1981-1988 and during this time he was the only Liberal MLA elected (in 1986).

Would you be surprised to find out that almost all federal judges appointed from Saskatchewan are Liberal Party donors?

I’d say I was, but I’m coming to understand Liberal methodology.

Click image of table to enlarge

While the Liberal Party has been largely shut out of provincial and federal politics, one has to wonder why the federal judges appointed from Saskatchewan do not necessarily reflect the voting patterns of the people from that province.

Here are breakdowns of the donations by party from the federally appointed judges in Saskatchewan since 1993.

The Hon. Mr. Justice R. Dennis Maher

The Hon. Mr. Justice Dennis P. Ball

The Hon. Mr. Justice Frederick John Kovach

The Hon. Mr. Justice Gerald M. Kraus

The Hon. Mr. Justice Noel S. Sandomirsky

The Hon. Madam Justice Donna L. Wilson

The Hon. Mr. Justice Ted C. Zarzeczny

The Hon. Mr. Justice Guy A.J. Chicoine

The Hon. Madam Justice Lynn B. MacDonald

The Hon. Mr. Justice Gerald Norman Allbright

The Hon. Mr. Justice Grant M. Currie

The Hon. Madam Justice Mona Lynn Dovell

The Hon. Mr. Justice Peter Foley

The Hon. Mr. Justice J. Duane Koch

The Hon. Madam Justice Jacelyn Ann Ryan-Froslie

The Hon. Madam Justice Gene Anne Smith

The Hon. Mr. Justice R. Shawn Smith

The Hon. Madam Justice Ysanne G.K. Wilkinson

The Hon. Madam Justice Mary Ellen Rose Wright

The Hon. Madam Justice Jennifer Louise Garvey Pritchard

I don’t know if I find it odd or maddening when I hear Canadian Liberal friends complain about how the “balance” on the US supreme court is in jeopardy because of George W. Bush’s appointments.

In Canada we have no such balance (even to upset by one judge). In Canada, we haven’t anything close to balance. Do Conservatives even apply to law school when faced with such job advancement statistics?

In Canada, most of us celebrate diversity. I hope that one day we can celebrate diversity of thought.

CBC covering up for Goodale?

By now, most of us have heard that the RCMP is investigating Ralph Goodale’s income trust announcement.

Here’s the letter that set off the news-storm addressed to NDP finace critic Judy Wasylycia-Leis from the RCMP.

I just received an email from a concerned conservative in Ralph Goodale’s riding and he details suspicious behaviour from the state-run broadcaster:

CBC National News with Peter Mansbridge gets introduced on the broadcast originating in Regina tonight at 10 pm. Mansbridge begins his intro of the lead story – the Ralph Goodale RCMP Investigation.

No sooner has Mansbridge begun, but commercials start running instead. This goes on for several minutes, returning to the feed only when reporter Caroline Dunn is wrapping up her report.

Mansbridge moves to an interview with Goodale. Less than a minute into the interview, commercials start running again, returning to the feed only at the very end of the interview.

After this, there are no other broadcast problems.

Now, occasionally, we do get the Winnipeg or Calgary feed accidentally, so something might have happened accidentally. However, any CBC feed in Winnipeg would have been showing the same thing as Regina (CBC National News), and any CBC feed from Calgary would not be broadcasting commercials from 2 minutes until 6 or 7 minutes after the top of the hour. That’s when you run compellling content to grab viewers.

The obvious conclusion is that it was a deliberate move by someone inside the CBC Broadcast Centre in Regina (where Ralph has friends) to ensure the biggest story of Ralph Goodale’s political career was not broadcast into his own riding.

I smell a rat…

UPDATE: In a followup email:

the 11 pm broadcast is on right now. So far, it’s been OK. But the bulk of the audience is at 10 pm.

Blogging Tories celebrates one year online

One year ago today, Craig Smith and I put our resources and know-how together and started Blogging Tories, the original partisan blogroll community in the Canadian blogosphere. Since then, our model has been ported over to other sections of the political blogosphere as other partisan groups formed blogging communities to catch-up, and to respond.

It’s been an interesting year as Blogging Tories has become the hub for many whom have felt disenfranchised by traditional forms of news media and wished to fight back against an MSM where many say bias exists. In fact, the Blogging Tories community has broken news stories of their own and have influenced the proceedings of Parliament and the current election.

