Jane Taber is the Canadian fog machine

On CTV’s Question Period this Sunday, Globe and Mail scribe Jane Taber interviewed Conservative Deputy leader Peter MacKay in a first post-election recap for the show. As MacKay listed out Harper’s five key priorities for the new Parliament (a newsworthy message during the previous campaign), Taber jumps in and amends Harper’s priority list to include same-sex marriage. Taber then shows that she is unaware of the actual Conservative plan on the issue, a plan which was clearly outlined on p. 33 of the Conservative election platform. The immediate reversion of the definition of marriage seemed to be Taber’s understanding of the Tory plan whereas the Conservatives would instead table a motion to determine if Parliament wanted to proceed on new marriage legislation. If and only if that motion passed would they then proceed with new legislation.

“That’s news to me”, Taber exclaimed as MacKay stood patiently and corrected the political affairs correspondent for CTV.

I’m certain that the Conservative platform would have been required reading for any journalist during the election campaign and Taber’s ignorance here (if the audience is to take her as a reliable host) makes the Conservative position seem as if it were novel and a surprise (previously “hidden” perhaps). Whereas in reality, the position of the Conservative Party has been the same during since day one of the election campaign.

Does Taber’s ignorance of the Conservative position reflect Canadian fogginess? Or is it rather the uncertainty of Canadians that is being perpetuated by the media via misrepresentation of Conservative policies?

Watch the video here: Jane Taber interviews Peter MacKay on SSM

UPDATE: Blogging Tory Brent Taylor (no relation) noticed the same thing.

Politicized omission by the Canadian Press?

Check out this one-sided and politically editorialized article (not a column) from Jim Bronskill of the Canadian Press.

The article is titled “Gun registry valuable, police chiefs to tell Harper” and begins:

The head of Canada’s police chiefs says he will impress upon the new government the merits of the national gun registry, a much-maligned system the Conservatives have promised to scrap.

Jack Ewatski, president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, said he wants to open a dialogue on firearms with the ministers to be named early next month to the justice and public safety portfolios.

The head of Canada’s police chiefs seems to support the registry as evidenced here:

“We will certainly give this government some history relative to why we supported the gun legislation and gun control, including the registry, over the years,” Ewatski said in an interview.

“I think it’s imperative that we also provide some information to this government relative to the value of gun control programs within this country, including the registry.”

However, Jack Ewatski once opined,

“I, too, am concerned over the cost effectiveness of certain aspects of the bill (C-68) and I intend to seek clarification relative to costs that have been discussed in the media. … I do not believe in ‘blind support’ of anything and it is imperative I receive accurate information and then base my opinions on that alone.” — The Edmonton Journal, August 6, 1999. Page A1

Since 1999, we have learned that the gun registry has ballooned to approximately $2 Billion from its original $1 million estimate.

Let’s consider some other quotes from Canadian police officers that the article fails to acknowledge:

“We just can’t find any evidence … (that registering guns), especially in our rural areas, (is) going to really remove the guns from the criminals … Ten years down the road, we believe that it will not prove effective.”Greg McCullagh, head of the Saskatchewan Chiefs of Police Association, The Montreal Gazette, August 25, 1995

“Almost a quarter of people cops apprehend with guns are already prohibited from carrying firearms as a result of a previous conviction. … It’s quite apparent that for those individuals those prohibitions have very little effect”Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, Toronto Sun, August 5, 2005

“Our investigators are encountering situations where registration information isn’t accurate … It has to be cost-efficient, or else in our opinion, the money could be better spent.”Calgary chief of police Jack Beaton, Calgary Herald, June 2, 2004

“We have spent an extraordinary amount of money in this one area [the gun registry], but we haven’t given the same attention with regards to gun crime in our society.” Former Toronto chief of police Julian Fantino, Toronto Star, March 10, 2004

