Mulroney KOs Turner: New BTTV video

They’re still talking about it. In 1984, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney landed a famous “knock-out punch” to Liberal leader John Turner. In the famous “you had a choice” berating, the former conservative Prime Minister admonishes Turner over patronage appointments.

Today, many in the media long for similar drama when the leaders of our political parties square off. It’s almost cliché to hear political analysts and pundits alike claim that there wasn’t a “knock-out punch” akin to the Mulroney-Turner debate of 1984.

Have things really changed though? In the video, the moment is almost lost when the moderator attempts to redirect the debate. We can be certain, however, that the debate format itself will also be up for debate. For instance, why does the Bloc debate in English when they hardly hide that they’re not targeting English voters in Quebec and while they do not run any candidates outside of Quebec? Further, why does the Green Party get shut out of debates? Could a debate format exist in which the two front runners challenge each other to a private debate? Would Jack Layton picket that debate?

Given the reconfigured concept of “party” in our Parliamentary system, how could we accommodate all parties? Should we?

Perhaps we’ll never again see a “knock-out punch” like the one in 1984 if we talk about extending the English debate format from 4 parties (including one that hasn’t a need to debate in English to a fifth party that gets only 5% of the popular “can’t vote for anyone else” vote. Once we extend the stage to anyone who meets the easy requirements of forming a political party in this country, the serious contenders for power in this country will be drowned out and constantly interrupted by tangential issues from implementing Marxist labour codes to creating a Canadian theocracy.

How can we ever have another knock-out punch when the debate format is so disjoint and without focus? Particularly unhelpful was the decision by the network to disallow direct engagement and debate among party leaders.

Another important point is that the current evolution of the Canadian leaders debate favours the incumbent. One cannot turn popular opinion on its head if tertiary parties (that didn’t run for government — ie. the NDP) cloud the focus of the debate (ie. the issues of the day).

Be sure to watch the historic moment between Mulroney and Turner on BT-TV (on the left-hand sidebar). Also, you can host this video and other conservative moments in Canadian history by putting the Blogging Tories TV plugin on your own website. Click here to find out how.

UPDATE: The clip is now temporarily unavailable

Text of the PM’s speech regarding CPT hostages

I received the following just a while ago from one of my contacts in the government. It’s the transcript of Stephen Harper’s comments that preceded his speech on accountibility. The original speech on accountibility (prepared before the hostages were released) is available on the PM’s website, however, I’ve included the remarks concerning the hostages here.

Before commencing my remarks, I would like to make a statement about the successful rescue of the Canadian and British hostages in Iraq.

Il est maintenant confirmé que les Canadiens James Loney et Harmeet Singh Sooden, capturés et tenus en otages en Iraq en compagnie du britannique Norman Kember depuis des mois, sont désormais trois hommes libres.

Ils ont été l’objet d’une délicate opération de sauvetage, qui a permis de les soustraire sains et saufs de de leurs ravisseurs.

Cette nouvelle est un immense soulagement pour tous les Canadiens, à commencer par les proches de MM. Loney et Sooden.

J’ai eu la chance de parler de vive voix a ces deux messieurs. Je leur ai exprimé, au nom de tous les Canadiens, ma grande joie de les savoir enfin libres et en sécurité. C’était pour eux une épreuve extrêmement difficile et angoissante, et pour les citer ils sont << contents d’être en vie >>

Bien que nous soyons tous contents et reconnaissants que m. loney, m. sodden et m. kember soient sains et saufs, j’aimerais offrir mes condoléances, au nom de tous les Canadiens, à la famille de M. Tom Fox.

La dépouille de M. Fox, un citoyen américain, a été découverte le 9 mars dernier.

J’aimerais aussi souligner et témoigner de ma gratitude pour le rôle exceptionnel qu’ont joué nos alliés britanniques et américains dans cette opération de sauvetage réussie.

J’ai parlé plus tôt aujourd’hui avec le Premier ministre Tony Blair et J’ai également demandé à l’ambassadeur wilkins de transmettre au président bush toute la gratitude des Canadiens pour leurs efforts dans cette opération réussie.

Enfin, et surtout, j’aimerais remercier les membres de plusieurs agences et ministères du Gouvernement du Canada, qui ont travaillé sur ce dossier délicat avec leurs homologues britanniques, américains, et iraquiens qui ont fait leur part dans le succès de l’opération.

Vous avez fait de l’excellent travail, et m. loney et m. sooden m’ont demandé spécifiquement de vous remercier pour l’assistance que vous avez fourni à eux et à leurs familles.