The website is popular among the political class in Ottawa and among the grassroots members of the conservative movement. I believe that blogging will help bridge the gap between constituent and member as technology continuously affects our democratic processes.

Back in late April of this year I remarked:

The Conservative Party of Canada is synonymous with the Grassroots. It is indeed the Grassroots Party of Canada. Therefore, blogging and Conservative make the perfect marriage of activism and desire for change.

Conservatives gather around blogs for warmth in a cold and hostile media environment. From this small hopeful light in the darkness, conservatives spread the message to others open to positive change and re-establishment of our country’s pride. This is the grassroots and this is our time.

I believe in this country in which there is so much potential. Blogging has been an outlet for my activism and Blogging Tories brings like-minded Canadians activists together to help make the grassroots heard. In the coming year, I hope that Blogging Tories continues to grow as more and more blogging activists step to the fore and continue to contribute their voices to the national debate.

Happy Birthday, Blogging Tories!

Bigger than beer and popcorn? You bet. This should sink the Liberals

Liberal Party senior official Mike Klander made a huge mistake with arguably racist and certainly rude remarks that he made in public on his blog. If you didn’t think that blogs would have an effect on the election, witness the following abhorrent remarks by Klander.

olivia-chow-mike-klandar.jpgThis disgusting artwork (h/t: Wells) is courtesy of Mr. Klander who describes himself from his website as a

…senior political organizer Mike played a significant role in building Paul Martin¬ís Leadership organization in Ontario. Prior to joining Martin¬ís team, Mike helped build a national organization for Brian Tobin and also served as his Campaign Manager in Ontario.

Mike continues his autobiography in the third person:

As Executive Director of the Liberal Party of Canada (Ontario) Mike was responsible for managing the day to day affairs of the Federal Liberal Party in Ontario. In that capacity he served as Ontario Campaign Director during the 2000 Federal Election Campaign. In his eight years with the organization he held several other positions including Field Organizer, and Director of Field Operations.

If parents were outraged at Scott Reid’s suggestion that they would be so irresponsible to “blow money on beer and popcorn”, then the collective Canadian community will find the Executive Director of the Liberal Party of Canada (Ontario), the Executive Vice-President of the Liberal Party of Canada (Ontario) and Paul Martin leadership organizer’s comments quite disgusting.

Chow’s husband, NDP leader Jack Layton is also not immune from Klander’s freshman foulmouth as he describes him as “an asshole”. Paul Martin’s close friend only provides the following as justification for his assessment of Layton:

Jack Layton is an asshole… for no reason other than it makes me feel good to say it…and because he is.

Klander not only slams his NDP opponents slams members of his own team including Michael Ignatieff and Dalton McGuinty as he compares the two to Anthony Perkins.

In a post titled “This campaign will piss me off”, Klander makes a misogynistic comment about the “sexy Rona Ambrose” and a Parizeau-esque comment about the “ethnic Rahim Jaffir”.

The Executive Vice-President of the Liberal Party of Canada (Ontario) also uses sexual orientation as a derogatory insult when describing politicians (Stephen Harper and John Manley) in cowboy hats. (Klander contrasts “tough and rugged” with “gay”)

On why the Executive Director of the Liberal Party of Canada (Ontario) would never run for office, Klander explains:

I say NO…not because I don’t think it’s noble profession or because I think the commitment is too great…and NO not even because you have to be nice to really stupid people.

I say NO because at any moment, at any place, in any pose or any situation, your picture can be taken and broadcast to the world…if you don’t think that’s a good enough reason, than look at this roster of winners.

In a post titled “Bed Buddies?”, Paul Martin’s close confidant uses the Stephen Harper / Gilles Duceppe Holocaust memorial photo (right click on the broken image and select view image or show picture). He offers more of his lame juvenile wit:

Yes indeed, politics does make for strange bedfellows…but is there more to it?

I would bet that his wife couldn’t make his eyes roll back into his head like that.

Again, Klander uses homosexuality as an insult and this is both derogatory to gay people and to Mr. Harper and Mr. Duceppe.