And while he acknowledged crime stats have been drifting lower for several years now, [Now former Toronto Police Chief Julian] Fantino said gun crime is a problem that just won’t go away. Just under 50%, or 17 of the 40 murders so far this year, have involved guns, and guns are involved in fully half of all armed robberies. Cops have seized more than 1,500 guns in 2003, averaging 42 a week. The federal gun registry, criticized for costing too much, has been of precious little help, he said. Fantino repeated his wish for mandatory 10-year sentences for gun-related crimes, tougher and more consistent bail and release conditions and an agreement with hospitals for automatic reporting of gunshot injuries. — Toronto Sun, September 27th, 2003

We have an ongoing gun crisis including firearms-related homicides lately in Toronto, and a law registering firearms has neither deterred these crimes nor helped us solve any of them … None of the guns we know to have been used were registered, although we believe that more than half of them were smuggled into Canada from the United States. The firearms registry is long on philosophy and short on practical results considering the money could be more effectively used for security against terrorism as well as a host of other public safety initiatives.Former Toronto Police Chief Julian Fantino, January 3, 2003

Ontario’s police chiefs have branded Ottawa’s controversial gun registry program an “unenforceable” mess and are warning that they will not charge people under the law until problems are resolved. “It puts us in a position where the law is unenforceable, so we’re advising our officers to use discretion and not issue offence notices until this mess is sorted out,” said Owen Sound police Chief Tom Kaye yesterday. Kaye is president of the 66-member Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police. “It wouldn’t be right to charge someone when we wouldn’t have a reasonable chance of getting a conviction,” Kaye said. At a meeting in Halton Hills this week, the executive of the chiefs’ association voted to send a letter suggesting the federal government put the registry on hold until the problems are resolved. “When the registry was first proposed, the government came to us looking for support; if we are going to maintain that level of support, we want some answers about what’s going on,” Kaye said. — Toronto Star, January 25, 2003

“That’s something we’re struggling with as chiefs across the province. I don’t see (the need), given its massive costs. … the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police were assured that the program’s cost wouldn’t top $800 million and it is now nearly a billion and the deadlines keep changing. It’s nearly impossible to enforce. … [the money] would have been better spent working to bring criminals to justice and by funding joint force operations that police forces deal with daily and by providing the resources we need to deal with organized crime and criminals. … we’ve been registering handguns since 1933… Clearly, it’s not working.”Marshall Chalmers, Camrose Police Chief, The Camrose Canadian, February 2, 2003

“There’s a benefit if every single gun in Canada is registered … But the flaw in the whole thing is that criminals aren’t going to register theirs. I see some value in it, but the value I see, the amount of benefit, does not justify the amount of money spent on it. … Holistically, it started out as a good idea, but I’d never argue that our streets are any safer because of federal gun legislation.”Kingston Police Chief Bill Closs, The Kingston Whig-Standard, January 20, 2003

While we don’t always see eye-to-eye with London Police Chief Brian Collins, we were impressed with his reaction to the bungled federal long-gun registry in a meeting with The Free Press editorial board this week. He lamented that in letting the cost of the registry skyrocket from an initial $2 million estimate to $1 billion, Ottawa had brought “the administration of justice into disrepute . . . It’s such a disaster. They’ve made a mockery of it.” — The London Free Press, January 15, 2003

“The feds are spending (at least) a billion dollars to bring law-abiding citizens, not the criminals, under compliance. … The cost of the registry is abhorrent. But there are added costs of courts, clerks, and if people are sent to jail that will be another expense … it just continues – no one’s addressing it. … There’s little resolution provided by the government to address the criminal element – the criminals with guns … Those inclined to use guns will find a way to get to them … I’m a black-and-white-figures-type of guy – show me the money and I’ll believe it. … How do I enforce this? The truth is – I do not know. Do I start indiscriminately, asking for their guns or do we base it on information we receive (about illegal ownership)? … I do not like guns, I gotta tell ya. But I just see too many problems with issues surrounding the legislation, especially with enforcement.”Dennis W. Player – South Grey Bruch Police Chief, Hanover Post, January 8, 2003