The confirmation that Canadians James Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden and british national Norman Kember have been rescued from their captors unharmed is wonderful news for their families, and for all Canadians.

I have spoken to the Canadians and personally conveyed, on behalf of all Canadians, my happiness at their safe release.

As you can imagine, they’ve been through a lot and to quote them they’re “Happy to be alive”.

And while we are all happy and thankful for the rescue of mr. Loney, mr. Sooden and mr. Kember, I and they would like to re-iterate, on behalf of all Canadians, our condolences to the family of Tom Fox, the american national, whose body was found on March 9th.

I would also like to recognize the outstanding role played by our British and American allies in securing the release of the hostages.

In particular, I spoke to Prime Minister Blair this morning and I have asked ambassador Wilkins to convey our gratitude for their efforts in this successful operation.

Finally, but not lastly, I would like to thank the numerous departments and agencies within the Government of Canada who worked with the British and Americans, and Iraqis, on this sensitive file.

You did very good work, and mr. loney and mr. sooden asked me specifically to thank canadian officials for their assistance provided for themselves and their families.

UPDATE: Here is the audio of the PM’s speech today

Hostages freed/rescued/released

Above all, I’m certain that I shared the relief and happy sentiments of all Canadians this morning when I found out that the CPT hostages were now safe-and-sound. I was proud when I found out that they were saved in partnership with Canada’s elite commando unit JTF2.

I flipped around the my cable news channels to see if I could find some more information on this exciting news story and stopped on Newsworld to find the ambiguous headline, “Hostages Freed”.

Of course, in the face of an unambiguous event, why the CBC producers chose to go along with a headline that handicapped the story (and thus the dissemination of the news itself) had me confused.

As I’d find out later on (I didn’t get the news until mid-morning today), the initial news highlighted the American and British (ie. coalition) forces that were involved. As the story developed, CTV Newsnet was the first to break the news that JTF2 was also involved.

Initially, I had understood that American, British and Canadian troops were involved in the daring rescue and therefore I was uncertain as to why Canadian news outlets would be hesitant to underline a great Canadian hero story by describing the story (a daring rescue) for what it was.

When the news broke that Canadians were involved, did the story really change? Were the hostages rescued instead of freed or released? The latter two descriptors are ambiguous and since terrorists were the active possessors of the hostages, the viewer is led to believe that it was the benevolence of the terrorists, or “insurgents” that had freed or released the hostages.

Did a producer in the newsroom of our state-run broadcaster, upon learning of the Canadian commandos involved in the mission contemplate changing the headline to read “Hostages rescued”? I’m not in the news business but I imagine a more exciting (and true) headline would sell more copy (and have the advantage of being descriptive). I imagine that a lot of producers in newsrooms across Canada believe that the coalition forces are in Iraq “illegally” (as the CPT themselves believe). Perhaps then, they will continue to illustrate the story in a way that is joyful of the hostages release yet will ignore attribution to the bravery of the Canadian, British and American forces.

Here is a summary of earlier headlines today by Canada’s MSM:

Hostage’s release the end of a nightmare, says brother (CBC)
This headline is ambiguous. It shows that the release is a happy event yet one may assume that the terrorists released them since they were the active captors of the hostages.

Canadian hostages freed in covert raid in Iraq (G&M)
This implies that the good guys were doing the freeing. This is a good headline.

Canadians freed in Iraq raid (Toronto Star)
Another decent headline. This headline implies that the freeing came as a result of the Iraq raid. In comparison to the G&M headline, the mission isn’t described as ‘secretive’ or ‘stealth’ (covert).

Canadian, British peace hostages freed in Iraq (CTV)
Again, this headline is ambiguous. However, not so much as the CBC headline. The difference is the use of the word “freed” vs. “release”. The hostage takers could have “freed” the hostages, however, it doesn’t seem as intuitive as using the word “release” in this case as the hostage takers were the ones that initially denied the hostages their “freedom”. One could find confusion in this headline as to who freed the hostages, but the CBC headline is much more ambiguous.

Hostages freed (National Post)
This headline has little information and is ambiguous. One would think that learning of the heroism of our elite special forces commando unit, that this would be as much of a headline as the freeing of the hostages.

Programming Notes

I had the pleasure of joining Greg Staples’ blogger’s hotstove podcast with Jason Cherniak and Greg Bester on Sunday evening. The Liberal leadership race was discussed along with the Prime Minister’s trip to Afghanistan.