After losing the pseudo-confidence vote back in May, Klander complained about missing members and why they were absent:

Okay, if Irvin Cotler wasn’t at a funeral, John Efford didn’t have a medical procedure in St. John’s and Chuck Cadman would have better scheduled his chemotherapy there MIGHT have been tie

Klander continues his disgusting assault when he focused upon Conservative MP Steven Fletcher in a May 3rd post titled “Furious Fletcher and the Stiff”:

Quadriplegic Conservative MP invites health minister to “take this outside”

I don’t know how I missed this earlier in April.

This is funny so stop pretending that its not…stop being so politically correct will you? Even funnier than the headline is the Yahoo/Canada Press link itself: it appears that story is internally referred to as “Furious Fletcher”

After Paul Martin’s emergency address to the nation, Paul Martin’s leadership organizer in Ontario offers this preview of Liberal strategy and we learn that it was all manipulation:

He looked sincere, he looked prime ministerial and his apology seemed genuine. The promise to call an election within 30 days of the realease of Gomery’s report was brilliant. Why? Not because it will stop the Conservatives from defeating the goverment (because I don’t think it will) but because it gives the Liberals ammunition during a campaign. They will have credibility when they say that this election is unecesarry and that the Conservatives brought us to the polls because of pure political ambition. They know that Canadians don’t want to go the polls and they know that Canadians will think that Martin’s request to hold off on an election is reasonable. In the end, if the Conservatives defeat the government now, it will only reinforce what Canadians already think of them and all political parties for that matter – they are all the same…they will do anything to get elected and they are all crooked.

This was less of a plea and more of a strategy. In the end if Harper actually does hold off then the public will have 7 more months of Gomery…just enough time to get bored of it and more time to move on to important issues.

Remember, many observers speculated that this was the case. However, as a senior Liberal party executive and as a close confidant of Paul Martin, this does much more to confirm Martin’s duplicity.

All of these remarks by Mike Klander are offensive and disgusting to all Canadians and what is scary is that they were made by a senior Liberal official with the closest of ties to Paul Martin.

The Liberals are riding the largest corruption scandal in Canadian history and now we learn that there is bigotry at the highest levels of the party.

All of this suggests that it is time for the broken Liberal party to spend some time in the wilderness, as other parties have done.

The types of comments written down for public consumption on Mike Klander’s blog are unacceptable and should not go unpunished. Canadians demanded a higher standard of their politicians in the past.

We still do.

UPDATE: Before Mike Klander took down his blog he posted on December 22nd, apologizing for his offensive comments:

It would appear that more people viewed my blog than the small circle of friends it was intented (sic) for. I apologize if anyone was offended by my comments…they were meant to be in jest. Anyway, I have removed my previous posts…

I’m not sure if an off-hand (and now unaccessible) apology will cut it for Mike. What I find particularly surprising is the lack of professional respect that is usually shared among politicos. One may disagree with the ideology of another, however, crass ad hominem attacks are baseless with respect to debate and they debase politicians (and political staffers) professionally. What results is a blanket condemnation of the entire political class by Canadians.

UPDATE: Mike Klander has resigned.

UPDATE: NDP spokesman Ian Capstick comments on Klander:

“We were shocked, disappointed and offended … This has become indicative of the way Liberals are seeing this election. They couldn’t find basis for attack on Ms. Chow’s community record, her activism, so they chose instead to focus on one thing. … He needs to take a good long hard look at some of the postings he made on that website and realize the impact that they had on a variety of different communities.” — Ian Capstick, NDP spokesman

UPDATE: Stephen Harper gives the Conservative reaction:

“The Liberal party is coming into this election with a corruption report from a judge. I don’t think it helps itself by running a campaign of personal attack and slur, which is what it has been doing — comparing political opponents to animals … I think this has gotten a bit out of hand. … There is quite a campaign of slur and personal attack going on here and one can only hope that the Liberal Party will get a bit of a public backlash over it” — Stephen Harper in Calgary

UPDATE: Liberal party spokesman Stephen Heckbert offers the official explanation:

“It’s certainly our view as a party that there are lines that should not be crossed and unfortunately this was a tasteless posting and Mike recognizes that and has therefore submitted his resignation … If anyone was offended by it, we certainly apologize as a party — Stephen Heckbert, Liberal Party of Canada

but yet, Heckbert tries to mitigate the damage with some self-contradiction:

Heckbert stressed that Klander’s blog was a personal one, appearing on his own webpage rather than the Liberal website

Here’s another interesting contradiction:

Klander said that he has also apologized informally to Chow, the wife of NDP leader Jack Layton. She is running a tight race in the Toronto riding of Trinity-Spadina.

but yet NDP spokesman Ian Capstick explains that no apology has been offered.