Meanwhile, Borden-Carlton Police Chief Jamie Fox, in a statement issued to Island media outlets this morning, called the registry a massive waste of tax dollars that could have been spent on health care and other pressing social needs. — The PEI Journal-Pioneer, January 6, 2003

“Cops won’t hesitate to enforce Canada’s new gun registration laws – but they’ll need a clear picture of who’s breaking them … It’s a bad law, I’ll say that right now”Peter Kawalikak, President of the Alberta Federation of Police Officers, The Edmonton Sun, January 6, 2003

“The amount of money that has been spent on this registry would be better invested in front-line policing”Bruce Miller, spokesman for the Police Association of Ontario, Ottawa Citizen, December 5, 2002.

Reading the article in the Toronto Star, one would think that Canadian Police Chiefs are united in their support for the gun registry.

The gun registry is one of those issues that those with a summary view of politics get particularly rabid about when people oppose it. Like Kyoto is to the environment, the underlying issue of the gun registry (gun related murders) is one that everyone cares about regardless of political stripe. However, it is the ineffective bureaucracy and the failure of a system that must be acknowledged here.

Blogging Tories television

I added a new feature to Blogging Tories this weekend called “Blogging Tories Television” or BT-TV.

It is perhaps the most interesting (and fun) feature that I’ve implemented into the site so far. You can go to Blogging Tories now and watch various videos from Stephen Harper’s acceptance speech to John MacCallum’s attempt to justify David Dingwall’s severance.

The best news of all is that anyone can participate and the bandwidth is free! Google, in their march to take over the Internet, has provided free, flash video based hosting of any virtually any video that you’d like to upload (there are community standards of course). Google then converts your video (from avi, wmv, mpg, mov etc) to a flash video file and then provides a plug-in to put on your website.

However, at Blogging Tories, we’ve taken this a few steps further. If you’ve made a video that you’d like to include in Blogging Tories, email the Google Video URL to me and I’ll put it into the Blogging Tories Television “channel changer” that I’ve integrated into the site.

Some Blogging Tories have already gotten into the video production game including BBS, ProudtobeCanadian, PomoChristian, Brent Colbert, Conservative Life and MP-elect Mike Wallace.

It’s easier than you think. For example, I use:
Windows Movie Maker (comes with XP)
Google Video Uploader

another Blogging Tories original…

Campaign secrets

During the election, there was much talk of the Liberal war room mole and the leaks which came out from the Liberal war room which were easily picked up by Conservative strategists and the media. Granted, the mole did exist and leaked key policy announcements to the press one day early and leaked the entire Liberal platform to the Western Standard. However, there was another source of Liberal leaks that provided a lot of material to the Conservative campaign.

First let’s take a look at a satellite image of downtown Ottawa.

satellite-ottawa-warrooms.jpg

The Conservative war room was located in the Burnside building at 151 Slater st. and the Liberal war room was located just around the corner on Metcalfe. Yes, just around the corner (about 200m according to Google Earth).

satellite-warrooms-closeup.jpg

On the corner of Metcalfe and Slater is a Starbucks which was often frequented by Liberal war room staffers in need of some java and by their Conservative counterparts who liked to sit around and “read” the newspaper (while eavesdropping on the competition). Granted, it was a good place for bloggers to pick up some tips too.

metcalfe-starbucks.jpg

Cabinet predictions

I’m going to take a shot at predicting PM-elect Stephen Harper’s cabinet. The following is partly an indication of what I think should happen and partly what I believe will happen.