Give it a listen (MP3)

Subscribe to the podcast RSS

Also, I’ve been adding more and more video-on-demand to Blogging Tories Television (BT-TV). Recently I’ve been adding historically significant speeches of conservative Prime Ministers. John Diefenbaker’s historical 1957 victory speech is up (along with Louis St. Laurent’s concession speech). Just recently, I’ve added “The quick rise and fall of Kim Campbell”. Whatever your feelings on the period, it’s historical and the video is there for your review.

I’m still looking for some good Mulroney video of either speeches or debates to integrate into BT-TV. Please send me an email if you have a good source. The same goes for the best PMs we never had including Robert Stanfield and Preston Manning.

If you’d like to put video-on-demand onto your Blogging Tories blog, you can get the BT-TV “two lines of copy-paste code” right here. If you put it up, I’ll bold your link on the Blogging Tories blogroll for two weeks (let me know by putting up your blog’s link in the comments).

Liberals still souring Canada-US relations

The McLellan family, Ann, Pam, Nancy and Dale from Minnesota wrote to a Canadian Liberal senator the other week to inform the Liberal (and Canadians) that they would not be vacationing in Canada because they felt that it was necessary to boycott Canada due to what they termed the “horrific” seal hunt. Of course, boycotting has always been a democratic way of exerting influence via the market, however, consider the Liberal senator’s response:

What I find ‘horrific’ about your country is the daily killing of innocent people in Iraq, the execution of mainly black prisoners in U.S., the massive sale of guns to U.S. citizens every day, the destabilization of the whole world by the aggressive foreign policy of U.S. government, etc., — Liberal Senator Celine Hervieux-Payette

The Liberal Senator continues her anti-americanism in her email response:

“You may visit us and you will see that we are a safe and humane society, respecting the traditions of the aboriginal people, not trying to impose the ‘white people’ standards of living on them.” — Liberal Senator Celine Hervieux-Payette

Carolyn Parrish redux anyone?

Does Senator Hervieux-Payette speak for the Liberal Party of Canada?

Is this senator still a member of the Liberal caucus?

Choice for childcare day

This post is regarding Sara Landriault’s Choice for Childcare activism.

Parents have always been heroes of mine, not just my own but those that face the arduous (and often thankless) task of raising children. For something that couldn’t be more natural, most are never completely prepared for it yet somehow almost everyone since time immemorial finds a way to get by and we are the products of their efforts.

I think we’ve turned out alright so far.

Some say it takes a village to raise a child, some say it takes one or two loving parents, some say it takes a family.

The Conservative Party of Canada, during the last election, was the only political party that accommodated each point of view. The party promised that if it formed government that, yes, the state would help create childcare spaces. However, they also promised that parents that chose to care for their own children (or if grandma wanted to help), that the government would return tax money to these parents to help them with their efforts.

While the Liberals and the NDP advocated for a “one-size fits all” solution subsidizing parents as a social program, the Conservatives advocated for returning tax money to parents that are already taxed too much.

The Conservatives were the only ones to offer choice, which is a beautiful thing isn’t it? Whether creating childcare spaces at work, at a church, at a community centre, or simply giving parents more of their own money back, the Conservatives offered the most enlightened and flexible position on an issue which is so inherently natural to parents that, shockingly, existed before the creation of the concept of the state.

Now, childcare advocates (not those professionals… but those named mom and dad) are taking political action to push back against those that are declaring “code blue” in childcare. Those that would draw parallels to a medical emergency are merely those that are defending their own sense of entitlement from the nanny state at the expense of those that do the job out of love. In defense of inflated wages, market-insensitive job security and perhaps a dental plan, union leaders are declaring a death to what they erroneously deem the only option for parents.

Sara Landriault, the resident Blogging Tories choice in childcare advocates, has organized a sort of “strike” of her own. The so-called strike is to raise media awareness on the otherwise silent majority that, instead of declaring childcare “code blue”, believe that the Conservative government has instead finally given them the respect and choice that they earned when they made the honest commitment of raising children.

Sara explains:

and I am a stay at home mom of 3 children under 10. My idea of a career was and is being a mom. No I’m not the perfect mother. I just prefer to stay at home with my kids, its that simple. This childcare deal of the Conservatives doesn’t really offer my family much money but it does offer me RESPECT. For me and my family thats what this whole fight is about. You see I have 3 girls and I want them to grow up and be whatever they want, you know like a doctor, lawyer, teacher and yes even a mother. Being a mother (or father) today is the most demeaning job out there.