“He realizes what he has done is offensive … Ms. Chow is looking forward to his direct apology.”

Sun scribe Michael Harris echoes a thought on many minds:

“Imagine for a moment if that picture and those words had been found on the website of [Conservative national campaign co-chair] John Reynolds, for example, or [conservative] Rick Anderson?”

Double standard?

UPDATE: On the lighter side, Angry has a solution for all high level Liberal bloggers.

UPDATE: Sheila Copps weighs in:

“The nature of the blog didn’t surprise me because that’s how the Martin guys operate … They put everyone else down to raise themselves up.” — Sheila Copps, former Liberal leadership opponent of Paul Martin

UPDATE: Olivia Chow opponent, Tony Ianno also comments:

It’s wrong and there’s no room for that kind of behaviour by anyone in the political process … There’s no excuse for it.” — Tony Ianno, Liberal candidate for Trinity-Spadina

Newsflash: Leak from Liberal war-room previews upcoming negative ad campaign against Harper?

In an email to select officials in the Conservative Party obtained indirectly by yours truly, an apparent leak has come from the Liberal war-room in the form of some photocopied documents mailed in a brown envelope.

The Liberal attack “storyboards” criticize Stephen Harper on a variety of issues while suggesting that Jack Layton is abandoning his principles and that Stephen Harper and Gilles Duceppe will form a “government”.

liberal-attack-1.jpg liberal-attack-2.jpg

In the first few storyboards, the Liberals attack Stephen Harper’s GST plan suggesting that it will only benefit the rich “While ignoring working Canadians”. They Liberals imply that the GST cut is regressive and suggest that it will only benefit the rich as they buy luxury items.

Liberals underestimate the intelligence of Canadians because the GST cut is a 2% cut on everything that is bought in stores. While it is true that a 5% GST would benefit the purchaser of a new Ferrari, the GST is applied to everything that is bought (including clothes, furniture, and Christmas toys). In fact, a consumption tax cut, such as Harper’s proposed GST cut, is the only type of tax cut that benefits the poorest of the poor including those that are below the personal amount on their income tax returns. A regressive tax cut it is not. The Liberals provide two quotes, the first criticizes a GST cut rather than an income tax cut. I’m sure that Stephen Harper’s cuts to income tax (via the childcare and sports benefits) make the Fraser Institute smile and I’m certain that we haven’t seen the last of Stephen Harper’s income tax cut announcements.

liberal-attack-3.jpg liberal-attack-4.jpg

Next the Liberals attack Jack Layton, pairing him in a coalition with Stephen Harper and Gilles Duceppe. This storyboard targets soft NDP support and suggests that Jack Layton will compromise his base’s principles for coalition power. “[Duceppe] wants to take Canada apart and [Harper] wants to let him”.

“Jack Layton talked a lot about making Parliament work. But he ran over to the Conservatives and the Bloc the moment he saw a chance to score political points. On November 28th he stood right by Stephen Harper’s side to bring down the government and force a holiday election. Now he has given Harper the chance he’s been seeking to remake Canada with his right wing agenda.”

First of all, how can you criticize Jack Layton for working with the majority of Parliamentarians in denouncing the revelations of massive Liberal corruption? In fact, Jack Layton was acting as a responsible parliamentarian in a minority Parliament by pulling the plug on corruption. This agenda was neither right wing, nor left wing. Jack Layton, Gilles Duceppe, Stephen Harper and their respective caucuses (even a couple of elected Liberals) chose right over wrong and ended the Liberal government. The attack also laughably suggests that Jack Layton would enable policies that he is fundamentally against. This is an attack on Layton’s credibility.

The attack continues:

“His other friend, separatist Gilles Duceppe and the Bloc Quebecois are motivated to get their cause back onto centre stage with a new provincial leader in Quebec. Jack Layton, who will win little support in Quebec, has given the separatists the opportunity to resurrect their ambition of leaving Canada.”