*Prime Minister – Stephen Harper
*Deputy PM – Lawrence Cannon
Justice and Emergency Preparedness – Peter MacKay
*Foreign Affairs – Monte Solberg
*Defence – Gordon O’Connor
Transport – James Moore
Finance – Jim Flaherty
Revenue – Garth Turner
Intergovernmental Affairs – Rona Ambrose
Environment – Bob Mills
Indian Affairs – Jim Prentice
International Trade – Maxime Bernier
*Fisheries – Loyola Hearn
*Leader of the Government (HoC) – Jay Hill
Health – Tony Clement
Heritage – Bev Oda
*Veterens Affairs – Laurie Hawn
Leader of the Government (Senate) – Hugh Segal Marjorie Lebreton
Agriculture – Gerry Ritz
President of the Treasury Board – Jason Kenney
*Minister of the Econ. Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec and Minister responsible for the Francophonie – Josee Verner
ACOA – Gerald Keddy
Human Resources – John Baird
Attorney General – Vic Toews
Industry – Rob Nicholson
Democratic Reform – Scott Reid
Sport – Gary Goodyear
Internal Trade – Christian Paradis
North American relations – Stockwell Day
*Immigration – Diane Ablonczy

Speaker – Chuck Strahl

(*) Indicates my most confident predictions.

Agree/Disagree? Do you have any additions (I’ve skipped a few ministries) Put your suggestions/corrections in the comments.

Thoughts about last night

The main story is that the Conservative Party is back in Quebec and in a big way. Both the Bloc and the Liberals suffered losses while the Tories beat some of the more optimistic predictions and took 10 seats. This is a great base for the Conservative Party to build upon. Stephen Harper and Jean Charest should get to work as soon as possible to build the case for this classical federalist model that they’re calling “open federalism”. Stephen Harper should take Quebeckers sanctioning of the Liberal Party and make the case for unity through respect.

The other big story? The West is in. The axis of power and influence in this country hasn’t changed over night, but it is bound to become different as Conservatives cut off Liberal ties to patronage and do their best to stack the Privy Council Office with their own people. Most importantly, now that the West “is in”, we have a chance to see a truly pan-Canadian government and power structure as every region of the country has a significant stake in Harper’s new government. Regional exclusion will not (and cannot) exist within a Harper government. Especially with the concept of open federalism, even Saskatchewan NDP premier Lorne Calvert endorsed Harper’s plan for provincial balance.

Speaking of the CBC, when they were cycling through the ridings last night, why even when no polls were reporting was the Liberal candidate ranked #1 (even against an incumbent from another party)? So much for the so-called honeymoon period.

And now, while watching Newsworld am I getting the feeling like I’m watching a somber retrospective of election night (what does a Calgary power centre mean? Then a sad look at the rise and fall of Paul Martin). CTV’s about to have a lot more access.

How will Stephen Harper’s minority conservative government survive? I believe that they’ll hold on longer than Paul Martin’s Liberal government. First of all, Canadians realize that this Parliament is now a group effort among all parties. Governance will be done on an issue-by-issue basis. The Conservatives will come out strong with a very successful drive on pushing through the Accountability Act. All parties will likely support the policy and members that do not will be viewed with suspicion especially after constructive discussion/amendments in committee.

The theme that dogged Paul Martin’s minority Parliament was the Gomery inquiry and corruption. Stephen Harper has the advantage of riding the opposite track of that theme. Canadians saw government accountability as the #1 election issue and there is little doubt that Stephen Harper will deliver forcefully on it.

Law and order will also be an early key accomplishment of Stephen Harper’s government. Even Jack Layton’s NDP hugged the centre proposing harsher sentences for violent/gun crimes. We’ll likely see amendments that address “causes” of crime which will see measures such as increased community policing (the capital of which could be drawn from the gun registry).

It’s a new day in what should hopefully be a new era in Canadian politics. The Liberals have been trending towards defeat since they barely held on in 2004. Now as they face bankruptcy and what should be a brutal leadership race, the Tories have a real opportunity to build upon their success especially as Stephen Harper presents his case for a strong mandate by restoring Canadians faith in good government.