More Blogging Tories parents have joined Sara in her “day of action”. Brent Colbert, a stay-at-home dad has organized a trackback post.

Blogging Tory Greg Staples explains what this strike means to him:

“To me the issue comes down to parenting being a responsibility of parents. There are many methods of parenting available including a stay-at-home parent, care with a relative, care with a neighbour or care in a formal child care centre. Of the latter there are still more variations – public only, work provided, church provided, completely private, and probably variations thereof. Let it also be said that citizens also choose not to have children and therefore to use any of the above options.”

Paul at Blue Blogging Soapbox, while without children, researches more about the politics of the issue of childcare and offers some take-home reading:

I fired up Google and did some surfing. I came across the Kids First Canada site a while back and have been meaning to blog about it for a while now, so today seems fitting. “Daycare Fact & Fiction, Ideology & Agendas”. [get the link from Paul’s site – ed.]. This in-depth report was compiled by H. Ward, President of Kids First Parent Association of Canada. The latest December 19, 2005 update is available as a pdf document.

Don from All Things Canadian recalls the election politics of childcare:

“There are roughly 600,000* children in Ontario between 0 and 4 years. The Liberal plan is to create 25,000 spaces by 2008. Currently there are about 125,000 spaces* in Ontario. The Liberal plan will not be subsidizing the cost to the parents of those spaces. … The Conservative policy isn’t a national program either – they don’t claim it to be one. It’s a small government solution to help address an issue that most Canadians agree needs to be addressed – helping parents.”

Shane, who blogs from The High Places, explains that the media is only covering one side of this debate and offers a sample of childcare headlines from the election:

The media is trying very hard to tell us what to think: that universal daycare is a right, that it is affordable, that “professionals” are the only ones who know how to raise kids, and that the government should be the ones to give it to us.

Google has this nifty service, where you can receive news alerts on subjects of interest. I put one together for “Stephen Harper” back during the election, and witness a sample of headlines from the last week, pertaining to child care: “PM ignores child care protesters”, “Karwacki Calls For Blended Childcare Approach”, “Women’s groups urge Harper to stick to child care agreements”, “Stick to child-care deals, women urge Harper”, “Daycare program focus of women’s day march”. I couldn’t find a single one supporting the Conservative plan to give back cash to parents for each child…

Plattytalk weighs in and questions Liberal intention given their inaction:

Suffice to say that the Liberals are using their old fear tactics, saying that all childcare will disappear if the Conservatives have their way. This of course is not true, the Conservatives have a solid plan for childcare, one that they will actually implement, not like the Liberals 12 year promise to do something about the situation.

Nicole at Prairie Voice for Childcare Choice is a private provider of childcare. She explains why choice in important:

Another reason childcare choice is very important to me, is because it affects my job. I have been running a private home-based daycare out of my home for almost 16 years. I live in an upper middle class neighbourhood, and most families have 2 parents working out of the home. I am my families preference and 1st choice for their childcare. The Liberal childcare plan did not respect what I do, nor offer families that use care other then government regulated, and financial help.

Joel at Proud to be Canadian provides a huge list of reading material on the topic the politics of childcare.

Ruth weighs in and talks about personal responsibility and honours women who choose to stay-at-home and raise their kids.

Blogging Tory Dr. Roy discusses his own upbringing with his parents and describes the children that would have been left behind under the Liberal plan.

Be sure to check out the rest of the Blogging Tories blogging for childcare choice.

Blogging Tories Television ready for distribution

Blogging Tories Television is now ready for distribution. The project was certainly educational and involved assembling more than a few novel ideas. At various stages, more experienced programmers, namely Craig (and some other friends) helped this novice out.

The principle however was simple. First we took hosted flash video (Google/Youtube) and integrated it onto the Blogging Tories website. Then we created a playlist of relevant videos and offered them up to our audience. Now, we’ve packaged all of this together into two lines of code that you can copy and paste onto your blog’s sidebar (you can easily adjust the width of the plug-in).

Blogging Tories, as a collective of individualists, reaches over 50,000 people each and every day. Now, we’ve added easily integrated, readily available video and this will hopefully allow us to reach thousands more!

Do you want to participate? There are two ways.

  1. Get the plug-in and put it on your blog (instructions are here)
  2. Start making your own politically relevant videos and upload them to Google Video (Youtube integration coming soon) and then send me the Video URL.