Paul, Paul, Paul… this election isn’t a Quebec referendum! And by framing it so, you endanger the unity of our country. The Liberals are giving up on federalist Quebec premier Jean Charest and closing the door on constructive dialogue with Quebeckers. Further, under the Liberal watch, the Bloc is now more powerful than ever before, pumped up by the Sponsorship Scandal. The Bloc’s current popularity is due to Liberal corruption and it is the Liberals that have given the separatists the opportunity to resurrect their ambition of leaving Canada. Stephen Harper the only Prime Ministerial candidate that is standing up for Quebec’s place in a united Canada as he has offered his voice to debate Gilles Duceppe where Martin wouldn’t.


The next storyboard implies that Harper and Duceppe will form a coalition government and rule Canada. First of all, Duceppe and the Bloc are fundamentally against playing any part of any government. They have said that they will only support issues that benefit Quebec. Stephen Harper has also said that he will not form a coalition with any party and will maintain his role as Prime Minister by building consensus with parties (and members) on a case-by-case basis. As for the issues that the attack addresses, it is true that Harper – as a conservative – believes in a smaller federal government and believes that provinces should have more say over matters in which they have the constitutionally mandated jurisdiction (ie. education and healthcare). While it would be false to say that Duceppe believes in this type of ‘redistributed federalism’ as he is certainly not a federalist, Duceppe does believe that Quebec should have more of a voice over its own affairs.

liberal-attack-6.jpg liberal-attack-7.jpg

Next, the Liberals take on Mike Harris as a target… again. In the 2004 election, the Liberals took on the former Ontario premier, suggesting a common agenda. As Ontario will likely decide the outcome of the current election, the Liberals are targeting those that disapproved with Mike Harris and those that might be leaning towards Harper. While the Liberals blame Ontario’s fiscal and social woes on the Harris’ common sense revolution, they fail to note that many of Ontario’s problems were caused by the abandonment of the Common Sense Revolution by Eves and then by the election of Dalton McGuinty. Remember Dalton? He lied to Ontario about their taxes by raising them with his health care “premium”.

liberal-attack-9.jpg liberal-attack-10.jpg

Finally, the Liberals resort to the old song and dance about Stephen Harper and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They provide an old quote and a goofy picture of Stephen Harper. Harper expresses that “serious flaws exist in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms”. The Charter is a Liberal document with one serious flaw in my opinion: it is wrong that rights can be withheld by the use of the notwithstanding clause. This type of “just kidding” clause in a legal document that defines our rights remains a significant failure of Trudeau’s legacy. Stephen Harper has thankfully promised not to use the notwithstanding clause on the same-sex marriage issue. The truth is, Paul Martin wants to attack Stephen Harper on something the Conservative leader has refused to do. Martin does this while he asserts that anyone who doesn’t stand up for the Charter (read: same-sex marriage) is unfit for office. Meanwhile, 40 Liberal candidates are against same-sex marriage as Paul Martin holds a double standard.

Stephen Harper has been providing a positive vision for Canada with daily policy announcements and a plan that looks forwards instead of backwards. This preview of the Liberal strategy to attack Stephen Harper and the Conservative party shows that the Liberals haven’t got a record to run on and that they can only hope to retain power by providing fear to Canadians.

I suspect that the Liberal attacks will only get uglier.

UPDATE: Mike Duffy and Gloria Galloway have confirmed, from the Liberal warroom, that these ads are indeed real. However, the Liberals are dropping the Stephen Harper “rich get richer” ad and the Layton attack ad.

Did Martin orchestrate spat with Washington?

Kate and I have been investigating a tip that she received that suggests that Paul Martin did in fact orchestrate the recent fight between himself and the Bush administration. The proof may lie in the Liberal ads.

Consider the following timeline:
December 5th: The Liberals release three ads on their website. (1, 2, 3)

December 7th – Paul Martin at Montreal climate change conference: “To the reticent nations, including the United States, I say this: There is such a thing as a global conscience, and now is the time to listen to it, now is the time to join with others in the global community”

December 8th – Canadian ambassador to the US, Frank McKenna (a Liberal) reportedly receives a “dressing down” from the Bush administration over Martin’s comments on December 7th.

Kate notes: Norm Spector provides analysis from David Frum disputing this rebuke of McKenna.