Elections Canada blackout

In the interests in our freedom from incarceration, yet against the interests of liberty, Craig and I have decided to stop the Blogging Tories aggregator between 7:00pm EST and 10:00pm EST.

According to the Elections Canada Act,

329. Prohibition – premature transmission of results

“No person shall transmit the result or purported result of the vote in an electoral district to the public in another electoral district before the close of all of the polling stations in that other electoral district.”

I have a few points I’d like to make about this section of the law. First, restricting speech by prohibiting the reporting of available results is abhorrent in a free society such as Canada. That being said, the results on the east coast should not serve as decision making information for a voter on the west coast. Yet, anyone with satellite television or the Internet can circumvent the law and a fair democratic process.

It is my opinion that the act should reflect the current reality instead of attempt to direct people how to behave.

Therefore, the EC act should be amended to either restrict opening ballot boxes until the last poll closes in BC, or all polls should close at the same time.

If we represent the nanny state as a mother, and the citizenry as a child, the relevant section of the Elections Canada act could be represented by the mother placing an ice cream sundae next to the child’s dinner (with lots of vegetables, natch) and telling the child not to eat his dessert before his dinner. If the child does not comply, the child is then fined millions of dollars and/or serves a prison term.

It would be much more acceptable if dessert was available only after dinner.

Furthermore, if you’re looking for early election results you need to look no further than a certain popular American blogger that helped us circumvent Gomery’s publication ban on the Jean Brault testimony.

The violation of unjust laws is a practice that makes any “free” society that much more. I am sadly disappointed that in Canada, we do this by proxy.

Spot the Liberal

Here’s a picture from Don Newman’s Politics show. On every morning’s broaaadcast Newman featured three spinners from each of the federalist parties.

Can you spot the Liberal?

politics-am-16jan2006.jpg

(Pictured from left to right are: Susan Murray (LPC), Brad Lavigne (NDP), Sandra Buckler (CPC))

While you’d expect that I have nothing but adoring praise for the CPC spinners during the election (Tim’s Chicken Little moment and his baiting of John Duffy’s reiteration of the beer and popcorn comment were great moments. Sandra’s also been fantastic on Politics day in, day out.), I must also give credit to the NDP spinners especially Jamey Heath and Brad Lavigne. These two certainly delivered Jack’s message better than the mustachioed one ever did.

The Liberal spin team was so disasterous during this campaign that it literally made headlines (Scott Reid’s beer and popcorn remark, the Duffy vs. Duffy moment, and Susan’s “BS” moment were low points during the Liberal campaign).

Some humour

When a new pope is selected by the college of cardinals in the Vatican, the ballots are burned resulting in a plume of white smoke to indicate that a new pope is elected.

While in Canada, at the PMO’s office in Langevin block, it is the black smoke of burning documents that signifies not the election of a new Prime Minister but rather the outgoing of the former holder of the office.

langevin-block-smoke.jpg
Click thumbnail of photo illustration to enlarge

You cannot bring hope when all you have to offer is fear

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The Liberals are certainly desperate if their homepage is any indication. There is not one single positive message that the Liberals are offering voters as they make their decisions this weekend.

No vision. No hope. Just fear.

“extreme agenda”, “covert”, “muzzling”, “abortion”, “conservative cuts”, “MP calls right to choose undemocratic”

A mandate is not earned from the Canadian people based upon a veto that is scared out of them.

The only positive message that I can find is that Scott Feschuck’s blog stays crispy in milk.

I think that Paul Martin’s recent fearmongering is disgusting and insults the intelligence of the undecided voter.

Consider CPC MP Rona Ambrose’s response to Paul Martin’s insult to women:

“I am truly troubled and disappointed in Paul Martin’s fear mongering on women’s rights – because women’s rights is a very important issue to me. Violence against women is one of the reasons I became involved in politics. Paul Martin is doing a disservice to women by using a campaign of fear and lies to scare women on issues like abortion.” – Rona Ambrose, CPC MP

(click the image to enlarge)