If you are a Blogging Tory and you put the plug-in code onto your blog (near the top), I will bold your name on the blogroll for two weeks. Just drop your blog’s link in the comments section and I’ll bold your blog. If you’re not a Blogging Tory, join up!

Here is the BT-TV code if you’d like to put it on your site:

(Change 250 to whatever width (in pixels) that you’d like)

I believe that blogging is enabling people to have a greater and more meaningful level of participation in democracy. When Prime Minister Stephen Harper decided that greater transparency should exist in the appointment of Supreme Court Justices, he encouraged Canadians to watch the interview of Justice Rothstein in front of an ad-hoc judicial committee. The full video (over 3 hours) is available on demand on Blogging Tories television. An extensive Q&A session with John Tory is also featured on BT-TV. Hopefully, as this blogging medium evolves, more and more people will become connected with grassroots political processes.

National mission statement

Everyone should read Andrew Coyne’s column today, it’s probably his best one in a while. In it, Coyne uncovers an important thread in the Prime Minister’s speech this past weekend to our troops in Afghanistan.

Implicit in Mr. Harper’s address is a very different sort of nationalism: a nationalism of moral purpose. Canada exists to do good, for its own people and for the world. It is defined by its beliefs and measured by its acts, not by the virtues of its people, real or imagined.

Coyne describes the fallacies of the Canadian bed-time story that our leaders (mostly Liberal “nationalist mythmakers”) have told us over the years:

A new world nation such as ours, a nation of immigrants, settled in the recent past, is never going to be defined by ties of blood or culture. That is, it cannot define itself in terms of its identity: the features common to all of its people and unique to them, that mark them apart from other peoples. And yet that is what our nationalists attempted. Stepping into the post-imperial void, they created us in their own self-image, as inveterate statists, diffident, polite, and above all not-American.

Will we see some new Historica minutes?

UPDATE: Comparing Coyne’s column to this bitter diatribe only reinforces my confidence that Harper represents the position of sanity in this debate (upon which the media has insisted in the absense of a retrospective Parliamentary debate on deployment).

Prime Ministerial Podcast from Afghanistan

Here is the audio of Stephen Harper’s speech from Kandahar, Afghanistan. The Prime Minister addressed the troops giving them a morale boost and thanking them for their service.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper addresses Canadian soldiers in Kandahar Afghanistan (MP3)

Personally, I am proud of what our men and women in uniform are doing in that desperate country and I’m proud of our Prime Minister who is showing his direct support for the Canadian mission which is bringing democracy and human rights to to the troubled citizens of Afghanistan.

Stephen Harper is the first Prime Minister in recent memory who has visited the troops in a warzone. Who was the last PM to do this? (If someone can let me know in the comments, I’ll update this post)

UPDATE: Chretien visited Kabul in 2003 but Harper is the first PM in a long time to visit an active part of the “military theatre” (ie. a location of ongoing military operations) in a long time.

Susan Delacourt remarked this morning in the Toronto Star: “No prime minister in recent memory has spent this much time at ground level or at the front lines of a Canadian military operation.”

More NDP flip-flops

(Please see my earlier post on NDP hypocrisy regarding the office of the Ethics Commissioner)

Consider that the NDP (the 3rd party) has asked for an investigation into the floor-crossing by David Emerson.

Consider that the NDP (again the 3rd party) didn’t ask for an investigation into the floor-crossing of Belinda Stronach into government (the NDP needed their budget amendment passed, didn’t they — how ethical) UPDATE: They now have… but it’s still long after the ‘NDP budget’ was passed. Perhaps the Ethics Commissioner should look into this delay in the NDP asking for a Stronach investigation?

Consider that the NDP Vancouver-Kingsway opponent Ian Waddell supported the notion of floor crossing when he was a member of the BC Provincial legislature.

Consider that the NDP tried to get Sheila Copps to defect from the Liberal party to join the NDP.

Consider that the NDP tried to get Charles Caccia to defect from the Liberal party to join the NDP.

Both Copps and Caccia were facing losses of their Liberal nominations during Paul Martin’s polarizing power grab and the NDP offered both secured nominations with the NDP.

Consider that former NDP leader Ed Broadbent says that the Ethics Commissioner does not enjoy the confidence of Parliament.

Consider that current NDP leader Jack Layton is pushing for Shapiro to investigate.

In fact, consider that the NDP tabled a non-confidence motion in Shapiro at the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics. That was then, the NDP has confidence in him now that he’s investigating Emerson and the Conservatives.

And now the NDP is questioning our noble role in Afghanistan? Should anyone take these guys seriously?