“…the story of White House reaction to that speech turns out to have been wildly overhyped. The White House official who met with ambassador McKenna on Friday was not the Vice-President, not the National Security Adviser, not even the National Security Council’s Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs: It was the head of the Council on Environmental Quality … Nor had McKenna been “summoned”: He had requested the meeting himself.

December 13th (morning) – US Ambassador to Canada, David Wilkins: “It may be smart election-year politics to thump your chest and constantly criticize your friend and your No. 1 trading partner”

December 13th (afternoon) – Paul Martin: Let me simply say to anyone who wants to question what I have been saying, beginning with (Conservative Leader) Stephen Harper, that I am the prime minister of this country, that our position on climate change will be determined by the government of Canada, that the fact is that we do expect our partners to honour their agreements — and I will defend Canada. Period.

December 16th – Liberals release new ads on their website (4, 5).

Here is the transcript of the 4th Liberal ad:

Keith White: “I think Paul Martin’s doing a fantastic job representing our interests… in America”

Neil Dhalla (Liberal MP Ruby Dhalla’s brother): “Paul Martin definitely has the ability to stand up to Mr. Bush”

Art Cowie: “Paul Martin’s taking a very strong stand on the lumber situation”

Bardish Chagger: “He has protected Canadians’ interests, he has fought for our softwood lumber.”

Nathan Van Beselacre: “It’s important to have good relations with our neighbours, but when there’s a problem you have to deal with it diplomatically. I feel he’s done so.”

This commercial seems reactionary to the events set in motion by Paul Martin’s hypocritical scolding of the US on their greenhouse gas emissions on December 7th.

However, the fourth ad (released Dec 16th) was filmed on the same day as second ad released on Dec 5th.

(click on pictures to enlarge)

Dec 5th ad #2 (click for video)

Dec 16th ad #4 (click for video)

The positioning of the parked cars are the same and the guys are wearing the same clothes in both commercials.

Dec 5th ad #2 (click for video)

Dec 16th ad #4 (click for video)

Note the pattern of the puddles over Dhalla’s shoulder. Also, check out the time on the clock in the background (ad 4 was filmed 7 minutes after ad 2)

Dec 5th ad #3 (click for video)

Dec 16th ad #4 (click for video)

Same clothes, same rainy day.

The ads obviously were filmed on the same day and sometime before December 5th.

The Liberal braintrust obviously thought that clips of “ordinary Canadians” (er, Liberals) would be required defending what would be future rhetoric of Paul Martin taking on George W. Bush and the USA.

If the recent diplomatic row with Washington was merely part of a partisan ploy to gain anti-american votes (as many observers have suggested), does the timing of the filming of these ads further confirm that the Liberals were preparing to sour Canadian-US relations for electoral gain?

Are these ordinary Liberals privy to any other electoral strategies that will affect international relations (or stock markets)?

Income Trusts – A Deeper Look

I posted earlier this week on the developing Income Trust scandal (ITScam) and described nine funds that suspicious trading activity the day before of the day of Ralph Goodale’s policy announcement on Income Trusts at 6pm (2 hours after market close).

Some point to a Bloomberg article posted at 4:14pm on November 23rd that provides a bang-on prediction (or dissemination) of Ralph Goodale’s announcement. The article shows that people did know of the details of Goodale’s announcement before it was made. The article was published to the public 14 minutes after market close yet, from my data, the evidence shows that the market experienced considerable volume from buyers that were supposed to be in the dark at that moment of time. At its worst, the article (regardless of what time it was published) shows that someone was in the know and sourced the Bloomberg article.

As the following data will show, if the information was truly public, we would have seen a considerable increase of trades along with volume. My previous data does show a large, and unusual, surges in volume prior to Goodale’s announcement. The question I look to answer here is this: Does the data show that the volume is indicative of publicly available information, or were only a select number of individuals aware of the details of the finance minister’s announcement?

My speculation:

(Click any graph to enlarge it)

Richards – shows full market reaction to income trust announcement. Notice high volume and low trades prior to Goodale’s announcment. Is this indicative of insider information?

richards-volume-trades.jpg richards-price-trades.jpg

Medisys – shows relatively high number of trades on the 24th (after announcement). Shows about the same number of trades on the 3rd in comparison to the 22nd. However, the 3rd saw the movement of 37,280 units in 18 trades (average of 2,071 units per trade). Compare that to the 22nd where 203,953 units moved hands in 17 trades (average 11,997 units per trade).

medisys-volume-trades.jpg medisys-price-trades.jpg

Keystone – This fund was obviously reacting to other variables not affecting the other funds under study as volume the number of trades for this fund on the 21st, the 22nd and 23rd were all higher than usual. However, on the 23rd when a considerable volume of shares traded hands, a lesser number of trades moved 804,843 shares than moved 158,400 shares the day before. Notice too that the price climbs as a reaction to a considerable number of buy orders prior to Goodale’s announcement.

keystone-volume-trades.jpg keystone-price-trades.jpg

Sun Gro – This fund shows a huge volume of shares traded by relatively few transactions. We can see from the price-trade graph that the real value of this particular income trust was assessed the when traded resumed on the 24th after Goodale’s announcement on the 23rd (similarly here, here, and here). Note the difference in volume on the 22nd compared to the 24th. Compare also the number of trades between these two days. A few traders bought a lot of shares on the 22nd, while on the 24th, after the rest of the world knew the real value of income trusts (after the announcement), the asking price went up and so did the number of trades.

sungro-volume-trades.jpg sungro-price-trades.jpg

Terravest – This fund shows a significant volumes of shares traded by a small number transactions on the 23rd, while the number of trades on the 24th represents global knowledge of the Income Trust announcement.

terravest-volume-trades.jpg terravest-price-trades.jpg

ACS – Massive volume on the 23rd (price rises – people buying). However, only a few people are buying up all of these shares. The closing price reflects the buying on the 23rd and is relatively stable on the 24th as many many more trades are made.

acs-volume-trades.jpg acs-price-trades.jpg

Two exceptions:
Granby – On further analysis this fund, while showing a huge volume on the 23rd, is probably not linked to the Income Trust scandal. The volume on the 23rd was actually a major sell-off, whereas anyone with advanced knowledge of Goodale’s announcement would be buying Income Trusts. Note that the number of trades corresponds well with the volume. This is indicative of what normal trading looks like (ie. with information public to the market community)

granby-volume-trades.jpg granby-price-trades.jpg

Specialty Foods – This fund might also be removed from the pool of funds potentially linked to ITSCAM. This value of this fund did not receive any benefit from Goodale’s announcement as the price declined steadily. The massive spike in volume on the 23rd cannot be explained at this time. It is likely that other factors independent of Goodale’s announcement were affecting the price.

specialty-volume-trades.jpg specialty-price-trades.jpg

Preliminary conclusions:

  • Thousands upon thousands of stocks, funds, trusts etc. are traded upon the world’s markets everyday.
  • In the realm of Canadian income trusts, 9 trusts showed unusual trading activity either the day before or the day of Goodale’s income trust announcement. Goodale made the announcement after the market closed.
  • Of these 9 trusts, 6 showed massive (and very unusual) volumes prior to Goodale’s announcement, showed a massive “buy” preference, and showed relatively few transactions.
  • Relatively few transactions (trades), massive volumes of purchases, and sustained profit (later increased value of trusts due to Goodale’s announcement) strongly suggests insider trading as publically available data immediately results in a finely adjusted and realistic asking price, which in turn has an effect on volume and number of transactions.
  • If, for example, I knew that Goodale’s announcement would increase the value of income trusts (and nobody else knew), the asking price wouldn’t affected and I could buy a considerable number of shares (high volume, low number of trades). In the counter example, if everyone knew that the value of income trusts increased, the asking price would go up. Because the knowledge is global, this increases the potential number of trades.

If you’ve got anything to add (or any corrections), please post in the comments section.

NDP should work on their messaging

Ok, so everybody’s is raving about the new NDP commercial. Give the Liberals “the boot”! It’s humourous and cute.

The NDP also scored points by pointing out the Liberal insiders in Liberal television commercials.

However, in their messaging for debate week, the NDP came out with debate bingo. Their game outlines all of the predictive things that Paul Martin will probably say during the debates in Vancouver on Thursday and Friday.

Perhaps the NDP should have made a drinking game because the NDP probably shouldn’t remind people of bingo, especially in the province of British Columbia:

Bingogate (CBC archives)

Have one drink if Jack Layton says “George Bush”, “American style” or “for profit”

Finish the bottle if Jack Layton defends Stephen Harper